MicroWiki@Discord (former server)
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|MicroWiki@Discord (former server)|
|Founded||17 September 2018|
|Dissolved||30 January 2022|
|Administrators||2 (January 2023)|
MicroWiki@Discord (MW@D), also known colloquially as the MicroWiki Discord (MWD), was the official Discord server—an instant messaging and VoIP social media platform—of MicroWiki and, by extension, the principal venue of communication in the MicroWiki sector. Founded on 17 September 2018 and destroyed on 30 January 2022, the server peaked at almost 2,000 members, making it one of the largest and most influential social venues in the intermicronational community. Its significance in the history of the MicroWiki community is represented by defining and giving its name to the MicroWiki@Discord Era. However, the server gained a reputation of unprofessionalism and informality after mid-2019, which greatly worsened throughout 2020.
MicroWiki@Discord was created on 17 September 2018 by the MicroWiki administration following a period of stagnation that plagued the MicroWiki community's Skype chatrooms and the MicroWiki forums since May 2017. The popularisation of Discord within micronationalism was spearheaded by the B3—three micronationalists who joined MicroWiki in 2018—who created the MicroClub Discord server on 27 May 2018. Widely advertised in the inactive Skype chatrooms, MicroWiki@Discord immediately rose in popularity and quickly overtook MicroClub as the principal Discord server of the MicroWiki community, subsequently reviving community activity. By 8 December, MicroWiki@Discord had 167 members, making it the largest micronational Discord server.
However, by mid-2019, the server began gaining a reputation of unprofessionalism and informality among the Old Guard. In contrast to the traditional MicroWiki forums, MicroWiki@Discord was an instant messaging service, thereby allowing for messages to be sent faster and more prone to informality, slang and typographical errors. The server also consisted largely of teenagers. This was only further exemplified by the emergence of memes such as cornposting—wherein users post random messages and images relating to corn—on 10 July and the face of Amélie Björk in August. The MicroWiki@Discord Administrative Protests of 16 February 2020, wherein nearly 30 users staged a protest against the server administration, was seen as a catalyst in the server's decline as the principal venue of the MicroWiki community.
Criticism of the server harshened between June–July after a number of alternative servers were set up, and multiple senior administrators resigned between October–November as users continued to move to alternative venues. An unsuccessful attempt was made by the administration starting 1 November to gradually turn MicroWiki@Discord into a web portal and news aggregator, but backlash from users quickly led to this change being reverted in early December. On 30 January 2022, in protest against the unbanning of a controversial user from the wiki, Abrams Wiucki-Dunswed banned thousands of users from MicroWiki@Discord after discovering a technical vulnerability. This led to the end of the MicroWiki@Discord Era as the administration creating a new server called MicroWiki Community focusing solely on the wiki.
MicroWiki@Discord had developed a subculture (subsector) within the wider MicroWiki community focused on largely newer and younger micronationalists and various memes and in-jokes, such as merge, @New Eiffel Government, cornposting, the face of Amélie Björk, Zeeky Bomb and Brian's Republic. Taken from the server's name, @Discord (pronounced "at [on] Discord") has entered micronational jargon as a suffix for the names of micronational Discord servers.
MicroWiki@Discord was hosted on Discord, an instant messaging and VoIP social media platform that runs on various operating systems and web browsers. Discord allows users the ability to create and engage in private chatrooms called "servers". MicroWiki@Discord was one of these servers. Servers, which can be accessed via invitation links, consist of persistent chatrooms called "channels", conversation threading, voice channels—wherein users have the ability to communicate with voice calls or video calls—text messaging, and the sharing of media and files such as GIFs. Such channels may be separated by category—acting as a separate folder or thread containing channels. Server administrators are able to create user roles (user groups) with set permissions and server access and assign them to users, allowing for private channels. Servers can also host custom emoji; image files may be uploaded and used in any channel on a server. Transparent images and GIFs are also supported, although individual users need a subscription to Discord to use the latter.
Talk page diplomacy—discussions held on the
Talk: namespace on micronational wiki and encyclopaedia MicroWiki—was the principal means of communication and diplomacy between members of MicroWiki sector between 2006 and August 2010. During early 2009, some members of the Grand Unified Micronational simultaneously used talk pages on the wiki alongside the free chatroom service GeeSee, particularly for conducting diplomacy. VoIP and instant messaging service Skype took over the role occupied by GeeSee private chatrooms in mid-2009 to some degree, and in early 2010, the use of talk pages began to decline at the expense of the OAM forums—an Internet forum—and, to a lesser extent, the newly-established micronational Skype chatrooms such as the Micropolitan Club and Lounge founded in November 2009. By August 2010, the OAM forums and the minor chatrooms on Skype had fully succeeded talk page diplomacy.
