We are planning to follow up on migrating ROS Answers and Gazebo Answers to Robotics.SE. With this, we’re considering migrating questions, answers, and comments from both of those sites to here. I’d like to get another round of your input on this process.

We’re looking to have 2 weeks of comments and feedback before we take any more steps. In that time, I’d like to ask for your feedback on the following questions.

Selection heuristic

What heuristic would you recommend that we use to select content to migrate?

Clearly we should bring all questions with accepted answers. Some of our users don’t accept answers that are multiply upvoted. Answers with upvotes were useful to somebody, so that’s likely a good bar. I'd suggest that we also bring over questions that were upvoted. They have piqued someone's interest since they were asked which means that it’s likely to happen again. Is there any other criterion you would suggest? The above boils down to:

  • Any question that is upvoted OR
  • Any question that has an upvoted or accepted answer

Tag mappings

ROS and Gazebo Answers both have their own sets of tags. The tag management on those sites has not been as effective as you are familiar with here on Stack Exchange, so we’re going to need to do some cleanup during the migration.

Similarly, tagging ros on ROS answers is redundant, but theoretically anything coming from there to Robotics.SE should probably get the tag.

I’ve also been exploring how to get better about tagging versions of ROS. I’d like to propose that we set up a synonym such that the tag gets turned into , and that we recommend people use ros-<ROSDISTRO> as their tag. For example, , or, for the version of ROS in Ubuntu, . This will help make it clear to readers what context the question is coming from. This would also avoid the Stack Exchange policy of no partial tags.

I would like to also propose the same policy for Gazebo versions and the gazebo blank tag.

Beyond that, we’ve also set up a tag mapping database to try to help generate the appropriate aliases for tags. Please take a look at it here for a proposed mapping. That mapping is open for pull requests or discussions in issues.

Update Edit: I think that it's going to be important to add some of the more popular package name tags. Based on feedback here and our ability to embed content from rss feeds into index.ros.org like here in the Q&A tab As far as I can tell there's no way to get an rss feed for search queries instead of just tags.

Call for mentorship

In addition to bringing a bunch of answers over, there will also be a large new community joining us here on Robotics.SE. It will be important for us to model how to ask, answer, and moderate well here on the site.

There are many in the ROS community who have answered a lot of questions and have a lot of expertise. However, the culture and patterns for answering questions is a little bit different. Teaching people how things work on Robotics.SE will be important, as will be letting the community grow and extend.

I would like to put a call out for everyone who’s been here to be ready for the influx of new users and work to make them welcome.

Formatting suggestions

As we migrate the questions we will be embedding information about where it came from as well as the comments associated with the original posts.

You can find some test posts from this user: ROS and Gazebo Migration

Those tests were done using the API and have trailing JSON metadata which is intended to be reprocessed by Stack Exchange for us. They will now be integrated into the original content and can be ignored.

Anything else we’re missing here? Anything else that should be considered for this migration?

Here's the parallel thread on ROS Discourse: ROS and Gazebo Answers Migration to Robotics Stack Exchange Process

Related past discussions:

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Note: It looks there are currently existing tags for gazebo in general, as well as gazebo-no-version-declared. (Assuming the latter continues to exist in some form, it may make sense to make sure the naming of that tag is consistent with the corresponding tag for ROS – which doesn't currently exist.) $\endgroup$
    – V2Blast
    May 24, 2023 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ I see that a lot of users agreed for this migration , but I do not think it is a good idea. I joined this portal a year ago , and used to see some actual robotics related questions which I really enjoyed. Now this portal is just filled with ros and gazebo. $\endgroup$
    – McLovin
    Sep 11, 2023 at 14:52
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think that you'll find that there are now more roboticists here who can answer both ROS and Gazebo questions as well as general ones which will increase the overall ability to answer questions of interest. If you're not interested in ros or gazebo questions you can easily set your profile to ignore questions with those tags. And likewise you can also select any tag(s) of interest to watch robotics.stackexchange.com/tags You can find tags that you've interacted with before in your profile: robotics.stackexchange.com/users/30735/mclovin?tab=tags $\endgroup$
    – Tully Mod
    Sep 11, 2023 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your reply. Just ignore this question , this is me thinking out loud, but for some reason I am unable to comprehend why not ROS related questions ( which are mainly software related questions in a way) be asked on stack overflow. We cannot just go add python web development (django framework) questions on mathematics stack exchange because website is dealing with some integrations and differentiations. $\endgroup$
    – McLovin
    Sep 18, 2023 at 15:40

1 Answer 1


Selection Heuristic

Migrating over only "good" questions with "good" answers is a great idea. I'm curious if you have some numbers to help inform the decision? For example, if the number of up-voted questions is huge, maybe the number of questions with 2 up-votes is more manageable. But your current heuristic looks good to me. (Just wondering about the thresholding the number of votes)

Tag mappings

Great job on the tag mapping. That is a huge task. I noticed lots of tags like gazebo-1.8, gazebo-1.9 etc. I'm curious how important the minor version number is to the content of the question. Did the API change that much between versions? Also, are these minor versions required when those versions are SO old? I just want to avoid an explosion of useless tags.

  • $\begingroup$ Re the Gazebo tags The tags that I've proposed are equivalent to the differences between full ROS distros. They do have significant changes to the API. This will add a handful of tags to our repertoire which won't be used much in the future. However these tags will add significant value to the archived questions helping people differentiate them as well as tell them apart looking backwards when people search for something so it's clear to them that it might be out of date. $\endgroup$
    – Tully Mod
    May 22, 2023 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Re: Heuristics. With the import and ability to backdate the content we've been focusing on bringing over anything that anyone has found useful as an answer as those won't be an issue. For unanswered questions we can look at how many there are to make sure that we don't overwhelm the forum with those unanswered questions. I hope that they will also appear in the backlog and the community bot can highlight a few of them periodically to help triage them or else retire them. $\endgroup$
    – Tully Mod
    May 22, 2023 at 21:25
  • $\begingroup$ For the tagging I think that we're going to need to extend the tags to include common packages so that we can make sure to embed them based on feeds. Edit above with more context. $\endgroup$
    – Tully Mod
    May 24, 2023 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Re: Heuristics. -- +1 for the OP's suggestion. For the unanswered questions without any upvote, I'd vote to transfer all if it's not too much hassle -- Recently I've been answering many of such questions (I'm doing that just because the subject of those are in my current radar). If additional criteria is wanted, how about the number of visits. E.g. answers.ros.org/question/342947 (I answered recently) had 500+ visits at the time of writing, indicating there's been a good interest but somehow hadn't got answered nor upvote. Caveat of that: Newer questions may get less visit count. $\endgroup$
    – IsaacS
    Jun 12, 2023 at 13:54

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