This article will assume that you’ve read the following guides:
To demonstrate how to utilize these tools, we’re going to build a server focused around a robotics tournament where our community members gain access to a region-specific group of channels.
We’ll break this up into a few steps:
We’re going to need somewhere with information about how users can gain access to the region locked sections of the server, so we’ll start by making a #welcome channel. We’ll put some instructions in there for the future so that users in the server know how to get roles.
Currently, any user can send a message in our welcome channel. Let’s set up the permissions in the channel so the @everyone role cannot type.
We can check that this has worked using the “View as Role” feature.
Head over to your roles page in the server settings and find the @everyone role, select “View Server As Role.”
You’ll now notice that the message box has been disabled like we specified.
This is the #welcome channel all set up, we’re ready to move on!
Next up, we need to create some roles to identify users from each region in the server. Head to the roles section of your server settings.
These roles don’t need to have any permissions for the whole server (like a role for Moderators would), since they are only used to gate access to the region categories.
You can optionally assign these roles a color to allow members in specific roles to stand out in channels, or hoist them in the member list to make it easy to find users in a group (for example, it’s useful to hoist Moderators so people know who to get in touch with). We’ll create two roles for the United States and Canada.
Make sure to save your changes at the bottom of the roles screen, and that’s all we need for the role setup!
*Unless you are using the channel description for verification instructions rather than an automatic greeter message.
If you want to use the remove unverified role method, you will need a bot that can automatically assign a role to a user when they join.
Once you decide whether you want to add or remove a role, you need to decide how you want that action to take place. Generally, this is done by typing a bot command in a channel, typing a bot command in a DM, or clicking on a reaction. The differences between these methods are shown below.
In order to use the command in channel method, you will need to instruct your users to remove the Unverified role or to add the Verified role to themselves.
Discord provides you with a way to group related channels together into Categories.
We’ll be creating a category for each region and channels within that. A great benefit of categories is that you can sync the permissions of the category to all channels within it, so you don’t need to set up permissions for any other channels in the same category.
Start by opening up the server menu and clicking the Create Category option.
We’ll be making two categories in this example, one for each region role. We’ll start out with the United States category, which we’ll associate with the United States role.
You can automatically set up the permissions for a category so that only a certain role can access it. To do this, enable the “Private Category” option. Once you turn this switch on you’ll see a list of roles which you can enable to grant access to the category.
Find the role that you want to create the category for and flip the switch to activate it. Once that is done, hit “Create Category”. It will pop up in your channel list.
If you head into the permissions section for the category you will see which permissions the private category option has changed.
As you can see, the United States role has permission to read all text channels and voice channels, while the @everyone role does not have that permission.
However, what’s a category even for if there are no channels to populate them? Next, let’s make some channels for our newly made category- starting with a text channel and a voice channel. Click the + icon next to the category name to do this.
You do not need to select the private channel option while creating channels inside a category; by default the permissions of the parent category will also apply to the channels within it.
Once you’ve set up the channels within the category, open up the settings of one and take a look at the permissions. As you’ll see at the top of the permissions list, the channel is synced to the United States category. This means that if you update the permissions inside the “United States” category, the permissions in all channels within it will update.
If you manually edit permissions of a channel within a category, it will go out of sync and you may need to tell Discord to re-sync that channel, in the process of which any specific changes to that channel will be lost. This is important to keep in mind since if you have any specific overrides in a channel and you sync it they will be gone, but also if you make any changes to the parent category they will not sync to the channel that you have manually altered, which is something to look out for.
That concludes the set up of the United States category- next we’ll repeat the same steps as above for the Canada channels by creating a category and setting the Private Category option to the Canada role.
After that, your channel list should look like the following.
We can validate that the permissions work again by using the “View Server As Role” feature. This time instead of selecting @everyone, select one of the region roles.
As you can see, while previewing with the “United States” role we can only see the United States category. You can change the selected roles to confirm that each of your region roles can see their respective category.
At this point you are ready to start inviting users! To invite a user, hit the invite button next to the welcome channel in the channel list.
Make sure to select the checkbox to mark your invite as never expiring if you plan on posting it online. Otherwise, the invite will expire automatically and users coming across online posts will not be able to join.
Once you have a link like this you are ready to share it!
Markdown is also supported in an embed. Here is an image to showcase an example of these properties:
Example image to showcase the elements of an embed
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
An important thing to note is that embeds also have their limitations, which are set by the API. Here are some of the most important ones you need to know:
If you feel like experimenting even further you should take a look at the full list of limitations provided by Discord here.
It’s very important to keep in mind that when you are writing an embed, it should be in JSON format. Some bots even provide an embed visualizer within their dashboards. You can also use this embed visualizer tool which provides visualization for bot and webhook embeds.