The MicroWiki forums—created by the MicroWiki administration—were released on 22 December to rival the OAM forums and become the central point of communication between micronationalists of the community. Coinciding with the declining influence of the OAM, during which users were directed to the MicroWiki forums instead, it succeeded in its goal in March 2011. The MicroWiki forums and Skye would continue to be utilised as the two principal venues of the community for the next six years, while talk pages diplomacy gained a reputation for unprofessional. Smaller groups of Facebook were a third option to the forums and Skye, particularly prominent between about the first half of 2013 and early 2016.
Creation of MicroWiki@Discord
In the months following 5 September 2017, overall activity in the MicroWiki sector—on the MicroWiki forums and in associated Skype chatrooms—dropped to an all-time low. By early 2018, all activity on the forums had effectively died, and the GUM and once community micronation Abeldane Empire struggled to maintain activity and governance amidst limited participation. Between early and mid-2018, several micronationalists arrived in the community—retroactively dubbed the 2018 Intake—and on 27 May, the Discord server MicroClub was founded by 2018 arrivals Nicholas Randouler, Ashley Jaax and Nicolás Millán—collectively known as the B3. Within a month, MiroClub became one of the largest micronational Discord servers, and some members of the MicroWiki community—particularly those from the 2018 Intake—began using Discord over the forums and Skype. MicroClub was not the first Discord server in the MicroWiki sector; it was preceded by Abel to Dabel (renamed Dabeldanes in 2018) created by Stephen Freayth in early June 2017 and Cafemicro Lounge by Henry Clémens between 6 July 2017 and early 2018. Both servers did however see limited activity.
On 17 September 2018, in an initiative led by MicroWiki administrator Anthony Clark, the administration created MicroWiki@Discord as an official Discord server for the MicroWiki community as a whole. Widely advertised on the inactive Skype chatrooms, the server immediately rose in popularity and quickly overtook MicroClub as the principal Discord server of the MicroWiki community, subsequently reviving activity. As a result of the server's success, several micronations and intermicronational organisations, such as the GUM, moved to Discord—commencing the MicroWiki@Discord Era. As of 8 December, MicroWiki@Discord had 167 members, making it the largest micronational Discord server ahead of the non-MicroWiki sector Project Nations which had 120. The creation of the server also saw a large number of new, typically younger members join the community.
Continued growth and subculture
At the beginning of 2019, all chatrooms on Skype had become either obsolete or fully integrated into their own Discord servers, though the MicroWiki forums remained in limited use. MicroWiki@Discord also became a focal point for micronationalism in general, especially noted for its usage as a community hub to advertise other micronations and micronational ventures. Taken from the server's name, @Discord (pronounced "at [on] Discord"), entered micronational jargon as a suffix for the names of micronational Discord servers, later also including those unassociated with MicroWiki or MicroWiki@Discord. During the first half of the year, the server developed a subculture (subsector) within the wider MicroWiki community focused on largely newer and younger micronationalists and various memes and in-jokes. Server administrators became regarded as "community leaders" in the MicroWiki sector, including Shiro Mephistopheles between late 2018 and early 2019, Elizabeth Lewis since late 2018 and Aaron Gray since early 2019, the latter two of whom were ubiquitous in the server—with Lewis seen as authoritative.
Notable memes included merge and Arkovia commencing in February 2019, revolving around an advertisement by the controversial Project Nations micronation Arkovia wherein micronations may merge into it; @New Eiffel Government on 19 April, revolving around users pinging ("@ing")—a feature that sends a notification to the targeted user—the Discord account of user Zabëlle "Zed" Skye, who had the username
@New Eiffel Government#4073; and the MicroWiki Tea Company in May, a purported tea company that arose from a chain of the word "Tea" in the
#culture channel. The MicroWiki Discord Survey—a demographic survey of members of MicroWiki@Discord—was held between 28–29 May by Ned Gunderson and received 54 participants. The survey showed that an overwhelming amount of participants were male (94.4 percent), white (83 percent) and young; 40.7 percent of respondents were between 16-19 years old and 29.6 percent were aged between 12-15. It was an even split for the most practiced religion with 38.9 percent believing in either Christianity or having no religion.
