I'm helping organize a conference and am looking for a web app to assist with reviewing speaker proposals. We received the proposals through Google Forms, so the data (proposer name, session title, session description, etc.) is available in CSV format.

What free or inexpensive software can I use to import the existing proposals and let multiple reviewers rate and comment on them? There would need to be security so that only conference members can view the proposals.

3 Answers 3


You can try out the Proposal Review template on Simitless.

  • you can either use it as is or take it as inspiration and modify it by deleting or adding new columns (or creating new things altogether),
  • it takes .csv documents, so you can import and export them at any time,
  • for reviewers to access and make leave reviews, you (if you are the one creating the app)either need to invite them via email or they can register with their email on the platform and request access to your app,
  • since it is a web app, it is available online at any time and it supports parallel accesses so multiple reviewers can work on it at the same time,

As for the cost, I don't think the amount of data you'd be inputting would be huge so chances are that you will fall into the free tier. (But you can check prices right here.) The thing that might cost a bit is if a lot of people connect to the app at once and start using it. But even in that case you can avoid paying more by just asking the people connecting to wait until a place is made free.

Here is a little screenshot of what the template that I made from your brief description with some dummy looks like.

Main view: enter image description here

Data input view: enter image description here

Full disclosure: I am part of the startup that designed that platform. We just launched recently, still in beta. If you want to try it out and need some help or have any questions, just get in touch, I can definitely give you a hand.

  • Thanks! I've been playing with the site, and it looks like it will do the trick. I'll still keep the question open just in case other options turn up. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 17:58
  • There's a lot to like about Simitless, but I decided to take a different approach because I wanted to provide a GUI to my reviewers. Commented Nov 4, 2017 at 19:03

I would suggest the following strategy:

  • using a little python script to convert each line of the .csv file(s) to separate markdown or ReStructuredText files ensuring that each proposal ends up with the same filename each time.
  • Setup a Private GitHub or similar project for the members of the conference.
  • For each file - i.e. proposal, raise a PR to add it to the repository.
  • Members will be able to see any changes to the proposals, make comments & suggestions on the PRs, etc.
  • When PRs (Proposals) are accepted/merged they will become a part of the main site.

This should be free, or nearly so, depending on the number of members - you may be able to set it up using https://education.github.com/

  • 1
    Thanks for the suggestion (and for assuming my technical competency). I like that this would give us the benefits of the GitHub interface, with per-line commenting, etc. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 18:02

I ended up building a solution on top of WordPress, where each proposal became a Post. I used these modules:

Originally, I planned to use custom fields for the different type of information in proposals (such as job title and biography), but, to avoid complexity and having to upgrade to paid versions of the CSV importers, I instead wrote a Python script that used csv.writer and csv.DictReader to convert the CSV file downloaded from Google Docs into a simpler CSV file with just these standard fields:

  • ID
  • Title
  • Body
  • Tags
  • Category

The Body was made by interpolating different proposal features into a string something like this:

Name: {fname} {lname} <!--more--> <br/>

The <!--more--> tag limited how much text in lists of posts.

This seems to work well enough.

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