When I was working with ROS I profited a lot from design.ros2.org (ROS2 design), index.ros.org/doc/ros2 (overview), answers.ros.org (stackoverflow.com kind "question and answer approach) and discourse.ros.org (discussions, etc.). There are other great learning resources for ROS like e.g. provided by theconstructsim.com (courses) as well.
However in the non-paid context it seemed like there have been little people contributing much. In the broader software industry writing for publication platforms like medium.com has become almost self-evident. Apart from the self-marketing effect one of the main reason why so much developers contribute content is the Medium Partner Program. The concept is as follows: You become a member for a monthly or yearly membership fee and are allowed to access all content. If you contribute content yourself you get paid dependent on how many times your content has been read. A quite fair concept. Members which are not motivated to contribute profit from the content provided by others which get payed for contributing content. Members which contribute themself can compensate their membership fee or can even make money via providing content. In the robotics domain the potential user base is probably not big enough that contributing members can make a living with it. Nevertheless such a platform could be a great way to help people to learn about ROS2 as well as to contribute to further adoption of ROS2 in a complimentary manner to the already existing resources.
Some time ago @Tobias and his team mates released their github.com/protontypes/LibreSelery. The idea behind this project is to give open source developers the credits they deserve for their contributions to open source projects by paying them money dependent on metrics like contributions made, etc. Their project release triggered me again: I’ve asked myself why there is no medium.com publication like towardsdatascience.com (data science) aiming at robotics, specifically ROS based robotics?
I’ve profited a lot from towardsdatascience.com and similar platforms myself. Finally I decided to start a little side project during my Christmas holidays with the aim of evaluating some content management software and user centered publication platforms which can be used to setup a ROS based robotics publication website. I’m using medium.com for some time now and I’m running a wordpress website for my parents. After checking out some other content management systems (CMS) which could be used to setup a potential publication platforms I decided to choose ghost pro to run and host the platform. The reasons for choosing ghost pro is beyond the scope of this announcement. One important fact is that it is based on open source ghost, that I did not want to spend a lot of time setting up the platform (the CMS itself, email support for newsletters, etc.) ATM but I want to be able to change my mind later if reasonable. The editor is better than the one from medium. Posts can be exported by their authors. etc.
To be fair the membership functionality of ghost is relatively new. It is possible to protect content to allow member only reading. However at the time of writing there is no way to payout members which provide content yet. But I asked the community about to add membership payout functionality. I hope a server side feature for tracking post reading time will be added soon.
Initially I thought about to run a non-profit website myself. I’d have used a concept of passive and active membership. Active members pay a monthly fee of 5USD/month and are allowed to read any content. Of course they are allowed to write content themself but they don’t have to. If active members write own content they’d have been paid for dependent on their post reading time or a similar metric as soon as such a feature would be available in ghost. Until then all member fees would have been collected and used for compensating the effort related to ghost pro site maintenance, ghost theme creation/customization and potentially paying a developer for implementing a server side payout feature for ghost. In case active members would not need access to content for some time they could save money by “freezing” their membership by downgrading their membership to a passive membership. They could access their own posts, export their own posts for backup purposes but they could not read others people content. They could upgrade to active membership after some time again or remove their membership account. In the later case all of their content would not be accessible to other people anymore. Unfortunately doing/managing something like that in Germany implies a lot of overhead (registering a non-profit association, open a bank account for tracking membership fee, etc.) which takes a lot of your free time.
Therefore I decided to run a minimalist prototype on ghost pro for the duration of the free trial time period (until January 12, 2021). Feel free to visit towardsrosbotics.com, sign in as free member, create some fake posts (for trying out the editor and other functionality like image upload, etc.) and spread the word. Dependent on how good the feedback is I’d love to hand over the ghost theme and the domain (towardsrosbotics.com) to the Open Source Robotics Foundation (@tfoote) or any other potential non-profit organization guaranteeing a user centered, non-profit manner of running and maintaining the website. Feel free to get in contact with me to try out admin features.
EDIT: It turned out that emails are supported for admin related features only and invitation mails are not send ATM. In case you want to try out the website please send a personal message via discourse that I can add you as a user manually.