TED Conversations

Chris Anderson

Curator, TED


This conversation is closed.

Should anyone be able to upload their TEDTalk to TED.com?

YES: because there are thousands of invisible geniuses out there. Let's bring their wisdom to the world! The TED crowd will quickly vote up the good ones.

NO: it will plunge the site into an ocean of mediocrity. The best thing about TED.com is that it's curated. Every talk is good. Don't turn it into youtube

Topics: ideas innovation
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    Feb 25 2011: Mayhaps people could mark their YouTube videos as "TED Talk" and TED, if it chooses, could sort them out from there?
  • Feb 11 2011: I think this has potential if you made two adjustments:

    1) Clearly differentiated the publicly submitted section of TEDTalks
    2) Allowed for an up/down voting system, so that talks with lots of positive votes can move up, and those with negative ones can move down. Alternatively, if it's a controversial talk, for example, you could have the talks that solicit the most traffic, views, comments or combination of all three move up the chain for more visibility, so naturally the mediocre talks will move down, and the hidden gems will be bumped up.
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    Feb 25 2011: No, it would lead to further decline of quality of TED talks. Quantity is not better than quality. If you want quantity, you can get it on Youtube already (and there are pockets of quality on Youtube).
  • Feb 25 2011: I like the concept of "TED: Collaboration." I will say "yes" but i think that TED's orchestrated talks should be kept separate from uploaded talks. I appreciate TED's screening of talks.

    In addition, TED should integrate more face-to-face conversation instead of all upload/download, like here on TED conversation. TED should integrate video into this interface instead of just comment-lists. I would love to be able to have real conversations with other people in the TED community. Check out www.theinteract.net/main for instance.
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    Feb 24 2011: i say YES to the idea but with some regulations that i crystalized into a potential project that i call "TEDcollaborative " ,heres how i see it:

    -TEDcollaborative is new seperate project (the same concept like the TEDx initiative)
    -TEDcollaborative would have a definite theme ,and the speakers will be collaborators from all over the world .
    -the speakers would record their talk ,obeying the normal TED brilliant format,and upload it to a special page on TED.
    -after a screening process by TED adminstration to make sure that the talk follows the guidelines.it ll be available for the TED community to see it.
    -then all the talks will go through a voting process to choose the best talks that ill be the official talks of that specific TEDcollaborative event and then they become a TEDtalk

    why this project?
    -it ll give the opportiunity to those with great ideas but can never make it to the TED stage to have their voices heard.
    -it wont plunge the site with ocean of mediocrity as only a few selected talks will become a TED talk.
    -and of course you can never truly know if something will work or not until you try it.so i guess experimenting is the keyword heer.i also believe that there was alot of concerns about the TEDx project especially that TED gave their brand for others to use,but the project eventually proved to be a big success.

    some concerns:

    -there are other websites like youtube that ppl can share on what they have:i say that whats special about TED is its brilliant format,not just the exposure.

    -it ll be like video blogging:the solution for this lies in the guide lines and briefing on how to make it as much of a TED talk as possible.guidelines should include how the background should look like,the quality of recording,the posture of the speaker,...etc

    thats all : )
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    Feb 16 2011: There's no need for an "either or" decision. Create a subTed -- or two Teds -- one curated and one organic. Aggregating the "best of" won't be difficult. I love the curated content that reflects recognized brilliance. AND I'd welcome the opportunity to experience the unknown grass-level ideas (with eclipse potential).
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      Feb 16 2011: Exactly, there should be more calls here to avoid either-or thinking. I agree with every point you made so succinctly. It'd also address some criticisms I've heard of TED elitism.
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    Feb 12 2011: No. Curation, quality content, worthiness = good.
    Too much content, overwhelming experience, complexity, mediocre = bad.
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    Feb 21 2011: No (unfortunately)...

    I agree that there is much hidden genius in our world. Problem is there is "much" to sort through to find it and unconventional genius is not easy to detect. The subtle need not be at the mercy of a rating system; one that is idealised on conventions of mass appeal or bias based on the topic/idea (especially politically-charged ones, high media exposure, etc).

    Q: Would Einstein's early ideas on relativity been given appropriate visibility in a user-rated system??? Would a low-rating influence the passions of a hidden genius?
  • Feb 20 2011: Not as "TED Talks".

    Suggest to use separate channel/website link.

    Best of such talks (after due selection/moderation) to be linked available under a separate theme, "Best of Uploaded Talks", on main TED website.
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      Feb 20 2011: My thoughts exactly!
      Avoid the excessive influx of information. NPR has an article on its main page discussing a "Media Black Hole".. A sister site to capture the full-scan of ideas is a necessity. Then filter in the key elements/developments to TED. It builds momentum!
      R. W. Emerson: "The wise through excess of wisdom is made a fool."
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    Feb 15 2011: No.

