Discord has become a popular community platform far beyond gamers. Recently, the number of Discord servers I’ve joined has grown quite a bit. I have whole folders full of Discord servers grouped by Live Coders, Mechanical Keyboards, World of Warcraft, and application software support.
The downside of how easy it is to create or join a Discord server is keeping up with the amount of chatter that’s happening. That applies especially if you are a member of multiple servers that have overlapping interests and/or “general social” channels. I simply don’t want to wade through every “pet pictures” channel, sorry.
Unfortunately, the Discord UI is a bit convoluted, and I ended up using the “mute server” feature for almost everything. That stopped the flood of messages, but it also cut me off from updates that were relevant for me. This week, I finally found a good solution how to handle muting notifications, channels or whole servers, and it made all the difference! Here’s how I cut down the time it takes me to catch up to a few minutes every so often.
The way Discord handles notifications is quite straightforward. I’m strongly in the “the fewer notifications, the better” camp. That’s why I usually have notifications enabled only for @-mentions. Only in channels in which I don’t want to miss any post, I enable “notify for all messages”. For me, this applies mostly to announcement channels that are used rarely but contain time-critical information like keyboard group-buys.
Managing unread messages efficiently takes a little bit more effort. First, use “mute server” for servers that you don’t frequent actively at all. Servers you only joined to ask an occasional question but stay out of otherwise shouldn’t draw your attention at any time.
The majority will be servers that have some channels in which you’re actively interested. On these servers, mute each channel that doesn’t interest you. When new channels are added to the server, you’ll have to choose if you want to add them to the mute list. On some servers, I even enable “hide muted channels” to shorten the channel list.
With these two measures, Discord will only track unread messages for the servers and channels you didn’t mute. Only now the “unread messages” indicator on the server icon starts making sense. More importantly, it is the prerequisite for efficiently using the “Next channel with updates” key combination. Hitting Opt+Shift+Down-Arrow (Alt+Shift+Down-Arrow on Windows, Up-Arrow for the opposite direction) gets you to the next unmuted channel containing unread messages. Read the channel to the end, hit the key combination again. It jumps across server boundaries, too. That way, you can catch up on everything that interests you in no time. I’ve assigned the “next unread channel” and “previous unread channel” functions to two extra buttons on my trackball, so I can simply leave my hand on it if I don’t want to write a reply. Scroll, next, scroll, next. Usually, it takes me less than two minutes to get through all my new posts.
And when I press the key combo another time after having already caught up with everything, Discord rewards me with a satisfying wiggle.