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Free and open version of TED.com

Hi all,

In light of TED's recent decision to remove videos that question scientism, I know some of us are thinking that we can't trust TED, or any closed organization, to spread bold and innovative ideas. Some of us are thinking about a free and open platform for doing the same.

Are people interested in the idea of a website to host short user-generated videos describing whatever ideas the speaker thinks are worth sharing?

TED's 18-minute video format has been very successful. So has its diversity of topics, from every branch of science, art, social engagement and personal experience. This could be kept intact.

Quality control is obviously an issue here - I would love to hear some suggestions about how other open-content projects have dealt with that.
Bandwidth would not be a huge issue, as the videos could be uploaded to Youtube and embedded.
The website would need to attract some big names to get the ball rolling - any ideas about how to do this would be welcome.

What do you think?

  • Mar 18 2013: Kudos to TED for allowing this conversation to take place on their site; I wasn't sure it was pass the moderators.
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      Aja B.

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      Mar 18 2013: We really do welcome criticism and opposing ideas here, Conor, as long as they're posed in a reasonably constructive manner (and aren't a repetition of existing conversation topics).

      The kudos are much appreciated, though. :)
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        Mar 19 2013: Can we have a quick update on the Sheldrake talk? I've heard TED retracted, or toned-down, their depiction of it. Whasssup?
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    Mar 18 2013: Are you thinking of a website on which anyone who wants to can post his Youtube video as long as he or she commits to an 18 minute length limit?

    I am not sure what you mean by quality control, as quality is to many people in the eye of the beholder. How do you see "open" and "quality control" to be related? This is confusing to me. Are you familiar with Ignite? Ignite has in common with TED the idea of its consisting of live gatherings in different places that are then recorded. I think anyone can sign up to present but that the time limit is 5 minutes.
    • Mar 18 2013: Your right Fritzie I went to that site and I picked blondes and brunettes engage in a tug-of -war. i have to tell the truth;I never turned on the sound before I returned to TED. Connor that is an option, but science is science. Other stuff is fine too if that's your thing.
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        Mar 18 2013: Hi, George. I have not examined the specific content on the site myself. I just understand it to provide a forum for anyone who wants an audience to get up and be heard and for people to attend if they choose, view the videos if they choose, and discuss it afterwards.
    • Mar 18 2013: "anyone who wants to can post his Youtube video as long as he or she commits to an 18 minute length limit?"
      Yes, but focused on talks/presentations expressing particular ideas.

      "How do you see "open" and "quality control" to be related? This is confusing to me."
      Not just to you! This tension exists in all open-source and open-content projects. Wikipedia seems to do alright by letting users weed out bad content, and having moderators lock down controversial content.
      Some sort of voting system (thumbs up / thumbs down) is one obvious way.
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        Mar 18 2013: I basically understand what Wikipedia does to try to control the quality of its content and to flag to readers material that they consider suspect for lack of credible support of claims.

        I don't think thumbs up/thumbs down is a reliable way of assessing "quality" of content, though it can identify the popularity of the speaker, his organization, and his ideas.
  • Mar 19 2013: Perhaps TED is the first of a whole spectrum of organizations that spread good ideas. That would be great.

    The core issue is quality.

    If you want complete openness, you will not get high quality, by any definition of quality.

    Perhaps other sites will be similar to TED, but have talks of varying length and choose talks based on different criteria. Perhaps the curators will be a board of scientists, or perhaps a board of philosophers, or maybe journalists. Some will be more open and some will be more stringent.

    Let the competition commence. The global village will be the winner.
    • Mar 19 2013: "If you want complete openness, you will not get high quality, by any definition of quality."
      Isn't this disproven by Wikipedia, Linux, Firefox etc?
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        Mar 19 2013: I think it is proven by them. If by "open and free" we mean a total absence of quality control then the result absolutely will be a mixture of raw sewage and fine wine. Care for a glass?
  • Mar 18 2013: Happy St P. Day hangover there Conor

    From what I have been able to tell BBC has picked up on this skirmish since they already have their own ideas program and are attempting (aggressively) to establish their British "style" not only at home but overseas eg N A and not just a one hour news on PBS. So something to watch for.

    This is good in that they will not have the Cult behaviour TED talks relies on ...charging $7,500 per weekend to applaud on que to speakers who undergone group indoctrination ....plus BBC will have ready access to truly open but informed people who can set and maintain standards....and hold forums in global location. They can (perhaps) also use the audience vote by "push the button yes/no" method as they use in the Middle east forums.

    I am beginning to sound like I am selling BBC here but anyway....lets remember TED is just TED and if people want to think they are "heart thinkers" by buying into it ...so be it!!! But in the meantime there is potential through these communications systems to create a true vehicle of thought/info/ideas/creativity. Some more then something somewhere between National Geographic and Readers Digest paid for with "1970's Dare to be Great cultism"

    At least TED's existence has shown that there is potential out there...now of a smart broad caster ( lets face it, this does cost $$$) can pull together creative people / put on Open to ALL thoughts / connected to Moderated feedback / backed up by adequate background reading and related info / and provide it globally / then TED would have actually contributed to "making a difference," oddly as it may seem.
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    Mar 18 2013: scientism is a term now?
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      Mar 18 2013: Coined, in fact, by Hayek, though the use has morphed somewhat: "It was Hayek who coined the term “scientism”, but the word quickly took on a life of its own. As Hayek first used the term, “scientism” was defined as the confused adoption of a false understanding of the actual methods and nature of science, a false picture taken from a defective understanding of the example of “science” provided by the most simple causal and mathematical relations in physics and chemistry (even simple phenomena are falsely characterized by this defective conception of “science”) and extended in pathological fashion to complex phenomena involving the domains of the human, the social, and the biological. "
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        Mar 18 2013: thanks. it is a bad idea of a name. physicism would be better, perhaps. sociology is a valid science, but employing the toolset of physics in sociology is ... questionable.
  • Mar 18 2013: Is this a problem? Science seems to be a concern for TED. Is that unreasonable? There are other forums for other views.