How to Make a Magic Learning Discord Server That Won't Fail
Many people make discord servers for the purpose of learning and sharing magical experiences, which is wonderful! However, many times these servers eventually fail. Here’s some advice so your server doesn’t end up being one of them.
As a general tip, a more specific discord will foster more learning than a general one. In a more specific discord, everyone already has common purposes and experience, thus more chances for complementary knowledge. A green witchcraft discord would get further than a simple “magic” discord; a shamanism discord would have more learning than a spirit work discord. A discord for specifically vampiric spirits/spirit companions would have more learning than a spirit work discord.
Note that the point is learning. Servers where you simply hang out with other practitioners are fun, however their often general nature is not conducive to learning in depth. “Yeah, this spirit species exists and is cool!” does not have the same depth quality as “I had this experience with your X spirits, this is how they manifested to me, this is their energy signature; my experience was different because Q…..but it was similar in Y….”.
On to the rest of the post,
Failure of a server defined as:
- People rarely talked in the first place; a lot of people joined but nobody talks, so eventually everyone just leaves
- There’s so much drama/BS that nobody wants to go on/people leave
- Learning conversations never reach a certain amount of depth; only shallow knowledge is communicated at best. Nobody learns anything.
- The server is so poorly organized/structured that nobody has any idea where anything is and therefore defeats the purpose of learning
STRUCTURING THE SERVER:
Add channels as needed, more channels are always better than less. With the “mute” function and the ability to turn off notifications yet still be able to see new messages, there is no reason to limit the amount of channels.
Have resource channels. These are channels centered around a very specific purpose; they are reference channels where only the resources are posted and no discussion should take place. Discussion on things posted should take place in OTHER channels. These are extremely important for organization! Suggested reference channels are bolded, below.
Suggested Base Channels (and explanation):
- Rules -duh
- Introduction- duh
- Structure (roles, suggestions, server-wide announcements)
- General -anything goes
- Magic general -anything vaguely magical can go here
- Nsfw -duh
- Salt_vent -Any salt or vent topics. (May want to set/limit rules to amount of salt [or not]. As some people feel morally bad just for being in a server where people are salty)
Again, make more channels based on what your server is around. The more specific each channel, the better. For example, in an energy work discord, the channels #energy_healing, #energy_experiments, #energy_classification would be more useful than a single #energy_work channel.
Suggested Introduction for a magic learning discord:
Name, Age, Pronouns, What I do (Labels), What I know, What I want to know, General About (Anything else like interests/hobbies/etc can go in the general about).
Feel free to customize this to your server’s needs!
NO MINORS. NO FUCKING EXCEPTIONS!!
- Whether they’re mature or not is literally like playing russian roulette (and often times, they won’t be mature/their true maturity level will show at the tiniest problem)
- Often poor magical discernment
- Often beginners who will have nothing to contribute
- Can’t talk about dicks/vag/other sexual adult topics (whether ur bangin spirits or other ppl)
- Through tumblr you WILL get those minors who expect you to tag every single “trigger” ever instead of having the maturity to, you know, leave the conversation if a conversation makes them upset/has triggering content. And those minors who do not know the difference between their legitimate triggers (things that cause panic attacks) versus things that make them uncomfortable (not actual triggers by the psychological definition).
- If you let minors in you WILL have to play babysitting, mediator, teacher, advisor, etc; in addition, some minors will feel entitled to it and will get offended if you do not fulfill those roles for them.
- My dude if this isn’t enough to convince you to not let minors in. Make a server with minors and see me after class
- Do not make the server public/let anyone join freely- trust me, even if you start with only your friends, it WILL grow.
- This is also because many people will not be open to talking about certain parts of their practice with absolute strangers. Therefore, trust is necessary to having in-depth conversations.
