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Why does TED censor & delete peoples comments? Is the TED community unable to interact together utilising freedom of speech without censor?

If the TED mantra is, "ideas worth spreading", then why do they censor/delete peoples comments/ideas? This seems to contradict their purpose and by utilising censorship, implies the only ideas worth spreading are the ones that they approve of!

Do other members agree with the TED way of censorship? Do other members feel that they are not getting the whole experience by not being able to see the truth of others by way of their deleted posts?

Do others feel that they may only be seeing the sanitised version of others, so that there consequently is a limited range and depth to idea discussion and healthy debate?

What justifies a comment to be deleted and if so in your opinion why?

Does the present possibility of TED post deletion of your comment, lead you to hold back on giving your all on a topic?

Have you ever had a comment deleted? Did you feel that it was justified?

My post here comes on the back of me discovering that one of my posts had been deleted, along with about 5 other comments from TED members. My post was well articulated, considered, respectful and without profanity or disrespect to any member/group or minority.

I can't help but feel, that the deleted posts would have contained some very interesting things full of peoples emotions which can create strong reactions and interesting debate/discoveries. Censorship of this in my opinion lessens this experience! : D

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    Jul 2 2013: I would request you to live under no illusion that TED is a free speech platform. It is not. I shall attempt to answer your questions with my best ability.
    1. Post/comment removal in TED may not be in contravention of 'Ideas worth spreading'. If you think carefully about this by-line it will be clear that this tacitly implies that all ideas are not worth spreading and there is a judgment taking place about that worth in TED. Since TED members cannot remove other's posts/comments, it is apparent that such judgment is being done by TED admin. You may not like it, but that is how it is.
    2. As long as one creates a profile here in TED, reads their terms of use, she is agreeing to such censorship. I objected to the terms of use at one point of time, particularly regarding censorship, and left the platform with a request to delete my entire contribution. The request was kept. I could come back to this platform only after the terms of use were modified. I still do not agree with censorship of any kind but also appreciate that TED needs to maintain a quality and objectivity in their business of providing this free platform. I hope both TED and the TED members will develop a relationship of mutual trust and respect so that the necessity of censorship diminishes to zero.
    3. Sanitized thoughts and resulting limitation. I think health and sanitation are linked. One must do the dirty work of sanitation.
    4. Justification of comment deletion. Rude, racial, personally insinuating comments and trolls possibly. I have noticed that comment deletion on the grounds of off-topic-ness has become very rare in TED. That's a good sign. If your post was nothing of that sort its deletion is TED's loss.
    5. The knowledge that my comments are being moderated does limit me giving my full. But my full may not be relevent or helpful for others.
    6. I feel that deletion of my comment in past by TED was unjustified. But then they are learning just like me.
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    Jul 3 2013: Thankyou everyone for your valuable input. I certainly now have a much better idea of the general consensus with respect to the how things work point of view here.

    As such, I think most of my conversation question can be answered with, "Only when there is a lack of respect"

    This I guess would carry over into the aspect of ideas (read member posts) (are) worth spreading, provided they are done so respectfully!

    Lack of respect, provides so many problems in the world, irrespective as to whether it is towards, people, animals or property and so an environment where it is discouraged is clearly going to be more positive.

    Now we are getting into an ideal, that is an environment where there is rational debate and exchange of thoughts amongst others without fear of personal attack or derogatory verbal abuse.

    By allowing ourselves in this way to focus on articulated and well balanced points of views, our subject material should be benchmarked to be contemplated at a higher level with consequently better analysis and observations delivered.

    If this is the case, then perhaps a thought may be that, if this principle was more widely applied, for example in houses of parliament, workplaces and society in general, then we would all reap the benefits!

