Moderating vocal interactions on Discord

While there are many tools to moderate on a text channel on Discord, voice channels can be messier. Having a designated moderator streamlines these interactions. An attached text channel can further help these moderators to organize the mess.

In this channel people will ask the permission to speak or ask a question using respectively ! or ?. Furthermore they can also type ++ or to express their (dis)agreement. This way, noone is inturrupted, meetings go faster and are more productive. Moreover the moderator can give voice to people who often find it hard to step into the spotlight and ask their opinions about the subject at hand, making for a more diverse and rich conversation.

The different symbols used in the text channel associated with the vocal channel

A recent feature of Discord enables to separate each discussion and avoid clutter by simply opening a new thread at the beginning of the discussion, where people could put their ! and ?.

Draw, but how?

Usually the draw is done in one place and then the result is broadcasted live (or in front of witnesses). Not only does this entail many technical constraints, but it is also a weak link. If a malicious person tampers with the draw, the whole system collapses. We present here an alternative to this centralized draw to make the system robust and much more difficult to falsify.

To understand this method, a reminder is needed about the generation of random numbers in computers. These machines are deterministic, which means that for a given input the computer’s response is always the same. But in 1946 a famous researcher in computer science created what we call today a pseudo-random number generator. For this, he started with a number, the seed, taken from a fluctuating and unpredictable phenomenon. First he multiplied this three digit number by itself and then took the three middle digits of the number resulting from the multiplication, this selection will generate the second of the series. By repeating the operation it can produce long series of pseudo-random numbers. The prefix “pseudo” is used because the sequence is entirely determined by the seed. It is also important here to note that two strings even with very close values generate two very different sequences of numbers. Today, the generation of random numbers in computers uses much more complex manipulations than simple multiplication but the idea is still the same. The random number method that we are going to use exploits this mechanism.

We will provide all members of the association with a few lines of code. Then a person of the association will give one day in the future to select the seed which will be the value of the CAC40 at the closing of the market. Why a stock market index? The financial markets are unpredictable and very difficult to manipulate with precision. This method allows to make a decentralized draw, inexpensive and much harder to influence. Indeed, providing a few lines of code and a precise day is much more practical than organizing a big draw. Moreover the decentralized aspect increases the transparency because the draw can be checked and re-checked. You can use this link to draw with different seeds and verify these statements; with the seed 0 will be 2 and 3 that will be selected with 1 will be 1 and 3. Just click on the button with the play symbol, enter a value for the seed and you are in control of the gam


Initiatives using sortition are springing up all over the world:

  • Equality by lot (EN) which aggregates the different actors discussing about sortition.
  • Demorun (FR) emerging from an original initiative started in Reunion Island.
  • Sortition Foundation (EN) an NGO that tries to regroup the different initiatives around sortition.
  • Ateliers constituants (FR) which aim to rewrite the French constitution using sortition.
  • Democracy without elections (EN) an American initiative that wants to use sortition to create a new House of Representatives.
  • Parsort (FR) an association spreading the use of sortition in multiple domains
  • A Nous la démocratie (FR) party without a political affiliation which foster participative democracy

This list is of course not exhaustive and hopefully in constant evolution. Feel free to add new links in your comments.