Allegations of unprofessionalism and MicroWiki@Discord Administrative Protests
On 28 June 2019, Lewis resigned from her controversial role as an administrator on MicroWiki@Discord. Users had accused her of being too authoritative and implementing rules without prior consensus from other administrators. This occurred during a period when a gap was forming between micronationalists who arrived during the MicroWiki@Discord Era and older micronationalists who joined before it, with the latter bemoaning an atmosphere of unprofessionalism as the server became dominated by various memes and informal communication. This was only further exemplified by the emergence of cornposting—wherein users post random messages and images relating to corn—on 10 July and the face of Amélie Björk meme—which revolves around an image of Amélie Björk edited in-front of various locations and buildings—in August; an emoji of Björk was repeatedly added and deleted several times by administrators, resulting in heavy user backlash. Administrators on MicroWiki@Discord generally agreed that, as MicroWiki@Discord should be the principal server of the MicroWiki community, its rules should be fairly relaxed in regards to formality and allow for a relative amount of freedom, including statements of political beliefs.
By late 2019, many older members of the community preferred to use alternative servers to MicroWiki@Discord, with most seeing the Discord server for the GUM as a safe haven from MicroWiki@Discord's alleged unprofessionalism. On 16 February 2020, nearly 30 users staged a protest on the server against the administration. Among the demands were increased administrative transparency, listening to user suggestions and appointing Skye as a server administrator. The protest, supported and influenced by controversial organisation TOES, saw users calling themselves the "18%"—a reference to the "we are the 99%" political slogan—and changing their server usernames[a] to include the percentage. The movement ultimately achieved nothing, and over the following two days several users were banned for posting spam during their involvement in the protest. According to the administration, they had to delay Skye's planned promotion to the role of administrator until 1 May in order to not satisfy the protesters. The protest had no dominant leadership, while it was principally moderated by administrators Abrams Wiucki-Dunswed, Gray and moderator Christina I & II.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic saw overall activity on MicroWiki@Discord and within the MicroWiki community heavily increase as lockdowns were imposed between March–April. On 9 April, the Morrisgate scandal (also known as Danosgate) caused large disruption in the community as Daniel Morris was accused of making inappropriate remarks regarding an underaged micronationalist. While his ousting was supported by many, the handling of the situation from the MicroWiki@Discord administration received backlash. MicroWiki@Discord was briefly closed for a day on 8 June in honour of Randouler, who died on 3 June.
Attempted transition into a web portal and destruction of the server
Criticism of unprofessionalism and even toxicity on the server harshened between June–July 2020 after a number of alternative servers were set up, with Micropolitan@Discord created on 25 July becoming the most viable alternative to MicroWiki@Discord. Between September–October, multiple senior administrators, including Adam I, Emperor of Adammia and MicroWiki owner Jonathan I, Emperor of Austenasia, resigned as other users continued to move to alternative servers and private social clubs. The state of the server worsened when, on 1 November, an unsuccessful attempt was made by the administration to gradually turn MicroWiki@Discord into a micronational web portal and news aggregator, thus effectively dissolving its functions as a Discord server intended for discussion. However, backlash from users quickly led to this change being reverted in early December. Administrator Andrew became the de facto owner of MicroWiki@Discord in November, and formally in 2021. Between mid- to late 2021, general activity in the MicroWiki sector and on MicroWiki@Discord began to decline as a result of the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. Although, the Downeast Conference of 529 did occur on the server on 24 June which saw 34 micronations participating.
On 30 January 2022, a controversial user was unbanned from MicroWiki, and a petition calling for his re-banning and the resignation of the administrator who unbanned him reached over one hundred signatures. In support of the petition, Wiucki-Dunswed; a former Wiki Administrator, banned thousands of users from MicroWiki@Discord after discovering a backdoor vulnerability via one of the server's Discord bots which he made during his tenure as a Administrator. This led to the administration creating a new MicroWiki server called MicroWiki Community focusing solely on the wiki that same day, as well as banning several "bad actors" from the server and MicroWiki to reduce harassment between community members. Andrew played a key role in this initiative.
Noteworthy channels under the "Administrative" category.
#announcements was a channel within which only administrators could type to make announcements on events or changes and ongoings pertaining to MicroWiki@Discord and MicroWiki.
#hall-of-fame was another such channel created on 15 May 2019 wherein administrators posted screenshots of funny posts and moments on the server. Getting one's post exhibited in
#hall-of-fame was seen as a small achievement, although the channel was often criticised for containing posts which were unfunny without prior context and posts which were seen as sexually suggestive.