    Like I earlier had mentioned however, this scenario is an ideal and may be able to flourish better in this controlled TED environment but would certainly be a lot more challenging to do in the real world! : D
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      Jul 3 2013: Time Traveller,
      I perceive TED as very much part of the "real world". What better place for all of us to learn to communicate with respect, than on an international forum, where many different topics impacting all of us are addressed?
      In my perception, it is a perfect place to recognize our similarities, appreciate and respect our differences:>)
      EXACTLY....it is an environment where there is rational debate and exchange of thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs and opinions without fear of personal attack or derogatory verbal abuse.
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        Jul 3 2013: Hi Colleen, just wanted to clarify my interpretation of "real world"... of course the TED conversations is part of the real world, however my use of the real world context was more to do with it being unfiltered or moderated as it is here in TED and so as such more raw and socially organic in it's content, as in the real real world.... if that makes sense! : D

        BTW, I may be slightly off topic here, but have had my interest piqued enough via other posts where you have been incorporated to think that ( if you haven't already done so), you could post your own idea/question/debate with respect to your experience and views gained as a 500+ TEDCRED person!

        Honestly, I haven't even cracked the 5 TEDCRED mark with approximately 100 personal posts, which could be interpreted to mean that you would have posted 100 times that amount, around 10,000 posts! I haven't come across anyone yet here on this medium who is anywhere near your level and would also not mind having a few of the gang type theories etc debunked from someone who knows how TED works more than the average punter or conspiracy theorist!

        Effectively, in my opinion, given your personal experience, maybe I haven't strayed too off topic as you have enough experience and knowledge here via this repository to be able to provide valuable insights that most would have no idea of! : D
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          Jul 3 2013: Thanks Time Traveller for clarification.

          I am simply one of thousands of other people who are part of the TED community.

          As it clearly states in all of our profiles...
          " TEDCred reflects your contribution to the TED community", and you may or may not be aware, there are several different ways to contribute to the community. Some folks have thousands of TEDcred and very rarely, if ever, participate in conversations.

          I have been involved with the TED community for a few years, and you are a recent member, so I don't know why it is important for you to compare TEDcred.

          I am not aware of any "gang" within the TED community, and I believe that is an insecure projection of one disgruntled participant.

          There! Now you have 5 TEDcred.....feel better? :>)
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          Jul 3 2013: I agree with Colleen. Please do not worry about your TED cred. So many factors determine your TED cred, including whether you engage actively in particular threads in which lots of the participants give each other lots of thumbs up.

          There are people who almost never give a thumbs up, because they just don't believe in doing that, and others who give thumbs up to as many comments they value as they can and are always running out of thumbs ups for people!

          I believe Jimmy posted a few weeks ago the name of the person with the most TED Cred on the site. It might have been 10,000, but I don't remember well.
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        Jul 3 2013: Thanks for your replies Colleen and I don't really know how the contribution to the TED Community really works at all! Which is why I guesstimated how you had arrived at your number!

        My observations have less to do with any significance or importance of TED cred and more to do with my views on how much time one would have spent on the basis of my own personal (which is all I have to compare to) effort with respect to contributions and subsequent cred number.

        My math had told me 10,000 posts approx equates to a 500+ rating....that's all! To me what is important in life is the journey..... I anticipate that here on TED, the next most important thing to your name is your journey reflected via your TED cred.

        So I don't really feel anything as my numbers grow, it is just a part of the system that I willingly participate in. To me it has little bearing as my main purpose is to be involved in the conversations and topic postings. Perhaps I know too little about it's significance (if any) and what it means to individuals or others!

        To put it another way, lets use driving cars as an example... we all may drive on the roads, though some have clocked up more miles than others. Subsequently, those that have driven more have had more on road/ journey experience, tho, others who have clocked up less have still travelled and enjoyed their journeys too. The difference being that, the more experienced driver will know of the potential pitfalls or hazards and also the most scenic routes to take, which the less experienced would be unaware/ignorant of.

        So in this regard it is not so much your time behind the wheel that is important but more the enjoyment you gained from the experiences and journeys you made behind it and the stories you are able to pass on to others.

