The easiest way to describe Discord is as a digital Roman forum—a porous community hub where you go to shout and listen to others shout. In a given server, there are games, commerce, fights, even courts of law (if you count moderators). It’s a good analogy, but it falls short for one important reason: The ancients didn’t have bots.
Discord bots bring order to the entropy of online communication. All of the top Discord servers are rife with bots, providing much-needed security, structure, information, and entertainment. One might let users opt into roles so others know where they stand in the community. Another might call up relevant information on the price of a popular good—IRL or in a video game. There are polling bots, music bots, security bots. But unless you join dozens of Discord servers, you might not know what’s out there.
WIRED has done that for you. Here are our favorite Discord bots:
From 5,000-person public Roblox servers to 10-person online friend groups, these are the bots every server should have at least one of. These multi-use bots provide basic organizing and infrastructure for an easy-to-navigate and active Discord server. These are going to let you assign roles (either automatically or by letting users choose roles with emoji reacts), filter spam, set rules for users, and log moderator events, and they offer a whole bunch of other mundane tools that are important for managing a large Discord server.
MEE6: MEE6 should live on every server. And live it does on 16 million. The bot is a ubiquitous and uniformly helpful presence on servers with 15,000 members or just five, welcoming new users with an automated message and kicking them out for spamming memes. MEE6 facilitates moderation, custom commands (like answering frequently asked questions), and creating polls and can log activity on a Discord server relevant to moderators.
One thing Discord users love most is its ability to sort users into different roles or titles—for example, “Call of Duty players” or “moderators” or “Twitch subscribers.” Roles are a great way to give users permission to view or not view certain Discord content. A server owner can notify only their Twitch subscribers or moderators about a specific thing without @everyoneing, and users can identify who to contact if they have questions or what other gamers share their love of Rocket League. MEE6 lets users opt into up to 250 roles by clicking on particular emoji under a Discord post. A lot of servers incentivize users to rank up roles—which MEE6 facilitates—by paying extra money to content creators, performing certain tasks, or just sticking around long enough.
For a premium fee of $12 per month, MEE6 offers more advanced custom commands (like letting you know when a streamer is live on Twitch) and moderation capabilities.
Carl-bot: Carl-bot has a lot of the same functionality as MEE6, including up to 250 reaction roles and welcome messages. It can log events, create polls, and rate limit spammers. More importantly, it lets users implement some more advanced custom commands without a premium fee. It’s just a little harder to grok than MEE6, which has a simpler user interface. Carl-bot’s premium fee, $5 a month, upgrades the reaction role system and improves text commands.
For a Secure, Clean, and Friendly Server
Discord servers can get, generously, a little toxic. It’s what happens when you toss a bunch of anonymous gamers into a chatroom. And now that Discord has become so popular, a lot of servers suffer from problems with spam. To keep your digital space safe, kind, and spam-free, consider adding a couple of these bots:
Captcha.bot: When you join a new server with Captcha.bot, you receive a direct message prompting you to verify that you are a human. Users go to Captcha.bot’s website, log back into Discord, and pass a captcha to gain server access. It’s a great way to ensure your public server is human-only (minus the bots you added in intentionally!).