Cube the Contrarian

(edited) Discord is Terrible. Use Matrix.

Update: I have reconsidered my stance on this.

  • be pragmatic
  • understand and follow the issues
  • seek alternatives, seek simply or radically (remember pragmatic) alternative solutions and systems
  • learn how to explain the issues and if it comes up (do not force it)

Discord is really not great in many aspects but perhaps that's okay if it's just for truly unimportant chit-chat.
Matrix/Element is really cool.
XMPP+Mumble is also cool, but much less popular for this (nowadays).

One notable matrix development is full-mesh native audio/video.

Original post

I've used Discord for about 4 years now.

Don't trust Discord. Discord is a bloated, centralised, invasive, proprietary, restrictive walled-garden monolithic mess.

The annoying thing is: lots of people use it because lots of other people use it and it's free with lots of features.

Unfortunately if you want to use some open platform with better privacy and security, it will be difficult to get others to switch because who are they going to talk to on that platform and what's the incentive?

So what are the solutions/alternatives?

Personally I use Ripcord, an unofficial discord client when I use Discord, else I open Discord in a hardened web browser with the tracking endpoints blocked.

Matrix is cool. Open, Secure with end-to-end-encryption and Decentralized.

fyi: a client is the program/app that connects to the server

Matrix+Element (main/"flagship" client) is certainly not yet a suitable alternative to Discord, but it's getting there, and it's already past the point where communities are using it: I've seen many FOSS projects with Matrix rooms. It would be nice to see more normal spaces on Matrix rather than techy stuff.

Matrix also has some bridges that can help connect people across platforms. There is a Discord bridge, which t2bot hosts for free. It does have some issues.

Matrix needs more time to get feature parity with Discord. Here's a summary of some relevant things in development:

  • [edit: now released] Spaces (almost fully released) - think Discord guilds but very flexible
  • [edit: closer now] Native group calls over Matrix
  • Voice-only Rooms - I don't know why this is wanted
  • Cinny, a simple Matrix client similar to Discord
  • [edit: closer now] Threading
  • [edit: closer now] Continual performance improvements

Some issues with Matrix:

  • the leading implementations of clients and servers, Element and Synapse, are rather resource-heavy
  • "metadata leaking"
  • decentralization could be improved

Additionally, check out Mumble (voice) and XMPP (text).

a better article by someone else

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