- Limit 30 people. Think of actual classroom sizes- it always gets hectic when numbers go above 30. (talkin actual classrooms where discussion takes place, not lecture halls)
- Do not invite anyone you know is easily offended/can’t handle disagreeing without feeling insecure
- Do not invite anyone who is very much into the “tumblr mindset” (fits into the above point)
- DO invite people who have basic critical thinking skills (will often correlate with not being of the tumblr mindset). Some basic critical thinking skills are:
- Understanding that just because someone has a different experience, it doesn’t invalidate theirs
- Understanding that a word can have multiple definitions
- Knowing that analyzing something and bashing it are two completely different things
- Understanding that there are often multiple methods to do things and that they can all be “right” simultaneously
- Understand that even with the above point, methods may still be improved upon and some are/can be more effective than others
- Able to extract applicable, impersonal info from personal experience
- Etc…definitely not limited to this list.
- Do not invite anyone who does not fit the salt level (or lack thereof) in the chat
- Have mostly people with established practices and experience. Limit beginners to only those you know will put in the work on their own, know how to ask the right questions, and won’t obligate you to hold their magical hand.
- This is because with too many beginners, learning/lesson/info/discussion/theoretical conversations will be shallow at best, because they will constantly be interrupted by “What is X??? What is Y?? How does (x basic thing all the experienced people already know) work??” And of course, since beginners have no idea what is going on, they will have nothing to add to the discussion.
Suggested Rules/Base Rules:
Feel free to literally copy/paste these! In fact I encourage it because they are good rules that have stood the test of time. Italicized is commentary/explanation/examples.
Welcome! Please read all rules before you post anything, and write a little introduction for yourself in the #introduce_yourself chat.
RULE ZERO: This is a dictatorship channel. Admins reserve the right to boot people without notice, override our own rules, etc. We say this because we will not tolerate attempts to manipulate loopholes in the own rules.
Yes, you must make it clear as fuck that you rule the server. If your rules and hand of justice are even, then as ADULTS (hint hint) everyone in the chat should understand.
Concerning Publicity/New People
-Do not post the link to this server publicly. Some of us are not comfortable with being publicly associated with paganism/the metaphysical. This includes tumblr and any other internet website.
-Please ask some people for an okay before adding someone new.
-18+ ONLY. NO EXCEPTIONS.
Concerning Problems/Drama (Aka “reasons to not have minors”)
-If you have a problem with anyone in the chat, deal with it privately unless it involves them breaking the listed rules.
-As an 18+ chat you are expected to have the discernment of offensive things of an adult, and the maturity to handle it if offended.
-Since this is an adult chat and adult topics will be discussed, if you ever feel uncomfortable with what it being talked or are triggered, about please remove yourself from the chat; it is your responsibility to leave the channel and calm down. We are all adults here. We are not going to stop a conversation because someone is upset.
-What happens in the server stays in the server. Keep drama that occurs to yourself and don’t go making public posts about it. Don’t be gossiping or sending screenshots about what has been discussed here in an attempt to instigate drama or whatnot. If found out, you will be banned.
-Criticism/analysis is not the same as outright insulting/bashing. If you are not mature enough to handle this, please refrain from participating in the debates and/or remove yourself from the server.
-If questioning/analyzing different working methods, paths, etc, makes you uncomfortable, insecure, or feel invalidated, then this server is not for you.
-No reading, scanning, or visiting people, and interacting with their spirits/entities/companions without permission. For privacy, respect, and ward reasons.
-Keep salt/vent discussion to the salt/vent channel(s). Do not dump it in another channel if the vent channel is already busy.
-Yes, we know All Paths Are Valid(™). This assumption should already be obvious before debates. Do not bring this up as a way to distract from a debate/argument as it should already be known.
^^^I’ve seen this happen a lot. How it usually goes down:
P1/P2/P3: (discussing something experimental/controversial, but enlightening nonetheless)
A4: “but we should remember all paths are valid!!!”
A5: “yeah, all paths are valid! We can’t judge anyone, you guys should stop trying to compare different working methods”
A4/A5: (begin complaining about how someone found them invalid)
(the conversation P1/P2/P3 had never continued)
-If someone is asking a legitimate question, if you’re going to joke/reply sarcastically, follow up with what you actually know or do not reply in the first place.
