It’s an odd feature about the way human beings work that there are many things that we’re interested in that we don’t know if it’s acceptable to be interested in them. […] I think that’s the role of many, many art forms–to legitimate certain questions and certain sensitivities.

Alain de Botton in Philosophy Bites. This reminds me of some of Tyler Cowen’s arguments in The Age of the Infovore:

Sociological approaches to cultural taste often imply that taste differences are contrived, artificial, or reflect wasteful status-seeking. The result is that we appreciate taste differences less than we might and we become less curious. Neurological approaches imply that different individuals perceive different cultural mysteries and beauties. You can’t always cross the gap to understand the other person’s point of view, but at the very least you know something is there worth pursuing.

Marginal Revolution: Why do people ask questions at public events?

It matters a great deal if people have to write out questions in advance, or during the talk, and a moderator then reads out the question. That mechanism improves question quality and cuts down on the first three motives cited. Yet it is rarely used. In part we wish to experience the contrast between the speaker and the erratic questioners and the resulting drama.

I like the second commenter’s suggestion: “Take multiple questions at once. The moderator will take say three questions from three audience members before giving the presenter a chance to answer them one-by-one.”

Marginal Revolution: Why do people ask questions at public events?