TED Conversations

Timm Amstein

Student , TU Dresden

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Do we have to change the way we discuss on the internet?

A discussion is a vivid and passionate way to try to find the truth, behind a subject.
Today, after watching a talk, a documentary or a show nearly everyone shares an opinion about it with family, friends or the whole world. In times of facebook, blogs and twitter this comment can be seen by a lot of people.
The reactions to this comments are simply presented below the comment or simply in the thread.
Is this realy the most efffective way to do this?
If you didn't join the conversation early, to make a comment that is valuable to others, you have to read mostly all the contributions made by predeccors.
The effect is that in the end real discussions or even conversations only happen between two or three people.
Is this the real potential of the internet?
Creating the same size of discussion you can have in a bar only with someone around the globe?

I know, because the blog and thread system is so easy to implement and admister it is used nearly everywhere and it is the best wayto collect ONE way opinions, but it fails on the response part.
I think a good way to start a discussion with a GOAL, would be a interactive wiki approach, like the one google did with wave. So comments would be very specificly related to paragraphs or even sentences. Through try and error the document would grow. Very important, to speperate it from normal wikis, should be that the discussions and comments stay on the dokument. This way different approaches can be followed.
The result should be a dokument with a root like structure. I play Go sometimes online and there they use a similar system to find better ways of playing the game. I think online chess platforms use similar techniques.
The advantange would be that comments would be sorted and double statements minimized, discussion can have a real RESULT and somebody who wants to contribute can watch a document grow and open new paths or can simply accept the last state and contribute to that.

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    Apr 7 2013: Thank you Greg! Maybe I have chosen a too difficult and theoretical approach because we learned it like that at university. I think to simplify my argument I will use the Ted talk conversations as an example.

    I think that the comments below the TED Talks and also TED conversations are sometimes very frustrating. If I watch a brilliant talk which infuses thousands of new ideas questions and possibilites in my head I can comment below the talk or start a conversation. But the conversations are no real discussions. Its only a one way show because my and 50 other comments can't be replied in a thread.
    I think we should search for a more efficient approach to enable discussions for many people at the same time. Because that is the advantage of dicussing online and not in a bar. I can discuss with many different people with diffferent opinions culture and so on...
    Also what is frustrating is the fact that if i watch a talk, a week after it was published, i have to read a huge amount of comments and opinions in the most unorganized way I could imagine. I would have to spend hours of my time. We need a process which enables to organize summarize and structure the conversation so that you can point out specific problems.

    Because if I see a brilliant Talk there are most of the time 16 minutes of amazement and 2 that i don't understand or don't agree on and if I want to point that out and solve this problem with all of you I have to use this system or ignore my douts and thats not very satisfiing.

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