#wiki were both channels wherein users enquired administrators for help; the latter was intended for issues pertaining to MicroWiki, though seldom used.
#log was for bot commands; for instance, typing
s?top would request StatBot to display a list of users who had sent the most messages within a certain period of time, and typing
!wiki followed by text would request WikiBot to search MicroWiki for an article of said title. A
#suggestions channel was added in January 2020 wherein users could make server suggestions, although the administration was criticised for largely ignoring the channel.
#evil-overlords was the name of the private channel for the server administration.
Noteworthy channels under the "General" category.
#cafe-dullahan, named after Bradley of Dullahan and later renamed
#café-randouler on 8 June 2020 in honour of Randouler, was the principal general discussion channel of MicroWiki@Discord.
#ybm-3 was a secondary channel intended for use when multiple discussions were already taking place in
#café-randouler. The channel was named after the Yellow Bear Micronational (YBM), a former Skype chatroom originally created on 19 August 2010.
#memes was intended for memes in image and video form, which were banned from the aforementioned discussion channels. Holding conversations in
#memes was heavily discouraged by the administration.
#the-micropolitan-v was a private channel created in emulation of the invitation-only Micropolitan Club and Lounge Skype chatroom originally founded in November 2009. The channel was seldom used and replaced by the non-MicroWiki@Discord Micropolitan@Discord server on 28 July 2020. There were also two voice channels, one for general use and another private channel for
#the-micropolitan-v—also removed on 28 July.
#voice-chat-text existed for users who had access to the voice channel but did not wish to speak.
#general-news in the "News and Media" category was for the posting of links (URLs) regarding news from micronational news outlets.
#accredited-media was for such URLs from administrator-approved publications. The
#adverts channel in the "Advertising" category was where users could advertise other micronational servers, products, services and originally surveys. The channel was accompanied by
#opportunities, which was intended for opportunistic promotions such as job requests and surveys. In practice, both channels consisted of the same reposted advertisements. Both channels were deleted in early 2021 as some of the advertised servers contained public channels for sexual content, which was banned on MicroWiki@Discord. The administration stated that it would be too strenuous to manually review every advertised server.
#new-eiffel-government—though renamed everytime Skye changed his username—was a channel dedicated to pinging Skye as part of the @New Eiffel Government meme that arose on 19 April 2019. On 2 May, the pinging became concentrated around a single channel of the server originally intended for the discussion of affairs relating to government and politics—
#government-and-politics. A continious chain of pings began on 1 June and on 7 June the channel was renamed and re-dedicated solely to pinging Skye's account. All newly-posted messages in the channel that were not pings would get deleted. On 18 November 2020, the channel was archived by having the ability to send messages locked. By that point, over 11,000 pings had been sent.
The administrators of MicroWiki@Discord were responsible for creating and enforcing rules, implementing features and maintaining the server. New administrators were discussed and chosen by the already-existing administration. By November 2020, there was also a secondary role called Moderator (also known as Helper), who were responsible only for enforcing rules. Moderators were chosen by administrators. Between late 2018 and mid-2020, due to the presence of MicroWiki@Discord in the MicroWiki community, several server administrators became regarded as highly influential. The position had also gained a higher reputation of prestige than that of MicroWiki administrator, largely due to the number of non-MicroWiki editors on the server. The number of administrators varied throughout MicroWiki@Discord's history; there were six in December 2018; nine in June 2019; and ten in April 2020. When moderators were introduced around November, six of the ten administrators were demoted to the position. In June 2021, there were two administrators and five moderators. Jonathan I served as the de facto head administrator as owner of the server until resigning in late November 2020; he was de facto succeeded by Andrew, which then became the official head administrator in 2021.
Memes and in-jokes
MicroWiki@Discord was known for originating several MicroWiki memes and in-jokes. Alongside the aforementioned merge and Arkovia, @New Eiffel Government, the MicroWiki Tea Company, cornposting and the face of Amélie Björk, the server had numerous other notable memes.
In January 2020, several users set their profile picture to Zeeky Boogy Doog, a character from the 2001 animated short film Demented Cartoon Movie, and set their usernames to Math Pony. The server icon of the server was changed and numerous users spammed text relating to Zeeky Bomb. This lead some users to think that the server had been vandalised. The meme made a resurgence later that year in July where the act of Zeeky Bombing emerged wherein a user posts a picture of Zeeky Boogy Doog, occasionally paired with a GIF of an explosion. In mid-February 2020, users began pinging server member Brian's Republic in order to get him to send a message on MicroWiki@Discord as he had been in the server since January 2019 but had never sent a message. Users mass pinged Brian's Republic and comically referred to him as a deity. On 22 February, after multiple users contacted him on his YouTube channel, he finally sent a message on the server.
