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 13 2012: I agree with moderation but it needs to be done in moderation and with certain principles that are respectful in nature towards all: the the host, the postee and those that read it.

    I recently started a debate: http://www.ted.com/conversations/14360/debate_our_culture_isn_t_ada.html, and it got approved but with a twist: the title was modified, and a URL that I attached was ousted from the text.

    I would have preferred that somebody ask me before performing these changes on a discussion I was posting. A title is very important and my choice of words were very deliberate. Why is a title which is put in by a TED moderator better for a topic that I posted better than my title? Does this person really know better than me what I wanted to ask?

    The link was an outside link, not within TED. It was to an article on my personal blog which contains a lengthy essay regarding the topic I posted. By lengthy I mean at least 10 times as much as a TED debate would allow me to post. I added it because I believe it was important to the discussion and would have clarified a lot what I was debating. I really do not see why it was eliminated, except that maybe TED people desperately try to keep people on their site for traffic. Otherwise if people visit a harmless blog entry, which in this case is on topic, would either find the blog uninteresting and then leave it immediately or find it interesting and to the point in which case it becomes an "idea worth spreading". Isn't that what TED is about?

    As a side note, I've been meaning to post this topic for a long time, but I was not sure if I was allowed to post references and I was puzzled of how I could communicate what I am asking about in so few words. But then I found this post: http://www.ted.com/conversations/14146/is_there_a_biological_basis_of.html, where there is a reference to an external site, so I figured that if others may do it, I may too. But it is clearly not the case.

    I think this kind of attitude is harmful to TED.
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      Oct 13 2012: It could be Stefan that you could be the very first one to have to go through it?
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        Oct 13 2012: I think there is a bug in the system. If I answer you in narrow view conversation (the kind that you have when you open it from an email) it will post a new comment rather than answering in-line like this one.

        Please see my answer above.
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      Aja B. 20+

      • +1
      Oct 13 2012: Hi Stefan,

      We're currently experiencing a higher than normal level of spam in the form of members using posts simply as a way to drive traffic to their blogs/sites, so yes, we are starting to be more careful about links. We also encourage new topic creators to stay within the 2,000 character limit, for the sake of a healthy conversation:

      "Be clear and concise! Conversation starters are limited to 2,000 characters, and our most successful Conversations are much shorter. Include enough information for your audience to build on, but leave room for the discussion to grow."

      From our Conversations How-To Guide: http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_howto
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        Oct 13 2012: It is sad that people abuse for personal gain pretty much everything in this world. This is indeed one of monsters that we as a society created. But kill me if you must, I still don't think that the answer to the the problem is censorship by the hands of staff.

        If in the short term is a necessity, because that's the reality we face, it must be done with the greatest of care, because it is a slippery slope. It is a system that can be just as easily abused as democracy can be.

        Any way, I am happy I can be a part of this community. I think you are doing a great thing.

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