Google Moderator launched this evening, a simple tool that helps groups determine which questions should be asked at all hands meetings, conferences, Q&A sessions, etc. The idea is that there are always lots of good questions to ask in a limited period of time, but it’s hard to know which questions the attendees are most interested in hearing discussed. Moderator lets users add questions and vote on the questions of others, so the cream rises to the top.
I designed a tool in my 20% time that would allow anyone attending a tech talk to submit a question, and then give other participants a way to vote on whether or not that question should be asked. This way, the most popular and relevant questions would rise to the top so that the presenter or the moderator of an event could run the discussion more efficiently and in a transparent manner. The tool, which we internally called “Dory” after our favorite question-asking fish in Finding Nemo, quickly grew to other parts of Google including our weekly all-hands company meeting, as well as for our series of talks led by political candidates or distinguished authors.