        In this way, life is no longer about the number of breaths you take but more about the number of times your breath is taken away! : D
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          Jul 3 2013: You are welcome Time Traveller, and thanks for your comments as well:>)

          If you wander around different pages of TED, you may discover more information.

          I agree...one important factor with me as well, is the journey.

          Wholeheartedly agree...
          "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."
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          Jul 3 2013: Dear Time Traveller,
          I think I gave up about 20 TEDcreds in my first stint in TED. I honestly don't miss it.
          My TEDcred does not measure what exactly I contributed in this forum and I think I need a TEDdebt as I learnt a lot too.
          But you know, I am a fallible human being and I get entangled with people. If I stay here long enough, I think I will start loving it, because I will start loving people here, may be including you.
          I am not sure TED can give me credit for loving people here! :)
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    Jul 2 2013: What TED deletes is stated here: http://www.ted.com/termsofuse

    I agree with this policy. It's very short and clear.

    Actually, it is in unmoderated forums where you, sometimes, cannot have your voice heard. It can be drowned in pages of bickering and insults.

    Any game is a lot more fun to play when it has objectives and rules.
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    Jul 2 2013: It is their sand box they can conduct it how they see fit.

    On the other hand too much censorship will make people not want to play in their sand box anymore.

    Their task is to create an environment that is mutually beneficial.

    Yup I have had plenty of comments deleted, I will say that unlike the party they will talk to you. They always council me to talk to someone as if I'm at a dinner party. Apparently some of us have poor table manners?
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    Jul 2 2013: you got it wrong. it does not mean all ideas worth spreading. it means ted tries to find those that do. the last thing we want is a forum where everyone can share his idea, and nobody filters them. what's the point? i can do that anywhere. i can read youtube comments. if i go to a wine shop, i don't expect them to keep all the wines on the globe. i expect them to offer a good selection. that is the value added by them.

    so they found your idea not worth spreading. honestly, majority of ideas don't, so they might be right. they might also be mistaken. happens.
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      Jul 2 2013: Re: " it does not mean all ideas worth spreading."
      The irony is that everyone, is certain that his own ideas are worth spreading.

      You are absolutely right. TED is a much better place than Youtube BECAUSE people filter what they say themselves and BECAUSE TED does it for those who don't do it themselves.
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    Jul 2 2013: I have participated in Conversations for about eighteen months and actively for just over a year. The only posts I have seen deleted are those that are over-the-top rude and some posts which, like yours, sometimes get dropped off with the rude ones because otherwise they would be hanging there alone and without context.

    TED admins do not delete comments here because of the idea being shared, unless you mean selling of goods and services. It isn't a retail platform.

    I once had a comment deleted by mistake and I have probably had comments deleted as you have for being in parts of threads that went haywire with rudeness or personal attacks.
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    Jul 4 2013: TED is the Big Brother, don't be fooled.
    All aspects of our lives are controlled.
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    Jul 4 2013: I have made comments. I have edited my own comments (on multiple occasions over several days even). I have also deleted my own comments (for whatever reason). I do not think I have ever had one of my comments deleted by TED. I have had comments deleted because the person who made the post to which I responded deleted; they deleted their own comments and as I was nested beneath their comment, I went too. But even that does not happen all the time.

    Usually I will review a few comments on a thread. I will respond to one or two or more. Depending upon the response I get, I might edit, delete, or add more responses to other comments.

