Elizabeth Rivas

Struggling Student,

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Do you believe TED is elitist and exclusive?

My main reason for asking this question is to find out how you,the members feel about TED as a non-profit organization. I've recently been looking into TED because of a research paper for school and I've been aiming to argue against the idea that TED is elitist and that they are exclusive. However I would really like to hear from other people whether you believe TED is in some ways elitist and/or exclusive.

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    May 30 2013: If you look at the cost of attending a TED event you realize most of America cannot afford to attend. On that basis one might jump to the conclusion that TED is just for the rich and famous. That would be a profound fallacy in logic. Examine the services and tools on TED.com available to the commoner. TED Conversations is administered to allow open, free-of-charge, access to the hoi polloi. Look at the feature called "TED Ed". Look at the Talks; Playlists; Conferences; TEDx events; and TED Community. As others have indicated already in this conversation, rules and standards are NOT an indicator of exclusivity. My answer to your question is a most emphatic NO!
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      Jun 3 2013: Thank you very much for your thoughts on the question I posed. I agree with you most definitely and think that people outside of TED who know nothing about the positive impact TED has on the community would jump to a conclusion based on what they see from the outside. Critics are going to be there no matter what and this is why people should do their own investigation and at least decide for themselves what to believe about TED
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        Jun 3 2013: Bravo, young lady. It's called Critical Thinking!
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    May 30 2013: Any club that would have me for a member is not elitist, which gives me pause on continued participation because of the lack of standards this indicates.
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      May 30 2013: Do not discontinue your valued participation, sir. To do so would make TED appear to be elitist and exclusive. We are the coal mine canaries. And don't belittle yourself, that's what we are here for.
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        May 30 2013: That is an old Groucho line, probably before your time?
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          May 30 2013: You Bet Your Life with announcer George Fenniman, Tuesday nights, 7PM, on NBC. Say the magic word split a hundred dollars! Now we're being elitist in a chronological sense.
        • May 30 2013: You reminded me of another of Groucho's quotes:

          "I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member" Groucho Marx
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        May 30 2013: Tonight's magic word is elitist.
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      May 30 2013: I love your sense of humor Pat.....makes me smile.....most of the time...sometimes not so much...maybe that means one of us is well balanced..........LOL:>)

      I agree....if TED would let us in, it must not be elitist:>)
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      May 30 2013: is this like reverse modesty?
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    May 30 2013: Not at all elitist and exclusive.

    TED for me is ...

    To Eradicate Darkness

    Think Evolve Develope
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      Jun 3 2013: I love how you defined TED for yourself. It sounded poetic :) TED is a beaming light onto a world still filled of darkness
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    May 31 2013: The speeches perhaps are presented by elitists,but ultimately the people who watching and talking are the ordinary.TED is so inclusive,where everyone can comment and pose conversation freely,your ideas maybe bigger than those on the stage.

    As for each individual,TED reveals your excellence,because everyone talks more rational and insightful here than in other platform.We may talk idly during the day,but at the end of the day,TED provides us a place to share deep thought,which is the quality of every human being.
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      May 31 2013: Yes. TED-conversation is the quality of every human being !
  • May 29 2013: Lets simplify this.

    ANY site that does not let ANYone post ANYthing can be labeled "elitist and exclusive."

    By that criteria, TED certainly is "elitist and exclusive."

    That is why TED is BETTER, and that is why I visit it so often.

    If you want a quality site, you have to pick and choose (curate).

    IMO, people who criticize TED as "elitist and exclusive" are being lazy. TED must have some faults that can be described in much more specific and more meaningful language. Let us know what they are, so we can make TED even better.
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      Jun 3 2013: This made me laugh. I really like what you had to say. Curation has to take place if we want quality. Plus I'm sure the people who curate TED go to great lengths to be unbiased and unprejudiced in their picking and choosing what gets to be seen. I am sad to hear though the instances that TED hasn't put up a video of a speaker. I am talking about one speech given by Nick Hanauer on income equality. It wasn't put up because it was an election year and it was too political. When I read things like that it makes me feel like there's another side to TED.
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      Jun 3 2013: Then again, the article I was reading was already biased against TED. Still, the fact that they didn't put this video up makes me question TED
      • Jun 3 2013: We should question TED just as we question everything. I do not think anyone considers TED perfect.
  • Jun 4 2013: I find the this site to be less elitist than the supporters forum of my favourite football team.
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    May 31 2013: I don`t know very well if TED is elitist and/or exclusive.
    But what I know, and I know it very well is that TED has given me the opportunity of listen about new ideas, view new perspectives, know different ways of life, watching amazing images, and, at least for me, TED has been and now is an open window to a world I like and where I feel comfortable.
    Thanks, TED.
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    May 30 2013: .........TED is in some ways, TED is elitist, TED is exclusive.
    For example, communicative room is provided to everyone who loves to open their hearts and their minds to others.
    In short, a big team is building “ funs and strengths “ in different levels all over the world.
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    May 29 2013: In your paper you will likely want to define what you mean by "elitist" and "exclusive." Anyone in the world can listen to the talks for free, so no one is excluded from listening and learning. But not everyone can just walk up onto the stage. TED or the TEDx curators, select in order to showcase the most exciting and original ideas. So no one is excluded from commenting on talks or participating in Conversations, but not everyone gets to talk on stage who might want to.

