TED Conversations

Mike Colera


This conversation is closed.

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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 10 2013: "Passive aggression and projection are even worse than insults."
      Indeed. All you need is someone to support you, this has been well-documented in psychology. Considering when you are "against the group" you will feel an anxiety (if alone).
      Yet, to be honest, on TED if you have a good argument most people will admit their wrong. If not, then that suggests there may not be any point to debating.
    • W T 100+

      • +1
      Jun 10 2013: Passive aggressive behavior is a very toxic personality trait.
      Out of the four dominant personality traits psychologists categorize PA behavior the most dangerous to communication and relationships.

      I hosted a conversation on Passive aggressive behavior earlier this year.

      You might find the contributions there interesting to read:


      As for cliques of any kind, I personally have always steared clear of them.
      This sticking together with others to shut one person out or make them be less favorable is absolutely unkind and unloving. It's almost like "Survivor" online edition.......make alliances and then vote out the outcast. tsk tsk

      We always have the choice to ignore people.
      If we do not like their communication style, simply do not reply.
      We just do not know if they are undergoing severe emotional issues.
      Our unkind words, whether straight forward or tactful, may just push them over the edge.
      • Comment deleted

        • thumb
          Jun 12 2013: Chris Kelly,
          You don't seem to have a very good understanding of what passive aggressive behavior is, and since you like to label folks passive aggressive, it might be helpful for you to be aware of what you are talking about.

        • W T 100+

          • 0
          Jun 13 2013: Hi Chris, I'm glad you enjoyed reading through the conversation.
          It was very eye opening for me, in more ways than one.

          I was reading three books on PA behavior at the same time I hosted the conversation, and these came in handy as well.

          From what I have read, and experienced, we all at one time or another display all four personality types. But, we each have one dominant type of personality.

          Mine is assertive....I think?..........I am making a concerted effort not to act in a way that belittles others, and I try as much as possible to respect other's points of view.

          [Edit....I'm coming back to say that I have encountered passive aggressive behavior in many forms and from many individuals. One of these individuals is around me often, and I have spent almost two decade of my life dealing with this issue....but I just did not have the knowledge I do now, and did not know the why's of this behavior, or what to call it. I finally learned why the individual acts this way, and I have a name to call the behavior. I have since started to change my way of dealing with the individual. And I feel liberated. Our relationship is completely different now........I had to change....because that individual has no desire to change their behavior......and there is nothing I can do]
        • thumb
          Jun 20 2013: I don't know if that is exactly PA but when you describe the person I definable get a picture of someone that fits your picture. :) Some people are just lonely and want to appear, not only in the conversation but at the top of it.
    • thumb
      Jun 11 2013: That usually happens when you are close to beating the crap out of one at a time.
    • thumb
      Jun 12 2013: CK, Well played! Game. Set. Match.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.