Tom Chritchlow is starting his own Discord space, as part of experimenting with different spaces to operate in, and where possible host your own. Thinking in terms of spaces you use is one of the factors you can tweak when it comes to building and maintaining a healthy community (of practice), as Etienne Wenger established and I experience in practice. So I recognise Tom’s urge to experiment with more and less public spaces for interaction.

So if my blog is one “space” and twitter is another “space” – what new spaces might exist?

Looking forward to reading more of his experiences. As he says he’s not starting a completely new room, anyone with a generic Discord account could join, but to fill a space, make it inhabited it needs some sort of pre-existing group for whom the space is intended and an answer to an existing need in that group. (Tom avoids ‘building community’ , maybe because of the negative overtones in tech when that is said?) So questions around who is it for, and how do they experience this new space, will they explore it together or will they end up in an empty space on their own, etc. are important.

Having said all that, I think it is a shame that Discord the tool has conflict and lack of harmony as its name, and has been host to a wide range of interaction that lives up to that name and much worse. Even if they now aim to be there for anyone, the name itself seems to counteract Tom’s ‘realtime cozy chat space’ intention, as the neon-sign on the door signals the opposite. Words matter, and this one does a disservice.

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