How-to guide

Welcome to TED Conversations and the online TED community! The purpose of this guide is to introduce you to our community, and to help explain our approach to community participation.

How to Comment on a TED Talk

You've just finished watching a TED Talk, and want to share your reaction with the world. Here are some thoughts to consider as you write your comment:

  • TED Speakers almost always read the comments posted on their talks, and occasionally post responses. Will your comment invite the Speaker to participate in the discussion?
  • Your fellow TEDizens are also reading, and they're looking for thought-provoking, inspiring and entertaining discussion and debate around the talk. Will you add value to their comment-reading experience?
  • If you are interested in a different or tangential topic, please consider starting a separate TED Conversation to discuss it. This allows the comments to remain focused on the TED Talk, and allows others to join you in a more in-depth discussion elsewhere.
  • Have you uploaded a member profile photo? We regularly feature great comments in the weekly TED.com newsletter, and generally select comments with profile photos.

How to Start a TED Conversation

You're really involved in the online TED community, and you want to dive deeper into thought-provoking discussions with your fellow TEDizens and have a great idea for a new TED Conversation. What should you keep in mind?

  • Know your audience. Some topics are better left to a web search, or to a different online community. Think of your Conversation as your moment on the TED stage... would this subject be appropriate for the TED audience?
  • Be clear and concise! Conversation starters are limited to 2,000 characters, and our most successful Conversations are much shorter. Include enough information for your audience to build on, but leave room for the discussion to grow.
  • Is your topic related to a TED Talk? Add a link to the "Talks related to this Conversation" field!
  • Please remember that this is not a chat room; thoughtful and refined writing will be appreciated by the community.
  • Upload a profile photo. Conversations with avatars tend to get better response.

Using the Flag Button

Have you come across a comment you find inappropriate? TED has a small team of staff and volunteers keeping an eye out for inappropriate comments, but troublesome content is occasionally missed. If you see something that concerns you:

  • Please click the Flag button on the comment to send us an alert. No comments will be removed or hidden automatically, but we will review it as soon as possible. Other members will not be able to see that you've Flagged a comment.
  • Please don't Flag a comment simply because you disagree with the author.

How to Avoid Comment or Conversation Removal

No one likes having their contributions removed from the site. The TED staff doesn't like removing content, either, but occasionally finds it necessary for the overall health of the community. Here are some reasons your comment or Conversation may be removed:

  • Not appropriate for this audience: TED.com is not the right platform for pseudo-science, zealotry, personal requests, proselytizing or self-promotion.
  • Inappropriate language: This is a not the right place for chat-room banter, text-speak or combative posturing.
  • Response to an inappropriate comment: Please use the Flag button instead.
  • Repeat topic: Please use the Search tool to check for existing Conversations on your topic before submitting a new Conversation.
  • Terms of Use violation: We will remove any comment or conversation that violates the TED.com Terms of Use.

If your comment or Conversation is removed by the TED Conversations Team, please consider working with us to revise your content until it is appropriate for the community. Please don't harass or threaten the staff; doing so will risk removal of your account.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this guide; we look forward to seeing your contributions to the online TED community!