DIY Drones at 75,000 members!


It's customary and traditional that we celebrate the addition of every 1,000 new members here and share the traffic stats. This time it's a big 75,000!!!!

There were approximately 1.4 million page views in the last month! (we now get around 45,000 page views a day on average). It took us just 30 days to add these latest 1,000 members--we're averaging one new member every 43 minutes!

Thanks as always to all the community members who make this growth possible, and especially to the administrators and moderators who approve new members, blog posts and otherwise respond to questions and keep the website running smoothly.






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  • Another classic example of just reading the headlines? ;-)

    Nice Craig! Friend request sent! 

  • Wooow congratulations!!!
  • Yeah, I think you have the idea. This rodeo (url) belongs to someone else. Forums do need a leader in that there has to be one person (at least) who is keeping the thing together. A vision, so to speak. 

    I'm sure something will develop around the various efforts once all the parties coalesce around somie ideals. 

    I always stand ready to give any of my hard-earned experience (advice) to anyone...

  • Hi Craig.

    The site url is of no importance to me, nor the owners intention for this site. Likewise the rate of technological development means many posts here are no longer up to date, so without sounding rude I don't think its worthwhile to migrate this entire site, provided one can add some issue diagnosis to the ardupilot wiki, which is on a different site anyway. This is what I was mostly alluding to above.

    The "community" can move with, if it so chooses, or stay here. There is only one certainty in life and that is change..., we can be the "victims" of change, or the designers thereof. I prefer the later! ;-)

    BTW I welcome any input you may have. My only intention is to drum up some more support for the continued development of the open source component of the project.


  • Hi Thomas why no mention of South Africa i have been a member for a few years already
  • This site is owned (I think) by ChrisA personally and he has designs of one kind or another as to exactly what he wants to do with it.

    It would seem as if redesign/remodel/move-platform would have to be decided and planned from the top.

    That said, I have to wonder about whether Facebook, Twitter and other short-term memory social media is somewhat sucking the air out of forums. We've discussed this at length on various (insider) admin forums - I usually come down on the side that nothing can replace a really good and active niche forum. However, given what ChrisA has had on his plate the last number of years he may not be able to dedicate the time and headspace to diydrones - that is, CEO's have to have priorities and I don't think he wakes up each morning with "I really want to build out the open source DIYdrones site" as the first thing to enter his mind.

    Been there done that - as you can imagine 18 years into my first site I wasn't doing the "stay up all night and code" thing any longer. It takes a lot of energy, thought and time to build a community - but then it also takes a bunch to continue it and make it grow after many years.

    About 6 years ago I moved complete platforms....which turned out to be a great move. But it takes a lot of study to choose between the various packages and then a lot of time and determination to move everything.

    I wish y'all good luck but have to limit my input to any questions regarding the various platforms that this (ning) thing may be able to move to. We had to export from an old school framework which was completely unsupported...that meant a lot of sql work. But, luckily, there are lots of young smart dudes who love the challenge of slinging php and sql to achieve the desired results. 

    But, again, since Chris owns and runs this privately, it's his ball game. Attempts by the community to move ahead of his timeline and wishes are unlikely to come to fruition unless on a completely different site. 

  • @ Craig

    Maybe we could suggest it to the devs? We could do an interactive diagnostic wizard, where specific questions result in either a redirect to a certain setup page, a further checklist, failing which a support request could be lodged. If we can collaborate on a outline maybe we can assist to get it adopted? PM me if you are interested.

  • @ JB   Re- But the "service" component of dev's working through issues with users could be more structured and efficient, reducing the time overhead, in particular for "known" or common issues that keep on coming up.