When a user joins a server they will be presented with the welcome channel and information. They cannot see any other categories because they don’t have any region roles yet.
Users will get in touch via DMs to request region roles (we’ll mention alternative methods to automate this at the end!).
To grant the user access to the region channels, simply open the server’s member list in the server settings, search for their name and add the role!
They’ll then immediately have access to the region category for the role you have assigned them:
This article has shown you how to set up a basic region locked server where you can grant access for specific users to specific categories. Discord’s “Private Categories” feature makes it simple to grant access to a category for a specific set of roles and set up the permissions for you.
With that in mind, here are some things to try with your new server:
Even though this comparison is important for better understanding of both bots and webhooks, it does not mean you should limit yourself to only picking one or the other. Sometimes, bots and webhooks work their best when working together. It’s not uncommon for bots to use webhooks for logging purposes or to distinguish notable messages with a custom avatar and name for that message. Both tools are essential for a server to function properly and make for a powerful combination.
*Unconfigurable filters, these will catch all instances of the trigger, regardless of whether they’re spammed or a single instance
**Gaius also offers an additional NSFW filter as well as standard image spam filtering
***YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
****Giselle combines Fast Messages and Repeated Text into one filter
Anti-Spam is integral to running a large private server, or a public server. Spam, by definition, is irrelevant or unsolicited messages. This covers a wide base of things on Discord, there are multiple types of spam a user can engage in. The common forms are listed in the table above. The most common forms of spam are also very typical of raids, those being Fast Messages and Repeated Text. The nature of spam can vary greatly but the vast majority of instances involve a user or users sending lots of messages with the same contents with the intent of disrupting your server.
There are subsets of this spam that many anti-spam filters will be able to catch. If any of the following: Mentions, Links, Invites, Emoji, and Newline Text are spammed repeatedly in one message or spammed repeatedly across several messages, they will provoke most Repeated Text and Fast Messages filters appropriately. Subset filters are still a good thing for your anti-spam filter to contain as you may wish to punish more or less harshly depending on the spam. Namely, Emoji and Links may warrant separate punishments. Spamming 10 links in a single message is inherently worse than having 10 emoji in a message.
Anti-spam will only act on these things contextually, usually in an X in Y fashion where if a user sends, for example, 10 links in 5 seconds, they will be punished to some degree. This could be 10 links in one message, or 1 link in 10 messages. In this respect, some anti-spam filters can act simultaneously as Fast Messages and Repeated Text filters.
Sometimes, spam may happen too quickly for a bot to catch up. There are rate limits in place to stop bots from harming servers that can prevent deletion of individual messages if those messages are being sent too quickly. This can often happen in raids. As such, Fast Messages filters should prevent offenders from sending messages; this can be done via a mute, kick or ban. If you want to protect your server from raids, please read on to the Anti-Raid section of this article.
Text filters allow you to control the types of words and/or links that people are allowed to put in your server. Different bots will provide various ways to filter these things, keeping your chat nice and clean.
*Defaults to banning ALL links
**YAGPDB offers link verification via google, anything flagged as unsafe can be removed
***Setting a catch-all filter with carl will prevent link-specific spam detection
A text filter is integral to a well moderated server. It’s strongly, strongly recommended you use a bot that can filter text based on a blacklist. A Banned words filter can catch links and invites provided http:// and https:// are added to the word blacklist (for all links) or specific full site URLs to block individual websites. In addition, discord.gg can be added to a blacklist to block ALL Discord invites.
A Banned Words filter is integral to running a public server, especially if it’s a Partnered, Community or Verified server, as this level of auto moderation is highly recommended for the server to adhere to the additional guidelines attached to it. Before configuring a filter, it’s a good idea to work out what is and isn’t ok to say in your server, regardless of context. For example, racial slurs are generally unacceptable in almost all servers, regardless of context. Banned word filters often won’t account for context, with an explicit blacklist. For this reason, it’s also important a robust filter also contains whitelisting options. For example, if you add the slur ‘nig’ to your filter and someone mentions the country ‘Nigeria’ they could get in trouble for using an otherwise acceptable word.
Filter immunity may also be important to your server, as there may be individuals who need to discuss the use of banned words, namely members of a moderation team. There may also be channels that allow the usage of otherwise banned words. For example, a serious channel dedicated to discussion of real world issues may require discussions about slurs or other demeaning language, in this exception channel based Immunity is integral to allowing those conversations.
Link filtering is important to servers where sharing links in ‘general’ chats isn’t allowed, or where there are specific channels for sharing such things. This can allow a server to remove links with an appropriate reprimand without treating a transgression with the same severity as they would a user sending a racial slur.
