Ahmed Hassen

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Regarding TED Conversations Moderation

I believe that we should be allowed to say whatever we want to say as long there is no kind of insult or rudeness intended
We in Arab countries are fighting so hard to get our voices heard and respected. I guess we will not accept anyone anymore that keep our mouth shut because of regarding what we say is "disruptive to civil conversation, or deliberately inflammatory".
I guess in a global community of brilliant people like TED, we should be allowed to say whatever we think is right so that the other side could get the whole picture and never be deluded or misled.

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    Mar 3 2011: Ahmed,

    You say, "I believe that we should be allowed to say whatever we want to say as long there is no kind of insult or rudeness intended."

    This is exactly what "disruptive" or "deliberately inflammatory" comments consist of, and why we remove them. This does not mean that we only allow one side of an argument, or that we remove based on someone's opinions. To the contrary, we welcome differing opinions, including those with which the individuals on the admin team may not personally agree, as long as they are presented, like all opinions here, in a calm, constructive tone that allows the discussion to continue, and do not violate the site's Terms of Use. If individuals wish to post angry attacks, personal insults, or other conversation-halting messages, there are many other venues on the internet for doing so.

    Sincerely,

    Aja B.
    TED Conversations Manager
    conversations@ted.com
    • Comment deleted

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        Mar 3 2011: Hello Birdia,

        That is up to the Kurgan. As I explained to him, he is welcome to return under a different identity, so long as he chooses to follow the Terms of Use. Perhaps he already has.

        Thanks,

        Aja
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          Mar 3 2011: if kurgan is not here, it is not his loss, it is TED's loss. but you are free to be completely satisfied with the situation.
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          Mar 4 2011: Hi Birdia, having read many of Kurgan's posts myself, I think he was, in some sense. a special case. He often made very valid points, more often than not packaged in a provocative tone (nothing wrong with that from my point of view), BUT, he also often crossed the line of civility and, as some members can confirm, at times was outright hostile and insulting.
          So, in some way, Kurgan was often the "spice" to a talk, but he had to face the consequences, when even after numerous warnings from Aja, he still continued his offenses.
          Personally, I hope that he does/did some soul searching and comes back with a new identity, but sticking to the forum etiquette.
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          Mar 4 2011: @Birdia Tak Wai Chan: no, i was talking to aja. this reasoning "we deleted him, but it is ok, as he can create new account" is, well, let's say unsatisfying.
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          Mar 4 2011: how much more is that than "no"? everyone can create a new account, that is not informative. and why would he change his manners? there was nothing wrong with it. somehow i feel parallel between this and the case of sarah silverman. ted is trying to protect an image, which is OK, but i don't have to personally like it. not the image, that is, but the way they try to protect it.
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          Mar 5 2011: this is a public forum, as far as i know, and if i feel like replying to a post, i do. moreover, i didn't even reply to your post, you are the one who jumped in. i'm much more interested in aja's reaction. also i don't really understand where the heat comes from. your personal attack looks completely out of place for me, unexpected.
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          Mar 5 2011: your plan to bring back at least the spirit of kurgan is highly respected :)
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          Mar 5 2011: do you plan to mark these comments in any way, or it is up to the audience to spot? if you do it right, it should not be hard to recognize though.
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          Mar 5 2011: please don't! i trust you much more than him. you are driven by emotions and ethics. you are an individual. unlike ted, which is an organization, and motivated by artificial self image. i trust individuals, not organizations.
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        Mar 5 2011: Krisztián, I'm sorry, but I'm not going to discuss the details of the Kurgan's removal. I do think that much of what he posted was of value to the community, however, and would be happy to see that type of participation continue here.

        Aja
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    Mar 6 2011: Some of the exchanges I have read here are ridiculous posturing and whining.
  • Mar 5 2011: Dear Aja,

    I've always been a fan of this website. To me it reflected an intellectual platform of substance and diversity. However I was disappointed today when a comment of mine (along with others including the person I was replying to, lets say my 'argumentative' antagonist') was deleted. Let me note that this was my first comment ever to be written on your website.

    In reference to your terms and Ahmed Hassen's terms, how do you decide what is 'insulting' or 'rude' or 'disruptive' or ' deliberately inflammatory'? on what basis are comments deleted? how can you foreshadow their perspective results? and most importantly who engages in all the 'conservation moderation' ?

    I simply replied to a commentator, by criticizing his polling reference that he used and followed a rather logical and 'hard-sciences' approach to his argument. My comment lacked any personal attack, any vulgar and unacceptable language, and was entirely based on facts. Now arguments can be sharp in their honesty, but this does not amount to 'abuse'.

