Designed by Taliver Heath, Platform Engineer at Google, Google Moderator was first used internally and referred to as Dory. As attendance company Tech Talks grew, it became increasingly difficult to make sure all the right questions got asked within a limited period of time. Googlers asked if they could begin using Dory to help cement the agendas of other meetings and then suggested releasing the tool for external use for any kind of conference or event.
Users can now sign into Google Moderator using their Google account and start their own series which contains different topics which in turn contain questions. The company makes an example of a book club series with separate topics for different genres. They then invite other users to vote on the questions, with the most popular rising to the top. Users can also submit their own questions. It’s sort of like a smaller version of Digg mixed with your basic forum.
We can see this being really useful in some ways and not so useful in others. Sure, for company meetings it’s a great way to make sure the right questions get asked. One feature that could admittedly be hard to incorporate but would solve a lot of issues would be a function allowing users to respond directly to other people’s questions.
Say for example only 10 out of 200 people want a certain question asked so it doesn’t get voted to the top, it may be useful if others were able to respond to the question and clear things up, thus eliminating the need for the question to be asked at all. Then there’s the separate issue of spam. You’re given the chance to create a nickname for yourself and there’s already questions on Moderator from the like of “anon”. What’s to stop you from creating a non-descript nickname and adding pointless questions like, “Who thinks Bob should ditch the yellow tie?”
The potential for this idea is huge however for Moderator to be as useful as it has been for Google, companies will no doubt have to do a little, well, moderating of their own.