We agree and think the Q&A feature for panels is the most important thing we're doing. The majority of the team is devoted to it.
Right now if you're not on the panel you see a lock icon and a grayed-out sentence at the end of the conversation that says "Only conversation panelists may post." Bummer. The plan is to replace that with a way to let anyone ask a question of the panel.
This would make panels a cousin to Reddit's popular AMAs (Ask Me Anything). The thing about AMAs that are so exciting is they provide a chance for anyone to ask a question of Bill Gates and for the community to upvote the best ones.
The downside to AMAs is when the community scales, it can get crazy. I interviewed an r/askscience moderator who said she had her Astronomy professor at MIT to do an AMA and she was mortified at some of the questions she got asked.
Hopefully we bring something to the Internet it has never seen: a way for Taylor Swift to answer questions from her fans without any of us having to get overwhelmed by zillions of awful questions because the questions go to the panel and then are made public as the panel answers them.
In one way, it's less exciting, but in another it's more sane — especially as we scale.
The other day Kara Swisher tried to Interview Jack Dorsey on Twitter at his request and she wrote an article afterwards with this title: "How hard is it to have a conversation on Twitter? So hard not even the CEO can do it."
Hopefully we solve this problem for her. It's one of my life's dreams to see this succeed, as it has in real-life panels.
While I was typing this I got an email from Richard Saul Wurman, the founder of TED, to ask how it's coming. I can't tell you how thrilling it would be to create something he would use. I adore him. He ended his 60 Minutes interview with this: "The greatest thing in life is a conversation between people."