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ROS Answers needs your help


Just wanted to thank all who’ve responded to my call to action: thanks for the increased interaction on ROS Answers :+1: :beers: :hamburger:

If people are up for it we could reinstitute this.


Answer ROS Questions Like A Pirate Day

I’m in. Why wait for Sep 19? :slight_smile:


I have mixed emotions here. When I was a newbie, I used ROS answers often, and I contributed, as the answers created solutions to problems. As my expertise (and I use that term loosely) increased, I found out my questions were not being answered, or answered with a sort of implied " go away don’t bother me kid" response. Now I seldom go to ROS answers, preferring to go to the github repositories or known experts, or my friends working in the field. My favorite saying is “ROS has no learning curve, only a learning cliff.” Once you are an experienced cliff diver, you lose interest in telling beginners how to dog paddle.

I think a better set of tutorials like learning ROS with Turtlebot updated for v3, or completely in simulation, would be a better way to answer many of the getting started questions. Perhaps editing and streamlining a FAQ, and segmenting into specialty sections like Vision, Location, Sensors so answers can be found more quickly can help. About 30 years ago I helped develop the first web based ask an expert system. In this system all incoming questions for a single day were routed to a single volunteer ‘expert’ for that day. That person was responsible for either responding directly, or forwarding to another expert.


Personally, I don’t find that growing my own expertise has diminished my enjoyment of helping beginners. But I run frequent tutorials locally for people who are new to some aspect of ROS, so that probably says more about my enjoyment of being a teacher than anything else. :upside_down_face:


OK, I took another look at this. If I ask ROS-Answers to display ‘unanswered’ questions it says 12975 over 40877 are ‘unanswered.’ However looking at them it seems 90% have at least one answer or some comments. So I wonder how many of the questions really are unanswered?

So my question is what is the problem we are trying to solve? Is it to make sure every question gets a personal response?


At the high level the goal is to provide a place where people can go to get answers to questions they have about ROS systems. Users should be able to find questions and answers already there from past queries, and if their question hasn’t already been asked they can ask for help.

To be able to make this happen effectively we need to make it easy for the community to know what questions are unresolved and are looking for answers. This is provided by the “Unanswered” filter.

If you are browsing through the site and find an Unanswered question that you know the answer to or can contribute to please take a minute or two to do so.

This is definitely an issue that would be good to improve the site quality. Unfortunately it’s usually brand new users who are not familiar with the format and often don’t know to accept an answer after it’s provided and resolves their issue. Moderators/high Karma users can help with this somewhat, but a lot of it relies on the users and teaching new users how to use the site.

As a rule of thumb:

  • If you have asked a question and your question has been answered, please accept the solution so that others know that your question is resolved and won’t spend time trying to help you again.

  • If you solve a problem that you asked about, please answer your own question so that others who have the same problem will be able to learn from your effort too.

  • If your question turns out to be invalid or otherwise unanswerable, please close it with a comment so that others in the future who might have a similar issue can still benefit, and people volunteering their time don’t spend time trying to answer your resolved question.

The most important thing I think for the site is to improve the quality of the questions. Good questions encapsulate the problem making it easy to help the user. The quality of the question is quite strongly correlated with the speed and completeness of the answer. Many questions that only include partial information for how to reproduce will get comments and requests for more information, or guessed answers but often end up in a limbo land where there’s not enough information to answer the question.

What can also be super valuable is to give advise on how to improve a question so that it can become answerable.

Overall this is a community driven website designed to be self sustaining. We all need to contribute a little bit to make it work. It’s a resource that we all benefit from, please take a few minutes each week to try to answer at least one question. If everyone who visits the site did this this week there’d be no unanswered questions.


As an update to this post: I wanted to thank all of you that have responded to my call to action and contributed to ROS Answers in the past few months by answering questions and guiding posters.

Keep up the good work and perhaps see you at ROSCon.