TED Conversations

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A Conversation on the TED Terms of Use.

I'd like to have an open conversation about the terms of use here on TED.

It's obvious to anyone here that has read them that they either aren't enforced or are no longer applicable.

WE NEED CLARIFICATION, but first a conversation to get the best and brightest ideas in here.

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*content promoting pseudo-science, conspiracy theories, zealotry, proselytizing, *self-promotion, product-hawking, and new-age fluff
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Topics: TED Terms of use

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    Dec 10 2013: It seems to me you're correct in your proposition that the TED Terms of Use are pretty much redundant and need to be redrafted. The problem however is that an accurate redraft would ask some fundamental questions concerning the purpose of TED and what it professes to represent.

    Over the past few years that I've been watching TED talks, I've noticed a sort of accelerating evolution through various paradigms; from modernist, through post modernist to what may only be called post-postmodernist. It's no real suprise, this is how society itself has evolved as a result of the crowd's importance in generating its own cultural artifacts (and ideas).

    What we see is a move away from the audience as recipient and critic of an author's originality (in terms of knowledge and ideas and viewpoint) to the audience as joint author.

    There are some benefits to this paradigm, but along with the benefits we also gain the disadvantages of banality and vacuity. We're only shown what we already know, originality and rigour are superceded by consensus and what used to be called groupthink.

    As a result "pseudo-science" is only pseudo-science if the vocal/active members of the community don't choose to recognise it as science. "new-age fluff" is only such if we don't choose to adopt it as a new "philosophy for the digital age".

    There isn't actually any requirement for logical or academic rigour either. If anyone should have the temerity to seriously test any theory or "novel" idea , they are simply rebuffed by the majority on the basis that they don't "get it".

    As for the conversation forums, a simple strategy for collecting badges is not to attempt to contribute in any meaningful way, just the word "awesome" posted as many times as your sanity will cope with, is sufficient to get you as many "likes" as you need.

    So yes, a new set of Terms is required, but if they were actually designed to represent the values of TED and its audience, the website strapline may need changing too.
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      Dec 10 2013: Stephen, you make several excellent points. I suspect that there have been rigorous-thinking science-minded people who have moved on because they find there to be too much pseudoscience and "new age" discussion here for their tastes. Their departure, as well as the reluctance of those who remain to engage on the subject, makes it less likely that ideas in this area, when they arise, are subjected to a good critical airing. On the other hand, I suspect there have been people who have left because they believe the site provides inadequate opportunity to discuss and promote New Age ideas, which they believe to be a new and rigorous science about which scholarly science is in denial.

      Do you see a way for the community to solve this problem constructively as a community rather than leaving it to the small staff that moderates?
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        Dec 10 2013: Don't we want the intelligentsia here? If TED has to choose, the choice should be clear.

        But I really recommend TED Conversations adopting most of Reddit, it's something that works, promotes really good content and allows free speech.
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          Dec 10 2013: My question to Stephen was in part whether there is a way to be a broad community where everyone can learn and from which everyone can benefit rather than one that selects one population and rejects another. There is at least an opportunity for bringing together in discourse people of diverse experience and education who can increase everyone's level of understanding.

          There is, I think, a public interest in such an undertaking. I see TED as an important resource for continuing education and for filling in gaps in what people have had the opportunity to learn elsewhere. There is an important opportunity to shed light on assumptions and on misconceptions.

          But I want to hear Stephen's perspective also.
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        Dec 11 2013: Yes Stephen, we'd both appreciate a response when you read this.

        Fritzie, I do not wish to reject anyone...

        But since we don't have free speech here it's obvious that some opinions aren't allowed, and if we have to choose... Suggestions for making it a better community have been made thousands of times in hundreds of ways by TEDsters...

        I was able to assess some of my frustrations, maybe it'll help you understand me better... Scroll down a bit http://www.reddit.com/r/TEDconversations/comments/1saz8l/is_ted_invaded_by_lobbyists/
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          Dec 11 2013: I read it and have also read your presentation of the same ideas here over the months.

          I remember Ladan's thread. It drew a lot of response, which suggests to me that people still had things to say on her question. I wouldn't have interpreted running the new thread as meaning the old wouldn't be read, though. Just because TED staff doesn't comment doesn't mean they are not reading!

          As I expressed elsewhere, I don't think the deletion of comments is because an opinion is not allowed, other than a sales pitch. I would guess most of the deletions that are not of spambots are about name-calling and over-the-top rudeness. So it isn't the opinion but how it is expressed

          Thread openings are a little different. Right now, for example, you have three threads open simultaneously, I think. If I were an admin approving threads, I would probably prefer not to have any one person running much more than that at a time. In fact, I could see limiting people to one at a time if they are getting more threads proposed than they think the site can accommodate at once, given limits on people's time and attention.
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      Dec 10 2013: Thank you Stephen,

      And I completely agree that it would ask the fundamental question of TED's purpose. That's a question that I've been trying to ask for years, and it's been a battle I can tell you that.

      Pabitra pointed out that he was surprised that they'd even allow this conversation, something that they've been reluctant to do for a long time.

      I agree with everything you say.
      And I wish that the organization TED would have values of TED...

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