TED Conversations

Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.

TEDCRED 500+

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Does the TED Cred model perpetuate a breakdown in dialogue?

Perhaps I am wrong in my understanding, but the current model for assigning credits seems to value starting interesting conversations more than it does offering insightful contributions to conversations already in play.

In trying to understand the role TED can play in working toward solutions, this model seems to value each of us throwing out a constant stream of new ideas of our own rather than actually listening to and learning from the interaction of other people's ideas?

Doesn't modern society already have too many people talking and not enough people listening?

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    Apr 27 2011: how many conversations you've started?
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      Apr 27 2011: The question: is how many have I started that people have flagged as great conversations? Since I can't see which of my own convo's receive those thumbs up, it's hard for me to know which ones the community likes or not. I find the mystery factor puzzling—kind of like trying to be a better waiter if you don't know which tables you received tips from or trying to be a better teacher if you don't know which students responded to different kinds of lessons . . .
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        Apr 28 2011: you said "Doesn't modern society already have too many people talking and not enough people listening?". i just thought i'd give you a hint about that.
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          Apr 28 2011: Ha! My point was to try and understand whether TED saw that as better or worse. How many conversations have you started, Krisztian? A lot or just a few? That would allow me to compare the relative credit TED places on starting good convo's . . .
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        TED 10+

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        Apr 28 2011: Dear Erik,
        flag tool is not for marking great comments but for sending notification to moderators about spam, inappropriate comments violating TED.com Terms of Use :)
        If people like your comments and conversations they'll give you thumbs up and you should be able to see that.
        You can learn more about TEDCred here: http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_tedcred

        Thank You.
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        Apr 28 2011: Erik,

        The TEDcred is weird I'll give you.

        However to see your thumbs up, sign out and look at the thread lol, these are public conversations.

        Also, usually the threads and conversations that are most popular are where people are thinking at usually. Religion, evolution, politics, war, and everything in relation to those are constantly being recreated as conversations.

        While you post great questions, remember people do not always know exactly what you are talking about. Post links, break it down simply, and overall try to simplify ideas.

        I read two marketing books of the psychology involving entertainment and information. People want the facts as quickly as possible, they do not want to have to think what you mean to often and too much, and/or too many words are just unattractive. (That answer was short and sweet thumbs up! I know exactly what he means! Man, a full 2000 characters... pass..) [speculation]

        The reason TED is so amazing and attracting so many is because of the simplicity that is practiced in the videos. These guys only have minutes to dictate worlds of thought that cause hundreds of comments of debate, ideas, and questions.

        You are also questioning a few people that use the conversations, many many more people just comment on videos and post ideas, questions, and debates there. If anything TED needs to better dictate the conversation board they created, because anyone on it will tell you they gained a lot of useful information.

        Indeed the practice should be input as much as you output, which is why I try not to post a conversation a day even though I want to do so. I am proud my 3 or 4 conversations were as successful as they were/are. But, as an Admin suggested, must work with other conversations as well so others feel they are actually contributing to the community and not just a few sentences of text on a screen.

        Side-note:Everyone put info. on the their profile, when you have a good statement it helps me to know how you came to it
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    May 17 2011: I am not sure that anyone here should be very concerned about the TED cred system as it applies to oneself. If we keep the focus on honest dialogue that truly engages people, we are focusing on an internal motivation that is genuine and productive. To shape any of our behaviours on the accumulation of points is to my mind kind of sad and definately external motivation. The credit system is, in my opinon,a way of sharing by other people about other people that a person has been a genuine contributor to the TED goals of prosocial aims.
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      May 17 2011: Well said Debra..that is exactly right..each persons real value here is on the integrity, intelligence, engagement with the Ted "ideal".. Anyone who chooses which conversations to particiate in or frames comments just to get thumbs ups or starts conversations just a sort of game is not really worth engaging here and doesn't really belong here.
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        May 17 2011: Poby, you make some interesting observations.

        I have noticed some questions that I thought were excellent but had no real contribution to make on the topic. I was hoping to learn and was disappointed when no one respondd. Thus the question cannot be judged solely by responses. Sometimes, though it is the wayt hat it is phrased that make the questions or concepts unapproachable.

        I love to give thumbs up when I am not an active participant but simply a learner. When a point seems particularly cogent or insightful, I do not want to take the attention off of the participants but I do want to call attention to the point.

        I write to others when I need to encourage, clarify or share an observation out of the main stream conversation and I love having that option. I see the space here at TED conversations as a smorgasborg of ideas and people. Some topics are deep, and inquiring while others provide an outlet for the human spirit in art or curiousity. I love most of it.

        As the space in cyberspace feels unlimited to me, I simply skip what I am not interested in or what I cannot engage with. It works fine for me. In it all I find a vibrant humaness that delights, educates and makes me smile. (I am amazed at how often I laugh out loud or smile broadly).

        As my eldest son is fond of saying we are just colourful monkies finding our way in a complex universe!
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          May 17 2011: well said Deb..all that you do and suggest here is great and helps to build a place of colliquy here at TED conversations..that's what matters always and first..building that. I do the same as you..try to bring worthy questions to the fore by commenting or ecnouraging via email.. that's what mayters here..trying to build what we have here into something meaningful
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      May 18 2011: Wait, either it is a useful tool for feedback so we can see how much the community values certain kinds of conversations and topics or it isn't. You seem to make the case that it isn't, in which case why not just drop it altogether?

