Drew Devault: "Please don't use Discord for FOSS projects"


What do you think?


Excellent link.

I agree, it’s not like Email. Using Discord forces everyone to use Discord to communicate with you. A Matrix-Discord bridge is a similar compromise to Email if the team must have Discord.


Discord wasn’t sued. Your footnote link links to a law firm who specifically famously have made a business not suing companies in regards to ADA (and similar) compliance.

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Here was my favourite part:

You are making an investment when you choose to use one service over another. When you choose Discord, you are legitimizing their platform and divesting from FOSS platforms. Even if you think they have a bigger reach and a bigger audience,2 choosing them is a short-term, individualist play which signals a lack of faith in and support for the long-term goals of the FOSS ecosystem as a whole. The FOSS ecosystem needs your investment. FOSS platforms generally don’t have access to venture capital or large marketing budgets, and are less willing to use dark patterns and predatory tactics to secure their market segment. They need your support to succeed, and you need theirs. Why should someone choose to use your FOSS project when you refused to choose theirs? Solidarity and mutual support is the key to success.

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Apart from who’s doing what, if you’re working on, or contributing to a FOSS project, all collaboration should go via opensource platforms. How else do you gain credibility?

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Additionally, if an employee at Discord disagrees politically with anything posted then your communications will be leaked and you’ll be banned from Discord. I’m not saying that any communication from a FOSS project could be politically objectionable although it’s possible I suppose. It’s more likely that one of the participants of the project could be banned for posting something elsewhere to which a Discord employee may disagree. It has happened before.

A simple rule is to not use a platform for project communications that can randomly ban those involved in the project. This is especially true when it’s a platform widely used for other purposes such as gaming.


I stopped using Discord back when I learned about their political agenda.


I agree, it bothers me the number of Open technology projects that use Discord without at least an Open option. I’m happy to see this being discussed.

I’m currently looking at a project called “Open Metaverse Interoperability Group” that has their community exclusively on Discord, GitHub, Twitch, and Youtube. Do they not see the irony in that?


One thing which I wasn’t keen on in the OP article was how Zulip was suggested by Drew. Zulip is a very resource-hungry service, as it’s written in Python. Forget running it on, say, a Raspberry Pi, even for a small team.

I wish he would have mentioned Mattermost Team server (it’s an Open Source “Slack” clone, which I BTW run and administer for a small team), especially now that it has added a Trello-like Kanban board feature, which seems to work well. Mattermost team server runs well on a Raspberry Pi 4. Discourse has recently gained the ability to be run on a Raspberry Pi 4 as well.

I think Discourse and Mattermost Team server are contenders (as alternatives to Discord, and suchlike proprietary messaging services) which should get a lot more respect and usage in the FOSS world.