Optimizing Discord with "Roles"

Hi owls,

As our community grows, optimization of Discords could help expand its effectiveness as Index Coops’ primary collaboration tool.

I wanted to share this post to get the community’s views on “Discord Roles” and crowdsource ideas for how they could be used at the Index Coop.

@DefiJesus and @oneski22, I know you have previously shared some desire to see Index Coop bring a “stronger role game” - so I would be keen to hear your thoughts.

What are roles?

Discord includes a powerful set of permission features that can be configured through the use of roles. Each role can be assigned to multiple people and each person can have multiple roles. Each permission setting has two values, “Granted” and “Not granted”.

How I would like to use roles?

I have admin rights for Discord and over the coming days am keen to establish a role and channel for “copper owls” - those individuals who have attended the New Joiner call, but haven’t completed their bronze owl quest. This would allow me to engage this group and stay connected with them after they have attended the New Joiner call.

Further opportunities to use “contribution level (i.e. Gold Owl)” as a role?

We could set up roles based on contributor status (gold, silver, bronze) as a broad proxy for trust. Greater trust (and so a Silver / Gold discord role) could give access to some none public channels, for example:

  • Set up the Index Market Research group as a channel accessible to all Bronze Owls and above. This would give much greater visibility on what this group is working on, without making some of this sensitive and valuable data publicly available. It would also allow relevant community members to be tagged in questions and requests for input, OR
  • Establish a Silver Owl channel to replace the current “Silver Owl Networking Club server’’. This would then automatically add new silver owls to the channel when their role is updated.

My concern with this is it would potentially dilute some of the conversation happening in public channels or direct messages. It would work best if these roles could be used to occupy the middle ground between Discord private DMs and fully public channels.

Keen to get your thoughts. How have you seen roles used well before? Do you have any ideas for how Index Coop could use roles going forward?

Based on the discussion below, I have pulled out some guiding principles for Discord optimization:

  • All optimisation should increase transparency and visibility, not reduce it
  • Optimization should not be “gatekeeping”

As long as Madilla gets a ‘Supreme Leader’ role

I don’t think the channel idea is bad, but the important thing here may be the trust levels associated with a role. This could be useful with newcomers and helping to filter out spam

Update: The more I consider it, and after reading @helmass 's comment, this does seem a bit gate-keepy.What could be the purpose of these sorts of channels outside of the exclusivity?

Perhaps there’s more utility for these sorts of channels when they aren’t based around the owl rankings? (ie dev roles, bd roles, etc)


100% right, this will be a major tool to help us handle new coopers and filtering out spam.


Agree that roles could be updated in Discord and think Metagame does this well. As a Bronze owl (who spent a decent amount of time grinding for IC last month), I have mixed feelings about setting up non-public channels based on “trust”. I think this handcuffs newer members that are trying to get up to speed and/or trying to find the best ways to contribute to the DAO. Again, all for trying to streamline processes, however, think gating conversation for the sake of gating, opens the door to more distractions for more established contributors (aka private messages).

I think the org chart you created could/should serve as the basis for discord organization. To reiterate, I’m all for streamlining the process, but don’t like the idea of gating content/commentary that could be useful to newer members.


Great post Joe, who’d have thought you did this stuff for a living eh?

I like the idea of formalising and organising our roles to be clearer, but agree with the comments above that it shouldn’t restrict community members. I tend to fall on the side of optimistic governance/contribution/security whatever it might be, the idea that we trust by default and earning a Discord role is just another data point that feeds into the trust level.

As such, the roles should just make it easier to see quickly who is at what level when looking at comments in the Discord. Also with contributors being rewarded by individual working groups in the near future, we might start to see the bronze/silver/gold distinction tailing off and disappearing completely. At a min it might be useful to have the community earning and displaying a role for the group they most closely work with, groups like:

Methodologist etc.
Maybe keep Bronze to distinguish those who have completed the new joiner quest?


There are some challenges around organisation, such as with new joiners, that would benefit from the channel proposed and this post is need to move towards a solution. There are also other opportunities, as mentioned, and some come with tradeoffs. I am glad to see community engagement on the topic as it will eventually lead to a good solution. The gate-keeper issue is real and I would like to keep things open - optimistic as DFC writes. In addition there is the danger of splintered conversations → public channel, privileged channel, and DM/groups. Joe and I have already spoken on these topics and the need to refine them. This post and the comments are great step towards that refinement and there is some super input already :+1:


I’m all for openness and decentralisation myself but we have to admit that our chat organization currently follows 2 levels: (1) Public discord channel and (2) Private discord DM’s

Most of the work is currently done and coordinated via DM’s because most people either don’t feel confortable working so much in the open (BDWG has sensitive topics) or they want to have a lasered-focused group chat without any distractions (which level 2 provides).

What we propose is a way to fix both problems by creating “private rooms” inside discord for each of these groups of people, and give each working group leader access to those rooms.

This type of initiative would increase the opennes by creating a 3rd level: Semi-Public channels that allow for private conversations while still allowing other members to extract context.

In a scale from hidden to public, I feel like this proposal shifts the needle thowards the public end of the scale by introducing this 3rd level.

We are still working out the kinks on how this can happen in the future so feel free to share all your ideas!


I understand what is being proposed, but imo this just adds a layer of complexity (where it doesn’t need to added). I agree the bulk of communication occurs on these 2 levels (public and DM). I don’t think a semi-private chat room changes the use/need of DM’s. Are we saying there needs to be a room for semi-private information that is too sensitive for public, but should be shared with a larger group of people? There was ~70 contributors in May. Even if the number of contributors was to triple in size (which would create separate issues), its hard for me to see a justification for an added layer of complexity (maybe it’s just my perception).

The real issue, imo - is minimizing new “community members” from DM’ing and distracting core contributors. Which I think the idea of creating more defined groups within discord helps solve. (Something addressed by @BigSky7 and others in upcoming initiatives in community management](Upcoming initiatives in Community Management (+extras) - #9 by verto0912)


Also - I’m part of the problem :slight_smile:

On this vein, I don’t often want to clog up people’s discord channels with what I’d consider to be questions and coordination when I’m really only talking to 2-3 people specifically

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As ever some great feedback from the community and the quality of discussion continues to stun me.

The way I see it in my head, is that Discord roles could reduces the reliance on Private DMs without reducing the volume of discussion in fully public channels.

You guys are getting to know this by now, but I like my diagrams:

I think if at any point, Discord optimizations start reducing New Joiners ability to contribute we should immediately reconsider what we are doing. Certainly I’m looking at this as a tool to do the exact opposite.

Interesting reflection and one I wholeheartedly agree with. Link to the sister to this post trust and impact in a DAO.

I think we will proceed iteratively with this, identifying opportunities to address immediate issues (say Bronze Owl quest), taking stock and only then look at further opportunities. This will help ensure we stay true to our guiding principles and only release changes that will enrich the experience of our community.