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Discord just announced three killer upgrades — here's what's new

Discord just announced three killer upgrades — here's what's new
(Image credit: Discord)

Discord has announced (opens in new tab) a number of improvements, which will expand the range of features available to people using the program. This chat and voice app has seen a massive boost to user numbers since the pandemic chained us all to our home computers last year. 

One of the big new features, stage channels, should help give Discord a bit more order. If you're putting on an event where a few people will speak to an audience, then this is ideal for you. It's possible to run a Q&A in this format, giving viewers the chance to speak up, but generally leaves them silent to listen. 

Along with stage channels, there's also a new discovery feature for community stages. These can show what's going on around the world, even on servers where you're not a member. There are also plans to offer monetization for this feature, so perhaps you can host your own version of the TED Talks before too long. Discord says this feature is currently in testing, and there's no formal release date. 

Stage functionality requires that you enable the "community" mode on your server. This is reversible, so you aren't stuck using it if it doesn't work for you. You can find the option by selecting server settings, then community. The stage features work on all platforms, including Discord's web browser program. 

Discord will also be addressing the thorny issue of discussion threads. These are getting a major overhaul, which is good news. The current options for replying to people in a thread are a bit clumsy, although far better than they used to be. There's not much information about how threads will eventually look, but they'll hopefully be a good way to manage those little chats that develop within a channel, but might not be entirely on-topic. 

Ian has been involved in technology journalism since 2007, originally writing about AV hardware back when LCDs and plasma TVs were just gaining popularity. Nearly 15 years on, he remains as excited as ever about how tech can make your life better. Ian is the editor of T3.com but has also regularly contributed to Tom's Guide.