The Timeout Tool and its place in moderation

The Timeout Tool and its place in moderation

Moderators and admins in Discord servers (a grouping of people in the popular chat application) have the constant responsibility and task to keep the content posted within their servers within the rules for the server, which ultimately is up to the owners of each server respectively. 

When someone breaks the rules, the question always is, how do you handle that? Do you warn them? Do you mute them? Do you kick them out of the server? Or maybe temporarily ban them for a little while? Oh yeah, or we can just permanently ban them that works too! These are only some of the options, but they are indeed the major ones, as you can see, Discord Moderators have a lot of tools in their arsenal to help address rule breakers. 

Last week many of you may have seen that Discord unveiled a new tool for the moderation toolkit “Timeout”

Discord Changelog

Discord defined this as “temporarily prevent a user from interacting to help curb disruptive behavior”. At first, many people thought this to be a built-in mute system, and in a way it is. 

How do I work this thing?

A few notes about it, you can activate it like you would any other built-in moderation feature. You either right-click on the user, or long-press on mobile and hit Timeout. You can then set a time and a reason (at this time it appears the reason will not be displayed to the user).

Timeout screen on Desktop/Web. (Credit: Discord)
View of the timeout process on mobile.
Process of using Timeout on mobile. (Credit: Discord)

What does it do?

When timing you will restrict the user from sending messages, reacting to messages, as well as joining voice or video calls. This makes it essentially a super mute that totally locks members out of your server. Depending on the setup you use for your current mute system, this may be nothing new. As for how it currently is with all the muted setups, you can not mute users with the full admin role.

Can bots use it?

This is one of the biggest questions I have seen yet! Currently, I have not been able to find it in the API, however, Discord claims it will be added to the API soon so pretty soon we will likely see bots have the ability to use this instead of the normal mute setups they use now.

Does this provide any benefit?

Really it’s in the hands of the moderators. Some servers will definitely add this to their tool kit and use it whenever needed. Mainly for the following strengths

  1. No need to setup a muted role
  2. Automatically does it all for you
  3. Built in, no need to remember bot command syntax, etc.

 Others may stick to the old ways of doing it, mainly because of these weaknesses

  1. Not currently integrated with bots
  2. Only can use preset times (at this time)
  3. Locks out of the ENTIRE server (at this time)
  4. Can not display a reason to the user

So really at the end of the day, it’s all up to you. You may be looking at this thinking it’s a big disappointment, or you may be looking at it thinking it’s a great benefit! If you want some more details on this, you may want to check out the support article on it.

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