Brian R Light

Chairman, Salon Communications Inc.

This conversation is closed.

TED comments should be no more than 4 lines

More is too much so please, be succinct. I could go on (and have) but that would defeat my position. Besides, who likes a blowhard?

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    May 10 2012: I have the answer

    to the

    meaning of life!

    The answer is:

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    May 9 2012: Why restrict brilliance?
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      May 10 2012: Would you consider a comment that is half the length less brilliant if it conveyed the same thought more concisely, succinctly, and elegantly? I would argue that the shorter comment would be more valuable.
  • May 8 2012: Maybe
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      May 9 2012: Well, at least almost everyone responding kept to the rule
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    May 12 2012: Certainly retricting the length of TED talks has forged powerful ideas worth spreading as well as memorized.
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    May 11 2012: You
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    May 10 2012: I'm afraid TEDconversations will turn into youtube comments...
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    Becky C

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    May 9 2012: Comments should be four lines IF it is quite simple debate and there answer is short like 'Yes I agree with you.' If it's a very complicated question and your comment adds a very different and complicated side in the debate then you may need to expand your answer to over four lines. This I can understand, when I'm in a rush I will only read the short comments and for other people 4L is just the right length for there attention span. There should be some exceptions for very hard topics.
  • May 9 2012: I understand that people with long-winded comments can be a chore to read, but four lines to develop and present and idea or opinion is far too restrictive. You can formulate a convincing argument without the need of 2,000 words, but four lines is far from adequate.
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    May 9 2012: Not everyone can cater to another persons needs, and adaptability would be possible, but not in this situation. No such limit is reasonable. There are just too many ideas, but it would be nice if the content was more focused. That would not be possible though because Ted would need to hire a bunch of revisers to revise every post, so we leave it to the individual to learn from each post (hopefull).
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      May 9 2012: I wanted debate (learning) on this issue as I do not have the time (or won't make it) to read everything. I would not like it if TED insisted and I concede, unreasonable. However, although they cannot be supported almost any idea can be posited in 4 lines. Perhaps the position should have been ask every one to begin with a Head that is no longer than four lines?
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    May 8 2012: I have read many insightful, articulate responses in TED Conversations that were longer than four lines. I am so glad we do not have such an artificial limit.
    Four line explanations are not necessarily more enlightening than ten line arguments.
    If you do not like to read arguments of longer than four lines, just don't read them, but let the rest of us read them if we find them valuable.
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      May 9 2012: I was thinking voluntary not a TED rule. Perhaps my position should have been ask every one to begin with a Head that is no longer than four lines?
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        May 9 2012: One of my jobs involves running a discussion board for a course. Rather than putting forward limits such as length, my first post is of guidelines for academic discourse. The intention there is to ask people to consider not rolling too many questions into one, lay out how to support claims in an academic setting, and so forth.
        There are different useful ways of discussing things though. Twitter works in sound bites. As I don't care for that kind of discussion, I choose not to use Twitter. Facebook is, I believe, mostly social banter. I don't prefer that either.
        Here we have some questions that lend themselves to compact replies and others to the sharing of arguments or experiences that defy a four sentence form.
        Each of us needs to choose where we want to spend our time, including which discussions here we give our time and which we don't. If someone poses questions in an excessively long-winded way, those who respond will be those who are fine with it.
        And thus an open community moves in the direction of the tastes of its participants.
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          May 9 2012: I do this also and I would like to add it depends on the level of the student and the level of response needed to meet the course competency. Some discussion questions are short answer and some are essay. Depends on the question and academic level of the student.
  • May 8 2012: 1. It does not follow that the search for clarity (in explanatory prose) mandates anything more than four lines is prolix.

    2. Succinct writing can leave too much detail requiring to be guessed and that probably leads to misunderstanding.

    3. You (wrongly, in my opinion) conflate a 'blowhard' with those who would desire to be clear to others.

    4. Your 4 line limit was easily exceeded by YOU... when describing your own TED story - seems inconsistent to my mind.
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    May 8 2012: The problem is in editing. I am confident that after you finished your long-winded response you could go back through and edit the comment to half the origional size.
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      May 9 2012: No doubt but my 4 line rule is really impossible to defend
  • May 8 2012: Sounds like the K.I.S.S. formula......Keep It Short And Simple
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    May 8 2012: Sorry, but I would need to learn rhetoric in quatrain.

    You can't adequately develop an idea or a debate argument in 4 lines. It would just require so many more postings and it's tough enough to find the damn reply button on this thing anyway.
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      May 9 2012: My hands up. I have lost this debate but still, Terry above reminds K.I.S.S.
  • May 8 2012: hmmmm... u r rght for that people shld be presice with their talks as well as make their explanation clear to opponent .
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    May 8 2012: I enjoy writing with as few words as possible though I enjoy, as well, reading good writers' descriptive words, tangents and phrases. I suggest leaving whatever limits already imposed alone. Start a new site: Conversations of ____ Words or Less.
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      May 9 2012: I'm liking that at least we ask every one to begin with a Head that is no longer than four lines?
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    May 8 2012: It would cause all of us to be more creative with our writing and expression of ideas:>)
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    May 8 2012: of course you r right.
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    May 8 2012: Sorry, can't do it. Must write like I talk, long-windedly. It's in my nature, it's in my name.
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    May 14 2012: ADHD generation.

    if you can't read a whole ted comment how are you supposed to read a book?

    2000 characters is not very long. It takes many words to communicate complex ideas and arguments. 4 lines is not enough.
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    May 12 2012: That would be interesting.
  • May 12 2012: Post in bits of information, and think in bits of information and sometimes that's the perfect comment or response. Effectively conveying a thought or a point is an art of one's use of language and to be read is to hold onto the reader.

    So does that mean longer posts with credit points merit more member attention because the communicator is asking more of the reader's time and connection?
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    May 10 2012: Brian, I couldn't agree more with you on this one.

    The future belongs to twitter-like expressions with minimum words and maximum contents not to fat volumes.

    Brilliant parallels and picture like expressions matter now.

    I hardly ever read as far as the fourth line anyway.
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    May 9 2012: It may depend on the attention span of your intended audience. And where they sit.
    In traffic?
    Maybe you would like to develop a TED bumper sticker collection?
  • May 9 2012: 4 is the right number for you. 2 and 7 are fine numbers for other people. 5 and 11 seem appropriate at times. I kinda like flexibility and people expressing themselves according to their standards for quantity rather than using your standard. I trust you will stick with your standard of 4 lines, but if you feel like going over, feel free. Happy Today.
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    May 8 2012: when the character limit was increased from 1000 to 2000, people immediately started to ask for 3000. but it would not be enough for some people. i've seen comments in 5 parts, totaling near 10K in size.