current mood: strong sad looking pissed hard-done-by

Recently I got locked out of my Discord account.

What happened was that I changed the email on my account. This caused Discord to ask for phone verification, and to lock me out of the service until it was given. At this, dear readers, I am sad to say I did not take a strong and principled stand against such pointless invasions of privacy. Instead, I shamefacedly complied. Upon doing this, I was graciously allowed to rejoin the civilised world. Now, I did not want Discord to have my phone number on file, partially (yes) because of privacy reasons but mainly because you KNOW that Discord's gonna introduce mandatory 2FA someday, and when (not if, when) I lose my phone I will be unable to use Discord and be sent to the metaphorical Room 101 of having to fucking go outside, Due to this, I immediately removed my phone number from Discord.

Now when I did this the effect was similar to that famous photo.

everyone staring at you at a party with disgusted looks on their face
You know, this one.

The music stopped, I got the look, and I was dragged back out beyond the blank grey verification wall by some burly bouncer with shoulders higher than his head. Suitably chastised, I reentered my mobile phone number. Now this was inadmissible to Discord, because "this phone number was recently used on a different account." I.E. my own account. And I was once again locked out of my account, this time for two weeks![1]

The first thing that rankled me about this whole encounter was the initial request for phone verification. Though framed as a generous precaution taken only out of the abundance of security they provide, it was in reality the most transparent and cynical data-grab I have ever seen. For you see, even if some evil actor with my password were to attempt to steal my account and change my password, this supposed "verification" could not prove anything more than that they have a phone number!

The second thing that rankled me was, of course, how my main vector of communication with my friends was taken from me. Especially during lockdown, a time when many people can only communicate with their friends online, Discord should know better than to be this trigger-happy about suspending accounts.

As a result of this, I've started self-hosting my own Dendrite server, to federate with Matrix.org. It's not mature, and has given me more than a few headaches already. (It takes a VERY long time to join federated rooms, for one.) But it's a hell of a lot better than nothing.

[1] And they didn't tell me this number, or indeed have it anywhere on the official support site. I had to conduct my own research, which is a pretty sorry state of affairs. Just think: If Discord, judging by their documentation, had their druthers those who transgress would be not only locked in jail but not told for how long they would remain there.