Team Communication with Discord

Hello, I was wondering if there were any rules regarding making Discord the official form of communication for your team?

Rules set out by FIRST? Nothing to my knowledge. More likely would be your school board/administration (if you’re apart of a school) potentially having issues with it. I know discord is frowned upon in our school board, and as a result, we use Slack for all team communication.

4 Likes

FIRST doesn’t have any rules regarding this. Be sure to mind YPP as you would in any robotics space, but besides that it’s all up to you. You’ll probably face more rules from your school district if you’re a school-based team.

1 Like

FIRST broadly has no particular rules whatsoever about how your team is run. Your team needs to have some pre-college students on it, and mentors need to follow YPP guidelines, and that’s about it.

There are potentially many rules your school and district May have about how communication should happen.

Slack is generally preferred to Discord by teams due to the self contained nature of it, with similar functionality and ease of administration / monitoring even private messages.

6 Likes

We use discord for our team communication. (Mostly because basically all our students are on it anyway) We’ve gotten much more participation from discord than we ever did from slack. Most students didn’t like slack and wouldn’t check it. (I don’t know why. They seem the same to me. LOL)

That being said, we do try to require students use their real first name (on our server) and our school does block it. Which means students can only get it on their phones when at the school. There are also no rules expressly forbidding a school team from using it.

2 Likes

We use discord, but we aren’t directly run by a school so none of those rules apply. We are a fairly small team, but we do have a good permissions setup with regards to the @everyone and @here pings being for lead mentors and students only. I’ve really liked how we can separate all the different subteams into roles and chats and separate productive discussion from goofing off. The integrated video calls have been useful, particularly with Covid. I’ve never used Slack so can’t speak to the comparison, but one advantage of discord is that most people have it already. Our team has a separate WiFi network from the school that we meet in, so noone has had any difficulty with accessing it.

2 Likes

To boot, Slack’s free plan is much more restrictive than Discord’s. That might change as the VC funding dries up, but the current situation with storage and outright deleting paywalling old messages favors Discord.

9 Likes

I could see how if you wanted voice channels/ virtually meet that Discord would be the better option. I would like to point out that there is a non-profit tier of Slack last I checked such that the aforementioned “deletion of message history once you begin exceeding 10k messages” does not apply and is what we used on 3128. The last factor I could see considering is what your school blocks already. Discord was blocked when I was a student but this past year, they also started blocking Slack. VPNs and cellular data should be able to circumvent this but just another thing to consider when picking between the two.

1 Like

There is also some weirdness here, last I heard there was a carve-out prohibiting schools from utilizing it but some teams had a workaround? Someone with recent experience would be appreciated.

3 Likes

This is not true. Slack does not delete your messages. You just can’t view them once you’ve exceeded 10k messages. If you were to upgrade to a paid plan, you can then see all your messages back to the very beginning.

12 Likes

I may be conflating with other factors, but I had two workspaces from the 2014 era that had all the past-limit data deleted. Slack support seemed to imply that was standard practice, but all their current documentation agrees with you.
Thanks!

Nothing is ever really deleted these days. Even user-deleted/edited messages may be recovered if you pay them enough to export compliance reports.

1 Like

Our finances ran through the school foundation which was an entity separate the school. Slack has yet to revoke the non-profit tier status.

2 Likes

There seems to be a separate tier for education associated Slack that looks very similar to the non-profit tier. Anybody used it?

It appears to only be a discount and not a full free subscription. It’s $1 per user per month, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but even a modest 25 members costs your team as much as a swerve module each year.

3467 applied for this in late 2015, but this is because we are a 501c3 entity separate from our school in terms of financial status, thanks to 4H. This allowed us to get free Slack Pro, rather than the 85% Education discount Slack Pro plan. As of today we still have this status.

3 Likes

Yes. We used it this year. Not much to say about it… If you value having access to old messages (for us 10k wouldn’t even get us thru the entire season) and can afford it, it’s nice :man_shrugging:

1 Like

We had big issues about official Discords on 1155 and 2265. Our teacher advisors are pretty hands-off, but they had to be active moderators for the Discord servers to be “official.” Ended up calling the Discord servers unofficial, but holding most important communication there since students are more likely to check it than their email or Slack. Works great. @everyone pings when we’re up for a match, late-night CAD calls. I’m biased, as the team’s Discord implementer two years back, but I really do think it’s the way to go if you don’t have any rule-stickler adults.

Most of the time, it’s admin/policy.

Violating school policies is a great way to get shut down. If you’re able to work within said policies, more power to you

2 Likes

My team used discord and we’ve seen our communication go through the roof! We set everyone’s nickname in the server to their first name and just make sure their profile pictures are school appropriate. The entire server is FOIAable by rules of the school, basically if an outside person akses to look at the server, they can. We also discourage dms from mentors to students. Overall, I think you just have to comply with your school’s rules for communication, but our team really loves it!

6 Likes