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Matthieu Miossec

Doctoral Student - Genetic Medecine (Congenital Heart Disease),

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Getting rid of the open-ended option

Am I the only one who finds that talks that are open-ended are often not the most interesting talks but somehow keep getting re-ignited by different people at different times with the exact same points simply because they linger on? Isn't there a risk that these might harbor unending flame wars?

I feel like a number of people abuse it, making an open-ended talk every week with questions and debates that aren't really all that interesting or simply to expand on points that they want to make from other conversations.

I'm happy that most people chose to play along with the time limit. I guess these people can appreciate that setting a time limit forces you to focus your attention a little more, to really engage and jump into the fray before it's too late.

Now I can appreciate that it's a shame when some really good conversations end. I most certainly would have loved to explore the concept of 'free will' some more. An idea would maybe be to allow people to decide whether a talk should be extended for a brief time. This could depend on the willingness of participants, the number of posts per day or something that truly quantifies what makes the debate or question good (featured?). The final decision would go to the original poster.

At any rate though, I think open-ended conversations are a little bit of an eye-sore (not to say that there hasn't occasionally been a good open-ended talk).

Thoughts?

Update: If your open-ended conversation gets closed, don't come complaining to me, I'm not responsible for it, I'm not a TED admin and this is not what my thread was proposing.

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Closing Statement from Matthieu Miossec

Clearly this idea is not as popular as I first thought. We will soon find what that idea is like in practice (although I stress this talk had nothing to do with the recent changes).

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    Jun 15 2011: after reading the comments that were presented here, i believe it is quite safe to establish that arguments for the open ended option had far more weight and self-consistency, and also were more numerous, than the arguments against it. it is clear to me that we actually need the open ended option, and it was convincingly presented in this conversation.
  • Jun 14 2011: please do not manipulate time of topics and let users decide about topics.
    why all should think like you?
    one time you whole remove comments and say off topic.
    when they are on topic you say why it is open ended.
    wonder!
    then what you want to say?
    better to clearly say we do not want religion.
    closing open ended topics is kind of discrimination.
    I think you are deciding because they are related to religion and your personal view (or anti-religion views of some atheist members or admins of ted) about religion affect on this decision out of terms.
    I consider this kind of discrimination.
    if you not like a topic simply not participate it.
    I feel TED is only for atheist people and religion is censored in TED.
    when people can not solve a problem prefer to delete it.
    Koran is my idea and I want to spread it. why you are forcing topic of Koran to be closed in 2 days?
    perhaps a new member want to join a topic after it is closed.
    what is problem of open ended?
    if you not like OK. not participate. but let others use TED.
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      TED 10+

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      Jun 14 2011: TED does not censor religion. And it is not only for atheists. TED is for everyone.
      Please check your email for specific discussions of your conversation.
      Thanks.
      • Jun 15 2011: hello,
        I checked my email and replied you.
        you mentioned some reasons for terminating topics and I accepted for topics unless about topic of Koran.
        that topic does not include any of reasons you said for terminating.
        I asked you in emails what is clear reason of terminating that special topic and you replied me we have extended 2 day termination to one week.
        still I do not know what is clear reason of terminating it. it active enough and not have any of problems you said in email for terminating topics.
        at least say the reason clearly.
        I feel atheism ( of kind of militant ) is at background of this action.

        why before religion come to TED so much TED had not such restrictions?

        let people decide about topics and you do not control topics.

        always new members come in TED. why they should not can comment on topics? and see them closed?
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          Jun 15 2011: SR I am with you here. Though you lost the debate, yet you would have won because of sheer persistence. So I am not happy for you.
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          Jun 15 2011: All conversations will be set a certain time period from now on. So please don't take it personal. It's not about you or the topic of conversation. There will be no open ended conversations.

          If You have any questions concerns please email us at conversations@ted.com
          TED Conversations Admin
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          Jun 15 2011: Talking to conversations@ted.com is like talking into a black hole.

          They don't discuss anything. Just inform you of the command decisions that have been made.
      • Jun 15 2011: please assume Wikipedia want to close the option of editing of its articles and only new articles be allowed to be added to Wikipedia and only for a small period of time be editable. after years you have tons of old and wrong and not perfect and useless articles.

