TED Conversations

Peter Wilson

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America is not the center (or is that centre) of the universe as we know it! Amercan arrogance is astounding (and I like Americans)

American arrogance as its position as the world leader in everything is astounding. I just don't think that Americans 'get' that there are other views in the world. However rather than it being a big debate lets start with all the small things Americans, and American companies can do to recognise, or even demonstrate that they are open to other ideas. Lets start with who owns the Internet?

In fact lets start with a simple example of registering for TED Conversations (and nearly every other forum registration on the internet) - Why is the United States listed first and all other countries in alphabetical order after this?

The internet is awash with 'Americanisms' (is that even a word - separate debate!) but should the internet not have a common denominator that is not US centric. (That word common, works on so many levels). Default date selection should not US based, spelling should not be US spellings and when asking for an address ZIP code should not be the default!

Now you may think this is a petty debate, but its not. The Internet is a force for good. We have all been admiring its use in the 'Arab Spring'. We all love the idea of collaboration and easy access to research and expertise. However all the major bodies that govern the internet have a strong US bias and perhaps it is time to change that. I read recently that Superman is to become a more global figure, standing for Truth and justice the global way: fighting tyranny no matter the perpetrator. Perhaps the internet needs to be the same and perhaps we can start with small steps instead of looking for big solutions. Perhaps next time I register on a forum the country list will be purely alphabetical?


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    Jun 6 2011: I have to ask, Peter, where do you see, other than TED, the United States listed as first in a list of countries? Maybe if we know who they are we can think of solutions that appeal to the various groups behind these websites.

    As for spelling, and date selection, I feel that really depends on the group designing the website or web app. I'm not really sure how we could do something about it. I think that even if we convinced people to use other formats for spelling and date selection, we would still gravitate towards a "default" format, regardless of whether or not the format is American in nature. As I said before, I think this depends on the web designers and developers, as well as what type of browser you use.

    I know that Mr. Alan Bishop made the comment that we shouldn't need demarcations by country. I thought it was for legal issues, to be honest: that way, should something happen involving a particular user or website, the demarcation would at least determine whose jurisdiction it fell under. Is that not the case? I ask the same question of domain names: is that the principal reason behind different domains for different countries?
    • sha b

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      Jun 6 2011: IMDB...It is called *International* Movie database, But as a non-American I feel like it's by Americans for Americans, The most represented films/actors/directors are the American ones, The main event is Oscars. Any poll result represents what Americans think...Why it is named international? When Its Americans that are running it?
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        Jun 6 2011: Maybe also because Hollywood is a pretty big deal...just a thought...Where do you live? Because I'm in the UK right now and imdb.com has three boxes on the right that say "UK box office", "UK opening this week" and "UK coming soon". The news part says "UK top news". When I'm in France, imdb.com goes to imdb.fr which is all in French! Just like Peter Wilson, you open up with a perfectly legitimate premise and than choose a damn awful example.

        That aside, the straight answer to your question "why is it named international when its Americans that are running it"...uhm it's not named International...IMDB stands for Internet Movie Database...big huge flipping duh!
        • sha b

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          Jun 6 2011: I live in Iran, So it's always".com", I didn't even know the .fr and .uk versions existed, (is there a .uk version? I can't seem to reach it from here)

          And my bad, assuming the i stands for international. Guess I was too quick to make a conclusion based on my assumption. The wrong assumption,Though I still stand by my conclusion.
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        Jun 6 2011: There is no UK version per se. IMDB just knows I'm in the UK and therefore changes the layout of the website accordingly.

        So you're saying that you're standing by your conclusion that is based on a wrong assumption? Nice for you to admit that your attitude is irrational.
        • sha b

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          Jun 6 2011: Lets not discus my attitude, I am not claiming anything about myself,
          Yeah I think somewhere in IMDB.com it should be pointed out that,at least in this case .com means .usa. I can't say anything about other versions, But as it is I think non-American films/film festivals/writers/directors are underrepresented in imdb.com.

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