Writing the news (on Discord)

How I draft and write news updates for the Rainbow Six Discord server.

06 Jun 2019

I have been helping with updating the #rainbow-six-news channel on the Rainbow Six Discord server for quite a while now, but I’ve never properly documented or shared my thought process when drafting these messages.

So… here it is!

The title

The title is the first thing the user reads, so it should provide the topic of the update. I also like to use emojis at the start of the title, to provide a consistent, visual way of categorising updates.

🛠🖥 PC Maintenance - Deployment of Patch Y4S1.2 (4 April 2019)

📰New post: Y4S1.3 Designer’s Notes

⚠🖥 Service degradation on PC

The First Line

Writing the first line is tricky. It is important to provide a concise summary of the update, while not providing too much information (for reasons I will cover later).

📰🚧 PC TS Update (May 28, 2019)
There is an update for the PC Test Server deploying today. This update contains further bug fixes and temporary changes to Warden and Nokk’s secondary gadget.

In the update above, temporary changes to Warden and Nokk’s secondary gadgets were mentioned, but what those changes are isn’t explicitly stated. This is intentional to encourage readers to open and to read the article itself.

This is especially useful for announcements that may be unpopular or contentious with some players. It encourages them to read the linked article and the justifications provided in the article by the dev team.

This also helps with managing and reducing the number of players who will disrupt chat by ranting and complaining in channels without the full story. ;)

Further information can be provided below the first line. For some posts, it may be helpful to provide additional context and/or links, or to pre-emptively respond to common, expected questions.

When including multiple links, be sure to selectively escape by wrapping them in angled brackets so the correct link preview shows under the post.

📰 Dev Blog: Reverse Friendly Fire update
Reverse Friendly Fire (RFF) is coming to the live servers tomorrow!

When a player abuses the friendly fire mechanic to grief their teammates, this system is activated. After RFF is activated on a teammate, further damage inflicted upon teammates or the hostage is reflected back to the player.

🔗 Read more: https://rainbow6.com/rffupdate
Original announcement about the RFF system: https://rainbow6.com/reversefriendlyfire

Other bits of information

For posts such as maintenance or special events, clearly state the affected platforms to avoid ambiguity.

Time zones are complicated. When including times, be sure to include the usual time and its corresponding time zone, provide the time in UTC for easy conversion, as well as either a countdown or time zone converter link.

📰 PC: 50% Bonus Renown event this weekend!
After the PC degradation last weekend, there will be a 28-hour 50% renown boost event for PC players.

🖥 Platform: PC
🕗 Starts: Sat, April 13 - 8:00 AM ET (12:00 PM UTC) (about 21 hours after this post)
🕛 Ends: Sun, April 14 - 12:00 PM ET (4:00 PM UTC)
🌎 Converted to your time zone: https://siege.dangeraspect.xyz/event-time#BonusRenown_20190413

Make mobile notifications useful

Finally, the last tip is to include any @role mentions within the same message, as opposed to sending them after as a separate message.

This means inactive users or those on mobile will receive a useful notification with a clear title in the preview, as opposed to an ambiguous role mention with no context in their notification tray.