    It is shame to see a community like TED impose restrictions like these, and what I can sense from the comments above is that this is not a new issue I bring in. TED hosts a lot of people who have been marginalized and in some places oppressed for their dissent and radical ideas, and its seems ironic that comments of much lesser radicalism and more conformity are still being deleted.

    Mother Jones, a railroad union figure in 19th century USA one said: "Agitation is the Greatest Factor for progress".

    Maybe some agitation is healthy, and from my first experience on your forum i realized that any form of intellectual confrontation was suppressed for 'peacefulness'.

    This comment is written with hope of conveying a sincere point with a positive outlook and not to denounce anyone or anything.

    Cheers
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      Mar 6 2011: Dear Khalil,

      Your comment referred to another poster as being "in a self-induced coma", which violates the site's Terms of Use ( http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms ). It was also, like several comments on that particular TEDTalk, quite off-topic to anything presented in the actual Talk.

      Radical ideas are more than welcome on TED.com, but if they are mixed with personal insults, or are completely off-topic to the discussion they're posted in, they make it difficult or impossible for the rest of the community to engage in constructive conversation around the subject at hand.

      Aja
      • Mar 6 2011: Dear Aja,

        I have read your site's Term of Use, and it is my contention that it is highly debatable as to whether I violated any clause. The talk was a very general talk about the bravery of the Egyptian protesters, and close to its end the speaker briefly addressed the future of this revolution. Therefore it is not true that the exchange was off topic, actually the comprehensiveness of the talk could circumscribe a huge deal of subjects. It is my feeling that being 'on topic' is synonymous with 'a political', however it is not provable.

        I was surprised, and rather disappointed that my comment was canceled in account of my 'in a self-induced coma' phrase. It has a multitude of metaphorical meaning and does not limit itself to mere personal insult. Anyway it beats me how one can easily categorize "insulting" and "not insulting comments" . I have watched a multitude of speakers with more 'insulting' (and rather critical, witty, and constructive) comments in your conferences. Any how, any more talk on the subject would be sheer talk and truly intended to instigate useless discussions.

        TED.com is a class A website, however its discussion platform is surprisingly limited, tightly framed, and restrictive.

        Thank you for your time and reply.

        regards,
        Khalil
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    Mar 4 2011: It may be a bit of a stretch, but I would argue that everyone draws a line on free speech. I would limit what you could say in my home, I and society limit what people can say in my classroom, and organizations are free to limit what people write on the websites. TED's Terms and Conditions are some of the most flexible I've seen.

    All freedoms are limited. In a just society the issue is when and where to draw that line, and in a democratic society the issue is how do we have that discussion or make our arguments with respect to when and where to draw that line in a peaceful manner.

    I accept that there are freedoms I'd like to have more of, but I also accept that the decisions to restrict those freedoms were not made lightly, incorrectly, but not lightly. I also understand that I can participate in changing those boundaries, as long as I act respectfully.

    As Debra Smith wrote, if people want to be heard then we need to convince each other with an argument, not using our right to a diatribe. I won't listen.

    That is the essence, I believe, of what TED (among others) is trying to do.
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    Mar 3 2011: while i support your wish, i'd like to point out that i would not say arab people are having hard time attracting sympathy these days. every forum is full with anti-usa, anti-israel voices, not without some element of truth, unfortunately. and the recent great events in multiple countries, including egypt, directs even more attention to that part of the globe. the world listens with curious eyes, and with great hope. at least i do.
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    Mar 3 2011: I support you in your desire to be heard especially if you have experienced being shut out of the conversation in other venues. The best part, however, in being truly heard is that people will respond to your thought processes and ideas so that you can really hear them as well. This is the sort of dialogue that moves societies and ideas forward.
  • Mar 3 2011: The only posts that I have seen the admins delete were particularly obnoxious. Each post consisted half of the poster telling us how sophisticated and intelligent he is and the other half of how stupid the video under discussion was and how dumb and uninformed everybody else's opinions were. In some ways it might have been better to just leave the posts visible, as the guy kind of hung himself, but on the other hand there do have to be some rules in a forum like this and he may well have upset some people. I disagree with a very large number of posts both here in Conversations and on the main site following talks, and I am not nearly as much of a fan of some of the talks as a lot of TEDsters seem tobe, but that doesn't give me the right to insult others because we have differing opinions.
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    Mar 3 2011: Hi Ahmed, don't worry, no post will be deleted unless it's in violation of the terms of use ( http://www.ted.com/pages/conversations_terms )