I think I've mentioned this before - but I want to bring it up again, because I just had this problem again:
There's a panel conversation going on that seems to have an interesting topic. Reading the first handful of posts in the conversation, a question occurs to me that I'd like to ask one of the participants.
Then... what? How do I proceed from there?
Unless I'm missing something, there's no way to proverbially raise my hand, as I would do in a panel discussion in the physical world. I could start a separate conversation and mention one of the people who are allowed to post into the panel conversation - but that sounds inelegant and chaotic. Similarly, the panel moderator could start this second conversation and ask for questions there - but that wouldn't be much better.
As it stands, I'm just reading through a conversation that feels less like a panel and more like an interview that might have better been presented in edited form instead of this public back-and-forth between two people.
Don't get me wrong, I think that this panel idea has great potential - but it currently seems to lack an important detail, which is related to the three different roles that typically exist for physical world panels: a moderator, a number of panelists, and last but not least the audience.
In my opinion, any panel should actually consist of two separate (but connected) conversations.
1. A public one, where moderators and panelists are allowed to post, and everyone is allowed to read.
2. A private one, where everyone is allowed to post (and see their own posts but not those of others), but only the moderator can read all posts.
That way, we would have an easy way to participate in a panel. Just post in the private conversation, and wait for a moderator to approve our post - at which point it would appear in the public conversation.