    In any event, I've been quite satisfied w/how TED manages things.
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    Jul 3 2013: It's just a simple Leviathan. They keep the peace, and delete comments when the comments in question are stopping others from having freedom of speech. I see nothing wrong here. However if the Levitation (in otherwise the TED moderators) gets out of control, then the TEDsters have a duty to bring it to justice. Which is relatively easy.
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    Jul 2 2013: I think there are two more important issues involved here other than censoring.
    I had a deep disagreement of one objective of TED conversation monitoring as was given in the explanation part of the website. I am not sure it is still there but at one point of time it was. This was the idea of 'gravitating' towards a more meaningful discussion by encouraging the commenters to remain strictly on topic. It appeared to me as giving a direction to the free flow of thoughts and I found that even more objectionable than censoring. I do not see such goading now.
    Secondly, though as per copyright rules the total collection of conversations is TED's property, after a time this huge repertoire of thoughts becomes the driving force of the site as much as TED admin's efforts. I think there was such an issue that once came up when Arianna Huffington sold Huffington Post to AOL. It may not be wise for commenters to post here materials the copyright of what they want to retain.
    If you are looking for a forum that has more relaxed norm of moderation you can try Project Reason of Sam Harris. The conversation site of TED is a supplementary feature, it's not the main activity of TED.
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    Jul 2 2013: Time Traveller,
    When I started commenting on TED about 3-4 years ago, there were no moderators, and unfortunately, there are some folks who do not know how, or are unwilling to have a conversation with respect. As I'm sure you know, we can address ANY topic with respect, so generally, topics and comments are not deleted because of the topic, but rather by how it is presented.

    I don't see anything contradictory with TED's policy.....they encourage "ideas worth spreading", and the terms of use agreement, which we find at the bottom of every page, indicates that TED will remove off-topic, disrespectful comments.

    Moderating the conversations is a new feature in the last couple years, and since then, I feel that the comment threads have become more respectful and more safe. Prior to that, we were losing a lot of good commenters because there was some bullying by certain members. I stopped commenting a couple times because of bullying and harassment. I came back, because one of my life philosophies is...if I'm not part of the solution, I'm part of the problem.

    People are generally given many chances to communicate in a respectful way before TED removes the comments, and sometimes removes the person from the forum if they do not comply with the terms of use agreement. I'm not involved with any other on-line forums, and from what I've heard, they are often not very respectful. I believe it is the policies of TED which keep it more respectful and welcoming to people who may be hesitant to comment in an on-line forum.

    You say... "the deleted posts would have contained some very interesting things full of peoples emotions which can create strong reactions and interesting debate/discoveries". You are right, in that these kinds of comments tell us a lot about a person. However, I get a much richer experience when comment threads are respectful. To me, there is no value in disrespect, harassment and bullying.
  • Jul 2 2013: censorship? I was hoping that it is not happening here. I am new to this... and it makes me wonder if I should expose myself like this on the Internet...
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      Jul 2 2013: TED reviews conversation topics before posting them. They approved this one. Right? To me, it means, they don't censor topics. Oppressive censors are rarely open to discuss censorship.

      The worst censorship is the one you don't even know about because all information about it has been censored out.
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      Jul 2 2013: Above in this thread, Arkady has included a link to the Terms of Use of the site. You will see there in a published list the sort of behaviors that are not permitted on the site- it's things like personal attacks on individuals, selling merchandise, and things like that.

      You can express any point of view you like. That is not what gets deleted.

      Many times a person finds a comment deleted which was extremely rude to another person and the moderator TELLS the person in a private email that the comment was deleted because it was rude. The person might then turn around and claim in discussion that it was censorship as if it were deleted because the idea wasn't somehow acceptable to the powers that be. But the real reason was rudeness.

      There are cases that arise occasionally when a comment is deleted not because anyone wants to censor the idea but it got stuck among lots of rude comments. This happened recently to Time Traveler, whose posts are always thoughtful.

      The moderators are not of delicate sensibility when it comes to rudeness. Lots of material many might consider very rude is not deleted. Typically a comment needs to be really hostile, as far as I have noticed, for moderators to act.
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        Jul 3 2013: "a comment needs to be really hostile for moderators to act."

        except if you call out ted speaker papandreou for his crimes against greek people. it gets deleted right away.
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          Jul 3 2013: I think the criteria may be different in the comments section beneath a speaker's talk.