        please assume this about TED if you ban the option of updating and new comments from new users to topics then you will have a large collection of not perfect and old topics that after some time will be boring.
        but if you let topics growth and develop and become more and more complete then you will have a fresh and updated and cutting edge website with useful and new knowledge.
        for example assume a top scientist come to TED right today and want to add a brilliant comment on a topic but see it is closed. then what happens? only leaves TED and go to other fresh and up to date website.
        if you make such decision only few members (most probably not expert in a topic) for a limited time participate in a topic and that topic will never be a perfect topic.
        please consider making topics open end.
        but you can set some rules for increasing the quality of comments on topics.
        many comments are low quality with low knowledge and only make a jungle of useless comments and is boring for a new comer user.
        I prefer the intelligent and automatic methods of Wikipedia for quality of topics on Wikipedia.
        TED is very poor in web2 and social networking and programming technologies.
        for example you can add many features for user pages to a member can customize his own page like personal page in YouTube.
        totally I am sorry for TED.
        I predict TED will have new competitors in Internet and will lose in competition like Microsoft losing against Google. but if TED not want to user better features in website.
        from first day I am using TED I have not seen any new feature of change in features of TED.
        you are only restricting and controlling users/topics/comments more and more instead of adding new features and services to website.
        Change
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          Jun 15 2011: You've always had my support S.R Ahmadi. Dialog is good.
      • Jun 15 2011: Dear Richard Dawson,
        thanks for your support
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      Jun 14 2011: Who is the you in this sentence? Is it me? Is it TED?

      edit: Ok, now that I've actually checked other talks, I understand what you're saying.
      • Jun 15 2011: Dear Matthieu Miossec,
        I do not mean specifically you. but I feel [perhaps wrong] that also you like to religion be removed from TED.
        unfortunately western people prejudice about Islam according to their mind about western religion/church/Arabs/evil behaviors of Muslims/middle east governments and does not distinguish between them and True Islam (Koran). they are far different.

        I am mainly with TED admins and decision makers.
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          Jun 15 2011: If I wanted religion removed from TED, would I dedicate so much time to religious threads? You are of course right that many people have a warped vision of Muslims and Islam. I don't fall into that category. In all your threads I have confronted the issues head on and have treated your religion the same as I treat any other religion. Tone down the persecution complex man.
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    Jun 8 2011: on the contrary, i've never really understood the limited time conversations. my problem is the opposite: too many conversations about the same topic. and also too many that are not deep enough to inspire long and deep conversations. time limit is a limit. why add artificial limits?
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    Jun 9 2011: Good point.
    Maybe frequent topics should be bundled as an "on-going"...

    But a conversation that has a clear (contemporary) conclusion has much more value than an endless rant of repeated same arguments...

    Maybe TED can ban the 'open ended' and find a way to make some topics 'timeless' or something...
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    Jun 8 2011: I didn't read (late for work) but I agree with the title 100 percent.
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    Jun 9 2011: Agreed , I think you also observed there is pattern as well. Anyone can find that some members always keeping their discussion open ended ..............

    Another issue is that having almost similar subject opened up for discussion just changing one or the other word/s........
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    Jun 14 2011: Looks like you got your wish Matthieu. They just informed me my topic is being terminated:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/3273/nothing_s_off_topic.html

    What is the problem with an open ended discussion? At times it will die down, but then someone new will come along and have something to add.

    Why is there always someone wanting to control everything? (Is that your French side showing?)
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      Jun 14 2011: OK, before everyone goes into massive freak out mode and point to me as the instigator of this new regime, let me just point out that this is simply an idea thread and that my highest title on TED is translator. I'm not responsible for anything the TED admins choose to do or not (what they are doing isn't even really what I'm suggesting). I do not have more influence than any of you on TED and like many of you, I have sometimes annoyed them with some of my comments.

      Tim, please don't attack my French nationality because you're pissed off. Besides, if there's a controlling side to me, wouldn't be my American side? (Obviously you can't say that being American yourself).
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        Jun 14 2011: Good point Matthieu. Or perhaps it's the Franco-American Alliance which is seeking world domination.
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        Jun 14 2011: you are right, but let's be honest, there are severe problems with french people.

        (kidding)
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        Jun 14 2011: hungarian schmuck export is a thriving business.
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          Jun 15 2011: Look what you have done Matthieu, besides igniting a Franco-Hungarian war.

          What we were cheezed off with were deletions. Tims topic was good for that. Very few excuses to delete.

          And you have deprived SR the opportunity of providing an endless number of reasons why the Quran is scientifically not a miracle. :)
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          Jun 15 2011: I have done nothing. I am not a TED admin. I'm a scapegoat here.
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    Jun 11 2011: This conversation should totally be open ended, I'm sure others will have a view after this closes.
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      Jun 12 2011: Very little people have written in this thread. I doubt it'll still be very visible in a month's time. So what would be the point of it being open-ended?
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        Jun 13 2011: So if this conversation was open in a month, (by being open ended) it wouldn't be very viable? Not really an eyesore then is it?
      • Jun 14 2011: Dear Matthieu Miossec,
        "Very little people have written in this thread. I doubt it'll still be very visible in a month's time. So what would be the point of it being open-ended?"
        please consider many others has this idea about their own topic.
        this is clearly discrimination.
        you say other should be closed and I should be open ended.
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          Jun 14 2011: I say no such thing. All my talks have been time-limited, including this one. I'm suggesting a rule that applies to all. Can you read? I am not responsible for what TED admins have done to some of your talks, nor was it what I suggested.
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    Jun 9 2011: Why not suggest it with your reasoning to the TED question on improving TED?