Is it okay to ask for a journal paper solving a specific problem? Right now I'm researching quadrotor landings and am having trouble finding a paper on quadrotors landing on platforms where the attitude of the platform is oscillating. If I get my hands on a paper addressing this problem I should be able to look at citations and pull the thread to find the most current work.

However, if this problem has not been addressed, there is not a way for me to know that this paper doesn't exist.

Are posts specifically looking for answers in the form of a journal paper appropriate?


My reaction would be no, a question that wants a paper falls simultaneously under:

  1. Life question - "Questions about choosing how to spend your time (what book to read, which class to take, what robotics project to construct, what career to pursue, etc.)" - I take the "What book to read" to also include what paper to read.
  2. Primarily opinion based - Per your question, any paper about quadrotor landings is acceptable. How, then, would you choose which answer to accept?

The last one is the key for me, I think. My interpretation of an acceptable question for this site (Stack Exchange) is that they have a correct answer. If there is no one correct answer, then the question is really a poll or request for advice and should be asked in chat.

Another big factor is from the Q&A is Hard, Let's Go Shopping post, at the end:

If I had to summarize our network in a single word, that word is "learning". People come to our sites to learn about topics they are passionate about.

If the answer to your question is a one-line answer with just a link, is that a good answer? Would a good question provoke such an answer?

Regarding the other question, when I search "quadrotors landing on platforms", the first link is to a research paper on the topic. I'm not sure what difficulty you're having in trying to find papers on the topic, but this goes along with the spirit of the shopping post - instead of asking, "Please find me research papers on ____?" you could ask, "How do I perform a literature review?" or again, come to chat and ask.

So, to summarize, I think a question like that would attract a bunch of one-liner answers that are only links. Given a plethora of links, there's no real criteria to pick an objectively "correct" answer.

  • $\begingroup$ i certainly can't push back on the learning aspect. However, I certainly disagree with this specific type of question breaking rule number 2 as I'm not looking for the 'best' paper on landings but rather any paper on landings where the attitude of the landing site is changing. This constraint is binary and therefore any valid paper would be a suitable answer. What this question is really looking for is a lead to chase. I'm even comfortable taking the position that this question doesn't break rule 1. $\endgroup$ – holmeski Aug 19 '16 at 22:08
  • $\begingroup$ This question is more analogous to asking where robotics books can be found rather than which robotics book is best to read. But again, I can't say that this post would violate the spirit of the community if not it's laws. $\endgroup$ – holmeski Aug 19 '16 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ and im looking for a paper where the attitude of the landing site is changing. I can't tell if there are no papers or if my google scholar queries are just poorly chosen. $\endgroup$ – holmeski Aug 19 '16 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ @holmeski - "therefore any valid paper would be a suitable answer." How do you intend on awarding the correct answer then? "This question is more analogous to asking where robotics books can be found rather than which robotics book is best to read." But you aren't asking where to find books in general, you're asking, "for a journal paper solving a specific problem." But again, even if you were looking for where to find papers, it's an opinion or personal preference. IEEE, Google Scholar, databases, etc. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Aug 20 '16 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ @holmeski - Here is a paper that discusses modeling a helicopter landing on a (moving) ocean platform. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Aug 20 '16 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ thanks. that's one of the known solutions to the decklanding problem $\endgroup$ – holmeski Aug 20 '16 at 20:49

A question asking for a paper reference for solving a problem would be off topic for reasons mentioned by Chuck, but a question primarily asking to solve a problem, and requesting citations for papers as a secondary aspect would be perfectly reasonable in my opinion.

As long as the problem can be solved by an answer here (i.e. it's not so broad that a book would have to be written on the subject) then it would be considered on-topic.


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