TED Conversations

Bruno Carre

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Could TED conversations be improved by adding a country-related filter? And even pave the way to start local TED-inspired actions?

Love TED, some talks had a major influence on how I see the world, even in my career.

And love TED conversations, this opportunity to connect with concerned citizens all around the world to talk, debate or spread ideas is so valuable.

But I would also love to ignite or participate in debates that are specific to regions or countries, for 2 particular reasons:
1. One stems from curiosity: getting to know a country better, its inhabitants, its customs and culture. TED conversations offer global ideas, wouldn't it also be great to have access to glo-cal ideas, conversations and debates?
2. The second reasons would tend to a higher purpose: to take TED's vision a step further. A kind of a "rubber hits the road" thing.

Indeed, when you browse throughout TED conversations, one thing is striking: the hunger or interest of TED community members to apply these ideas in real life (here, a search with the keyword "action" http://www.ted.com/conversations/search?type=keyword&term=action&submit=Go)

This wish does appear regularly, doesn't it?
Hence this question or wish.
For me, those talks are like a push in my back to do something, and I can't think of a better way to start with people who could feel the same way. And being pragmatic, starting with TED members of your own country or region would be like having a head start to make things happen.

A simple "country filter" of the TED conversations isn't much. But it could lead to something big, from "food for thought" to "food for action".

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  • Feb 12 2012: I like this idea. It would also be nice to be able to rate the clarity of the idea, as well as the how much one likes it. Feedback loops are frequently referred to in Ted talks but the feedback options are not optimal here. It could be nice to be able to create polls of the Ted community in the debate section as well.
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    Feb 3 2012: Agree!
    It would be good if we had the option to discuss national-specific issues in TED.com (of course that doesn´t mean only people from that country should discuss it; all points of view enrich a conversation).
    Firstly, it would be a great space to discussion of those issues. It's true there are lots of websites for national discussions, but exacly because there are a lot TED.com could be the prime center for that kind of debates (not so disperse debates). In fact, I think this is a great space to discuss, and you find a lot of intelligent points around here.

    Secondly, it could be a good way to stimulate action, like Bruno Carre referred. It's much easier for people from the same region to make something real together than if they lived far apart.

    So, I say national discussions open to everybody are a good idea!
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    Feb 3 2012: I think it would be beneficial for the option of a geographical filter when posting a topic. That way, you could make your discussion open to whoever you want based on where they are
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      Feb 3 2012: Thanks Kieran, my point exactly.
      For example, if anyone has an interest in what's happening in Africa, she or he could narrow down the serach of TED conversations to the continent itself, or an African country. The number of TED talks about the continent (http://www.ted.com/themes/africa_the_next_chapter.html) do help to choose, but not for conversations.

      And I'm not even talking about giving life to TED ideas with fellows TED/citizens, which is my second point here...
    • Feb 15 2012: Quote:" you could make discussion open to whoever you want based on where they are".

      kieran, I hope you don't mean that other people interested in the topic could not join in because they don't live in the right country?

      I would like to meet more People based in china to understand the country I live in now better.
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        Feb 15 2012: by "you could make discussion open to whoever you wanted based on where they are," I meant that it would be easier to find people that are more local to you. Don't get me wrong, branching out globally is amazing and I'm all for it, but some topics pertain more to certain areas geographically.
    • Feb 16 2012: there is really no need for there to be a "filter"
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        Feb 16 2012: I think that is almost completely true but there are some topics that could be enhanced by a geographical filter.
  • Feb 17 2012: Hello Bruno!
    i appreciate the clarity. it is actually a very clear and nice idea that should be effected.
  • Feb 16 2012: you could specify though, to have a better thought or idea of what you are talking about. cheers...
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      Feb 16 2012: Hi Tugbiyele,

      thx for contributing to the conversation :)

      I gave an example of how it could work beneath (the post with a link).
      To make things clear, the purpose is to have more search options (check the example). It is NOT to narrow down the participation, to apply any restriction or any "reduction" of the sort.

      The second point is more utopian (or is it?): find local people with similar interests to give an idea a try in the real world.

      Hope it's clearer..? If not I'll elaborate.
  • Feb 16 2012: i believe this is good and would create more waves of impact than TED is creating presently.
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    Feb 12 2012: Hi Mike,
    yes, the idea is add an extra feature to the search, not to limit the participation in conversations. For eg, ACTA doesn't have the same impact in democracies and in China; in the latter it can be a matter of going to jail for expressing yourself. Hence a search with "ACTA" and China would be a different conversation than the ones taking place in the US.
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    Feb 12 2012: Personally, I would like to see the country of origin included in smaller print beside or underneath a users name when they post. It helps to give a perspective as to any bias, but also gives one the sense of just how large the TED community is. It also helps to give a perspective as to which countries or areas of the world specific topics are being discussed, as not every topic brought up is relative to everyone.

    As for a country filter? I assume you mean an advanced search filter option, because if you mean filtering a conversation where only people from chosen countries may post... Well that would be completely contradictory to what TED stands for. Ideas can not be spread, if they never get past the lines drawn on maps.

    A more advanced way to search through the topics on TED communities would be a welcomed addition. Another welcomed addition would be a way to "subscribe" to a topic, so that we are notified when anyone gives an addition to the topic and not just when someone specifically replies to us directly.
    • Feb 15 2012: Great ideas Mike! Yes, and I think it would be interesting not only to add the country people live in, but also the nationalities of the participants.
    • Feb 16 2012: you are actually right, but if i am to create that (having the country name pasted), it would be for the motive of narrowing ideas down, even from global level to a national and even local level as the case may be.
  • Feb 5 2012: Nope the whole issue of filter bubble will return and also it will create divide !
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      Feb 7 2012: Hi Amit,

      what issue of filter bubble? I'm not aware of that (new member). Perhaps fear of too many filters, is that it?
      I don't think it creates a divide, it is a complementary (a "plus") for members who would like to discuss certain topics for certain countries.
      Example: there are many problems, debates and discussions about national debt, but each country's national debt is specific.
      Other example: I'd love to read, or even participate in discussions about the Arab spring countries, to learn more.

      In the mean time I'm still curious about general ideas/discussions, so no divide for me, just more choice and easier (faster) navigation.
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    Feb 4 2012: Good idea, it's been suggested before though... I hope this suggestion leads somewhere!
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    Feb 4 2012: I also think your idea is a good one, Bruno. And I'll be sending an message to the admin team here to say so. Which brings up another point. How come there's no open forum to put ideas like yours to the TED 'management'?
  • Feb 3 2012: I prefer the wide-open, global aspect of ted.com. I have no interest in narrowing the scope of participants in any discussion. I'd love it, if a few Martians or people from some galaxy outside the Milky Way participated in any conversation I am in. The different perspectives are enrichening. There are lots of local, regional and national publications and internet sites you can resort to for country-related stuff.
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      Feb 3 2012: Thanks Rhona for your input.

      I like the wide-open and global topics as much as you do. My point is: adding a filter does not necessarily oppose this view. It is complementary IMHO. My first point is about "and" & "and", not "or", thus, for me, not about narrowing or reducing.

      This said, there are universal topics for which a country filter is not relevant. But other are, I find.

      As for the regional or national publications, of course there are thousands of websites discussing the very same topics that you find on TED's website. Then again, I prefer TED's website to discuss these topics because not only can I talk with my fellow citizens but also with citizens of other countries or continents...