Hello, IAmKale#0023 here. What follows is the true story of how Goon Discord Network came to be, as well as some context around its success and events in its past.
A Short History
Midway through 2015, SA member Tempus Thales originally came to me with an idea for a "Discord directory website". This site would act as a waypoint to help other members of Something Awful find servers populated with fellow goons. I started work on v1 of GDN Bot soon after and launched Goon Discord Network, or "GDN", in 2016.
Since then GDN has grown by word of mouth to what it is today, connecting over 15,000 goons to more than 100 Discord servers. Enrollment in GDN has always been opt-in. Its continued success is only due to the faith goons put into it to help them moderate their communities.
You can always join my official GDN Discord server to request assistance with GDN Bot.
GDN's Claim to Fame
To understand the appeal of GDN, one must first understand that goon communities of yore often required members to possess a valid membership on the Something Awful forums. This involved admins manually interacting with every potential member to verify their SA profile.
The key to GDN's growth over these years has been GDN Bot's ability to automate the entire SA account confirmation process. Available from launch, Discord admins who enroll their server in GDN can optionally enable the bot's !authme command on their server. New members to the server invoke this command to work directly with GDN Bot to verify forum membership. Afterwards they receive a server-specific "goon" role that grants them access to the rest of the server.
As an added benefit, goons who complete auth are automatically authenticated when they joined other GDN-enrolled servers. So long as they remain off the GDN "blacklist" then authenticated members can hop from server to server and instantly enjoy all there is on offer.
"You've been blacklisted..."
An SA member can become "blacklisted" after enough evidence is presented to me that I decide I just don't want that person participating in GDN anymore. It can also happen if an SA user becomes permabanned from SA.
Being blacklisted does not ban you from any Discord servers! It simply means that you cannot use !authme or benefit from cross-server automatic authentication. If you've been blacklisted and can't join a particular server, it's because that server decided to ban you, not because the bot is denying you access.
And for the record a blacklist reversal, while rare, is not unprecedented.
Regarding Past Controversies
One may occasionally hear claims that GDN Bot was at one time "compromised" and used to spy on servers. These claims are patently false, conflations of something that happened sometime in 2019 with a now-defunct Discord bot named BroBot. Brobot's Discord API token accidentally leaked, and unsavory individuals took advantage of this to spy on servers and channels BroBot had access to; this inadvertently included some admin-only channels that BroBot had been allowed into. BroBot's owner permanently shut the bot down shortly after this event.
I claim unequivocally that GDN bot has never been compromised in any way since its inception. At the end of the day the bot is purpose-made to do a couple of things with as minimal access to your Discord servers as possible. After all, there's not a whole lot the bot can do with the few permissions it requests when an admin joins it to their server.
The bot has also been open-sourced, and all work on it is completed out in the open for ease of self-audit and to give admins peace of mind.