-Remain respectful when asking questions. Do not try to force someone to answer a question, especially if it is a personal question/on a topic that makes them uncomfortable.
-You are not obligated to answer questions that delve into territory that is uncomfortable/too personal. If a question is something you do not want answered, just politely say so.
-If a reading/experiment is going on in another channel, please do not interrupt the reading to ask for context that you could easily scroll up for, or attempt to make casual conversation in the middle of others’ experiments. Save your questions/comments for after the reading and/or comment in a different channel.
-We are not super strict on staying on topic, but please attempt to do so and switch channels if necessary.
-Channels (#list resource channels here…) are resource channels, meaning that they are for very specific purposes. Discussion on things posted should take place in OTHER channels. Sometimes we forget, that is understandable- but note that comments will be deleted after a time by an admin or mod.
-List of channels and explanation of each channel:
#channel name…….explanation….. (obvs fill this part in)
Writing New Rules/Writing Your Own Rules:
- Group rules by type rather than number them. Please trust me on this one, it really helps for organization (plus there’s a 2000 character limit so you cannot have all rules in one post anyways.)
- YES HAVE THE RULES IN AN ACTUAL RULES CHANNEL AND NOT TO AN EXTERNAL LINK (like linking to a google doc rather than writing the rules directly into the server).
- Structure/Organization: Poor organization will defeat your learning server very quickly.
- Ability to read people and social context: THIS IS HOW YOU BOTH PREVENT AND FIX DRAMA!!
- Guts: You’re going to have to kick people. You’re going to have to ban people. You’re going to argue, deal with gross people, etc. Some people won’t like it. Some people won’t like YOU because of it.
You Shouldn’t Be An Admin If You:
- Lack most of above AND cannot find someone else who can do what you cannot
- Are conflict avoidant: if conflicts or issues give you anxiety/stress to a debilitating level, do not fucking admin. They WILL happen and if you cannot handle it, you should not admin.
- Lack social skills/are not personable: Admin openness sets the tone for a chat.
- Are easily offended: Self explanatory.
- Hate being questioned: People WILL question your rules/authority occasionally. If you just throw a hissy fit or get passive aggressive when it happens, nobody will respect you, which will result in even more questioning; it becomes a vicious cycle.
- Lack critical thinking: self explanatory
Picking Other Mods/Admins:
- Of course, they should have the qualities listed in “Admin Skills/Requirements”
- Have different strengths; get admins that can do things you can’t.
- Pick people who think different from you; they’ll approach problems in other ways and thus you’ll be able to see many ways to solve a problem.
Things to be careful/wary and thus prepared about:
Admins/mods bringing in close friends/significant others/etc: Have you ever had an issue where your best friend/significant other in one friend group and your best friend group in another friend group disliked each other? Even if you haven’t, think about all the ways this could turn ugly. Exercise caution.
Be strict about keeping salt/vent posts to one channel: One thing I’ve seen happen is that if there’s already a conversation going in the salt/vent channel, people suddenly think that it’s alright to start venting in another channel. This interrupts learning/relevant conversations in that channel. If it’s not relevant to the channel (a not-spirit work complaint going in a spirit work channel) the salt/vent should not go there.
Judgement/Discernment: Let’s make an example. Relevant to the previous point, someone is complaining about a problematic spirit in the spirit work channel. Would this fit your server or not? Now for another example. The vent channel is busy right now, so someone goes to the spirit work channel to complain about their human boyfriend. Would this fit your server?
Enforcing Rules/Kicking/Banning People:
Someone doesn’t have to be a Bad Person for you to kick them. Personality conflicts are a perfectly good reason; and often personality conflicts will lead to more drama than being a Bad Person. While it is possible to work it out with them, often reaching that point of needing to find a workaround already shows that there is an issue. If unresolved, more likely one/both/all of the people with clashing personalities will leave. It’s also important to respect that people shouldn’t have to budge. But hell, sometimes people dislike each other for pure miscommunication reasons; they may grow to truly like each other but be prepared as that’s usually the exception and not the rule.
