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      1 # living without Discord
      2 <!--[time 201909201455.27]-->
      4 (okay, it's easy, and I've done it before. but since the E-mail thread
      5 on the matter generated a lot of attention, I figured it was appropriate
      6 to give some context in more of a prose format, as well as what I have
      7 done to remain as a member in some communities in which I participate.)
      9 a quick chronological recap of my Discord usage:
     11 * **<time datetime="2017-01-09">2017 Jan 09</time>**: I create a new
     12   account on Discord, after having left it for a while due to being fed
     13   up with the guilds I joined at the time. they were communities around
     14   a video game I play, Agario, and quickly I figured out that I would
     15   much rather play the game than get into drama within specific player
     16   groups. by 2017 I was using Discord mostly to keep up with Twitch
     17   communities and a variety of other video games, software projects (why
     18   they choose Discord for their projects is beyond me), and various
     19   communities.
     20 * **<time datetime="2018-07-01">2018 Jul 01</time>**: I E-mail Discord
     21   support because I started receiving reCAPTCHAs upon login, not for
     22   Tor, but for using my VPS' IP address which has never been a vector
     23   for abusive traffic nor has been blacklisted during my ownership of
     24   the address:
     26   > Today I set up TOTP two-factor authentication for Discord, hoping I
     27   > could remove the E-mail confirmation and the reCAPTCHA for login. I had
     28   > to switch to a VPN IP address just now because my ISP has been unable
     29   > to resolve certain websites lately, including Discord, and so the
     30   > reCAPTCHA is giving me trouble and asking me to fill in a LOT of
     31   > captchas even though I'm sure I'm getting them right. I assume the IP
     32   > address I'm currently using is "high risk" in Google's database, but I
     33   > can't really help it.
     34   > 
     35   > I don't have all night to fill these out just to check up on the chats
     36   > I'm in, so can you please care to explain why this extra step is
     37   > necessary for an otherwise-protected account? Other sites such as
     38   > NameCheap let me bypass CAPTCHA check if I set up two-factor.
     40   Discord's response stated, <q>Right now, enabling 2FA on your account
     41   will help you bypass the change in IP address emails for Discord,
     42   however if we suspect suspicious activity you could still be flagged
     43   with a Captcha.</q> I can't fairly say that I was ever suspect for
     44   <q>suspicious activity</q> but regardless, Discord said they would
     45   <q>pass [my] idea</q> along. to this day, it seems their login
     46   mechanism has been untouched.
     47 * **<time datetime="2018-10-04">2018 Oct 04</time>**: yet another
     48   reCAPTCHA incident:
     50   > I want to use Firefox to access Discord now, but the reCAPTCHA is
     51   > endless and keeps telling me I have failed and that my browser is
     52   > sending automated queries. It continues to do this even if I allow all
     53   > cookies and scripts on the page (I use an addon to whitelist these for
     54   > security), and even if I disable any proxies and use my real IP
     55   > address. Audio reCAPTCHA tells me I need to try again later as well
     56   > (which seems unfair to blind users). As I have stated before, I have
     57   > two-factor authentication which should be enough to let me log in.
     59   Discord would not waive their CAPTCHA requirement even still, and I
     60   had to work around by <q>[l]ogging in from another browser, logging
     61   out, and then logging in from Firefox</q>. as you can hopefully see by
     62   now, I have a lot of problems simply with their login process, even
     63   before my full use of Tor on the site.
     64 * **<time datetime="2019-08-15">2019 Aug 15</time>**: after a long
     65   period of Tor usage, working around the CAPTCHA issues by simply
     66   waiting not to be served one upon login (and then proceeding *never*
     67   to clear Discord cookies) I invite a user on my <q>friends</q> list to
     68   a guild I had just created. almost instantly, this triggered a phone
     69   verification prompt, which I could not bypass by using the mobile app
     70   or another browser, even without Tor. this was not the first invite
     71   I've sent to someone in my Discord contacts with Tor. the only
     72   difference I can see is that my guild was less than a week old, but it
     73   already had a few members from a public invite I sent in another
     74   channel.
     76   you can see that E-mail exchange in [my previous post] [].
     77 * **<time datetime="2019-08-16">2019 Aug 16</time>**: at least Discord
     78   is a step above many other companies, letting me delete my account
     79   without having login access to it. I was able to initiate the deletion
     80   process over a support E-mail, and two weeks later, the account has
     81   officially been deleted. people on Discord have confirmed that my
     82   account has disappeared from the user listings.
     83 * **now**: I am able to participate in certain guilds without the need
     84   for a Discord account. I'll explain below.
     86 [my previous post]: </blog/guess-im-done-with-discord.xht> "guess I'm done with Discord"
     88 ----
     90 the E-mail exchange between me and Discord ended up on [Hacker News] []
     91 to which it received a lot of attention, including that of a Discord
     92 developer who claims that <q>code [his] team wrote caused [my] account
     93 to be locked.</q> some misconceptions surfaced that I would like to
     94 address:
     96 * yes, the tone for my E-mails was very blunt. I never degenerate to
     97   this stage unless I am repeatedly dealing with someone's issues. it
     98   seems to be the only way people will listen sometimes. I know E-mail
     99   etiquette but I will not pretend to be something I am not, no matter
    100   the medium. I am aware that customer service representatives have to
    101   deal with a lot of shit on a regular basis, which is why I never gear
    102   my frustrations to the representatives themselves, but instead to the
    103   company they represent (except in some odd cases where the
    104   representative is legitimately braindead, which hasn't been the case
    105   for Discord).
