TED Conversations

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

Online Community Manager, TED


This conversation is closed.

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 11 2012: As always the masses are subdued at the hand of the few.
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      Oct 11 2012: I understand where you're coming from Shawn but the team is small and in a way the change is probably adding to the load. One day we will all be Mods for each other.
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        Oct 11 2012: Why not today? Why not here and now?
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          Oct 12 2012: I would have no idea how to implement such an idea. I thought of it when i was in a discussion with Pat about job creation except how do we pay each other? Gerald had put up a Q about what he could buy with his TEDcred and i thought we could use this for an exchange of personal time but then it would only work here. We could name them PM's=Personal Moderators to PAM's= Personal Assistant Moderators and PSM's=Personal Security Moderators, we could even start up a company to train people paid in Point exchange, lol you can see the holes in this idea and i have no idea what a Mod does anyway, it was a fun thought experiment. What do you think Wade? Could you add to it or rework it?
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          Oct 12 2012: It wouldn't work in the long run because people confuse what "Freedom of Speech" really means (depending on their laws that cover it).

          Freedom of speech is not guaranteed in a "private organization", such as the TED website. The owners of the organization get to make whatever rules they want about what type of posts or conversations are allowed, and how they will be conducted. They are the ones who get to moderate the forum and decide if a topic or post is in accordance with the goals of the website or community.

          Anyone who "joins" the community is bound by the rules established by the organization. Fritzie posted those rules in this thread, and they are on the main TED website.

          If you don't like the rules, you have the freedom to leave and go elsewhere. If the "elsewhere" you go allows you to say, "TED has some stupid posting rules!", complain about it there.
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        Oct 12 2012: After I got over my intial knee jerk reaction to censorship as well as talking with Aja, I realized what I enjoyed about this forum (see my reply to Kristian).

        I look at the forum now as TED being the Host and we are the guests. Now we have an outstanding Butler at the door to shield us from distracting trolls and sales people.

        My friends, Enjoy the party ;) ! Can someone point me to the champaign server?
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      Oct 11 2012: The TED community is not a democracy, Shawn. None of the members who volunteer to participate here got to vote for the leadership of the website nor the community.

      If you feel you are being "subdued" by anyone responsible for maintaining the purpose of this community, your "freedom" allows to you leave this communiy and post in other website communities that allow posting the way you would personally prefer to do it.

      Respectfully submitted.
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      Oct 11 2012: These are the Terms of Use pasted in from the website, in case anyone is not clear on what sort of threads would likely not be accepted.

      "We are seeking to build a mature online community centered around ideas that matter. Please be aware, when participating, that we will remove: •content promoting pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, zealotry, proselytizing, self-promotion, product-hawking, and new-age fluff
      •content written in txtspeak, all-caps, or otherwise lazy grammar
      •content posted by members using joke names or non-names
      •disrespectful, distasteful, unconstructive, or illegal content"
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        . . 100+

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        Oct 13 2012: I have a great deal of respect for this community. These are not just passing conversations. Only constructive thoughts and positive collaboration belong here. I imagine it takes a great deal of human hours to check these streams for "spam" and inappropriate content. So as I have suggested, it would be great to implement a software that automatically picks out disrespectful language, distasteful, curse words, etc.
        My new suggestion is to insert above guideline on top of every posted conversation/idea/debate so all new comers receive them and hopefully refrain from ruining conversation streams.Also I am in favor of profile content so we know who the commenter is, what they are about, etc. This is what sets TED apart. Cheers for TED!!

        Hi Frizie, Hi Aja !! ( It is great to see you again ;-), Rick, Wade, ken !!
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          Oct 13 2012: Hi, Juliette. My initial inclination was like yours, Juliette, that it would be a bold and honest statement for everyone to use real names and include profiles. In fact, when I started here, I thought everyone did that.

          There are two reasons I changed my mind on this. One is that some people in some parts of the world put themselves at risk for speaking their opinions freely. In that case using real names silences them. The flip side is, of course, that some people are less civil if they can hide behind a pseudonym.

          The second reason is that regardless of where one lives, on the open internet, there are people who do prey on innocent people, particularly if they have a way of identifying and finding them easily. Sometimes its a mean prank, sometimes bullying, and sometimes the perpetrator is psychotic. Such people can join open communities and target people in their offline lives.

          So I understand that some people are more comfortable using pseudonyms or not putting forward profiles as a safety measure.
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          Aja B. 20+

          • +1
          Oct 13 2012: I've been through a similar journey with real names vs. pseudonyms (names people are attached to, not complete anonymity). I thought this was interesting:

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        Oct 13 2012: This is helpful Aja!!

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