I'm sure that eventually we'll have a theme/imagery competition like on other .SE sites, but what sorts of elements of those do we as a community want to see? I'm sure we'll get better results if those artists know the thoughts of the community.

Some components of this question:

  1. Do we want our imagery to feature and evoke real robots, sci-fi robots, or both? Sci-fi imagery might invite people to tread on scifi.SE, as well as lending a more enthusiast vs professional air to the site. However, lots of us got into robotics in some part due to the awesome-factor of sci-fi's robots, and it seems like we should be capturing that enthusiasm as well as the professionalism.
  2. What kinds of robots do we want our imagery to feature and evoke? Are military/combat/battlebots style robots going to be off-putting?
  3. Will FIRST, VEX, and Lego Robotics and their analogs look too amateur?
  4. Do we want kit robots? PR2-like enterprise models?
  5. How will our imagery distinguish us from programming, electronics, and mechanical SE sites? Obviously, those are major components of what we do, but mostly in concert. We're a site for questions about programming with regards to motor control, not just programming, etc. How will we use our imagery to support that understanding?

1) I think Sci-fi, done with elegance, could be inspiring and non-invasive. Real robots at the moment tend to be overly complicated (visually) and SE generally does a good job of getting the site design 'out of the way'

2) Personally, I'd like to avoid military imagery

3) I think specific logos should be avoided where possible.

4) Kit pieces and schematics might be a good way to go.

5) An amalgam of area51.SE's cartoon style and that beautiful "Where's Wall-E" image could have a nice mix of clarity, forward looking inspiration and technical feel.

  • $\begingroup$ Might want to link Sci-fi for people who don't know what it looks like. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Oct 23 '12 at 22:14
  • $\begingroup$ Ah - I'd just meant 'futuristic' in general, but examples are always useful. $\endgroup$ – Khrob Oct 25 '12 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ +1... Specific logos need to be avoided, yes - for copyright/IP reasons, if nothing else. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Oct 25 '12 at 6:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Mark, I think the sci-fi site is too dark. A color scheme of silver could give the futuristic/cutting edge look. $\endgroup$ – ronalchn Oct 25 '12 at 8:09
  • $\begingroup$ @ronalchn - I agree, plus I would prefer a simpler theme to a more complex theme. I think sites like Android Enthusiasts are a perfect blend of eye catching yet uncluttered. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Oct 25 '12 at 8:19
  • $\begingroup$ +1 to the android.stackexchange.com simplicity $\endgroup$ – Khrob Oct 25 '12 at 17:43

I would definitively prefer a design related to real robotics rather than science fiction robotics, because the page is about real robotics and therefore we should make that impression and appearance.

Moreover, I agree with the point that real robotics often do not look that esthetic. Therefore I suggest an abstract design, where typical parts of robots are simplified in an icon style.

gear   gripper arm   micro processor

This gives our site a clean design yet related to real field of robotics. Moreover, we can easily avoid mentioning well known robots of companies, for example Honda's Asimo or Lego's NXT kit, and thus circumvent copyright issues.

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    $\begingroup$ That's my bias as well, but I could very easily have seen the general opinion going the other way because fictional robots are often very aesthetically pleasing! $\endgroup$ – rsegal Sep 4 '13 at 14:45

The reality is the majority of work benches for robotics are not the most glamorous of things, usually a computer and a soldering iron surrounded by various parts in a garage somewhere, probably try and defer from that :P

I'd say using Sci-Fi robots is fine. I'm assuming we are going to go for a professional style. Personally I'm actually a big fan of the cartoony Area 51 and have always like clip-art style Robots but I'm guessing that's a little childish/unprofessional.

I realise after typing that I haven't really offered any decent suggestions but I like the idea of cartoonish dark sci-fi theme that would allow us to still be taken seriously.


I was thinking of a sidebar featuring:

  1. Latest jobs in Robotics (similar to stackoverflow)
  2. Interesting news from around the world in the field of Robotics
  3. A list of upcoming conferences like ICRA, CVPR, etc.

As for the layout, I agree that something uncluttered yet elite, with some art featuring robots in the background would be just great.

EDIT: For the layout, the background could contain images of a code snippet(to portray that programming questions related to robotics are allowed), circuit schematic(to portray that certain problems regarding circuitry for motor control), point clouds(to portray that computer vision/navigation/SLAM questions are welcome), and a few robotic avatars (sci-fi or currently in market) to give the overall feel of having entered a 'Robotics' Q&A community site.

  • $\begingroup$ The latest jobs thingy is related to [Careers](careers.stackexchange.com), which is mainly for programming jobs. I doubt that could be done for Ro.SE. THe upcoming events and all could be taken care of by the community when we get community ads enabled (afrer graduation). $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 31 '12 at 11:11
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe, there could be a portal wherein members and interested parties can post their jobs and the Ro.SE community can then decided how worthy it is of advertising it. $\endgroup$ – Karan Thakkar Oct 31 '12 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ I think this will only happen if Ro.SE becomes extremely popular--which will take a while. These things would be better set up by a community member--e.g. you, and then advertised via the community ads. Ahyway, this is not what they mean by "layout". The stuff that exists on a page is the same for all SE sites--just the posts and _layout_/theme are different. $\endgroup$ – Manishearth Oct 31 '12 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Ofcourse but we could add a few sidebars for Ro.SE just to make it look unique. Again its just an idea. $\endgroup$ – Karan Thakkar Nov 1 '12 at 6:21

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