Dispatch — Mar 23, 2022

Members’ Discord

TL;DR: I’m launching a members’ Discord, jump in (member’s only) to see everything below in action.

This is a different Dispatch than the usual, instead of an article about a specific topic, I’m using these emails to launch something for members: a Discord server.

For a while now, I’ve been wondering if I should, and how. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been active in a few of these communities and that has resulted in four different results.

  • Too active, can’t keep up.
  • The founder can’t keep the moderation energy going and the activity peters out.
  • Boring because too diffuse or too out of my interests.
  • Super smart, enough that it’s worth the flood.

Besides those issues/challenges, I was also wondering if a Sentiers Discord should be members only, or for everyone. The former might fail to accelerate sufficiently, since there might not be enough members too activate the ‘place.’ (And of course not everyone’s going to participate or even join.)

‘For everyone’ means it’s one more free thing I spend time on with not all that much revenu to cover my time. Sad statement, but true. With the outside chance that there are, relatively quickly, ‘too many people,’ which requires even more time.

All of that to say that I think I might have nailed a mix of rules and ideas that might work out just fine. The ‘mission’ I set for myself is to have a place that:

  • Brings value for participants.
  • Is self-moderating as much as possible.
  • Has a high signal to noise ratio.
  • Doesn’t overwhelm the regular or occasional reader.
  • Remains at a self-sustaining but reasonable size for a good long while .

Guardrails

In other words, a ‘Dunbar-compatible’ community that serves as a useful and peaceful dark forest for readers of the newsletter.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • Members only.
  • Current members gets to invite one person for free. (Just DM me the email. There could also be a coupon code for that person to become a member free for 6 months.)
  • For a little while, there will be a $20 tier for those who want to join specifically for the Discord.
  • Very limited number of channels. If members want additional topics, they have to commit to a few months of moderation for that channel.

Other ideas I’d like your thoughts on:

  • Would a studio membership make sense for agencies/studios who want to invite a few colleagues in?
  • I want to copy the General Seminar format, I don’t know yet if that will be in a Zoom or some other more Discord-compatible format. Are there any other formats you’ve seen for events within this kind of space?

Channels

I’m keeping them limited so it’s possible for people to keep up, and because when things slow down it doesn’t ‘echo’ of empty room after empty room and is easier to liven up if needed. I also don’t aim for an unending flood, just ongoing slow-paced flow of good stuff. (We’ll see!!)

  • Introductions. When you’re ready, drop a quick message in here to introduce yourself to the group.
  • Café. General discussions, like stepping into your local. This will likely be the hub of activity where we share articles, discuss newsletter issues, spin-up other ideas, etc.
  • Coworking. Ask questions when you need a hand for something. Loosely work/practice related.
  • Futures. Article and sharing ideas on futures, broadly defined.
  • Integrated Thinking Environments (ITE). I get questions on this and I know a lot of readers have super valuable input so let’s discuss. (Disclosure: there might be a spinoff newsletter on the topic this year.)

Soon

  • Tbd. People are welcome to propose more channels on specific topics but, as mentioned above, there needs to be at least one volunteer moderator before I open it.
  • Zine. In the works, might be invite/application only. A discussion to figure out/work on zines under the Sentiers umbrella.
  • Anti book club. Shamelessly stolen form Ness Labs. Each month, everyone reads whatever they want, and we share our thoughts in a session. Could be a voice chat, could be an additional text channel, could be just ‘meeting’ in the café at a set time. DM me if you want to organize/moderate this!

Okay, that’s way more than enough. Reply with thoughts, ideas, pushbacks, but more importantly, join us (member’s only)!