TED Conversations

Simon Tovey

Game Programmer, Sumo Digital

This conversation is closed.

TED Conversations structure should be re-thought to produce better organised conversations.

TED Conversations' nesting structure allows only 3 levels. This means that a sub conversation that would naturally continue past this becomes fragmented as people reply to earlier posts in the thread but actually reply to the 3 deep nested post.
I'm sure there are some small changes that would improve things.
Obviously if no-one else finds this a problem worth addressing please say so.

My 2 suggestions are:
- Allow deeper or unlimited nesting with optional collapsing of each branch of the conversation. This may have been rejected when designing the current system to stop sub conversations overtaking the main point of an conversation. Though this seems to happen anyway.

- Allow replies to a users own posts. This wouldn't change things much but would allow things to stay slightly neater as 3 deep nested conversations would be able to continue in a sequential fashion rather than plonking their posts on earlier or later posts higher up the tree.

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  • Jun 30 2011: Another thought I had relating to comments was this:

    What if the thumbs up recommendations were not anonymous (in a similar way to facebook's "like"). I think this would change the discussion dynamics in an interesting way. This could have some very positive effects in bringing transparency to group opinions.
  • Jun 30 2011: I agree with your suggestions Simon.

    I have been a bit frustrated myself with the comment system. There are some threads where it takes a great effort to look for a specific comment. In cases where there are multiple nested replies, I would like to have the option to only show the top level comments, then I can drill down on my own. This would help with the clutter. Perhaps that would happen only when the nested comments become a certain length, becoming unmanageable.
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    Jun 29 2011: sound like a good idea.
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    Jul 2 2011: As long as we are making suggestions to improve the usability of these conversations, I would add one more:

    Remove the ability to delete comments. This will encourage people to think a little harder before they press the submit button. You cannot retract comments after the fact in real conversations, published pieces, letters to the editor, and most online forums. The ability to delete comments has caused threads like this one:

    http://www.ted.com/conversations/3883/how_should_plagiarism_be_handl.html

    It has almost nothing except orphaned replies because a user came in, stirred up a bunch of conversation, and then left taking her comments with her. It's exceptionally disrespectful to the people who have taken the time to compose replies and participate in the conversation. Being able to drop verbal bombs in a conversation and then erase all evidence does not foster a sense of community.
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    Jul 2 2011: Yea I like the idea of a collapsible conversation branch to keep things tidy, and unlimited nesting.

    You really should try voicing your concerns with TED itself if you really want something done about it.
    http://www.ted.com/contact
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      Jul 4 2011: Cheers Dan,
      Ye once this conversation closes I probably will send a link to the admins about it. Assuming the feedback is still posiitve.

      Thought it best to test the opinions of the community first.