Plenty of social media products allow users to ask questions of a community and rate the best answers in an effort to identify helpful know-it-alls. But what if you need help to figure out what questions to ask in the first place? Google’s new Moderator project is a tool designed for this task. We spoke with Taliver Heath, one of Google’s engineers (and a long-time Arsian) about what inspired Moderator, as well as where the project may be headed.
Moderator is another one of Google’s infamous “20 percent” projects, produced on the 20 percent of Heath’s time that Google allots all of its engineers to work on their own ideas. The simple idea behind Moderator is to offer a public forum in which users can submit questions that they believe should be asked during a specific meeting or event. Other users can then vote on whether they like each question and agree on which should be asked, thereby using the power of crowdsourcing to decide what the most important issues are for the audience. Ideally, a journalist or someone moderating a tech talk or meeting could present these questions, thereby making the most out of what is typically a short amount of time for Q&A.