Kevin Finisterre, DIYDroneSafety and Drone Savant persona

forum PM: "Just know that the 'imaginary' group you represent isn't so imaginary at all. But I guess you already know that" - silent DIYDrones user

This topic was setup in order to move degenerative conversation points away from the "Hex decided to leave and never come back" thread to a more appropriate location.

The original post wording stated that it "should be used as a sounding board to discredit the abrasive  comments made by myself and others that operate the DIYDroneSafety website, twitter feed, and the Drone Savant forum persona. Either take it off list or put it here... It appears as if we need a special topic to discuss WHY some people feel the need to be abrasive around here in order to get critical safety issues fixed. Some claim slander, damage, abusive behavior, libel etc., while others claim simply claim awareness and safety from half truths and lies by omission..."

^--- This was simply a conversation starter which had wonderful results.  Discussing the "need to be abrasive" really was not the point. This comment nails the actual point

I think there are specific and real issues, which Kevin is raising.  Most of his complaints about the code are at least valid, even if not easily solved.  His complaints about the documentation are also valid, and are easily solved.

Traditionally the following topics have produced some contention amongst the ranks of developers, moderators and end users. As such user understanding, vs. documentation, vs. code has been confusing at best and at times unsafe: 

PPM Encoder

Watchdog functionality for code lockup situations

Powering the APM with cheap ESC's via input rail (brownout problems)

These topics are *NOW* being actively investigated in a variety of forms and are producing valuable information. 

Safety Watchdog -

Watch dog added to shutdown motors if main loop feezes for 2 seconds (Randy) - 

Brownouts -

We're going to be shipping a stand-alone power supply (and voltage/current sensor) that will ensure that brownouts never happen. Hopefully in a few weeks. 

PPM Encoder logic explained -

With the discovery that the Turnigy 9x radios using original receivers and firmware, would act in a non-standard way and completely drop the throttle signal during fail-safe (same effect as a broken wire). The detection of single channel loss became a real problem, and a patch was made to detect single channel loss (throttle only) at the expense of some jitter and stick resolution.

New Original Paparazzi & APM PPM (servo2ppm?) logic flaw brought to light

Olivier found and documented some very real and very serious problems with the original Paparazzi PPM Encoder used by APM 1.x. What Olivier found and proved by extensive testing, was that that PWM channel sequences from certain R/C receivers would confuse the Paparazzi PPM Encoder. Resulting in the throttle channel (among others) locking up.

Hats off to developers like R_Lefebvre and people Monroe for stepping up (even if begrudgingly in Monroe's case) to help get to the bottom of these potentially serious safety issues -

When you are "The largest amateur Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) community", it doesn't matter what everyone else is doing. "Well they have flyways too" aren't the words of someone leading the head of the pack. Well can do better and deserve it. 

Stay Vigilant. 

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I have asked the Moderators to decide what to do about this issue. I am sure that a decision will be forthcoming.



Hi Monroe,

I did get Chris to close-out the lost hex thread as it was definitely getting pissy. As a moderator I can close down a thread that is getting out of control. However I always ask for comments on the Moderator's Forum before doing so.

On another topic, I feel that you should continue as a moderator as you are a voice of sanity in what seems to be an occasional insane wilderness.



I stand to be corrected but I think folks posting on here own their own words and are entitled to them and must be prepared to justify them.

Things do need to be removed when people are plain offensive though but I know often before some people are warned or stuff is removed there are many many many discussions. 

If I have to chip in about the problems slightly tongue in cheek, two of them can be solved by not using cheap gear. They should be thought about though. I am not a developer, I am a re-kitter of airframes.

I agree with Gary, if you post own the responsibility for its accuracy, relevance and legality. However, the site also has a responsibility to monitor and maintain a respectful place for community discussion. Moderators need to monitor what is possible, and respond to member concerns about the postings that don't get moderated.

There must be some statistical formula that says if one person is upset in a group of 30000 then there are probably X number of other people who are also upset but not saying anything. 

