Why it matters: One thing about human nature is that we do not take it well when something we once had is taken away. It's an innate characteristic, observable even in an infant child. So when it comes to a company removing a feature from an app, most people disapprove—regardless whether they used it or not.
Last week, Discord made some changes to its "not-safe-for-work" (NSFW) policies. As part of the guideline overhaul, its iOS app began blocking access to all NSFW communities and servers. Many users and moderators were not pleased with finding themselves locked out of their mobile communities.
The blowback was significant enough that this week Discord has dialed back the ban a bit. Users of the iOS Discord app can now opt-in to NSFW servers as long as they are 18+ years old. The only servers still banned are those "specifically focused on explicit pornographic content." While these will remain entirely locked out on the iOS app, users still have access via the desktop app or web browser.
Fuck, this new iOS update regarding NSFW Discord will totally screw me over. I use mainly an iPad for drawing and using discord for commissions and whatnot. I’m definitely switching from Apple for my phone, but I don’t have a good alternative for my tablet 😭— 💙SugarRollArt💙 (BLM) (@SugarRollArt) April 13, 2021
Hey @discord ... how are iOs Discord Mods able to monitor channels they cannot see?— nothing tea (@pengwithnotea) April 13, 2021
"To comply with Apple's policies, servers labeled NSFW will not be accessible to iOS users," a Discord spokesperson told TechSpot last week. "These changes are being rolled out over the next few days, and we will be working with server owners to ensure they are aware and understand the new requirements."
Apple wants to make certain its iPhones and iPads remain family-friendly and has strict rules regarding App Store apps serving NSFW (adult) content. Unfortunately, on Discord, NSFW could be as minor as lewd jokes or language or other mildly explicit content. Gaming channels are largely given this adult designation.
Apple's rules allow for such "incidental mature 'NSFW' content" as long as the app hides it by default, and there is no mechanism within the software to unhide it. However, the developer guidelines also say users can opt-in to that milder content via a website. Discord is using this loophole to allow users to opt-in with the desktop or web app. Once users have jumped through the hoop, they can enter their NSFW designated communities via the iOS app. It's a slight inconvenience but better than being locked out entirely.
Image credit: Postmodern Studio