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: If I personally ever have, I apologize! Yet I can not remember ever insulting someone on TED, partly because people on TED are usually a lot more friendly than the people in the "Youtube Comment" area. (In other words : "Reciprocity") The cause of this could be due to the "anonymity" and the "social identity" associated with Youtube which could encourage certain forms of (negative) behaviour, or it could even be caused by the lack of responsibility or deterrents (a Leviathan). It's worth mentioning that this is a pure hypothesis.
    While the best reason I could give a reason, it would be the amazing human ability to rationalize (or justify) our actions after we had committed them (and then distort our memory), or the human ability to find it difficult to admit we are wrong.
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        Jun 10 2013: Guess I have a bad memory then don't I?
        I personally can't remember calling you anything insulting, if I have please tell me where and when.
        Your comment is also slightly ironic if you don't mind me saying, considering you have insulted people (maybe unintentionally) in the past. However I am not here to debate this issue here.
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        Jun 10 2013: Oh okay.
        You are talking about the comment where I claimed you stating that you wanted to lock Colleen Steen in a room was unnecessary? That isn't offensive in anyway (towards you)! I didn't make any insult directed towards you.
        It was just simply stating the comment was unnecessary. I never called you " cruel", and "offensive" ". That is twisting my words. I said the comment was cruel and offensive (from my perception), which is different from saying you are "cruel" or "offensive".
        I have never insulted anybody directly on TED.
        So yes I do quite comfortably claim innocence, unless you can prove otherwise.
        Prove that I insulted you that is. Unless you copy and paste it, I shall claim innocence.
        " there will always be someone whose perception does not resonate with our own."
        That's true. :)
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          Jun 10 2013: Bernard,
          For what it is worth, you are one of the most respectful members of TED that I have interacted with for years, and considering you are also one of the youngest members.....KUDOS to you my friend:>)

          To clarify....I was the one who said Chris Kelly's threat to lock me in a room with Don Wesley felt cruel to ME. I wholeheartedly agree Bernard, that Chris's comment was unnecessary.
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          Jun 12 2013: Cris Kelly,
          You "missed the mark" , (as you insightfully write) on your original comment, and you "missed the mark" again on this comment.

          I did not go off topic, and in fact, was trying to keep DW on topic. If you recall the conversation, throughout his angry tirade of accusations, I kept telling DW that no matter what he writes, I have compassion and empathy for him. You then made a comment about "passive aggressive".

          As you state in a comment on this thread...
          "I think we should develop a softer attitude."

          You talk about it Chris, I practice it....walk the talk....and it might be helpful to leave your anger outside the door when you come into a new discussion:>)

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