How To Add, Manage and Delete Roles in Discord

Posted by Robert Hayes on December 4, 2019

Discord is the voice and text chat solution of choice among online gamers these days. This is primarily because it is so incredibly configurable and has so many different options and settings that users can do almost anything they want within the app. However, the downside is that (particularly for servers with many users) assigning the appropriate permissions to people can be an overwhelming task. On Discord there are thirteen server-level permissions (for example, the ability to ban someone or to have administrator-level privileges), nine text permissions (like the ability to send messages or add text links), and seven voice permissions (for example, the ability to speak on the server or to have one’s voice be louder than others on command). Each of these permissions is a binary choice, so there are 536,870,912 possible combinations of permissions. Obviously assigning each of these permissions individually would be tedious – but what if there are hundreds or even thousands of users on a server? It would be an impossible task.

Discord Roles

Enter the “role”. In Discord parlance, a “role” is a defined set of permissions with a name. For example, there is a default role called “@everyone,” which gives a wide range of basic permissions like talking on the server and reading the messages, but without any administrative powers. A server administrator might create a role called “Moderator” which would add the ability to mute or ban other users. Users can be assigned multiple roles and they always have the largest combination of role powers; i.e., someone who has both @everyone and Moderator roles would have all the powers of @everyone plus the powers of Moderator.

Discord Permissions

There are a total of 29 permissions on Discord that are divided into General, Text, and Voice permissions. I’m going to describe them each briefly here.

General Permissions

Administrator – the Administrator permission grants all the permissions that exist on the server. This is obviously a dangerous permission to grant as it gives a lot of power.

View Audit Log – this permission allows the user to read the server’s audit logs.

Manage Server – this permission allows the user to change the server name or move it to a different region.

Manage Roles – this permission allows the user to create new roles and edit roles that don’t have the manage roles permission turned on.

Manage Channels – this permission allows the user to create, edit, and delete channels on the server.

Kick Members – this permission allows the user to kick members off the server.

Ban Members – this permission allows the user to ban members from the server.

Create Instant Invite – this permission allows the user to invite other users to the server.

Change Nickname – this permission allows the user to change their own nickname.

Manage Nicknames – this permission allows the user to change the nicknames of other users.

Manage Emojis – this permission allows the user to manage emojis on the server.

Manage Webhooks – this permission allows the user to create, edit, and delete webhooks.

Read Text Channels & See Voice Channels – this permission allows the user to read the message channels.

Text Permissions

Send Messages – this permission allows the user to send messages on the text chat.

Send TTS Messages – this permission allows the user to send text-to-speech messages.

Manage Messages – this permission allows the user to delete or pin messages from other users.

Embed Links – this permission allows the user to embed hyperlinks in the chat.

Attach Files – this permission allows the user to attach files in the chat.

Read Message History – this permission allows the user to scroll back and access previous messages.

Mention Everyone – this permission allows the user to trigger push notifications for the members of the channel.

Use External Emojis – this permission allows the users to use emojis from other servers.

Add Reactions – this permission allows the user to add new reactions to a message.

Voice Permissions

Connect – this permission allows the user to connect (i.e., hear) to the voice channel.

Speak – this permission allows the user to speak on the voice channel.

Mute Members – this permission allows the user to turn off another user’s ability to speak.

Deafen Members – this permission allows the user to turn off another user’s ability to hear on the channel.

Move Members – this permission allows the user to move other members from one channel to another.

Use Voice Activity – this permission allows the user to speak without using Push-to-Talk.

Priority Speaker – this permission allows the user to reduce the volume of other users when this user is speaking so that their words are louder on the channel.

How to Add Roles in Discord

Setting up your roles properly is the key to managing your users on a Discord server. It’s a good idea to have the basic roles created before you even start inviting people to the server; you can always go back and add new roles or reconfigure existing roles once you’re in business.

  1. Log into Discord and access your server.
  2. Select the small drop-down arrow to the right of the server name and click “Server Settings.”
  3. Click “Roles” in the left pane. You should see a single role called @everyone.
  4. Click the (very small) “+” icon at the top of the center pane to add a role.
  5. Name the role something descriptive and assign it a color (colors are important, because they clarify and inform users of each others’ roles).
  6. Review all 28 permissions, toggling on only the ones you want to be associated with that role.
  7. Select “Save Changes.”
  8. Repeat for each new role you want to create.

Assigning the different permission levels to different roles allows you to create a hierarchy according to trust. You can assign lower roles to newbies and higher roles with more permissions to those you know well.

To assign a role to a user:

  1. Select the user you want to work with in the right-hand pane.
  2. Select the small “+” under the username and select the role from the menu.
  3. Repeat for each user on your server.

You can also add roles more quickly by right-clicking on the user, selecting Roles, and then clicking on the role(s) you want to add in the flyout menu.

Remember, you can add as many roles as you want for each user.

How to Manage Roles in Discord

Managing roles in Discord is much the same as creating them. You can add more roles should you need to and modify the permissions within each. Depending on how you want to run your server, you could get away with creating just two roles, admin and @everyone. As your community grows, you can add others. Because roles have to be added individually to each user, by far the most effective use of your time is to put as much of your server’s policy decisions as possible in the @everyone role, so that users by default will have the permissions that you want them to have.

You might have noticed the left column on the Roles page, which displays the names of all roles you have created. Usernames on the server will display the color of the highest role assigned to a user. That makes management even easier: Users can easily recognize who the moderators, admins, etc. are on the server.

How to Delete Roles in Discord

It is rare that you would need to delete a role in Discord, as you could simply not assign it. However, if your account is becoming cluttered with unused roles, here’s how you can delete them.

  1. Select the small dropdown arrow next to your server and select “Server Settings.”
  2. Select “Roles” in the left pane and select the role you want to delete.
  3. Scroll down and click the “Delete [role name]” button.
  4. Confirm by clicking “Okay.”

More Information

Role management is a crucial part of keeping a Discord server organized, particularly as it gains users. You can do a half-hearted job of your roles on a server that’s just you and a few of your friends; if you have hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of users on your server then you have to have a well thought-out role hierarchy or your server is going to collapse into anarchy.

Bear in mind that there is a limit of 250 different roles on a particular server. This should not be a limitation in practical terms, but don’t start defining every possible combination of permissions that you might ever want to use – you’ll run out of roles quickly if you do that. Instead, focus on what the *social* function of a particular role is – is this an assistant administrator, who can run the server in your absence, and thus needs nearly all the permissions? Or is this a channel moderator, whose job is to help teach new users your local culture and rules and help them with issues? By focusing on what the role is expected to do in daily activity,you’ll quickly get a good sense of what actual permissions they will need in order to do that job.

It’s also important to be open to feedback from your users and especially from the moderators you pick to help you run the server. If they’re repeatedly telling you that they need particular permissions, they probably do. At the same time, you have to maintain a balance of responsibility and not let moderators become drunk with the authority the permissions may give. It’s just a chat server where you guys are playing games. Try and help people remember that.

You can find more information about roles on Discord at the very-useful Discord Wiki.

Have any tips or tricks for moderating a Discord server? Share them with us in the comments below!

We have a lot more Discord resources to help you in your online experience.

Here’s our guide to clearing out a Discord chat.

Change your mind about that guy you blocked? Here’s how to unblock someone on Discord.

Need to keep someone off your server? Here’s how to IP ban a user in Discord.

Want some bots to keep things interesting? Here’s our guide to adding bots to your Discord server.

Want to add music to your server? Here’s a guide to playing music in Discord.

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