Whitelisting/Blacklisting and templates for links are also a good idea to have. While many servers will use catch-all filters to make sure links stay in specific channels, some links will always be malicious. As such, being able to filter specific links is a good feature, with preset filters (Like the google filter provided by YAGPDB) coming in very handy for protecting your user base without intricate setup however, it is recommended you do configure a custom filter to ensure specific slurs, words etc. that break the rules of your server, aren’t being said.
Invite filtering is equally important in large or public servers where users will attempt to raid, scam or otherwise assault your server with links with the intention of manipulating your user base to join or where unsolicited self-promotion is potentially fruitful. Filtering allows these invites to be recognized, and dealt with more harshly. Some bots may also allow by-server white/blacklisting allowing you to control which servers are ok to share invites to, and which aren’t. A good example of invite filtering usage would be something like a partners channel, where invites to other, closely linked, servers are shared. These servers should be added to an invite whitelist to prevent their deletion.
Raids, as defined earlier in this article, are mass-joins of users (often selfbots) with the intent of damaging your server. There are a few methods available to you in order for you to protect your community from this behavior. One method involves gating your server with verification appropriately, as discussed in DMA 301.You can also supplement or supplant the need for verification by using a bot that can detect and/or prevent damage from raids.
*Unconfigurable, triggers raid prevention based on user joins & damage prevention based on humanly impossible user activity. Will not automatically trigger on the free version of the bot.
Raid detection means a bot can detect the large number of users joining that’s typical of a raid, usually in an X in Y format. This feature is usually chained with Raid Prevention or Damage Prevention to prevent the detected raid from being effective, wherein raiding users will typically spam channels with unsavoury messages.
Raid-user detection is a system designed to detect users who are likely to be participating in a raid independently of the quantity of frequency of new user joins. These systems typically look for users that were created recently or have no profile picture, among other triggers depending on how elaborate the system is.
Raid prevention stops a raid from happening, either by Raid detection or Raid-user detection. These countermeasures stop participants of a raid specifically from harming your server by preventing raiding users from accessing your server in the first place, such as through kicks, bans, or mutes of the users that triggered the detection.
Damage prevention stops raiding users from causing any disruption via spam to your server by closing off certain aspects of it either from all new users, or from everyone. These functions usually prevent messages from being sent or read in public channels that new users will have access to. This differs from Raid Prevention as it doesn’t specifically target or remove new users on the server.
Raid anti-spam is an anti spam system robust enough to prevent raiding users’ messages from disrupting channels via the typical spam found in a raid. For an anti-spam system to fit this dynamic, it should be able to prevent Fast Messages and Repeated Text. This is a subset of Damage Prevention.
Raid cleanup commands are typically mass-message removal commands to clean up channels affected by spam as part of a raid, often aliased to ‘Purge’ or ‘Prune’.It should be noted that Discord features built-in raid and user bot detection, which is rather effective at preventing raids as or before they happen. If you are logging member joins and leaves, you can infer that Discord has taken action against shady accounts if the time difference between the join and the leave times is extremely small (such as between 0-5 seconds). However, you shouldn’t rely solely on these systems if you run a large or public server.
Messages aren’t the only way potential evildoers can present unsavoury content to your server. They can also manipulate their Discord username or Nickname to cause trouble. There are a few different ways a username can be abusive and different bots offer different filters to prevent this.
*Gaius can apply same blacklist/whitelist to names as messages or only filter based on items in the blacklist tagged %name
**YAGPDB can use configured word-list filters OR a regex filter
Username filtering is less important than other forms of auto moderation, when choosing which bot(s) to use for your auto moderation needs, this should typically be considered last, since users with unsavory usernames can just be nicknamed in order to hide their actual username.
One additional component not included in the table is the effects of implementing a verification gate. The ramifications of a verification gate are difficult to quantify and not easily summarized. Verification gates make it harder for people to join in the conversation of your server, but in exchange help protect your community from trolls, spam bots, those unable to read your server’s language, or other low intent users. This can make administration and moderation of your server much easier. You’ll also see that the percent of people that visit more than 3 channels increases as they explore the server and follow verification instructions, and that percent talked may increase if people need to type a verification command.
However, in exchange you can expect to see server leaves increase. In addition, total engagement on your other channels may grow at a slower pace. User retention will decrease as well. Furthermore, this will complicate the interpretation of your welcome screen metrics, as the welcome screen will need to be used to help people primarily follow the verification process as opposed to visiting many channels in your server. There is also no guarantee that people who send a message after clicking to read the verification instructions successfully verified. In order to measure the efficacy of your verification system, you may need to use a custom solution to measure the proportion of people that pass or fail verification.
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