Crowdsourcing the best questions

At our event “Agenda for the Future” taking place on Saturday 2nd September, London Futurists will once again be using the online tool Glisser to help identify the most important questions from audience members for each presentation.

This follows from our successful trial of this tool at the Transpolitica 2016 event last December.

Audience members can access Glisser from their laptops, tablets, or mobile phones, using any web browser. When a presentation is in progress, the Glisser screen will look something like this:

Glisser in action

Key parts of the screen that you can see are:

  • The list of questions already typed in, by other audience members, along with the number of votes each question has received. Note that you can sort this list, either with the “Top Voted” at the top, or with the most “Recent” at the top.
  • Thumbs-up icons that you can click on, to add your vote to particular questions. (Tip: be selective!)
  • A space where you can type in your own question (and then press “Send”).

Reasons we’re using Glisser include:

  • It allows more questions to be asked, in the time available
  • It encourages people to be concise (brief) when they ask their questions
  • The questions that I will raise, as moderator, will generally be the ones with the highest amount of votes – indicating a larger degree of audience interest.

In short, we’re putting into practice the idea that technology can improve the calibre of public conversation!

To access the Glisser page for a presentation

Convenient URL shortcodes for each presentation will be made available to the attendees of the conference. These URLs all start as…

Each time you move to a new presentation, Glisser will ask you for an email address. You can supply any email address that’s convenient for you. London Futurists will not be making any further use of these email addresses.

To increase the area of the screen dedicated to the display of questions, press the up-pointing triangle above the box “Ask your question here”, and/or press the question mark icon. On devices with small screens, experiment switching from landscape to portrait display.

FAQ on using Glisser

Q1: Glisser has lots of other features, beyond audience Q&A. Why aren’t these being used on this occasion?

A1: The other features seem less relevant for this particular conference. But people who organise other kinds of events are encouraged to explore these features.

Q2: Aren’t “old style” spoken questions more authentic and insightful than questions typed into a small browser screen?

A2: Perhaps so. However, this event has a full agenda, with little buffer time. There won’t be an opportunity to pass a microphone around many different people in the audience, to give them all a chance to ask questions, sorry. Instead, with Glisser, there’s a greater opportunity for the best questions from the audience to be heard – where “best” is as judged by the audience as a whole. Moreover, Glisser allows a greater number of questions to be recorded, for future review by speakers.

Q3: Will there be sufficient wireless network bandwidth in the room to cope with 100+ simultaneous users?

A3: Since the event is being held in a basement room, cellular connectivity may be hit-and-miss. Therefore we’re paying the venue to provide wifi access. Details of how to access the wifi are given on the meetup page for the event and will also be available at the check-in desk at the venue. The organisers ask that attendees refrain from video downloads or uploads over this network, to preserve bandwidth for the Glisser voting functionality. Thanks in advance!

Q4: Do users need to use a real email address when connecting to the system?

A4: No! If you wish to protect your privacy, by all means invent a fictitious email address when signing in. No two-stage validation takes place.

Q5: Can users change their mind and downvote a question they have previously upvoted?

A5: That functionality seems not to be available. So exercise some discretion in picking which questions are really your favourites!


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