Between February and April 2020, several users engaged in Zedposting which revolved around spamming images and texts relating to Skye—commonly nicknamed Zed prior to his arrival on MicroWiki. Forms of Zedposting included "Zedtv", an image of Skye wearing a cardboard computer mask over his head, and "Zedism", a comical religion based around Zedtv.
#admin-nsfw, an alleged nsfw (not safe for work) channel for administrators, arose as a joke in June. The meme prompted the administration to create a jocular channel under the name which consisted solely of memes. In early October, Lewis created multiple sockpuppet accounts for her alter-ego Patrick Kent who had the persona of a young, innocent child. Her goal was to "spread positivity" on MicroWiki@Discord. After being repeatedly banned for being under the minimum age requirement of thirteen, Kent was voted to remain on popular demand from users who spread the message "Free Patrick Kent". She had revealed herself to the server administrators who agreed to let her stay. In late November, her identity as Kent became widely known, and Lewis no longer used the persona as of January 2021.
Features and events
GnomeBot was a bot created by administrator Karl "Luxor" Friedrich that could be operated by users via a command in the
#log channel. Based on an Internet meme, the bot translated messages into gibberish called "gnome speak". Throughout 2020, Gray regularly held the MicroWiki Hunger Games, a ranomised Hunger Games simulation with micronationalists on the server. A separate channel was created for the games with hourly updates posted over a period of several days. The events were immensely popular and engaging, and winners of the games were given a dedicated server role. On 23 December 2020, Andrew played "All I Want for Christmas Is You" by American singer Mariah Carey on a loop in the voice channel for over 34 hours. Participants who listened to the song for over ten hours were awarded the jocular ribbon of the Christmas Crusaders. I stole this. fun facts! was a series of daily posts of mostly trivia made to
#ybm-3 by Skye. An idea taken from a format started by Simon Reeve on 11 November 2019 that made the server's Hall of Fame, the first fact was published on 2 December and the last on 30 May 2020. Some days were occasionally missed with multiple facts posted on the same day to catch up. Various emoji on the server were popularly used and became memes themselves, including Corn Cube and face emoji, such as the face of Amélie Björk, Skye—during Zedposting—and the face of Cole Baird.
From the server's creation until early 2020, there were roles for every continent (except Antarctica) that users could self-assign themselves via a command in the
#log channel. Each continent had a different colour that they would assign a user's server username. In January 2020, administrator Violette "Suzuki Leōcor" Clingersmith began developing user roles for every macronation, each with a unique colour. The changes were rolled out later that year, although users criticised having to be assigned the role of the macronation within which they are residing. The macronation roles were eventually removed in late 2020. The role 'Micropolitan' was given to chosen users so that they could have access to the private channel
#the-micropolitan-v, which existed from the server's inception until 28 July 2020, when it was replaced by the Micropolitan@Discord server.
Between the server's inception and late 2020, there were roles called levels that administrators gave to users based on how active and influential they were on the server. Initially numbering 1–3, the levels were rarely awarded and seen as mildly prestigious, but went unmaintained after circa February 2019 until being informally reintroduced in mid-2019. A fourth and fifth level where added by 8 June. Level 1 was red; level 2 was purple; level 3 was light maroon; level 4 was light blue; and level 5 was green. There was also a satirical level negative 1, which was white. In January 2020, another jocular level, level 69, was also created. The levels were removed in late 2020 after being widely criticised by users as promoting favouritism amongst administrators.
Informality and association with unprofessionalism
In contrast to separate Skype communities which had their own separate rules and tolerance to the breaking of said rules, MicroWiki@Discord was a single venue, and administrators generally agreed that, as MicroWiki@Discord should be the principal server of the MicroWiki community, the rules should generally be relaxed in regards to formality. Additionally, MicroWiki@Discord contrasted the traditional MicroWiki forums as an instant messaging service, thereby allowing for messages to be sent faster and more prone to informality, slang and typographical errors. The server also largely consisted of teenagers. These factors contributed to giving MicroWiki@Discord an association with informality and unprofessionalism, which was seen as undesirable by the Old Guard.
- On Discord, a user's server username can be different from their account's username.