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I wasn’t sure of the best way to announce my intention of making my Discord server public, so I decided to write a blog post to answer the main questions that people will likely ask. What is it? How will this add value to the dataviz community? How do I get started? What are your expectations?

When you are ready to get started, this is the public link to join: https://discord.gg/TvQg2zw.

Also, feel free to invite other people, if you think they would be interested.

What is Discord?

Discord is a modern voice & text chat app, and I recently found it when trying to collaborate on a recent dataviz project. After frustrating experiences with Skype and Slack, I decided to give Discord a try. Its original focus was to cater to online gaming communities, but it’s unique set of features appear to fill a real need within the data viz community. I will explain these in more detail.

The best way I can explain Discord is by using a combination of other applications for comparison: Twitter, Slack, and Skype. The text channels are a mix between Twitter and Slack. Similar to Slack, different channels are setup for different conversations. Like Twitter and Slack, images, gifs, and videos, automatically embed in the text chat.

In voice channels, you can use your computer’s microphone/headset to talk to a group of people, like a social media version of Skype. You can either setup your mic to start based on voice activity or push-to-talk. Muting people is a simple click, which is always handy feature. 🙂

You can directly message friends or initiate an individual calls with someone online, which then enables screen sharing capability. So far, I have created four text channels and four voice channels: #general, #Tablaeu, #d3js, and #MakeoverMonday. The text channels work similarly to slack, which allows you to tag people to your messages.

A view of the #MakeoverMonday channel on the Discord Server.

How will this add value to the dataviz community?

So, why do I like discord? It’s very easy to jump online and to find like-minded people to communicate with. Especially, in situations we often find ourselves in where people may have complex questions or desire detailed feedback. You also get the benefit of not polluting your timeline on Twitter, when the specific conversation isn’t ideal for that setting.

Basically, I think Discord will make it easier for the dataviz community to collaborate and connect in a relaxed environment.

For example, I’m not sure of a better way to review my code or design then to share my screen and talk through it.

A small section of code from my World as 100 People project.

How do I get started?

I have already shared a public link for people to use, so anyone can click this link to reach my server. The signup process is straightforward. By default, you will open the web-version, but you can also download a desktop application for more functionality.

When you initially join the server, you will start in the #general text channel. To use your microphone, you must select a voice channel. You can also see who is online when you connect.

Other than that, I find the functionality intuitive after a couple of minutes of exploration. If you have questions or are confused, feel free to reach out to me, and I can help!

What are your expectations?

Good question. I have no idea! I saw value from using Discord on my smaller group dataviz projects, so I thought I should share my server with everyone else. I hope this will be a good place to hangout online and more easily connect with people that are interested in data visualization. I figured, why not give a try? 🙂