Discord announced a new feature on Wednesday called “Forum Channels” to allow for more organized and asynchronous discussions within servers.
The intent with Forum Channels seems to be to make it easier for specific conversations to continue for extended periods without the worry that a topic change or another simultaneous conversation will bury a subject in the annals of chat log history.
The feature will most benefit large servers, where multiple, simultaneous, open-ended conversations can make it hard to keep up. Often, members of these servers might just mute channels because they become overwhelming, or they might lose the plot on conversations they care about when they step away for a few minutes.
Server moderators can set specific permissions and create guidelines for each forum to direct conversations and keep things focused.
The word “forum” evokes the Internet forums of the ’90s and 2000s (and of today in some places, like here at Ars), but the feature seems to draw just as much inspiration, if not more, from Reddit, a platform that in many ways evolved from those classic forums.
That said, Discord’s Forum Channels don’t have an explicit upvoting/downvoting mechanism—though, in theory, server moderators could facilitate something vaguely similar via emote reactions.
The new forums feature is rolling out over time to all servers with Community features enabled, starting today. It had previously been announced and tested in February, but it was only available to a few select, large servers.
Recently, Discord has been on a bit of a tear with introducing new features. The platform introduced chat rooms tied to specific voice channels—another move to help focus conversations and keep main channels from getting clogged—and also released voice chat support on Xbox game consoles.