    I agree! It would be a win win if the wiki had a far better section regarding problem solving. We often see at the end of a manual for a product for problems where it asks / states a description of a problem then points them in a couple possible directions to clear it up. I think that would go a LONG way to freeing up the devs time answering questions. Granted there are some fairly complicated subjects that that wouldn't work for but many basic errors in the build or set up this could really help people out in a much less frustrating way than posting and hoping somebody responds. ironically it seems the most basic problems / questions are the ones that seem to go unanswered probably because people are tired of answering the that same question for the 1000nth time or they just figured somebody else will. Perfect place for a Q&A section in the wiki. IMHO

  • +1 Craig

    My sentiments exactly. The site is fairly clumsy in finding things, I normally do a site: search in google to find stuff. Also the level of interactivity could be improved as well as migrating from Ning. One idea would be that it is more closely integrated with some online log diagnostics which could be shared and viewed in a more informal "chat" type arrangement, along with some tools and tutorials etc to help beginners succeed without burdening the devs. Teach them to fish, instead of doing all the fishing yourself, so to speak.

    Don't get me wrong the wiki has come a long long way in the last year or so, so the documentation has improved 100%. But the "service" component of dev's working through issues with users could be more structured and efficient, reducing the time overhead, in particular for "known" or common issues that keep on coming up. Maybe a questionnaire type online diagnostic could be employed for this. Maybe even on the Ardupilot forum/site instead? 

    If the site was more structured it would also keep clientele here on the site without them pinging off. There's so much information here, but hidden in pages of discussion, so that it becomes frustrating to find something. I've been here for some 5 years and I still get frustrated by it. :-(

    The problem with charging for dev. help on resolving issues is that sometimes it's not actually a fault of the user (although it often is!) but rather a bug in the code. Typically devs would have access to "beta tester" group to iron out the bugs before publication. In this case the community IS the beta tester program, so it's a give and take arrangement. 

    This is of course a considerable advantage to any company that leverages this type of cost saving community testing, let alone that beta testers actually test, and crash, airframes and equipment they have bought themselves! Both the community and the developers profit from this, if the developers are also supported by those who profiteer from it financially as well. It's a circular loop and it needs all components to progress and thrive. Developers need to eat too and it's only fair they should get some return on the time they invest IMHO. Sending food donations gets messy pretty quick... ;-)

    At present the Ardupilot platform has reached a level of "maturity" where it's possible to continue to add functionality with only little risk of a serious or catastrophic system failure. The result is that the opportunists are leaving this field of development and moving to greener pastures. Who is going to step up and tend the community garden before it withers? 

    What can we as a community do to help?


  • I'm a bit obsessed with web stats having run popular forum(s) and sites since 1995.

    The chart does show a large decline - because the decline has to be measured against at least two other metrics:

    1. Number of people interested in drones - in the time period shown on the chart, interest in drones has gone up 5X or more. 

    2. Internet users - new users plus those who start using the internet more - this, of course, keeps growing. 

    Also, "bounce rate" - at 60% means that percentage gets here from search engines (likely) and then leaves without looking anywhere but the page they landed. With a forum like this it's likely they didn't find their answer...that is, you usually have to dig around here and read multiple pages to get any serious answers. 

    Of course, these metrics are only important to a site or community that values growth or wants to grow! DIYDRONES, not being a $$-making type of operation (by itself), could be fine at 1/2 or 1/4 the traffic because it's just a matter of the community helping each other and communicating.

    Chris has used this as his vehicle, IMHO, to get to other places. Others have used it for their own purposes, from business (byproducts of APM, etc.) to just fellowship, etc. 

    The site could easily make money with sponsors, ads, affiliates, etc. however those amounts are not relevant in terms of 3DR (that is, they would make the admins happy and a single owner happy, but would not be enough for even a very small company). 

    In summary - traffic increase or decline doesn't mean anything if that's not the doesn't cost hardly anything (in money) to host and run a community web site. Most admins and mods, even on crazy big sites, are volunteers - because people like doing it. I started "gifting" my mods fairly seriously in the last couple of years when I realized how much of the load they were carrying - but they never asked for a penny. 

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