          I have noticed and wondered about this myself.
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    Jul 2 2013: You realize you are asking the citizens of this cyber-society to candidly express their assessment of your insinuation that the rules to which they subscribe are oppressive, nefarious, and censorious. . . and the discussion is fully and freely underway? Surely you are not advocating for such content as trolling, profanity, bullying, rudeness, vitiriol, and nonsensical rambling? If you know an equal, or better, site please share it with us "censored masses" here on TED. In the USA freedom of speech is regulated, not guaranteed, by the First Amendment to our Constitution. That amendment does not guarantee the right to say anything and everything. There are restrictions. Are you seeking a restriction-free venue? Thanks for testing the curators here on TED, it keeps them sharp!
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    Jul 2 2013: Thanks Krisztian and Pabrita for your thoughts. I think you both have made some valid points....the essence I think being, that all ideas apparently aren't worth spreading!

    This then also follows that in the TED environment, members are unable to interact in a freedom of speech sort of way.

    In another post that I had mentioned my deleted comment in, I was informed by some other sage members, that a post may be deleted (even though there was nothing wrong with it) but more because it would sort of be just left hanging there in the middle of an island of deleted other posts that needed to be and so then be out of context to anything!

    I wonder tho, if posts are being monitored, then why, instead of just doing the easy peasy thing of hitting the delete button, a more journalistic editorial style isn't utilised, so that the nasty bits are edited but the gist of something is still relayed and incorporated into the whole conversations commentary?

    There is such a thing as the power of crowds, which can effect change in an individual....by deleting posts, this cannot occur and the offending individual is denied the chance to learn from others.

    Wikipedia (to borrow an analogy from Krisztian) allows anyone to bring whatever bottle of wine they like into their shop, however the stuff that isn't good enough is eventually weened out by other contributors.

    Another point to bear in mind apart from the freedom of speech issue, is that generally, in society, everyone is entitled to their opinion, tho censoring them means that everyone isn't.

    If the last thing we want (according to Krisztian) is a forum where everyone can share his idea, then you have to reflect on a quality that would consequently be missing, which is, diversity!

    When topics are discussed with a lack of diversity, the topic is less for it. In a book I read called, 'Crowdsourcing", it was empirically demonstrated repeatedly that the Mensa's always lost to the diverse group of lesser minds! : D
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      Jul 2 2013: "Another point to bear in mind apart from the freedom of speech issue, is that generally, in society, everyone is entitled to their opinion, tho censoring them means that everyone isn't."

      this is a misunderstanding of human rights. freedom of speech and entitlement to own opinions are not positive rights. they are negative rights. it means that nobody should stop you from expressing your opinion. it does not mean that anyone has to provide a platform for it. how would you like if i come up with the idea that i want to climb on your rooftop, and shout my opinion from there, using a handheld megaphone? certainly, your property rights to your own house might take precedence. you have the right to express your opinion on your own website, facebook page, t-shirt picture and so on. you have exactly zero right to express yourself on my website for example. i can kick you out of my website without notice or explanation at any time.
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        Jul 2 2013: I agree - many human rights are widely misunderstood. People often think that a "right" means that other people owe them something. TED refusal to provide a platform for pseudoscience is often taken as censorship whereas it is not. It's fully understandable that TED does not want to provide its brand name to express any views whatsoever. And TED has the exclusive right to decide what views to associate with.

        Imagine someone buying a McDonald's franchise and opening a shoe store under McDonald's logo. There is nothing wrong with selling shoes, but I would understand that McDonald's would likely refuse to provide it's name to sell shoes.
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      Jul 2 2013: I can think of why editing other people's words in what you describe as a journalistic editorial style is not a practice of choice here. Aside from the time it would take for the small moderation group to manage, I know I would much rather have my comment deleted than have someone change the words beside my name!

      I would not continue to participate if someone here had the right to change the words recorded here as mine.