About the removal of #general from the Next.js server
Recently the moderation team of the Next.js Discord server decided on a drastical change, where #general was removed and #discussions was created in its place. This new #discussions channel is publicly readable, but only members with a certain trust level can post messages in it. This post will clarify our reasonings behind the decision and what you should do. Before you voice your opposition or propose new ideas related to this decision, please read this post in full. There are no TL;DR.
Previously, we had a #general channel for, well, general talking like most Discord servers. However, there were certain rules in place, most notably:
No crossposting or reposting: If you have posted the question elsewhere, you must not repost the question, or send the question link, in other places, as it will just burden the server with more duplicated help requests.
No off-topic discussions: Questions or discussions not related to Next.js should not be asked in #general. Threads under #tools and the #off-topic channels are more suitable. Many questions, such as Vercel questions, should be asked in the dedicated support communities instead (for example, for Vercel, you should ask in Vercel Discussions).
No code help in #general, only general discussions: #general is meant to be where people share knowledge that is beneficial to a large number of Next.js user. Hence, questions asking people to debug your code (which will only benefit you, not anyone else) must not be asked in #general; instead you should ask in #help-forum.
We have bot commands to help enforce these rules and moderate the channels. Previously, things ran kinda smoothly, but at one point, there started to be more and more rule violations in #general. You can search
in:discussions from:765849972255096852 in the server to see the mountain of bot messages telling people to. Just. Read. The. Rules.
At one point, almost half of the messages in #general are these bot messages. Yes, people violate rules that much.
That is not good, so we decided to act.
We introduce a point-based system to measure a member's trustworthiness. Only members who we trust will not break those rules are allowed to post in #general, now renamed to #discussions to reflect its purpose better.
This system is automatic. The points are earned by participation in the #help-forum. The more you help, the more points you get. When you reach the threshold, you will gain the
@Regular Memberrole which allows you to post in #discussions.
Moderators can manually give you the role, if we consider that you are unlikely to break the rules should you be allowed to post in #discussions.
@Helperrole members) are exempted. They are more than trusted to not break any rules, so they gain write access to #discussions without needing to earn points.
Right now, after these new regulations are in place, we have seen a significant drop in rule violations. There are still violations in #off-topic, but there are a lot less of them now. In other words, the system is working, and we are happy with it. This decision is therefore not going to be reverted, unless Vercel decides to revert it.
As of 11 February 2024, there are 14 members who have gained the
@Regular Member role. Combined with the helpers and moderators, there are some 25–30 people who can post messages in #discussions as of now. This is still a small number, hence the current period is still a "buffer" transition period.
During this period, discussions about Next.js are still "soft-allowed" in #off-topic. However, we will progressively enforce that discussions about Next.js should be moved to #discussions, as more people gain write access to that channel.
#help-forum is for all help requests. If you have any questions, even non-Next.js questions, you are allowed to ask there. People will help if they have time and find your question interesting.
#tools is for discussions and general questions related to certain popular tools used with Next.js. Though code questions are discouraged there, they are not strictly disallowed. We will revisit this in the future if we find the rate of rule violations in #tools to be too high.
#off-topic is for off-topic discussions. When enough people have qualified for write access to #discussions, we will start to disallow Next.js discussions in #off-topic.
#discussions is where you discuss and is intended to be a place where information shared is beneficial for everyone. Rule violations there will get you higher penalties than in the old #general. Since it's not publicly writeable, we expect #discussions to be a lot less active and that's fine and intended. The Next.js server is not running in some kind of high message count race with other servers.
For active members of the server, we hope you will continue to assist us with moderation, by reporting rule violations and sending those moderation bot messages where suitable. Please also discourage Next.js discussions in #off-topic and encourage eligible people to discuss in #discussions instead.
If you do not have write access to #discussions yet but have an interesting topic to discuss about, you may ping us in #off-topic to request the role. We will grant you the role if we find that your request is reasonable and you are unlikely to violate rules in #discussions. Remember: rule violations in #discussions are not taken as lightly as before.
And of course, please continue to help people in #help-forum. Helpers are very busy, and there are a lot of people looking for help in the forum. The more you help, the sooner you will gain write access to #discussions.
We still welcome all suggestions, and please post them in #discord-feedback. However, please be constructive. "I don't like this" and "just give me back #general gdi" are not constructive and will change nothing, other than making you look annoying to everyone else, and making us treat your proposals less seriously. Instead, actual proposals of actual solutions that can help solve the initial problems are appreciated, and if they are reasonable enough, your suggestion could be implemented and the decision above could be reverted.
Hence, if you want to reinstate #general, or change the above system in any ways, please first come up with good solutions to the below:
How will you prevent people from violating rules, so as to not create a #general filled with bot messages? The three rules above are especially important and must be addressed.
How will you ensure that the moderation effort is not too high? (Note: Moderators and helpers in this server are all volunteers. We don't make a single penny from what we do here. So we prioritise our full-time obligations first, hence things that require us to be on the look out 24/7 will be rejected.)
If you have found good solutions, please do not hesitate to contact us in #discord-feedback.
Extreme times call for extreme measures. Extreme times have come and that necessitated this extreme decision. And it is working well.
Therefore, if Vercel doesn't override this decision, and no better solutions are found, then this decision is here to stay.