[ros-users] answers.ros.org is the hell

Geoffrey Biggs geoffrey.biggs at aist.go.jp
Thu Feb 21 00:02:44 UTC 2013

The idea of replacing askbot (or something similar) with a forum is, in my
opinion, a bad idea. Forums are designed for holding conversations, not
asking a question, getting a response and moving on. The people who
designed Stack Exchange specifically designed it to _discourage_ discussion

Claudio mentioned that forums can have sub-categories. This is obviously a
good thing if there are so many topics that it is hard to find what you
want. But the concept is not limited to forums. Stack Exchange has
categories, too. Perhaps a better solution than switching to a forum is
just adding categories to answers.ros.org? Or enforced tags chosen from a
pre-selected list (voluntary tags are too varied to work that well).

If the answers.ros.org search is broken, then Google can help out. Prepend
your search with "site:answers.ros.org " and it will only search that site.
For example:


I agree with Thibault that the mish-mash of mailing lists is not working
too well. It is difficult to find them all, and it is difficult to quickly
glance at one and see if it is doing anything that interests you today. I
suspect that there is a lot of expertise that would be useful in each
mailing list, but that isn't there because those people are on different
mailing lists (in different SIGs).

It is possible to link a mailing list and a forum together. Both Orocos and
OpenRTM do this on their sites, and it seems to work quite well.

If ROS does decide to set up a forum, please, please do not use phpBB. It
is the least secure and most hacked forum on the planet.

D, by the way, is meant as a modern replacement for C++. It has some very
nice features, but in my opinion suffers from a somewhat broken development
model and a lack of focus on the features that are important for the
average user, like shared library support (mainly because the creator
develops it for money for clients using Windows, and the free version is
just a nice side-effect of that).

On 20 February 2013 21:34, Thibault Kruse <kruset at in.tum.de> wrote:

>  I also prefer answers to forum for the purpose of community driven
> support.
> However I am not too happy with the split-up of mailing lists. Searching
> Google for "ros mailing list" I get this:
> https://code.ros.org/mailman/listinfo (This seems to be an reduced
> version of the next link)
> https://code.ros.org/gf/project/ros/mailman/ (Some lists seem to be dead,
> other still active, but no overview)
> And then looking for SIGs as well, I get to:
> http://www.ros.org/wiki/groovy/Planning
> with google groups for most sigs, some of which never had any activity.
> The splitup makes it difficult to track activity and to search all
> archives, it also discourages users from following activity at a glance.
> A page listing those groups would help fetching the interest of people to
> hot topics.
> I don't know though whether any great solution exists that combines the
> convenience of a mailing list with the cohesive properties of a forum.
> Googl groups have categories, so e.g. all ROS SIGs could communicate within
> the same google group but in different categories, not sure how well that
> works via email. Else there are online offerings such as
> http://tech.dir.groups.yahoo.com
> https://onlinegroups.net/,
> http://doc.tiki.org/Forum+and+Mailing+List+Synchronization (open source)
> https://github.com/CyberShadow/DFeed (opensource)
> and probably more.
> The last in the list looks like phpBB, but seems to be quite fast and
> written in D (whatever that is):
> see the dlang homepage for the forum: http://forum.dlang.org/
> If there was forums.ros.org that looked like the dlang page interms of
> getting an overview of current activity, I think that would be much better
> than our current mailman/Google-groups combination.
> cheers,
>   Thibault
> On 20.02.2013 10:54, William Woodall wrote:
> This is just my opinion, but I feel that QA systems like askbot and
> stackexchange are far superior for this type of community effort than a
> forum like phpbb.  Case in point, I almost never find the answer to my
> programming or system administration problems on a forum anymore, I instead
> find them on *.stackexchange.com.
>  I don't think it has to do with owning the data as much as the arduous
> process of getting a stackexchange instance.  The
> http://robotics.stackexchange.com/ has been working towards getting
> vetted for a long time now, perhaps ROS questions/answers could live there
> in the future, but having a dedicated ROS stackexchange is not feasible
>  --
> On Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 1:48 AM, Claudio Carbone <cla_carbone at tiscali.it>wrote:
>>  On 20/02/13 10:24, Claudio Carbone wrote:
>> you can have subforums tailored to the specific argument (eg: building
>> which would cover build systems and package/stack structures;
>> transformations which would cover urdf models, joints, publishers;
>> Communications which would cover the ROS API, topics, services, etc...)
>>  I just remembered that the phpbb.org support forum (phpbb being one of
>> the widest spread free forum platforms) even has sub-sub-<...>-forums for
>> each and every plugin/modification where the creator of the plugin/mod can
>> answer users questions far from the main busy discussion areas keeping them
>> clean.
>> I can't but think this would be much more useful to the community.
>> Although I acknowledge that it's ultimately a management decision from WG
>> or whoever will guide ROS in the future.
>> Best regards
>> --
>> *Eng. Claudio Carbone
>> Embedded Systems Design*
>> P.IVA: 11688471009
>> tel: +393809017424
>> email: Send email
>>  <cla_carbone at tiscali.it>[image: My linkedin profile]<http://it.linkedin.com/in/embeddedesign/en>
>> My Portfolio
>> [image: My portfolio site] <http://www.fusioncoredesign.it/>
>> _______________________________________________
>> ros-users mailing list
>> ros-users at code.ros.org
>> https://code.ros.org/mailman/listinfo/ros-users
>  --
> William Woodall
> Willow Garage - Software Engineer
> wwoodall at willowgarage.com
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