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Discord is a multimedia realtime chat web service and application for desktop and mobile.

This page is a seed article. You can help HTYP water it: make a request to expand a given page and/or donate to help give us more writing-hours!

text formatting

Text formatting is similar to a subset of Markdown, although there are differences:

  • bold is **two asterisks**
  • italic is *one asterisk* or _one underscore_
  • underline is __two underscores__
  • strike is ~~two tildes~~
  • code (fixed-pitch inline unformatted text) is `backticks`
    • You can use this format to paste URLs without them becoming links or displaying a preview.
    • To display a link but no preview, surround the URL with angle brackets: <https://htyp.org>. The angle brackets will not be displayed, and preview will be suppressed.
      • Note: Discord's settings refer to the preview as an "embedded link". Previews of links pasted into a discussion can be turned off by revoking this privilege.
  • multiple lines of code can be started with three backticks at the beginning of a line:
code lines
code lines
  • the initial backticks can have a language designator afterwards, for syntax highlighting:
php code...
  • > (right-angle plus a space) will cause the following paragraph to be indented with a vertical bar
  • spoiler text is ||two pipes||: this causes the text to be obscured until clicked on

To display characters that would otherwise be treated as formatting, escape them with a backslash:

  • \* will display as *
  • \_ will display as _
  • This does not seem to work with backticks (`), however.

user/group security

This applies only within Servers (Guilds); DMs, even when multiple people are included, have essentially no security controls.

The security management is fairly sophisticated. Channels can be restricted to selected individuals or "roles" (which are essentially security groups). Channels can also be grouped into "categories", which can be given their own security settings which then become defaults for the channels they contain. The permissions which are assignable to individuals or roles are quite fine-grained.

comparison to IRC

Discord is GUI-oriented rather than text-oriented; almost everything except actual messages is done via menus, icons, and other graphical interface elements, though there are a few text commands.

Some of the graphical elements supported:

  • limited rich text formatting: bold, italics, strikethrough
  • avatars for users and servers/guilds
  • emoji, both inline and as reactions to posts (aka reactji).

Other users can click on already-posted reactji, and Discord will display the number of people who clicked (and their usernames in the hover-over). This can be used for practical things like polling, as well as just expressing feelings about something without interrupting the conversation.


  • /API: writing software to interact with Discord
  • /bots: there are a lot of bots available for extending Discord functionality