    Does curation make something elitist or exclusive?
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      Jun 3 2013: Thank you for your input. It has helped me organize my paper and it's becoming a lot more fluid for me to write.

      I would have to say curation itself doesn't make something elitist or exclusive but it would depend on the person or group of people who did the curating. The curator could be prejudiced which would directly affect the content being shown. If the curator was unbiased, or at least attempted to judge content reasonably within their knowledge, then they wouldn't be elite or exclusive.
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      Jun 3 2013: I would define elitist as an idea of superiority. If you consider yourself to be elite you put yourself and your opinions above others. As for exclusive, I would define it as being a result of being elitist. If you consider yourself abover others you exclude them automatically from saying what they think or feel to be true.

      I don't see TED as either, but for a short time I think I was letting what critics wrote in articles to overpower the truth behind TED. TED is still a place for sharing ideas and using those ideas to make something happen.

      I agree with you, speakers are elite in their fields but this isn't a bad thing. We want the most knowledgable people to share their ideas because they know what they're talking about. If we want to make a difference we need the most provocative thinkers to do it. That doesn't mean that the speakers see themselves as superior though. TED doesn't just focus on one person, but on all the people who contribute their ideas.
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    Jun 5 2013: I believe the only requirement to participate in TED conversations is that you refrain from obscenities and threats of violence. That's a pretty low bar, and hardly describes elitism.
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    Jun 3 2013: Well, here's what TED has to say about it (not sure if you knew).

    http://www.ted.com/pages/185
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      Jun 3 2013: Thanks Jimmy, I have actually read the page already about what TED has to say to critics concerning their "elite" and "exclusive" ways. It has helped a little bit, but mainly hearing responses from other members has helped me even more. I love how some people define or describe TED. Words are powerful and these words I've read from commentors have moved me :)
  • Jun 1 2013: no
  • May 31 2013: Hi Dear Elizabeth Rivas,don't you think"no any child left behind" the idea is an exact discrimination for some kids who failed in testing exams,meanwhile preventing people who have creative ideas to be outstanding is definitely unjust too?
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    May 31 2013: TED using site domain .com (Commercial) this enough to explain TED isn't Not-For-Profit. Reasonable if they act elitist and exclusive, because they have priority for business things. However, TED has given the opportunity to people under CC licenses. I thinks it's great deal.
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      Jun 5 2013: Many not-for-profit organizations use ".com" simply because that's the first extension people think of, so it's easier to remember. I think that's the case with TED, as with my own non-commercial web sites.
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    May 30 2013: I come here to have my own views challenged, for me to have the opportunity to challenge the views of others and to learn and contribute. If that duality is freely given/taken, then it cannot be elitist or exclusive.

    Learning and contributing is therefore neutral. However, elitism has shown its ugly face when the views of someone giving a talk was withdrawn because it didn't match the views of those who mediate - as happened recently with Rupert Sheldrake. I for one, remain disappointed by that. In "Ideas Worth Spreading", there did seem to be a problem with the word "Worth" on that one occasion, leading to overtly elitist behaviour I'm sorry to say.

    Apart from that one unfortunate mistake, TED seems open to everyone who wants to learn and contribute.
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    May 30 2013: what does elitist even mean? it is the good old 99% vs 1% again. a club we are not a member of is automatically shady, isn't it?
  • May 30 2013: Definitively not, anyone can join, anyone can watch the talks, anyone can comment, and since no one is excluded it cannot be classified as exclusive nor elitist. Attending to a life event is of course expensive and because of that reserved for the few that can pay for it, but like Edward wisely explained: concluding that TED is elitist and exclusive because of that is a misconducted reasoning.
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      Jun 3 2013: Yes, all very true!Critics are always going to have something negative to say, but it doesn't mean that it's automatically true. People who really wish to attend the event, like myself, will have the drive and motivation to figure out a way to go no matter what.
      • Jun 3 2013: Hope you can really go and have a good sit... and of course I envy you. Good luck.