In this AMA we hear from DMP member & seasoned bot developer, Panley. Panley has been managing communities and moderating on Discord for the past 4 years, as well as developing bots for a further 2 years. She's notable for her contributions to the Discord-meta and moderation-meta ecosystems.
How did you join Discord?
"I was in a Skype group for a content creator and one day they said: Hey we're moving to Discord! I was like, no! Skype is clearly better!" - Panley
Here, Panley talks about how she joined Discord through a content creator community and was initally apprehensive of the platform. When further asked about how she got into community management and moderation, she goes on to talk about how this content creator community had some mismanagement that inspired her to 'Do better'. From there she started picking up moderation position within the Yogscast Multi-Channel Network.
What challenge programming a moderation bot present?
When I started it, it was a passion project [...] right now it's got about 13,000,000 people using it and my code was not built to have 13,000,000 people using it. - Panley
Panley goes on to talk about the challeneges of keeping her automoderation bot, Crosslink, operating while its usage dramatically spiked. Panley then goes on to talk about the tech behind Crosslink, detailing the usage of the Python programming language to enable her to build high level and low level code. Additionaly she laments the lack of microservicing within the early code of Crosslink. She enthuses the concept of starting with a good, futureproof codebase for proper horizontal scaling. She also talks about the attacks from scammers and malicious users that have propagated against Crosslink.
What do you think about the new bot intent?
This specifically calls to the new message content priv intent that Discord will be rolling out over 2022, you can read more on it here.
I think alot of bots capitalize on message content in ways I'm actually not fond of, I've seen a few that have actually used message content [...] as a way to advertise to users. - Panley
This change comes with the rollout of interactions which Panley is a staunch proponent of, encouraging developers to go so far as rewriting their entire codebase to implement them. She lauds them for their UI/UX potential and labels them as the future for bots on Discord. She goes on to highlight the sense of entitlement alot of developers have held towards the API, mentioning Facebook and Instagram as examples for very unfriendly APIs that are extremely hard to develop with when compared to Discord's API.
What is one thing you've worked on recently that you're proud of?
This doubles with another question: What did you do recently that got the attention of Stan & Jason (The CTO and CEO of Discord respectively)
I was brought onto a project for the DMP with the folks over at NASCAR [...] They wanted a way to have their radios streamed over Discord into voice chats. Discord effectively came to me. - Panley
Panley goes on to talk about how she built the various bots that allow drivers' radios and NASCAR radio stations to be broadcast into Discord, labelling it as a novel use of Discord voice channels, focusing on the amazing UX and the very positive affect it's had on both the community and Discord at large.
This is literally the coolest idea I have seen for Discord ever. - Groovy
Additionally Panley says it's one of the easiest things she's ever done, speculating that it's thanks to her experience over time as a bot developer that she was able to create this project so easily. You can read more from NASCAR about this here.
What do you think a good moderation bot is?
A good moderation is a bot that fills a niche that genuinely needs filling. If you have a kitchen sink modbot, that's fine. [...] You need to do something that hasn't been done before that genuinely has a reason to exist. - Panley
Panley details the competetive nature of the Discord bot market, mentioning the constant conflicts in toolsets present in 'Kitchen sink modbots' that are often all doing the same thing but slightly differently. She talks about how this is confusing and difficult for newer users, she goes on to talk about explicit demand and the importance of making somethng that's irreplaceable. She also goes on to say that MEE6 is a good modbot, giving insight from the POV of a brand new user. She talks about how the simple set and forget UI is something that will always bring in users, and its ease of use is why it will always be a good modbot. She ends off by encouraging people to support individual bot developers in their projects.
Displace On Air
We'd like to thank Panley for guesting on this Podcast episode! Want to submit questions for the next AMA or listen live? Join our community, check out the events tab, grab the AMA announcements role and stay posted for the next AMA! We also have a thriving Discord-meta community and we'd love to have you on board, hope to see you there!