TED Conversations

Mike Colera


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Why is there so much vitriol expressed by TED contributors in conversations on contentious subjects?

I have been a contributor to many conversations. I am opinionated,and I freely express those opinions. I even try to add some facts to support my opinions. Or, at least some logical rational.
Why are so many comments laced with words and phrases like "Stupid, Idiot, unschooled, bible thumping redneck, and many I won't repeat here. Some rise to the level of threat to do bodily harm and death wishes. I know there are subjects that raise passion. I know that in a rage, words are typed. OK! However, there is a delete key and an opportunity to read your words before you hit submit. Been there, done that.
Still, these words and phrases continue to show up. I don't know why.
It's rude, uncivilized and worse, name calling has never strengthen an argument.
Can anyone explain why this happens and why it should be accepted?

PS. I know there is a process where we can ask the TED system to review and delete improper comments, I haven't done that because no one else seems disturbed. Am I wrong to question such comments?


Closing Statement from Mike Colera

I came to a conclusion yesterday as I thought about all that had transpired in this conversation. I expressed my appreciation to all the participants. As I give it more thought, many comments were similar to my conclusions that vile name calling was an uncalled for comment. A few suggested that when ... you play with fiery topics, you get burned. I understand great passion and excitement but I was not comfortable with those comments.
Thanks to all participants again.

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    Jun 8 2013: I think also, that we can not ignore the fact that for some individuals it takes real courage to voice their opinions.

    So, they arm themselves with bravery, and say what they need to say:

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      Jun 10 2013: This is true, especially for younger people or those who lack solid social media skills or those writing for the first time.

      With so many people pointing you to this video and that video it could give you the impression you really don't know what is going on.
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        Jun 10 2013: Absolutely agree.

        I personally like the lighthearted approach to topics.

        There is alot we just don't know. And even if someone is speaking truth to us, we might just perceive it in a different way all together.....even getting upset for no reason at all.

        I once said something in a comment to express my disagreement with another individual, and they thanked me for backing them up. They really had no idea that my comment meant the total opposite. Sometimes we see what we want to see.
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          Jun 10 2013: Yes, That is the way I see you when you write Mary. Your avatar kinda makes me think of you as a little flower blowing in the breeze. I think of a little girls with a billowy hat and frilly dress. A doll in one hand and the other holding onto her hat in the wind. Looking so innocent as she walks through the park, wondering at the world.
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        Jun 10 2013: I do like the imagery you conjured up.

        I do feel like a little girl wondering at the world.....and I am always looking to understand things better and better. There is so much to learn!!

        Thanks John.
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          Jun 10 2013: Make sure you have your shoes on before you go outside Mary. :)
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        Jun 10 2013: Thanks for the reminder John....I most definitely will not forget them. :)
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        Jun 10 2013: Mirroring is a very good technique.

        I have used it oftentimes, but never online.
        I am always amazed at how often people fail to recognize their own behavior......me included!!!

        Awareness of self is such an interesting topic of conversation.
        I am constantly thinking about my thinking, and self-examining my perceptions.
        I marvel sometimes at how much more I learn when I quietly observe, and keep my thoughts to myself.

        Chris, psychology.....what makes humans tick....really fascinates me.
        I guess that is why I read alot of biographies, and love learning about various cultures and the people inside those cultures.
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        Jun 10 2013: "they tend to label this behavior as mine, yet fail to recognize it as their own." I've heard you use that phrase before. It makes sense. I've found this to be true also.

        If you take someone Else's thoughts and reach a different conclusion, they think your incorrect and begin the attack because the same logic leads to a conclusion different from the one they are trying to force you to embrace. Some people think logic is their own, God given realm, They can get really peeved at you.

        Logic is nothing more that a tool, like a math function. You put stuff in, something comes out the others side according to the function. You can alter it by changing the variables, etc.

        I have found that the human mind is not so robotic in its ability to think and decipher the Universe around themselves. We can reach conclusions that are based on insightful reckoning, something that artists do all the time. They let the imagination roam freely. Einstein used this type of reasoning when he hitched a ride of a light beam.
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          Jun 11 2013: Your third paragraph on logic reminded me of something I contributed to the conversation on "why are we afraid to make mistakes".

          Here it is:

          From the book I am reading "Being Wrong" (K Schulz) page 121-122:

          "....a fundamental lesson of inductive reasoning...our mistakes are part and parcel of our brilliance, not the regrettable consequences of a separate and deplorable process......Believing something on the basis of messy, sparse, limited information really is how we err. But it is also how we think. What makes us right is what makes us wrong."

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