    I would prefer an advanced TEDx directory that allows for easier browsing of events future and past. The videos should remain on their respective sites, with only the curated ones hosted on the main site.

    As a translator, I would like to see portals that cater to the respective languages, off- or onsite. I think talks in languages other than english may not be accessible to the vast majority of the community but help immensely in spreading awareness of TED on a national basis.
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    Feb 11 2011: Curation requires trust. People come to TED to watch videos they trust are worth 18+ minutes of their full attention. The process may not capture all the substance in the world, but eliminating noise differentiates TED from most other video hub. People upload videos for a variety of reasons: some self-promotionally irrelevant or mediocre, others validly brilliant. Voting these means the TED crowd will have to now do the sifting work to find that hidden gem. I vote no.
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    Feb 18 2011: I agree with the No. If you want to upload some personal discussion without the curating that TED.com does now, then that is what YouTube is for. However, I see no reason that a much-discussed talk on YouTube couldn't be promoted to TED.com once it achieves significant mindshare.
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    Feb 18 2011: My humble opinion is if you are going to add "regular" peoples ideas, they should not be in the main video threads. A separate area of the site may be nice. If a video is up ranked extremely high, it may be an honour to have it moved to the main feed. This allows the invisible geniuses a chance of being heard, keeps the integrity of TED, and shows those who are selected that their ideas do stand out above the crowd. (every one likes bragging rights )
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      Feb 18 2011: I agree with this option, though I think there should be the main channel as exists currently, a featured channel with the best talks from the open feed.
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    Feb 18 2011: No, I don't think uploading it directly to TED.com would be good. I think the power of the video's on TED.com is that they are curated, and a certain level of quality is expected and delivered.


    Currently there are a few sources for talks :
    - TED Conferences
    - TED Partner conferences
    - TEDx events
    - Best of the Web

    It would not be bad to create another source for talks, which could be user submitted talks. You would need to have a rating system which would use crowdsourcing to rate video's on some of the TED quality guidelines, like self-promotion / selling, duration, and 'coolness' of the idea etc.

    This could be a really good source for content and ideas. Just like the inclusion of certain TEDx talks, the best of these user-submitted talks, could be reviewed by TED staff and considered to be featured on TED.com, or as a good lead for local TEDx events.

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      Feb 18 2011: Richard, I really like your last point. A user-generated channel, with the best picked out by TED staff to be included in TED Talks. I vote for that.

      In that way we get the best of both worlds: access to a planet-full of geniuses and some quality control so that we don't just end up with videos of Justin Bieber.
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      Feb 19 2011: I concur with your suggestion for curating the posted talks. What about having a special section for TEDxTalks? That would also give them a good level of exposure, and even encourage uptake of TEDx events around the world.
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    Feb 16 2011: Originally I thought "of course not" because of the mess it would become, but with an architecture that also says anyone can be a curator on TED.com, and that allows filters based on curation cred and other attributes, it might work.

    All user-submitted TEDtalks would go into one big pool. You could browse the big pool, but more likely you would have a reasonable filter set up based on curation: TED's, your own, and user-generated curation. You can choose to follow submitters and be notified when they have posted something new. You can choose to become a curator and add a talk into your collection. You can choose to publish your curated selections for people to follow.

    People can follow curators as well as submitters, and filter searches on things like topics and curation thresholds:
    Show me TEDTalks about energy that have been added to 10 or more collections.
    Show me TEDTalks about energy that have been added to curators I follow.
    Show me TEDTalks about energy that have been added by curators with more than 1000 followers.

    People can set a default view into the pool based on filters and curation selection

    I would suggest a first-user experience that looks like it does today: the TED-curated filter applied.

    Now I'll go see what everyone else suggested!
  • Feb 11 2011: I believe that most of the invisible geniuses can be noticed by TEDx teams. If you would open up TED to basicaly everyone (like youtube) thee would be a lot of copycats and self-promotion. You could open up the algoritm of selecting speakers or maybe also use a fan-vote.
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    Feb 11 2011: No. That geniuses in the long run will be found by TEDx organizers. TED talks get their power from curation and mentoring (rehearsals, presentation modifications etc.) And voting mechanism is not reliable.
  • Ajay D

