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 28 2013: Yes, definitely. I have worked on this topic extensively since the 2008 financial crash (I work for one of the big’s and felt a deep sense of failure over leadership opportunities lost for us in the “know” or “could know” category). An important point to the topic is that it is not just a tool that is needed, but also different ways of thinking and acting. There are many themes: diversity, thinking for the group, leadership, structure, and recognition of the full bandwidth of our experience (intellectual, emotional, artistic, and etc.).

    The comments about lack of moderation and wading through 10,000 comments are very important practical considerations (“How can we achieve like ants?” is a potent question in collaborative intelligence). Wiki creation is not the full answer, since it assumes one view can be formed, which is truer of science as opposed to human problems. Search for web using the words “disagreement success Keyes” and you may find some food for thought from the peace and reconciliation space. A final thought is around freedom. With the usual internet chat we have freedom constrained by chaos -too many choices and voices that you cannot easily organize and navigate and react to or interact with in time to be effective. Other parts of the internet are closely walled, so you cannot interact very much or with very many, but your response is more likely to have an impact -just in a narrow area. So is effective internet dialog a freedom optimization problem –finding the right balance for the purpose at hand of inclusiveness vs. exclusiveness, structure vs. openness, and etc.?

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