TED Conversations

John Gianino

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How do we better organize our TED conversations?

Our conversations are powerful and meaningful. How do we structure this forum to better connect and engage us in a positive way?

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    Mar 11 2013: Let me ask, as I have wondered about this. Some people are obviously very much affected by whether they believe a thread has been posted in the right category- Ideas, Questions, or Debates. Others do not particularly notice the category in which the thread is placed, responding simply to the topic/question put forward and the narrative elaboration of what the questioner is looking for.

    Either John or Daryl, how does the way a person places his thread in a category (that you think is the wrong category for it) affect your experience?
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      Mar 11 2013: Does this relate to cogency?
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        Mar 11 2013: I noticed that Daryl went specifically to this issue in response to your question about organization.
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      Mar 11 2013: i think it is okay, just we need another category: the venus project
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      Mar 11 2013: Hey Fritzie, I as most here am able to respond as we see fit in the current context of how topics are placed but I do have to consider that often alot of banter is devoted to how a conversation is presented and have to agree with John's posting here that something like a loose policy to help people choose the appropriate format for their contribution might encourage some clarity in presenting their thoughts and responses. For instance, I due take issue with how Debates are so often presented as a question or commentary without a supporting argument. Ofcourse this is just my opinion being shared in the spirit and intent of helping find a solution should we deem one is needed.
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        Mar 12 2013: So your focus is not categorization per se but rather wanting positions to be supported by arguments and evidence.
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          Mar 12 2013: My focus is in specific response to John's request for feedback concerning how to better engage people in a positive way when posting to the general formats for "Conversations" without imposing a rigid format. What do you think about my suggestion for a roll-over on the format buttons of the main Conversations webpage giving a brief suggestion for presentation?
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        Mar 12 2013: Suggestions for presentation sound fine to me. I don't know how much difference they would make, though, as people already choose, I think, the style of presentation of their ideas that they prefer.
  • Mar 12 2013: probably this will seem a really minor point...

    when I first joined in these conversations, recently, I was surprised to find the number of recommendations for each person limited to quite a small number per week.
    I like to read comments using the 'Sort by' of Top Rated.
    I think perhaps restricting the recommendations distorts the natural order of the Top Rated, and I think this is a pity, because I have often noticed that the most articulate, the most balanced or the most informative comments do in fact often rise to the top, in other forums. This isn't always the case - sometimes quite rude and strident opinions become top, but even that is interesting as a reflection of the topic.
    Many people don't have the time to trawl through many comments, some of which are indifferent. So by fine tuning the Top Rated, I think it would improve the system.
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    Mar 12 2013: How can we have a parallel forum for people that may be less experienced in public discussion? Maybe both forums are attached to the same conversations somehow?
  • Mar 11 2013: Searching and organizing by author might be neat.
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      Mar 12 2013: Hi Robert, TED does have a feature similar to what you are describing. Would you elaborate on this idea?
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    Mar 11 2013: Good question, the way "conversations" are haphazardly and often incorrectly attributed to the prescribed formats is a sad commentary on the TED community. Debates are not Questions, Questions are not Ideas ect. I would expect the
    TED community to be more aware of the differences and more thoughtful about which format is appropriate for their contribution…that said…

    Debate - Open with a statement, a short paragraph that encompasses your topic followed by an argument for your position relevant to the topic, all respondent commenters/debaters then state their position and offer their argument, respond to specific commentary from the "reply" button and so on…Debates are for arguing a particular position on a given topic

    Question - an inquiry, submitted for the express purpose of enlisting an opinion or informed response…Questions are a way to elicit a response or gather information on a specific topic

    Idea - State your Idea, support it with whatever information is relevant and engage or encourage feedback…the sponsor should reply to each commenter individually with the "reply" button

    Not rocket science and might help make the conversations more engaging...
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      Mar 11 2013: How can we implement a clear format policy and remain open?
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        Mar 11 2013: I think if the policy were presented in a manner that inspires clarity as a suggestion rather than "set in stone" demand. Could mean setting up a simple "roll over" for each format button on the webpage for TED Conversations that brings up a small "pulldown" window containing a suggested outline for that format in clear language. At least then it would suggest an appropriate outline and still leave it up the individual how to word their contribution in real time.
      • Mar 12 2013: let people all have good education:)