UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles), a.k.a. "drones", could be considered a hybrid offspring of Aviation and Robotics.

Since many questions pertaining to drones are considered off-topic in the Aviation community on SE, some have decided to attempt to create a spin-off community, DRONES (at this time, still in the proposal phase, needing more popular participation to be created).

Should this community (Robotics) also shun drone-related questions? Is it desirable to restrict the scope of this community, or to expand it and embrace drones in their full magnitude?

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    $\begingroup$ We should revisit this question once Drones.SE has been in Beta for a while. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Aug 9 '17 at 11:59
  • $\begingroup$ @MarkBooth It will be interesting. Like looking back at bulletin board chats (oldtimer, here). $\endgroup$ – tony gil Aug 9 '17 at 18:39

I think that the real question is, are there enough on-topic questions to support a drone site? The problem I've seen with drone questions in general are that they're generally off-topic.

The bulk of the questions I've seen about drones are people looking for design questions. If it starts, "How do I..." then the question is probably off topic. Person A could provide one valid answer, and Person B could provide a completely different, but still perfectly valid answer.

For example, a question might be, "How do I extend the flight time of my quadcopter?" Person A might answer, "Add batteries." Person B might answer, "Reduce total weight." Both answers are equally valid.

The better question would be, "What specifications affect flight time of a quadcopter?" This type of rephrasing is the gist of the Q&A is hard, let's go shopping post that we frequently cite for closing questions.

Again, the types of quadcopter questions I see most are all generally off-topic, and typically start:

  • "How do I..." (autonomy, obstacle avoidance, build a flight controller, etc.)
  • "What's the best..." (quadcopter, flight controller, transmitter, etc.)
  • "Where can I find..." (software package, drone that meets specification X, etc.)
  • $\begingroup$ this is a valid comment. I am sure that, as the technology permeates applications beyond toys (i do not consider hobbies = toys), you will see better questons overall. $\endgroup$ – tony gil Aug 8 '17 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ @tonygil - Questions such as what? If I recall correctly, I think you need something like ten or twenty sample questions for a site beta. What questions would you imagine would be asked that don't fall into the open-ended, off-topic classes of questions I've described? :Edit: sorry it's five questions for the proposal. The site is open when it goes to beta (like Robotics). I would urge you to read the section of the page I linked regarding "subsumed" sites, too. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Aug 9 '17 at 10:37
  • $\begingroup$ I apologize, but I fail to understand what you mean by your comment. $\endgroup$ – tony gil Aug 10 '17 at 8:49
  • $\begingroup$ @tonygil - What are five exemplary questions that would be on topic for the drone site that do not fall entirely within Robotics or entirely within Engineering? $\endgroup$ – Chuck Aug 10 '17 at 10:41
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    $\begingroup$ Easy @Chuck, any "Questions about remotely controlled UAVs are probably off topic on Robotics", as mentioned in the descriptions of the auv, uav & ugv tags. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Aug 10 '17 at 11:45
  • $\begingroup$ @chuck: to many to name, please check the prposal, there are GOOD questions out there. BTW, i UPVOTED your answer, regardless of fully agreeing with it or not. $\endgroup$ – tony gil Aug 10 '17 at 18:04

We shouldn't be closing questions which are on-topic here, just because they are drone questions, but if Drones Stack Exchange takes off, we may find people prefer it even for questions which are on-topic here.

For details of what our current policy on which drone questions are considered on-topic here, have a look at the info page for any of the and drone tags.

Also, I'm more than happy to consider suggested edits to the drone tags (uav, auv & ugv), suggesting (initially) that people might want to support the drones proposal and (later) that the Drones Beta may be a good place to ask drones questions which are considered off-topic in Robotics but on-topic there.

  • $\begingroup$ very useful guidance, tks! $\endgroup$ – tony gil Aug 9 '17 at 18:40

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