Navigating web3: Staying Safe on Discord

Nicholas Ptacek
4 min readNov 17, 2021

Discord has emerged as one of the best group chat platforms, hitting the sweet spot of features and flexibility that make decentralized organization easier. It also makes a great place for scammers to target unwary victims.

Learn how to protect yourself.

This is essay 2 of 7 for The Tech Progressive Writing Challenge. Check out build_ to join the conversation.

Tools and platforms that enable effective communication and collaboration are essential to working in the web3 space. Along with any new space, however, comes new risks. There are steps you can take to stay safe and reduce distractions.

The most common scams on Discord rely on fear of missing out (fomo) to take advantage of you. They’ll spam the chat or slide into your DMs with legit looking links. When you think you’re about to score one of Drift’s Where My Vans Go pieces for way under floor price, logic goes out the window.

These types of scams could be more easily mitigated if Discord followed through on their plans to integrate NFTs into the platform.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t look to be happening any time soon.

In the meantime, here’s what to do:

✅ Make it a habit to disable DMs when joining new servers, at least until you get to know the space.

That’s it.

You can always turn them back on later.

Disabling direct messages on Discord servers

When joining a new server, it can be helpful to disable direct messages from server members. While this feature can be useful on a well-moderated server, and great for coordinating, it tends to be more of a distraction than anything else with the constant flood of spam messages on many public servers.

To disable Direct Messages, click User Settings → Privacy Settings → Disable “Allow direct messages from server members.”

On fast-moving servers, you’ll get flooded with notifications. This can quickly become overwhelming. Consider limiting notifications to mentions only.

To limit notifications, click Notification Settings → Server Notification Settings → Select “only mentions”

Consider suppressing @everyone and @here, which are often abused by spammers. If you do, remember to check in with the server from time to time since you’ll also be missing out on important server announcements.

Changing server notification settings on Discord

If you’re running a Discord server, you can tweak the default notification settings and help cut back on everybody’s notification overload.

To change the default notification settings, click Server Settings → Overview → Default Notification Settings → Select “only mentions”

Changing default notification settings on a Discord server

Further mitigation strategies can be implemented on the server side, including user roles, moderation, and “first steps” onboarding requirements to limit the activity of potential spammers. For example, server admins could disable the use of @everyone and @here by default, setting up separate roles where it is enabled and granting that privilege once a new user has stuck around and participated for awhile. These topics will be explored in more depth in the future.

Disabling the use of @everyone and @here by default on a Discord server

This just scratches the surface when it comes to Discord, spam, and scams in the NFT space. There will be plenty more topics to explore in the future!

Until then, stay safe in the metaverse.