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Why Won’t Discord Stop Shoving Shit In My Face

I already don't want to be here

The Discord logo, with red eyes, angry eyebrows, and teeth added to the icon
Discord/Aftermath

Aftermath has a wonderful Discord community that you should totally join, but it is time for a confession: I hate Discord. I find it clunky and convoluted, it’s always making noises, I constantly forget to mute myself when I’m done with voice and then everyone can hear me talking to myself, and 90% of its servers should just be forums. Lately, Discord has added a new circle of Hell, in the form of all kinds of garbage it won’t stop shoving in my face.

This all began with these ridiculous little status badges that started showing up on my Discord video calls recently, announcing that I am “chilling.” Putting aside the fact that if I’m in a video call I’m not chilling, I’m streaming an episode of our podcast, these things drive me bonkers. Before every stream, we have to remind each other to turn them off, which is annoying. Beyond that, I have been thinking the icon was an eggplant until just now, when I realized it’s a… cat sitting on a beanbag, I think? It’s hard to tell, because it’s a tiny icon and I have the eyes of a man too old to be using Discord.

Did you know it was a cat? I can't even see this thing.

Things took a new turn today, when I popped into Aftermath’s Discord to find that I had a “quest” available. What is a quest? Discord says it’s “a way for players to discover games and earn rewards for streaming them on Discord.” Apparently if I connect a console to Discord and then play 10 minutes of a game on it, I will earn a “decoration” for two months. There’s also a quest related to the new Fortnite mode, which will also earn me a temporary decoration.

This is in my "gift inventory" tab, a thing I did not know I had and had to Google how to get to.

A decoration, another thing I’ve never heard of until today, lets you customize your Discord avatar. You can apparently buy them by going to your settings, navigating to “profiles,” and then going to the shop, a clunky journey that is very Discord. Here, you can buy virtual crap with real money; the decorations you spend money on are yours forever, but the quest-related ones vanish after two months.

Why did Discord need to inform me of this via my sidebar, blocking me from doing the things I came to Discord to do until I interacted with it? Why are various Discord bots popping up in my channels and DMs to tell me about features I don’t want?

Look at it! Get out of here!

Maybe it has something to do with Discord’s recent pivot (back) to gaming, where in late May Discord CEO Jason Citron spent many words talking about how Discord is a gaming app before saying, bizarrely, that “After taking stock of the world now that the pandemic is largely behind us [editor’s note: is it?]… we’ve recognized the need to narrow our focus from broadly being a community-centric chat app to being a place that helps people deepen their friendships around games and shared interests.” In other words, Discord should be Discord, the thing I didn’t realize it ever stopped being, and which can apparently be achieved with a bunch of garbage that actively gets in the way of me talking about games.

As far as I can tell, none of this stuff is terribly new, I just somehow managed to avoid it this long but now I cannot escape it. I hate it! Get out of my face! Stop filling my Discord, already overly busy, with more busy butt-in shit that makes my experience worse! If I wanted to be constantly annoyed with notifications I’d join more group chats on my phone, which at least have the benefit of coming from my actual friends.

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