I just suggested ignoring this discussion but I am a moderator (not as active as some) so I feel I have a responsibility to be proactive when I can. 

I do not believe there is a need to discuss why people need to be "slanderous", or disrespectful in order to communicate what may be valid concerns.

There are existing forums for all of the concerns. Discuss them there and leave out personal comments, or if you are really upset feel free to not use the technology till issues are resolved.

Even better, help in solving the issues. 

Sorry for typos, I am on my Playbook and it is being difficult. 


Drone Savant said:  "I too was once a 3drobotics / DIYDrones fanboi. I drank the Koolaid, and I told all my friends to drink it too"

DS, as much as I like much of the content of your posts, the above statement is where you loose credibility with me.  Being a "fanboi" and drinking the "koolaid" says to me that at that point you lost all ability to think for yourself.  If you can swing so far to one side that you can't think for yourself and you'll believe anything, this leads me to believe you've now swung to the other side and you can't think for yourself and you won't believe anything.  Swinging so far in either direction is not constructive.

I've had problems with 3DR customer service to the point I had to complain on the forum to get service.  I got service and was made whole.  I didn't let my experience blind me to the fact that 3DR and the APM team want to turn out a good product.  Looking back on my complaint, I said something that I now regret.  I implied that Chris was using the "free" services of the community with alterior motives in mind.  For that, I'm sorry.

I've only had one issue with my APM 2.0 so far.  I initiated ALT_HOLD before GPS lock and I my quad lost altitude rapidly.  This was a "bug" in the code and it was also mostly my fault.  I didn't know the quad was going to lose altitude but I had a pretty good idea that initiating a mode that depended on GPS lock without GPS lock would not end well.  I could have let that swing me to the position that the APM sucked or that the DEV team didn't know what they were doing or didn't care.  I didn't do that.  I calmly posted my experience on the forum.  Someone, I can't remember the name at the moment (sorry), answered my post.  They said it was a bug and they had it fixed within days, maybe hours and put it in the next release.

I've very pleased with my APM.  I think it is one of the best autopilots available for the price. I won't, however, let that blind me to future things that could go wrong.

We must realize that some bugs are easy to fix and some are not.  Something that I think should be a high priority feature is not even wanted by anybody else.  Something that many people want as a feature may not be possible for a technical or platform specific reason.  This is an open-hardware and open-source project.  There is nothing stopping anyone from doing it their own way.  There is nothing stopping people from starting there own autopilot from scratch and doing it their own way.

Other than my "alterior motives" comment, which I truly regret, I've never felt the need to be libelous, abusive, or abrasive to get my point across.  I also understand that we are all different.  What might be abusive or abrasive to one is not to another.  For that reason, we must be open about how communication flows.  I would rather the moderators err on the side of openness and not on the side of caution.


Just my two cents.

Banning is never the answer.  The banned person will just come in other another handle.  You'll end up with banning as a high priority process.

Just my opinion.

There are some moderators that think that freedom of speech means you can post what ever you like, can I remind all who post there under the terms of service freedom of speech does not extend to posting "in a manner that is libelous or defamatory, or in a way that is otherwise threatening, abusive, violent, harassing, malicious or harmful to any person or entity, or invasive of another's privacy;"

Well if the world was a fair place we would all consider ourselves down the pub in front of a roaring fire with a decent ale in hand. Obviously in America you are at a distinct disadvantage right there. More so when I say a wholesome slice of bread and hunk of real cheese are aiding gentle discussion. 

The point I am trying to make and we all know is that people on forums are far far far ruder than they would be to anybody in real life. Often saying something to somebody that you would never dare to another face to face even if you had had a barrel of beer.

So why don't we all try and change that and make this the most polite place about. Remember please and thank you and encourage jokes in posts.

Life is too short to argue.

If there is a safety issue it should be properly documented, as I am sure it is and will be. 

