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Help us Livetest a Potential Discord Server; [News] The Cbox is not going away right now
Topic Started: Sun Nov 5, 2017 5:58 pm (639 Views)
Ozan[Adm]
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Hi guys!

We've gotten a lot of interest in a Discord server throughout this year, and I was pretty resistant to it. I was mostly dubious about the security features and voice chat integration. We've been looking into the subject a bit deeper recently and it seems that the program is actually much more powerful and customizable than the Cbox program I pay $20 per year to use (and would have to pay $90 a year to get even more advanced security features).

"Help! I'm not in the loop! What is Discord?"


There are many advantages to Discord compared to the Cbox, including:

  • An actual moderation suite (the primary reason why we're considering the change)
  • Better security features
  • Better role system
  • The ability to create separate channels within the server for more specialized topics
  • A lot of cosmetic improvements and capabilities such as @mention functionality, editing your own posts, etc

If you're interested in trying this out, please help us test an official Imythess Discord server in a closed setting. Thank you, Addie and Alice, for helping us with the preliminary setup and testing.

Keep in mind that the server will have no voice chat, now or ever.


How to Join the Closed Test

Please post in the Cbox or PM me/Leyanni in order to receive an invite.


Discord Training for Staff Members

Staff who join the Discord test will need to talk to me or Leyanni before receiving their full privileges. There are some features and recommendations we need to point out to you first.


Where to Give Feedback

Contact me directly. You can also post in Suggestions. Please contact me ASAP if a feature is not working correctly.
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Ozan[Adm]
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I was talking about closing the Discord server last night, and I'm glad I slept on it before making my final decision! The server livetest will continue. However, as this goes on I have a few things I wanna discuss with you guys. I'll post the discussion prompts here in this topic. Not sure if I'll have time to type them up before I go to work, but sometime today for sure.

In the meantime, please continue using the server however much you normally would if you didn't know the context. If you weren't interested in joining the server test in the first place, that's also fine. I talked to a few of you about why, but if I haven't talked to you yet and you want to share, feel free to PM me or catch me in the Cbox later.
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Ozan[Adm]
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Discord First Day: Discussion Time!

We had a really productive first day of testing the Discord! I got a lot of great feedback from a wide variety of members. If I haven't heard your voice yet and you want it heard, please don't hesitate to let me know (or another staff member, if you're not comfortable talking to me one-on-one). Continue to speak up.

The only way to truly see if a new feature for the site will work is to try it. I learned a bajillion times more about the effects of a Discord server by doing a livetest with the community than if I had just sat around and thrown hypotheticals at experienced Discord members. I even got a taste of the larger-scale impacts a service like this would have on a community like ours. This was a really valuable learning experience and I'm glad I did it, no matter what the outcome of this is.

Below, I've included some concerns about the platform. Please respond to these concerns in the form of a reply to this topic so that I can refer to them later. I've listed my concerns roughly in order from most to least dealbreaking.




Sub-Communities

There are members of the site who are active in the Cbox but are unable or unwilling to join the Discord. If we stuck with the Discord, this leaves me with two options: leave the Discordless people with no means to instant-message other members, or split the community chat platforms. Extensive discussion and observation has revealed that the latter could be potentially disastrous to the community. It inevitably forms sub-communities as different types of members hang out in different venues. Sub-communities are extremely bad news for a place like Imy, and here's why.

A sub-community is a subset of a larger community that share common interests. Although they often form with perfectly good intentions, sub-communities are inherently exclusive. A sub-community is by definition isolated from the larger community, which creates interesting effects over time. Sub-communities -- especially multiple sub-communities with slightly different values -- gradually create divisions and camps between players when they previously were more understated or didn't exist. These divisions, from my personal experience, are very hard to heal once they've been ingrained into a community.

This effect is well-documented not just on tiny communities like ours, but in actual history, which is kind of neat. During times of instability, people naturally put their trust in people who are close at hand: their friends and allies. It makes sense, since the instability has eroded their trust in the bigger authority figures. People eventually build their own smaller-scale factions and identify less with the overall country/empire/whatever. Divided like this, tensions mount and hostility increases as the bonds of society crumble.

I've also personally seen this effect happen to other RP sites. At best, it makes the communities toxic. At worst, it destroys them outright. RP communities are even less resilient to faction-forming than real-life countries -- there's way fewer people to split in the first place! So seeing the potential for this happening via the Discord platform raises a lot of urgent red flags with me. If you feel like you might be taking part in a sub-community or thinking about creating one of your own, please reconsider your actions and their long-term impacts on Imythess and your perception of it. I'll be doing the same. (I'm not telling you to have no friends. You can make any choices you want. However, please reflect on when your behavior might be constructive and when it might be destructive and act with the best judgment you can.)