      As for posting questions just to get TC points, or as a sort of game, I didn't see where anyone was suggesting anything like that. However, my brain is not sufficiently caffeinated yet, so I may have missed it.
      :-D
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        May 18 2011: Moring Erik!
        I don't perceive TED cred to have much to do with types of conversations or topics but I did share that I do not understand or pay much attention to the system except that I look at the cred others have earned to wonder what their interests are. For me, I like the idea of acknowledging the people who have organized conferences, translated or added great information and insight to the debates. It makes me smile to notice that people love what they are doing and doing it well.

        I am very laissez faire about topics and conversations. I did not suggest that posting topics had any ulterior motive. As a really curious person, I just love the way some conversations turn into 'mindmaps' rather than linear lock step pursuit of a single train of thought. It kind of reminds me of brain neurons- if I were to illustrate it- long strings with sudden active spiky nodes of thought. With a little patience we can often see that a thought that did not immediately appear to be relevant blossoms into something profoundly enlightening to the topic. I am enriched when people have the space to 'think out loud' - and its not as though we are running out of 'paper' here. The site reflects a democratic process- topics that interest people are commented upon and spark debate or discussion and those which don't are very quiet. Democracy at its best- I think. In fact, when I just don't get it, I hope everyone is having fun and I move on to something more interesting to me.
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        May 18 2011: Erik, yes that is what the ted cred is..feedback from the administration ( not just fellow users with their thumbs up) on what is sought here..what they are trying to build and encourage here.. I agree with Debra that conversation which start from the original framing often bring great value and I admire the delicate hand our Conversations Manager excercises in that regard..but I also welcome the incresaing presence of the TED Administrator remindimg us this isn't a social networking site..that we have a purpose for being that being here commits us to that purpose and I see TED Cred as part of that. Important to note that it includes contributions to TED as a whole as translatorr, organizer etc. it isn't just about this new aspect of Ted where we particpate. And I like that because it reminds us that TED is an organization with a reputation, a purpose, a mission in the world and that we have thi sopportunity and are valued here by our contribution to the overall TED mission.

        Finally, just to add to what Debra has shared about her practices here at TED Conversation, I try to focus my engaement on conversations that arise from TED Talks and also those that TED has chosen to feature. That too is guidance on why we are here and what is sought.
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    May 17 2011: What we have is too many people trying to "sell something" rather than "solve something". I like posting and reading ideas and solutions that anyone could implement in their lives without a PhD or 5 million dollars.
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      May 17 2011: Hi Brandt..metting you for the first time..glad to have you here. I agree with you that the most valuable comments here at TED teach e something valuable that I can use in my life or try to develop in my life. Annd thank goodness we have lots o that here at Ted Conversations. . I see lots of people here who think it can be used to get financial backing for a project and I see lots of people here devloping ideas just as e-salon conversation with no personal commitment on follow through. it truly is a mixed bag and I thik that is just fine for now. It will define itself and I have seen it evolve in just the fe weeks i have been here to something that is more a reflection of the Ted value, the Ted approach..
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    Apr 28 2011: Erik, I have no idea how TED cred works so I do not pay attention to it. I do know that the conversations I have been in that break down on this site are primarily because we revert to the same old bad patterns that we have always had. We stay with our tactics and opinions even in the face of great new information
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      Apr 28 2011: ed..lokking forward to it..what s it called? evrything you have said here has been of immense value to me..so I will definitely follow through
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    Apr 27 2011: isn't the question.before that.what were these conversations supposed to be about and are we going in that direction? If there is a gap between what you fee lare consistently productive and construcrive contributions to conversation and TED creds then the TED Cred system is giving us the wrong feed back on what was intended here or we're not so sure what was intended here.
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      Apr 28 2011: You lost me. Can you clarify?
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        Apr 28 2011: Hello Erik..I' m suggesting that we are building our own TED cred as members of this community in selecting the conversations we choose to engage in, taking the time to understand the heart of the question and its relationship to TED talks..taking time to actually review the conversation directly associated with the talk and most importantly recognizing that conversation is very different from "comment" or opinion. ( The modeators and contributors who make the biggest contribution are those who consistently try to understand and clarify what others have said not those insistent on getting their own point of view across or gaining "points")I know I have learned more, gotten more out of TED and the TED talks that compel and exhilirate me by trying to stay with one or two themes and the many ways the community is speaking to these themes., paying attention to the "Featured" filter for conversations and digging in the archives of closed conversations for more insight and a better sense of how the community is visiting important issues. Now that I've figured that out my own expereience of the TED conversations is closer to the TED brand we all respect and want to be part of. It's all here but ittakes discipline and commitment to utlize..just lie everytghing else that is worthwhile.
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    Apr 27 2011: I agree 100 percent. The status quo is upsetting, It's like trying to listen to Georges Moustaki while your neighbor cranks Led Zeppelin up to 11. I enjoy both artists, just not at once.
    Furthermore,
    I'm very surprised with the amount of perissologists active in the conversations. brevity it seems is a lost virtue.
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      Apr 27 2011: love that word.perissologists ( in Maine we say :long winded")..and love the hi value you place on brevity..working on i.t and in the context of this conversation, brevity, if it is also meaningful and not just clever commuicates better and is highly valued..at least by all the thumbs ups. Long dissertaition rarely get a thumbs up.