Thursday, August 16, 2018

A New Meeting Place: BCP Discord

Many of us here are gamers, playing video games, board games, role-playing games, etc. When we play, we sometimes play as part of a group and communication is a huge part of working together. Those of us who play online use a service called Discord, a free service for chatting by text or voice over the Internet without the ads and snooping that come with most of the “messenger” apps.

I've never used Facebook's Messenger app. The one time I looked at it, I was shocked at how much they wanted access on my phone/computer. I went to the Google app store today and looked it up to see if they had changed, but sadly they still demand the ability to add or remove anything they want to from my contacts list, memory card, text messages, and even my accounts. I may be a touch paranoid, but the idea of giving a total stranger (who may not be friendly) the ability to modify, add, and delete files on my phone/computer is abhorrent. When you consider that the stranger may not like what they find, or may not like what you say and can add or subtract files that are admissible as evidence against you in a courtroom, you'd be daft to give them that access.

Discord doesn't ask for that level of access.
  • If you have an email address, you can set up an account. 
  • They need to be able to use your speaker and microphone to facilitate voice communication, and your camera so you can share pictures. 
  • They don't want to know your location, make phone calls, send text messages, or read confidential information from your calendar app like Facebook Messenger. 
  • Discord channels are also invitation-only and aren't searchable; the only way to join a conversation is to be invited into it, and most groups have varying levels of access and permissions to make changes.
All of this is to lay the groundwork for a new way to interact with the readers and writers here at Blue Collar Prepping. I have created a Discord server (their name for a chat channel) for our use. The writers here at BCP are also moderators on our Facebook page, and they will have moderator/admin access on the Discord server. 

If you decide to join us, you'll be directed to the Campfire, which is a general meeting place for all to visit. I'm still setting things up and there will be changes made as it grows, but I have text-chat areas set up for a few specific topics (first aid, firearms, weather-related discussions, etc). The voice chat area is a bit empty right now, but if there are enough requests we may be able to host a regular (weekly?) live chat or presentation of sorts. This is not limited to the writers of the blog; I want more input from you, the readers. To be honest, after almost 5 years of writing I'm starting to run out of ideas, so I need your input and questions to be able to write articles that are useful.

Live communication is something different than text. I feel it will allow for a better exchange of information if you can ask/answer questions without waiting a week or two for another blog post. I know there are readers out there with stories and information to share, and I'm trying to provide a way for us to connect with one another and maybe help each other out once in a while. 

Names will be changed to protect the innocent. They'll also get changed if you choose something offensive. 

There are still the usual BCP rules:
  • No politics. We're not here for that.
  • No blatant ads. There is a place for posting links to things you may have found, but we're not here to grow your business.
  • Three strikes and you're out. Warnings will be given for all but the most egregious acts. If you're really offensive, you won't get any warnings. I have limited the boot and b permissions for the participants. an privileges to a select few.
  • Keep it PG-13, please. We're all adults (mostly) here, but try to act like your mother is reading what you type.
Discord comes as a phone app (Apple and Android versions) as well as a PC app for Windows, Apple, and Linux. They all connect to the same servers, so if you already have an account you can just add BCP to your list. I'm still learning a lot about Discord and how to run a server, there are tools available that I am trying to find a good use for. Expect changes and improvements in the future.

I have an active game group that I am part of, so I check Discord quite often during the day. It doesn't slow down my phone like a web page would, and I can flip through the servers quickly to check for new messages. I have disabled push notifications so you won't be getting notified of anything except when someone mentions you by name.

If you want to check us out, install the app from one of the links above, then click on the link below. If you already have a Discord account, copy and paste the link into the “Join new server” spot.

BCP Discord server:

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