    106 * some (now dead/flagged) comments suggested the usual: that I was a
    107   criminal for using Tor, that I should use a VPN, that I was attacking
    108   Discord even though I believe my initial blog post on the matter was
    109   impartial, that Tor traffic somehow happened to kill their parents and
    110   rape their kids, et cetera. I commented in the discussion already,
    111   that I use Tor to encourage privacy awareness on the Internet. it's
    112   less out of my own necessity for privacy (I use a normal Web browser
    113   configured with a proxy and whatever privacy/security/anti-nuisance
    114   tweaks I wished to include, rather than opting for Tor Browser. I
    115   would still suggest Tor Browser for near-absolute anonymity at the
    116   software level) and more to prove a point that yes, Tor is usable on
    117   the Web, and yes, there is legitimate Tor traffic, especially from
    118   censored countries and ISPs. the fact that Tor also attracts nefarious
    119   usage is unfortunate yet unavoidable. people *need* to find other ways
    120   of addressing issues inherent with the Internet.
    121 * the Discord employee himself suggested I purchase a burner phone for
    122   the purpose of verifying my account. does anyone else find this
    123   absurd? I didn't make a direct reply to him because I honestly was
    124   getting tired of following the HN discussion, but it's odd that
    125   developers know of ways around supplying a <q>legitimate</q> phone
    126   number and not only don't see them as an issue, but also actively
    127   encourage such practices.
    129   simply put, I will not pay any amount of money either directly or
    130   indirectly for Discord. phone verification should never be a
    131   requirement, either, since there are still people who only have
    132   landlines (which Discord's partner Twilio does not support) or who
    133   don't have a phone at all. and then there are the class of people who
    134   only need/want VoIP, which as I stated in another comment, I would
    135   eventually drop my cellular provider in favour of setting up a VoIP
    136   phone, and then just prepaying for a data SIM, using Wi-Fi most of the
    137   time. I believe this to be more cost-effective considering I want to
    138   go all-out on my home Internet when I'm able to live on my own, and
    139   given that the USA doesn't have a good choice of telcos, I can also
    140   avoid financing those companies.
    142 it isn't all bad, though. many people expressed agreement with me,
    143 stating such things as:
    145 * while I hadn't paid for the service, it wouldn't have made a
    146   difference even if I had paid e.g. for Nitro. others have complained
    147   that Nitro subscribers do not receive elevated customer service. one
    148   person stated that my mere presence on Discord helped to make it a
    149   more viable product (however small my individual impact) and in that
    150   way, I was actually <q>paying</q> Discord simply by using it and
    151   strengthening its network effect.
    152 * Twilio's phone database is too poor and outdated to be viable for
    153   verification, false-flagging users' phone numbers as VoIP when this is
    154   not the case. chalk up another one for <q>phone verification is
    155   awful</q>.
    156 * my tone in the support ticket was actually warranted (I was a bit
    157   surprised to hear others side with me on this).
    158 * various assertions that Discord doesn't care about its userbase, that
    159   reCAPTCHA is broken, … you know, painfully obvious things that some
    160   people simply live with rather than avoid them. it's understandable; I
    161   chose my own battles, and I will continue to use the Web in the manner
    162   that I do, just to prove a point that it is possible to take the Web
    163   back into my own hands.
    165 [Hacker News]: <>
    167 ----
    169 shortly after I requested deletion of my Discord account, I had set up
    170 [Synapse] [] for the [Matrix] [] chat protocol, where my public instance
    171 now resides at <>. but before you make an
    172 account on there, be warned that I provide zero guarantees for usability
    173 or uptime. while I personally do use it, I am looking into an
    174 alternative which would hopefully not use up so many resources and would
    175 be more performant. so far, most (or, more accurately, all) of the
    176 Matrix ecosystem is in a state of heavy development. personally I have
    177 little faith in Matrix's long-term success, but at least there are
    178 plenty of ways to bridge different other chat networks together,
    179 including Discord.
    181 since I could not generate an API key for Discord (I'd have to ask
    182 someone to do this on my behalf) and I simply did not want to run the
    183 [node.js bridging software] [matrix-appservice-discord] due to fear of
    184 running into issues with my already-limited resources, I settled for
    185 [t2bot] [], a public bridging service that bridges Telegram and Slack in
    186 addition to Discord. sure, there are some issues with relation to
    187 latency, but I believe this is justified by not having to hassle with
    188 running the software myself. and for that I thank TravisR for offering
    189 such a service. (you can [donate] [t2bot donation page] to keep his
    190 service alive if you wish.)
    192 this bridge now operates for the [BFBB Modding] [] guild, a community
    193 dedicated to dissecting and making mods for the 2003 console game
    194 *SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom*, a game I loved as a
    195 kid and would never have expected such a following to this day; as well
    196 as a small general chat guild for another community that disbanded
    197 recently. I was a moderator in the BFBB guild due to my efforts for
    198 hosting the game's wiki, and an administrator in the latter guild, which
    199 incidentally had to be recreated because I could no longer transfer
    200 ownership to another member. a third guild related to Minecraft
    201 advertised their Matrix bridge to me, so I am joined there as well. I am
    202 not sure whether the bridge existed already or if my departure from
    203 Discord prompted them to set up a bridge; in any case, it's cool that
    204 some other people see eye-to-eye with the issues Discord introduces to
    205 free, open chat.
    207 [Synapse]: <>
    208 [Matrix]: <>
    209 [matrix-appservice-discord]: <> "matrix-appservice-discord"
    210 [t2bot]: <>
    211 [t2bot donation page]: <>
    212 [BFBB Modding]: <>