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    Feb 25 2011: Definitely a big “NO”
    TED has established itself and any & all ideas/intellect if worthy can find its way to this PLATFORM. Once on that, it stands to gain more and has no scope of any loss/decline due to delay/timing whatsoever.
    It’s on its journey to be a CURRICULUM itself as it covers most facets of fundamental learning including attitude for everybody; teachers, students, experts & the community.
    If people at large want to offer their intellect, they can contribute to organizing more local TED’x events and get noticed to be elevated to the main TED PLATFORM. This will enable them to rejuvenate their ideas.
    TED Conversation is already a finely cut avenue for enthusiasts.
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    Feb 24 2011: I have to agree with the "NO" crowd on this topic. While I am a huge supporter of having the 'little guy' become noticed, (I myself am one of those little guys working to become noticed) it is important that TED be different from YouTube. TED fills a niche for video presentations and education very nicely.

  • Feb 23 2011: What about WikiTED? We can have the community do the curating. Start the process by having the putative speakers make a One-minute presentation on video and then they can present a written thesis. The WikiTED volunteers/mob can act as curators and invite the approved speaker to develop their talk. If there is sufficient interest in a particular jurisdiction the speakers can be invited in a local meet up. This is part of the focus of TEDx but WikiTED can simply focus on the collaborative forum of letting "everyone" participate or curate.
  • Feb 22 2011: I don't think anyone should be able to upload their talks, but everyone should be able to submit their talks to possible viewing as directed by the leaders of TED. This way you can pull some new people into the conference with bright new insight that may undervalue their personal wisdom.
    • Feb 23 2011: i agree, though i think it should go further. if rejected talks were given feedback it would allow the rejection to at least be a learning experience, and the submitter will hopefully use some thought and their next talk will be better and hopefully accepted.
  • Feb 22 2011: No. I think we already get 'Best of the web' and by having TED standards and protocols it means the site remains all HIT and no shit. You can honestly watch any video and be entertained, engaged, educated or simply amused without being distracted by poor production or limited presentation skill. TED, in my mind, is a platform that represents a sort of Everest for today's thinkers, dreamers and ideaswomen.
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    Feb 18 2011: Chris, perhaps you could add an "embed video" app on TED Profile pages? People would tag their videos with content metadata. A new "Community Talks" page would be created that drew from these personal TED Profile videos, searchable by topic, name, date, etc.. Talks would be community ranked by vote, and the highest ranking would rise to the top. Perhaps the highest ranked Community Talk each month or quarter could become a home page TEDTalk. Offensive, commercial, or other inappropriate content would be flagged by crowd-sourcing.
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      Feb 18 2011: I like this idea.

      For starters, this can also be applicable to TEDx profile pages. There are so many good TEDx talks (and yet there are also many mediocre ones) with no real way of navigating the ocean of content on TEDxTalks youtube channel. If you can embed best two videos per event to feed into this infrastructure, that would be nice.

      Do you think it's wise to consider some kind of "barrier to post"? Such as minimum TEDCred? This will help filter people who come to the site, make a login, post some random thought - without ever being interested in engaging the TED community.
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    Feb 17 2011: YES, but not directly to TED.com.

    I think that everyone should be able to share their idea if they think their idea is worth spreading. And it is true that there are thousands of people with brilliant ideas.

    However, personally made TED talks should be allowed to be uploaded to a subsite of TED.com, or to a separate site, where some kind of a experimenting system is implemented. And if a personal TED talk gains some popularity and importance within a given trial period, it should be moved to TED.com.
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    Feb 17 2011: I am inclined to say no, though with th caveat that it may happen anyway. One thing I have noticed after taking up the job of being a TEDx Organizer and seeing the larger community behind the scenes it occurs to me that there will come a time when the amount of TEDx content will begin to eclipse the original TED content, if it hasn't already. The way that TEDx content bleeds into the system is similar to people adding their own videos but the major difference, and what I love about the format, is that it takes a community to get it there. The fact that it is still a TED style talk is what ties them together and should always be a part of the requirements. It would not bother me much if a video had terrible audio and video quality and was shot on a shaky hand held camera but I would demand that it was 18 minutes and in front of an audience of an audience. Beyond that I really would not care who was giving the talk or what it was about. I think everyone should have the ability to give a TED talk but it would have to be a TED talk.

    I am also wary of online communities that are based on mass voting systems to determine what is good or bad. In my experience, which is admittedly anecdotal, they tend to form hive mind opinions that begin to reflect the preconceived notions that the community already had. TED's following may be large and diverse enough to avoid this but it is a possibility.
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      Feb 17 2011: What is this requirement that the talk should have an audience? I realize the "E' in TED stands for entertainment, but a thoughtful presentation does not require an audience or an entertainment aspect. There are surely brilliant but solitary and shy individuals that would not have the means to gather mandatory warm bodies for a presentation.

