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Would it make sense to migrate ROS Answers to Stack Exchange?

AskBot, the site providing ROS Answers, is a pretty obvious clone of Stack Overflow (SO). It does a pretty decent job but has a few shortcomings: it is much slower than SO and other Stack Exchange sites, it presumably costs money (who is paying for this right now, OSRF?), and doesn’t seem quite as well supported as SO. I think it would also be easier for the community to have fewer such forums. There is already a lot of duplication between ROS questions on SO, Stack Exchange Robotics, and ROS Answers.

It does seem possible to migrate existing Q&A communities to Stack Exchange, see my question on the SO meta page. So we should be able to get all questions, answers, and comments migrated. Karma and badges would probably be lost.

So my question is: Does it still make sense to maintain a separate ROS Q&A forum, or would it be better to migrate ROS Answers to ? Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts!


Well actually… Stack Overflow is a clone of AskBot; ROS Answers actually pre-dates Stack Overflow sub domains.

This isn’t a priority right now but we’re starting to talk about what the next generation would look like so I am interested in people’s thoughts. We have discussed potentially doing a SO migration but it is fairly complex and we would need a point of contact at Stack Overflow to make it happen. The process would be high touch as we would need them to create a new community and help with creating a migration tool. One possible option I’ve discussed is doing the migration with the OpenCV Askbot website added to sweeten the pot and make it worth Stack Overflow’s time. My big ask is that we get our own ROS sub-domain and not just glob onto the existing robotics subdomain.

A second alternative, and we’ve discussed doing this for Ignition/Gazebo, is standing up a second Discourse website solely for Q&A. This is a bit more fraught as Q&A isn’t a first class function in Discourse.

Anyway, I would love to hear what people have to say. Also if anyone has a business development point of contact I would love an introduction to get a better sense of how this could happen.

Yeah … so … that’s a no go :wink:

More seriously though: Askbot is showing its age. And it’s becoming somewhat obvious the maintainer isn’t really maintaining it any more (I’ve recently given up and closed all my outstanding issues).

If I remember correctly, @tfoote has mentioned on a nr of occasions that using Discourse for a Q&A site is possible, just not with the current tier (or at least, it wasn’t back then, I’ve seen some questions / categories on ROS Discourse where you sometimes see a “mark as answer” button pop-up).

Not sure whether this is still an option. I believe Discourse itself also uses Discourse for Q&A.

Ah, this indeed.

I would also find this important.

We’ve (or at least I’ve) tried to keep ROS Answers really about ROS. So no questions about which motor controller boards work best with RPis, or how to do triangulation of distance sensors based on signal strength of UWB sensors. There’s Robotics SO for that.

If the opposite would happen (ie: ROS as just a tag on SO), it wouldn’t help discoverability of Q&As I believe.


I also strongly support not just chucking ROS stuff into Robotics SO. Discoverability of answers for common ROS problems would plummet, making the user experience worse.


Well actually actually, AskBot (est. July 2009) is a clone of Stack Overflow (est. April 2008). But ROS Answers predates the robotics SO subdomains, that’s correct.

+1 to the separate domain.

+1 to bundling (and reminding people of the size of the community). Could we also rope in AWS robomaker folks?

I think we should migrate, since it will offload the maintenance to some other entity. I’m a big fan of focusing on core competencies, and I’d rather see Open Robotics focus on robotics and not infrastructure maintenance.

– Bill


But seriously: without solving the “karma is lost” problem, we cannot migrate to anything else :scream: :wink:

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