TED Conversations

Aja B.
  • Aja B.
  • New York, NY
  • United States

Online Community Manager, TED


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We're making a small change to TED Conversations

Hello all! I wanted to let you know that we're in the process of making a small change to the TED Conversations platform.

It's been a great year and a half since the debut of TED Conversations, and you've had some excellent discussions in that time. We're constantly impressed by the breadth, depth, and diversity of topics and participants here.

Unfortunately, we've also seen a growing number of inappropriate, spam, and abusive topics, which our small team has worked around the clock to remove. Over time, this has become a bit overwhelming. In response, and in order to continue to provide a space for meaningful conversation and debate, we're rolling out a simple approval process for new Conversation topics.

What will this mean? Well, submitting a new idea, question, or debate will work as it always has. You'll use the same form to enter a title, description, related TEDTalks, and a timeframe for the discussion. Once you click Submit, your Conversation will enter an approval queue, where the TED team will read and publish it within 24 hours (though usually much faster). If we can't publish it, we'll send you an email with feedback and instructions on how to re-submit. Once approved, the new Conversation will work as always, with TEDizens around the world joining in your discussion to talk, brainstorm, and collaborate.

Our hope is that this small change will provide a stronger and more consistent experience for you and for the rest of the online TED community. As always, we'd love to hear from you! Please get in touch with us below, or at conversations@ted.com with any thoughts or feedback you'd like to share.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing your future TED Conversations!


Aja Bogdanoff
TED Conversations Team


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  • Oct 12 2012: TED is american centric, they are all about the status quo as long as it exists within the narrow american paradigm. That's the real problem with TED is that it is highly american centric. Behind the facade of sharing of ideas is a hypercapitalistic paradigm and anything that doesn't fit neatly within it is chucked.

    When people who manage TED start deleting comments on history of american capitalism because it offends their ideology that's a real problem. While there may be some abusive comments, you can't have 'ideas that change the world' without serious disagreement and criticism. Many ideas about changing society are actively suppressed by the powers that be because many even educated people find the truth threatening their ideals. TED is all about elitism behind the facade. Lets face this fact, there's much interesting about TED but you won't won't find serious discussion that goes beyond the surface or goes 'too outside of bounds' of what people who run ted (americans) find ideologically palatable.
    • Oct 12 2012: The fact that I'm reading this seems to defeat your argument. An existential paradox, no?

      I agree that serious discussion is hard to find. However, I would define "serious discussion" as that which leads to action. Generally the distinction happens when a conversation becomes not about whether to act, but logistics, what and how. A team of competent individuals might have such a conversation, and you might find those individuals here.

      Good luck to you, sir!
      • Oct 14 2012: Sorry but I've seen it happen since I am one of those people who's comments was deleted for no reason at all, nor was I informed or messaged I had committed some faux pas. It just magically disappeared. This is what happens to many peoples comments on ted. The internet allows censorship without informing the audience that you're being censored.

        The reason why people are agreeing is because they've seen it happen.
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      Oct 12 2012: Lots of people talk about the history of American capitalism both in scholarly settings and here on TED as it enters the many conversations that are always underway about alternative economies or economic policy.
      I would have said capitalism is a popular topic here and elsewhere rather than a taboo and that critique is as common as defense.
      In terms of serious discussion, people participating in online discussions make choices of how deeply they want to get into things. You are right that online discussions (here or elsewhere) tend not to look like rigorous scholarly exchanges, if that is what you mean by serious discussion. But the depth of discussion derives from the tastes and choices of participants rather than any sort of actions by site administrators.
      There is another issue, which affects how conversations unfold here or anywhere. Some topics are of great interest and so arise frequently. Even those who are highly interested in a topic may not choose to engage in the same question or issue every time it arises. To someome new to the site, that may seem like lack of interest. Looked at more broadly, it may just be that people who have been around a site for awhile are drawn to topics they have not been discussing recently.

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