A few (very few!) web conferencing products include the ability for participants to upvote text submissions from other participants. But I haven’t yet seen a product that has implemented it in the way I would like.
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the concept is simple… The web collaboration software lets attendees see things that other people have written and click a button akin to the Facebook “Like” indicator.
There are many potential uses: “Me too” indications of concerns that resonate with a large percentage of the audience. Polling on which topic or question people would like the host to address next. An easy way for people to respond with a “ditto” to someone else’s answer without filling up the chat log with redundant submissions. And so on.
I usually run into two key problems with the implementations I have seen… Privacy and practicality.
In collaborative web meetings or web conferences where everyone is participating on a peer basis and knows the other people in attendance, privacy is not a concern. But consider a public webinar with “moderated” or private question management:
The presenters/hosts see questions that are submitted, but participants do not see what other people have typed. Participants in these kinds of sessions usually do not see the names of other attendees (since they have not agreed to be publicly identified and because the hosts might not want to give an indication of the size of the audience they have managed to attract).
I want the ability as a presenter or host to select any submitted question and relay it out to the full audience for voting. When I do so, the software needs to strip the name of the original submitter to maintain their privacy.
From a practicality standpoint, I want the ability to clear current votes, clear the voting queue of all questions, delete individual questions from the voting queue, and resubmit questions into the queue for voting again.
The reason I need those choices is so that I can keep voting current and relevant. If the audience has upvoted a question to address, once I deal with it I want to remove that question from consideration to get a better idea of what I should deal with next. Similarly, once I have asked for responses and votes on a question I pose to everyone, I want to clear all those responses from the queue before asking for a response to a newly posed question.
Would any vendors like to make me happy by upgrading their upvoting functionality? Would you like to have such a feature available for your web meetings? If so, let your vendor know!