Linked Accounts

Discord is a very popular app. People have lives that are very separate from Imythess. They might separate their personal life from their Imythess life, like I do. Or they might have another "life" as a streamer or other popular Internet person. Even though the Cbox is not a very good program, the one thing that it does have going for it is that it is totally separated from any other program, social media platform, or similar. That means people can join the Cbox without having to, for example, use a username that they also use for other social media things that they would prefer to keep separate from their time on Imythess.

You can change your main Discord username. However, if you're already well-established on Discord, that means, well... changing your well-established username (for everyone!) solely to keep your privacy on the server. For several Imythess members, this is completely untenable, and I can't blame them. If situations like this make joining an Imythess server untenable, it further exacerbates my primary concern about sub-communities.

Another problem is that people who do join the Imy server with a well-established Discord username open themselves up to malicious actions in other platforms. Many people use the same name for lots of different things, including social media. There have absolutely been members of Imy in the past who have malicious intentions, and they will use every dirty trick they can to hurt people that they believe have hurt them. It's my job as board leader to minimize the ability of malicious people to pursue members outside of the site proper, so the options that Discord allows just worry me.


No Profanity Filter

I find it extremely frustrating that Discord has no profanity filter, nor a practical means to create one. (Yes, I've looked into that one. And that one.) The only "filters" currently available have to delete the entire message where the profanity took place, or ban the member who swears excessively. This is not practical. Nor is politely asking people not to swear, as we saw yesterday when even staff members were accidentally dropping F-bombs. I can't even edit other people's posts to remove the profanity, even as the person who created the damn server!


Other Issues

  • There is no way to disable people from calling you in Discord. You can reject the call, but here's the fun part: on the Discord phone app, when someone calls you, it rings at full volume even if your phone is on mute. Yesterday, people were ringing other people in the server to troll them. This feature is unacceptable.

  • Server administrators can't disable their own "embed" feature. This means that any time I link something, it shows up automatically in the Discord feed. This is more annoying than anything.





I need your voice because I don't have the answers. You do. If you have any opinion on the points I've raised here, I need to hear them from you somehow. I'd prefer you reply to this topic. If you're not comfortable with that, message me on PMs, or direct message me on Steam or Discord. Send a message to a staff member you're comfortable talking to if you would prefer not to address me directly. I don't care how you communicate, as long as you say something.

Thank you for being a member of Imythess.
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Aeyliea
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I personally feel that Discord is a better, more secure option than the cbox is. I understand concerns listed, but have no solutions for them other than NOT using Discord, which still leaves us with other issues to contend with.

I find Discord has some great features the Cbox doesn't have, though, so thats something to consider, too.
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Ozan[Adm]
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Question for everyone:

Do the benefits and features of Discord outweigh the drawbacks I've explained above? Why do you think so?
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NinjaDog
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Okay so... I found out something about profanity filters. You can program bots to filter out certain words. I know another server I'm on uses a bot called Mee6 that monitors most of the server channels. So that could help with the profanity issues.
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Ozan[Adm]
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NinjaDog
Mon Nov 6, 2017 11:18 pm
Okay so... I found out something about profanity filters. You can program bots to filter out certain words. I know another server I'm on uses a bot called Mee6 that monitors most of the server channels. So that could help with the profanity issues.
Thanks for the idea, but we've already looked into this. The only thing that bots can do is delete posts with profanity in them, since other people's posts can't be edited. Also, running a bot would require a computer that's on 24/7, iirc.
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Aeyliea
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I think the benefits DO outweigh the disadvantages.

Simplest thing is the channels. The C-box has one channel, so all conversation has to happen in one room. Normally that isn't a problem, but in particular, when people get going on an ST topic discussion via the cbox, everyone else gets drowned out. The Cbox becomes the property of whichever ST event is being discussed until the discussion stops.

Which isn't to say that you cannot discuss things at the same time, but it is much more difficult to follow separate threads of conversation when the flow of the chat is rapid and based around a topic other than what you wish to discuss.

And for those mobile users, the cbox is totally useless when conversation is happening that fast, anyway.

I also think the ability to direct message individuals and have private conversations is handy, especially to take conversation about a topic out of the main chat and not clutter tha main chat up with it.