Monroe, I could go back through the posts and find several in which you've been rude to people and not just DS.  We are all human and we all will fail at civility from time to time.  You will never live in a world in which you can trust all of the people.  If you didn't have bad friends, you wouldn't know what a good friend was.  Even if we could get rid of all of the "bad" people in the world, we would just caste the rest in levels of good in which the bottom are again bad.  Bad people teach us tolerance.

You are not the best person in the world and you are not the worst. You have friends that think you are better than some of their friends and worse than others.  DS is not the best nor worst.  If our friends do bad things, we put up with them because they are our friends.  If we turn our back on them when/if they do something bad, we were never their friend to begin with.

I agree that he is on a vendetta against Chrs and Jordi.  The reasons for a vendetta don't need to really exist, they can start from perceived injustices.  Chris has been more patient with Kevin than I would have been.  What is sad is that Kevin has many valid points and good ideas.  I've learned much from many of his posts.  If he turned his negativity towards Chris and Jordi into positive action, APM could be much better or He could have even started his own AutoPilot and done his own thing.  The only other time I've seen such behavior,  the actions were due to jealousy.  This is only speculation on my part so take it with a grain of salt.  I gave my opinion of the Easter Egg thing in another post. 

SO, I'd like to hear from the Mods / Devs...are there specific and real issues here?  This seems to me to be a set of rants that could be easily remedied with a mention in the documentation.  Perhaps a "Best Practices" section that says, "Hey, it is pretty likely a bad idea to do X...or some users have reported Y problem, we believe this can be avoided by doing the following...or even Turnigy 9X radios are inexpensive, and ok for beginners with very small budgets, but sometimes you DO get what you pay for."

I know documentation is the LEAST sexy job in these projects but it COULD be the MOST important.

Scott, I think there are specific and real issues, which Kevin is raising.  Most of his complaints about the code are at least valid, even if not easily solved.  His complaints about the documentation are also valid, and are easily solved. 

I understand why he's got to where he is, his level of frustration.  But I don't completely sympathize.  Part of the problem is that a lot of his frustration stems from the fact that he thinks much of the problem is intentional, rather than just "organizational confusion".  Take for example his mention of how to power the ESC.  Craig says one thing, Chris says another.  Kevin thinks Chris is being intentionally misleading.  I think he probably just isn't aware of the issue.  I don't know how Chris does everything that he does in a day.  I can see how it would be very easy to lose track of some details.  Yet he wants to be helpful and posts something on the forum.  If the info is wrong, does it mean his intentions were bad?  I don't think so, but Kevin does.

I also believe that the developers of the project need to try and make it as safe as possible, and there have been a few areas that need improvement.

So as I say, I think most of the issues are valid, and I understand why he's upset.  He's very correct in saying that until he started jumping up and down screaming, nobody was listening.  People were told to put things in the issues list, and they did, but nobody acted on it, or at least nobody was seen to act on it.  

But as I've explained to Kevin before, this is an open source project, and wrong or right, developers work on what they want to work on.  You DO need to convince one to do what you want.  And this sort of behaviour isn't the way to get it done.  The only thing this ranting is doing is making other users aware of the problem.  But I don't see any evidence that other developers are going to want to work on the issues he is ranting about.

But Kevin used to have a much better method to do that, when he had priveledges to update the wiki.  However, he threw that all away when he broke very clear TOS rules.

The other problem that I have no sympathy for, is that he sees comments from some people, and assume that the whole community believes the same thing, just because nobody else stepped up to refute it.  I don't get that at all.  You get one guy who doesn't work for 3DR and isn't a dev, saying his friend was flying unsafely, and he acts like we all said it, and then rants and raves when somebody else (like Chris) flies the same way.  

Anyway, at the end of the day, I hate that it's come to this.  All of this does look bad on us.  And then Chris is stuck in a bad spot because if he bans somebody, or deletes these posts, a whole other group of people start complaining about censorship and coverups.  It's a no-win situation.


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