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Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

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TED conversation conduct

Can we jointly define it? Beyond the obvious foul, hateful and distasteful language?
I shall propose a few thumb rules and request you to populate/edit the list. I think it can be of great help for all of us.
1. No personal attack.
2. Disagree with respect
3. Give humor a chance.
4. Don't loose an opportunity to complement a poster.
5. Let go the first chance to criticize.
6. Be succinct but expand when necessary.
7. Try to be on topic but if a thread developed a question more interesting than the original, continue it.
8. Make your stand clear, if you have one.
9. Don't withdraw a comment unless you are compelled by consideration. Please leave a hint why you did so.
10. Please leave a concluding message for a conversation that is closing.

Thanks to everybody.

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Closing Statement from Pabitra Mukhopadhyay

Based on inputs from TEDsters here in open discourse it appears that an unofficial TED conversation conduct guideline may be as below:
1. No personal attack.
2. Disagree respectfully.
3. Give humor a chance.
4. Don't lose an opportunity to compliment a poster.
5. Let go the first chance to criticize a post.
6. Be succinct but expand when necessary.
7. Try to be on topic. If a thread develops a new question open a new conversation.
8. Make your stand clear, if you have one.
9. Don't withdraw a comment unless you are compelled by consideration. Please explain why you did so.
10. Please leave a concluding message for a conversation that is closing.
11. Never edit your comment beyond spelling and grammatical mistakes after someone has replied to it. If it is felt absolutely necessary for an edit after a reply, keep the original comment and add correction clearly mentioning it is an edited version.
12. Try to back up your comment with references if you are forwarding a claim. Your arguments will be more convincing if you provide supporting evidence, such as references for any statistics you cite or for claims about what scientific research says or what scientists believe.
13. Please interact with the commenters as a host of a conversation you started.
14. Draw your line between intellectual sparring and hazing. No trolls, bullying, multiple profile ganging up either.
15. Uphold the right of free speech but with responsibility and modesty.
16. Use TED email when you need to contact a poster directly.

Thanks to all participants and the TED conversation moderation team. Cheers!!

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    Apr 25 2013: I hereby let go the first chance to criticise. Now about the second chance, number 2 seems to command disagreement. Did you mean to say "IF you disagree, do it with respect."? In number 4 did you actually intend to use the word "complement", which means to complete or bring to perfection, or did you intend the word "compliment", which means to express courtesy or respect? Number 5 does not allow criticism when there is but one, isolated point of criticism. Number 7 should command being on-topic, it weakly suggests being on-topic. Number 8 allows posting when there is no stand. Do not post if you have no stand to make. number 10 is an existing requirement which very few people honor.
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      Apr 25 2013: Compliment it is. Thanks for pointing.
      I think 'Disagree respectfully' does not necessarily mean a command to disagree. One can say that No personal attack implies encouragement for other kinds of attacks. That would be too much extension of imagination. What is your suggestion? Should no. 2 be modified to 'IF you disagree, do it with respect.'?

      For criticism to be constructive and not just for the heck of it, it is preferable to seek clarification on a point. In my opinion overtly enthusiastic criticism can ruin a whole discussion. In any case, what exactly do you suggest? Drop no.5? Modify it?

      I have noticed previously an unjustly strong emphasis on being 'on topic' in TED. I think I have seen whole conversations dedicated on the issues of on-topic/off-topic. In my opinion, a lively discussion may not always insist commenters being strictly on-topic - some humor, some banter, some personal exchanges are normal and simulates a real 'face-to-face' discussion. So, yes my suggestion on being on-topic is not very strong, if not weak.
      Completely disagree that 'Make your stand clear, if you have one' is equivalent to 'Do not post if you have no stand to make.'
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        Apr 25 2013: No problem. Simply suggestions offered in a spirit of helpfulness. No need to defend yourself. Be well, and thanks for trying to improve the free exchange of ideas!
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          Apr 25 2013: Welcome. Was just clarifying, not defending.
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          Apr 27 2013: Yes, Edward, I think people should post only with a point or purpose, but I think the fact that someone chose to post means he had a purpose. The only question is whether the purpose he had was connected to moving forward understanding of the subject at hand.

          Perhaps I am being too literal.
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        Apr 25 2013: I agree, Pabitra, that people can make valuable contributions to discussion without taking a stand. People can, for example, contribute information, raise a question, try to clarify an argument someone else has made, and so forth.

        I also agree that some banter can work well and I doubt people flag it very much. In contrast, I think people can usually recognize when they are steering a conversation from the topic at hand to a topic they would really prefer to discuss and it would be nice if they were to exercise some restraint in this. It is a habit some people have as well in offline discussion, which is how in some families everyone gets to hear the same story over and over!
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          Apr 27 2013: Thank you, Fritzie, for pointing-out that I may have over-extended the meaning of the word "stand". I was using it interchangeably with "point". You are correct that posting on TED does not require that there be a point/stand in the post. It may be academic, or historical information germane to. . . to what? Isn't it true that every poster should be able to answer the question (even if TED does not ask it): "What is the point, or purpose of this post?" If the answer is "There is no point/purpose.", then it should not be posted.

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