      Musician's often require energy from the audience in order to perform at their best. But the presentation of ideas should not be constrained by such structures, and an audience need not be present in order to appreciate an idea.
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        Feb 22 2011: I guess it is my way of distinguishing it from youtube. I feel a lot of the passion and impact that TED Talks have would be lost if it was just one person talking into a webcam. Maybe it doesn't specifically require an audience but I feel it should at least be designed as if it did.

        I understand a lot of the arguments made here are advocating that the current TED format may leave out some great minds and ideas but that will happen anyway, with nigh 7 billion people in the world. What distinguishes TED to me is not so much the curation and success of its speakers, though that certainly is a part of it, but the format in which the ideas are presented.
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    Feb 16 2011: A clear NO from my side. There are YouTube-Channels for all the TEDx talks and good stuff will pop up that you can integrate - but the curation model is still valid and needed for quality. Thanks - and keep up the great work!
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      Feb 16 2011: My initial reaction was yes. You have convinced me otherwise.
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    Feb 16 2011: I believe that allowing anyone to upload a video to TED would hurt the brand. I trust the TED brand to stand for quality and that anything that's made it on TED.com has passed through a quality filter. I don't want to have to BE that filter. I've got too many other things to filter in my life. It would be like crowdsourcing the TED brand. While it's an interesting idea, are the people who would do the crowdsourcing like the people who are paying for the brand (sponsors, attendees, etc.) IDK.
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    Feb 15 2011: NO!
    * "TED..." means "reliable". "I saw on TED" wouldn't mean much if you would always have to check "Was it a TED Talk or that candidate tv?".
    * The flaws of free voting (lots of videos, many voters, everyone can vote for every video) - even if we assume the crowd can be objective, there is no guarantee each video will initially be seen by the same amount of voters
    - - some good videos are left behind
    - - some videos are getting votes up only because a seemingly worse video is in a higher position

    I already hear my friends saying "oh, TED is publishing more than I can watch", but it's ok - at least we know that all TEDTalks are more or less worth watching and we won't need to skip 30+ to get to an interesting one. I agree, don't turn it into youtube ;)

    Yes, TED might benefit from recommendation and self-recommendation system.
    One way to do it: The candidate video could be sent to let's say 10 people to vote (definitely no - no - I don't know! - yes - definitely yes, and some space for comments, with a tick "I suggest to edit and reapply"). Maybe videos could have tags and they would be sent to the people who are interested in that specific area (e.g. video about innovative way to teach science - voters: 3 scientists, 3 educators, 2 passionate about those things but from other professions, 2 totally unrelated) If it gets high rating, video is forwarded to TED Staff with a summary of voting.
    If video is worth spreading, it can be put under "Best of the Web".

    Hehe, maybe TED could provide social bookmarking service. "I was digging the internet, stumbled upon that video, it was delicious, definitely worth spreading, TED, look!"
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    Feb 15 2011: As pointed out before, curation is key to TED. I trust, that talks deserve to be on TED.com and have quality. I don't necessarily have to agree with the opinions expressed, but they should give me inspiration or food for thought.

    Videos are submitted and then curated by a group of trusted volunteers (similar to the translation project). If enough volunteers approve it, it's submitted to the official staff of TED.com for curation (like potential TEDx videos), then it is - maybe - posted. People who think they have a potential TED talk could even contact the volunteers to get tips, similar to how TEDx organizers work with their potential speakers. I think such a system would incorporate a lot of the things learned from TEDx and open translation.
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    Feb 14 2011: It is hard to read so many No's and not want to say Yes. The beauty of YouTube has been its scale and the utter diversity of its content. It is easy enough to put in place a voting system and a moderation system that will allow viewers to curate user-contributed content. If we have learned anything over the last decade about social media it is that great content will be surfaced by end users. Which is not to say that you should abandon curation. Curation has clearly been a huge part of the success of TED.com. You should continue to promote and prioritize official TED talks. But if someone were to submit a talk sufficiently compelling as to get widely circulated by your users, your curation team should consider featuring it. You never know, you may discover the next speaker for an official TED event through one of these user submitted videos. The other advantage of a voting system at TED.com is that it will help you to sort through the immense volume of TEDx videos you must now be getting. Wisdom of the crowds is, of times, truly wise. If you were to allow a greater diversity of TEDx and User-Submitted content on TED.com, you will be able to crowd source video review. So there are some very good arguments to be made for allowing user-submitted videos on TED.com. The argument may not ultimately win the day, but it is worth considering.