It’s generally better to PM an iffy person and tell them in private to knock their shitty behavior off rather than embarrass/make an example of them in front of everyone. People are often more willing to coalesce in PMs where they can be personal/private, rather than in public where they must worry about everyone ganging up on them.
Typical, Example Issues You Should Be Ready to Deal With:
Note: This is not like a school test where there are solid right answers. Issues will always be contextual; these are simply some common examples so you’ll know how vague the “right answer” can be.
-Someone new enters the chat and it’s clear that everyone is uncomfortable around them due to their personalities. But nobody wants to say anything because they want to be nice. How do you resolve this issue? Do you kick/ban the discomforting newbie? Do you PM the newbie one-on-one?
-You invite your best friend/significant other to the chat. However, quite a few people don’t get along with them. It’s reached the point where a number of members want them to leave or will leave themselves. What do you do?
-This person has been in a while, and many people have noticed that they are…rather noticeably immature. You check their blog. You find out they’re a minor. Do you kick them immediately? Do you make sanctions based on their behavior?
-This person has been in a while, and many people have noticed that they are…rather noticeably immature. You check their blog/intro, and find out they’re 30+ and act this way despite their age. They’re older than you. Immediate kick? Do you try to talk to them?
-Your server was previously a flourishing place where conversations could be taken to extreme depth; discussions with many viewpoints and clashing opinions were common, but everyone had the maturity to not take disagreement as a personal offense and this allowed everyone to learn the best. However, ever since some new people entered the server, these discussions have stopped because disagreement/clashing viewpoints offends them. Do you kick these new people? Do you say they can stay, but they have to suck it up (especially since they are adults)?
-Someone is talking about how they had a bad experience with a deity/goetic demon/other Large Spirit, and clearly needs advice/help. Instead, a devotee of that Large Spirit swoops in claiming any/all of the following: “UMMM Large Spirit NEVER does anything wrong!! You’re a terrible person for saying that!”, “It’s impossible for Large Spirit to abuse humans, so you must be imagining things!”, “Large Spirit only does things in someone’s highest good, so you must have done something horrible, meaning you deserved it!” What do you say in response? Do you tell them publicly, or do you PM them?
-Someone is suggesting that a magical issue correlates with a mental/emotional illness, with no reasoning other than “I believe in this so it must be!!!” Additionally, it’s very clear that they’ve never had any formal education in psychology or at least read legitimate sources (not tumblr posts) on mental/emotional illness issues. Other people are agreeing with them. Do you school them all? Kick em all?
-Drama happened in the server, and it leaked to someone outside of the server who then confronts the person on their blog. Every shred of evidence points to one person leaking the drama, but when you PM that person about it they claim it wasn’t them. Do you kick the person anyways? Do you keep em but maintain a close watch on them?
Variations on the above one:
- Many people believe it was that one person who leaked it as well.
- Most people don’t think it was them, but evidence points otherwise. Additionally, that one person is extremely popular and you think people would like you a lot less if you kicked them.
- Nobody is able to pinpoint someone; rather, people believe it is one of the many lurkers of the server. However, that’s still quite a few people, and many of them are your friends who haven’t been actively lately and never gave a reason.
-People have been coming to you in PMs that they believe one of the admins is abusing their power. You agree; you notice they tend to step on others in conversations, use their admin tools to set demeaning roles to people, and other gross things. You decide to PM that admin about it; what will you say? Should you have a kind or firm tone?
- Variation: Some brave souls come to you in PMs saying that you have been abusing your power! Are they wrong? What do you do to the people who say so?
Obviously, the issues are not limited to this list.
As with all of my posts, this will be updated occasionally as I get better info/advice. Always check the permalink for the most recent version.
Current Version: September 26 2017