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How to Join Our Subscribers-Only Debate Watch Parties

Subscribers have access to a private chatroom with the Discourse Blog staff, where we can break down the debate in real time together. Here's how to get in.

Update, 10/7/20: These instructions were originally written for the first presidential debate, but they apply to the vice presidential debate and all subsequent debates.

We’re streaming the presidential debates on Twitch, an online live-streaming platform. We’ll be starting at around 8:30 p.m. EST for a little pre-show and warmup before the debate starts at 9:00. Look at us. We’re the pundits now.

To watch the debate with us, all you have to do is go to this link to our Twitch page and sit back. But as a paying subscriber, you also have access to something we’ve never done before: a live chatroom with other subscribers and the entire Discourse Blog staff, where we’ll be hanging out, commiserating, and providing running context and commentary throughout the night.

There, you’ll be able to chat with fellow Discourse Blog community members and participate in what we think will be a pretty lively conversation that will be embedded directly into the public stream, letting you take an active role in showing the world the kind of community and perspectives we’re offering to people who sign up.

This chat is going to be run through Discord, a third-party chat and workspace management application. If that sounds intimidating, don’t worry. This post has all the instructions to get you started on the service, which is incredibly easy to use.

If you’ve already used Discord before, here’s the link to join our server: For everyone else, we’ll go through this step-by-step.

First things first, some links.

  • Here is our Twitch TV page, where the show will be livestreamed. Note: you don’t need to sign up for Twitch to watch the livestream. It will just start playing if you click this link:

  • Here’s our Twitter page, where the show will also be livestreamed if you don’t want to watch through Twitch:

  • And HERE, again, is an invite link to the private, subscribers only Discord server where the conversation will be taking place:

This link will open up a Discord web window and prompt you to create an account. Please do so, preferably using the same email you use to subscribe to Discourse Blog (although that shouldn’t matter — the link is what matters).

If you have any problems signing up or onto Discord that you can’t fix though a cursory Google or their tech support, please email BEFORE the debate. During the debate, we may be slow to respond as we’ll all be working.

About the stream and watch party.

When you log on to Discord, you’ll be added to three channels: #welcome-and-rules, #general, and #presidential-debate. If you’ve ever used a workplace management software like Slack before, this interface should be pretty easy to understand. You click on a channel on the left-hand side of the screen to display it, and post messages in it in the chat box at the bottom of the screen.

You should see something like this:

Welcome and Rules will function only to have two pinned posts: a welcome message, and a rules message (more on that later).

#general is a general chat channel for subscribers only that you can use to introduce yourselves and meet fellow subscribers. It will not appear on the public broadcast.

#presidential-debate however is where the main party will go down. This channel will feature live blogs from Discourse staff who will be providing context, commentary, and answering questions from all of you. Essentially, you can all live blog with us. This channel will be live-streamed into the Twitch and Twitter broadcast, meaning everyone watching will be able to see our conversation here.

As a note, Twitch also has a public chat function if you’re watching through that app. This is NOT the subscriber’s chat, and we won’t be interacting with or blogging in that space besides basic moderation. If you already have a Twitch account, feel free to follow our page, but the subscriber’s community on Discord is where our staff will be focusing their attention.

That said, there will be some rules.

1. Don’t be a jerk. This is self-explanatory. These debates, and the rest of the election cycle, and politics in general, are not exactly going to be civil. But within the boundaries of this Discord, we’re a community, and we should treat each other as such. Banter is fine, disagreements are fine, but if things devolve into insults or harassment of any kind we’re going to step in and take appropriate measures to shut things down, whether that’s a temporary mute or a full ban from the server.

2. Absolutely no slurs of any kind. Again, this is self-explanatory. Discourse Blog does not tolerate racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, bigotry, or discrimination of any other form. This is a no zero-tolerance, one-and-done policy. You drop one of these, you’re out, and we won’t miss you.

3. No doxxing or posting of personal information. Once again, this is a one-and-done. Don’t do it.

4. There is a 10-second cooldown on posting messages in public channels. This is there so that people don’t spam the chat, and so that we encourage people to put together full thoughts and sentences into the conversation.

5. No NSFW content. Look, I don’t know in what context we’d actually have to enforce this rule but we’re just going to put it out there all the same. Don’t post weird stuff in our Discord please, thank you.

6. We reserve the right to make up any more rules on the fly, because we’re all just figuring this out too.

We’re incredibly excited to do this, for what it’s worth. Ownership over our own publication has given us so much more freedom to interact with our readers and put on events like this, even during a pandemic, and we’re all stoked to see where it goes. Thus far, we’ve been blown away at the quality of (most) of the comments on our posts, replies to tweets, and emails we’ve gotten. It’s a sign that what we’re writing about is needed and relevant, and it tells us that there’s an audience and a community that thinks the same way. We want to build on that, and hopefully tonight will be a big step. We want more subscribers so we can pay our bills, but also so our work can reach more people and be influenced by more people. You spent time reading about everything from our personal lives to our hottest political takes, and we want to hear more from you too. This is how we do it. We’re happy to have you along for the ride.

Image: Samantha Grasso