As a long-time user of SE sites, I'd like to ask a few questions to the members of robotics.SE. I am a huge part of working on a FIRST Robotics Competition (Including FRC, FTC, and FLL, link here); how can I raise awareness? I know that fairly recently you guys graduated from beta, but how did you initially gain followers and committers to your proposal?

The main reason that I ask this is that FIRST Robotics is, in general, a site with a little bit of overlap with this one, though the current proposal is only focused towards FIRST-related portions of robotics. I've hit up Reddit and a few FIRST forums, but how can I attract more members? (Preferably ones with SE experience)


2 Answers 2


Getting an Area 51 proposal into the Commitment Phase is difficult.

Getting a proposal from Commitment into private beta is very difficult.

Getting a private beta into public beta is incredibly difficult.

Getting a public beta to graduate is almost impossible if you are a niche site like Robotics (it looks like this site will be in permanent beta for instance).

Robotics even had the advantage that it was originally part of Electrical Engineering and received a lot of support from that community when it was decided that they didn't want Robotics as part of their scope.

Meanwhile, proposals for the maker/3d printing/hackerspace community got into beta twice with Personal Manufacturing and my Digital Fabrication proposal, but both times had to be closed due to lack of activity.

For the moment, I would give the FIRST Robotics community the same advice that I've given the 3d printing community. Post your questions here with appropriate tags until you can get your own community off the ground. If a FIRST Robotics question about is appropriate for any stack exchange site, then it will most likely be appropriate here. If it isn't a good stack exchange question (because it is too broad, unclear or primarily opinion based) it wouldn't be appropriate in a FIRST Robotics stack exchange either.

Also, consider that the more people you bring to stack exchange in general, to get the feel for how it works, the more people will be attracted to your own proposal, and the more people you will have with 200+ reputation, able to help get FIRST Robotics off into beta.

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer! I checked out your link to permanent beta; it looks like our (robotics) issue is probably with getting up to 10+ questions per day. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Jul 6, 2015 at 12:21

What kind of content are you expecting will be posted or asked about on a FIRST SE site?

Programming questions would all go to Stack Overflow, robotics algorithms would all go to Robotics, circuits questions would all go to Electronics, Lego questions would all go to the Lego SE.

It seems that, while you may only have a little overlap with Robotics, you have very little that would not overlap with any SE site. My concern with a FIRST robotics site would be that the only questions not suitable for other sites would be questions not suitable for SE sites in general, as in open-ended design questions, opinions, and shopping recommendations. (How can I do X? What do you guys think of my design? Where can I buy an actuator/sensor/controller to do Y?)

I would also be a little concerned that, for a FIRST robotics team, the team's coach and/or mentors should be involved, providing some of the feedback or guidance that teams may try to seek from a SE site.

Can you clarify what the "FIRST-related portions of robotics" would be served by a FIRST robotics SE that isn't already being served by other SE sites?

  • $\begingroup$ While it's true that questions could probably be served by other sites on the SE network, having a dedicated site would bring questions of similar contexts together; this is similar to the Arduino.SE site. That sites' questions could all be served to Electronics, SO, etc. Another example of this is Ask Ubuntu, whose questions could be directed to Unix.SE and Server Fault. I can't say it's a bad thing that more specific questions are grouped; there are a few precedents. $\endgroup$
    – Pip
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ Also, addressing your mentors comment: One of our goals is to attract a large percentage of mentors to the site, they would be one of the major sources of expertise. As far as the question content goes, you should check out our example questions; they're all directly focused on FIRST-related mechanical components, electrical components, programming environments/libraries, etc. $\endgroup$
    – Pip
    Jul 1, 2015 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say that one of the best things you can do for attracting attention/visitors is to start linking to the site whenever you mention it. $\endgroup$
    – Chuck
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:21
  • $\begingroup$ Note that part of the driving force behind the Arduino and Raspberry PI sites were that those communities were not felt like they were welcomed by Electronics. I would hope that the FIRST Robotics community would be made to feel welcome here, so please let us know if we have a problem. I have created a first-robotics tag to help with this. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Booth Mod
    Jul 6, 2015 at 11:30
  • $\begingroup$ I am knew here but have been an FRC team member for several years. I believe most FRC questions would be on-topic here but the tag should be better defined via the tag wiki, at least to include a link to FIRST's site and/or ChiefDelphi $\endgroup$ Apr 7, 2016 at 16:59

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