TED Conversations

Tim Colgan


This conversation is closed.

Nothing's off topic

This conversation is meant to be one where nothing is off topic. That is, a conversation which is unconstrained and able to take on any direction.

The diversity of background and depth of thinking of TED conversation posters is outstanding. Where will an open conversation lead? Let's see.

What's on your mind?

We are all adults here and capable of negotiating differences between ourselves. Although heated disputes have emerged in these conversations, they have as yet not led to violence. And the process of the community resolving conflict is one thing this conversation could exemplify. Remember Chris Anderson's insight:

"You need clear, open visibility of what the best people in that crowd are capable of, because that is how you will learn how you will be empowered to participate."


To posters: PLEASE DO NOT DELETE YOUR POSTINGS. If you are unwilling to allow your contributions to remain indefinitely, please go elsewhere. Let this conversation be an unadulterated record of human interaction.


Closing Statement from Tim Colgan

Internet forums such as this have become the new "public space". As such, it is essential that users demand normal rights of free speech in the places that they congregate as in any other public space.

This conversation, though initially open-ended, was singled out by TED for early termination, despite the fact that it generated significant traffic and interesting conversations.

Transparency and openness is essential for the success of an endeavor such as the one TED conversations has claimed as its purpose.

This has become a dictatorial and closed environment.

"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely" (see Birdia's Leopold Kohr quote "The Power Theory of Aggression" below for the more elaborate version).

In memory of Pabitra (PBUH).

For when this gets expunged - an unexpurgated version of this conversation will soon be placed here:


Googling "Nothing's off topic" should work soon.

And keep your eyes out for TEDanon. For those wishing to relieve the withdrawal pains from quitting TED.

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      Jun 13 2011: adios. ted just lost one more fan. these people are a bunch of control freaks.
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          Jun 13 2011: Out of the blue they just said they would be terminating the conversation.

          They don't seem to respect the fact that posters have an investment in these creations. They sure know how to piss people off. If they really want this thing to grow, they need to encourage open communication.
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          Jun 14 2011: my doubts started with the case of sarah silverman.
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          Jun 14 2011: They could have a motivation, as a bar also closes for talk, though they could have asked Tim with one private question. "TEDc is successful, and to stay fresh, the open ended conv should go... is it ok to let your conversation expire in a week? If this is too short, we leave it open for a month, so you can think off a followup conversation" Not kicked out in 2 days! Than they wouldn't loose respect. Openness is TEDs middle name not?
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      Jun 13 2011: From TED Conversations:

      Hey Tim,

      I just wanted to inform you that our Conversation "Nothing's Off Topic" has been given an expiration date for the end of this week. The Conversation was a great run and we were willing to see where it goes, but there is little to no value of keeping this Conversation open and going to the TED.com community and site.

      It is scheduled to close this Friday, June 16th.


      TED Conversations Admin

      E: conversations@ted.com
      W: http://www.ted.com/conversations
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        Jun 14 2011: "there is little to no value of keeping this Conversation open and going to the TED.com community and site"

        wow, they discovered a method to measure value. they can't keep it secret!! i want a TED talk about how to measure intrinsic/emotional values!
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          Jun 14 2011: Krisztian: You might just turn me into a libertarian yet.

          Apparently TED doesn't trust the market. Central control is their method.
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        Jun 14 2011: I have to wonder if you've edited this to look like a true copy/paste email. It tastes bitter to me...
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          Jun 14 2011: Tim wouldn't do that! You can get these kind of responses...
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          Jun 14 2011: Want to confirm TED? Or do you only work in the dark?
        • Jun 14 2011: Hi Rosemeri, I generally keep out of the fray in these conversations but I am compelled to respond in this case. What is it about Tim's post that would lead you to accuse him of editing it? What about it leads you to cast aspersions on his integrity?
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          Jun 14 2011: And TED didn't like Tim his face also? ;)
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        Jun 14 2011: Tim, don't give up on TED just yet please!
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        Jun 14 2011: Dear Tim,
        Please check you email.
        I see you are not happy about this, but we encourage you reach out to us instead of commenting, that way we can communicate better and quicker and achieve mutual understanding.

        We are not ignoring the suggestions or dissatisfactions of our community members, rather our team has been discussing the ways to please most of you and look into off-topic comment cases, along with conversation timing.

        TED Conversations Admin
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          Jun 14 2011: getting out of grasp to keep track? for who? why would anyone want to keep track? the FBI can't wrap their head around it? or TED moderator algorithm page-faulted trying to run the "offtopic" analysis?

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