Mostly, though....this is like Pandora's Box. We've already opened it, and there is no putting it back. Discord will be used regardless of whether there is an official server or not, because it is so useful and has a lot more functionality than the cbox does. Even educating people on the effects of sub communities will not help, I feel, because people were already using Discord before we attempted to use it as a site.
Edited by Aeyliea, Mon Nov 6, 2017 11:25 pm.
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Ozan[Adm]
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Aeyliea
Mon Nov 6, 2017 11:24 pm
Mostly, though....this is like Pandora's Box. We've already opened it, and there is no putting it back. Discord will be used regardless of whether there is an official server or not, because it is so useful and has a lot more functionality than the cbox does. Even educating people on the effects of sub communities will not help, I feel, because people were already using Discord before we attempted to use it as a site.
What do you think is going to happen when the community splits into several smaller Discord servers (and the original Cbox)? Is my prediction about sub-communities off?
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Aeyliea
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I don't think your predictions are off, though I would like to believe that they are. If wishes were fishes, though, we'd all eat for free.

I have dealt with Discord for all of like one whole day, but feel that I should advocate for it just from that brief experience.

And the only way to prevent fragmenting into multiple Discords would be to have an Official Imythess one. Its not 100% assured to prevent small sub communities from forming, but aside from authoritarian dictatorship, you aren't going to prevent it from happening anyway. The best thing, in my opinion, would be to grab hold of that tigers' ears and ride it as best you can.
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Ceryneia
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I have to agree with A, and I suggested groups with different channels as well during my time in the Imy test. Discord's main benefit is multifunctionality, and yes, there are limitations. There are always going to be trolls; we've seen one troll in particular return a few times of late, as Vyse and I have specifically pointed out - a particularly nasty one.

A site called Pogo.com does something similar with their game rooms. Each game room has a different title, even if it's just "Temporary Room 001". Some rooms within a game might be labeled "caps only", while others literally have no filter on anything and the room lets you know that it's anything-goes. Pogo, which is run by EA, considers itself mostly a "family" site; as such, there are a lot of rules in play. Obviously, this causes problems sometimes, but it also solves some problems.

I see no reason why Discord can't have something similar. I myself have a Discord room that's never really been used, but I've played around with groups and channels in it. It's a good idea. Obviously, we couldn't prevent people from cross-chatting 24/7, but members could be nudged by an admin/mod into other channels as necessary and the existence of channels for different purposes, especially within theme-specific groups, does help to alleviate problems caused by having such an open app.

I'm not saying it's perfect, but there are benefits that (in my opinion) do outweight the detriments both of the program itself and of the c-box as it exists now.
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Leyanni[Adm]
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The key advantage to the discord official is that it is probably adjacent to subcommunity discords and helps reduce the mental distance between the communities.
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Wendall
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I will not be using an official Imythess Discord server. I will return later this evening to articulate the reasons for my reluctance, but for now I wanted everyone to know where I stand.
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Ozan[Adm]
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Leyanni
Mon Nov 6, 2017 11:40 pm
The key advantage to the discord official is that it is probably adjacent to subcommunity discords and helps reduce the mental distance between the communities.
I honestly haven't the faintest idea what the connection might be between an official Imythess server and a bunch of little servers made of Imy people talking about Imy things. Do you (or anyone else reading this) think that the presence of an official server would increase or decrease the number of sub-communities, or have no effect? And why do you think that? Aey said it would decrease, but I'm curious what other people think

Also, I'm sorry if I don't end up asking everyone a question, it just means I didn't have anything to ask at the moment. Still thinking this through.
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Leyanni[Adm]
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Ozan
Tue Nov 7, 2017 12:09 am
Leyanni
Mon Nov 6, 2017 11:40 pm
The key advantage to the discord official is that it is probably adjacent to subcommunity discords and helps reduce the mental distance between the communities.
I honestly haven't the faintest idea what the connection might be between an official Imythess server and a bunch of little servers made of Imy people talking about Imy things. Do you (or anyone else reading this) think that the presence of an official server would increase or decrease the number of sub-communities? And why do you think that? Aey said it would decrease, but I'm curious what other people think

Also, I'm sorry if I don't end up asking everyone a question, it just means I didn't have anything to ask at the moment. Still thinking this through.
It cuts back on a layer of differntiation. The "cbox community" vs "the discord community". I saw people very clearly delineating the two groups. At least with the Imy discord, the side communities are adjacent rather than so clearly separated.

Either way I'm kinda meh on the issue just because I should probably have set up the cbox adjacency thing, Discord is just way more convenient for knowing when people are talking and if they specifically want you.
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