The new forums need YOU!


By now everybody must be aware of the excellent new wiki's that the team has been putting hours of work into and really doing a fine job of it. You might have also seen the Community drop down menu at the top of the page at under that you will see a links to here and APM Forum, this is where our forums will migrate to over time. 

Stefan has done an excellent job of improving the functionality of the forums, making it less spammy in the process.

Its attracting questions from wiki users now and as such we need some more of the experts that hang out here to be on hand to help new users there.

The platform that this website uses is about to undergo a major change and this will give us an opportunity to make this site a little more curated with the best of peoples builds and ideas getting more attention. 

So come on over to the new forums and lend a hand. 


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  • @Stefan "And regarding the gold mining... The forum actually has a full text search function :)."

    I am very familiar. Zero results when searching for the term "Sparkfun". Search is not the answer. Forums for the history, Wiki for the win!

  • Admin


    The website has been in operation since March of 2013 so it is hardly untested. Prior to announcing the website here on DIY Drones we already had logged over 300 members who are participating in the technical aspects of the APM, associated hardware and firmware, and the GCSs.


    TCIII Admin

  • I can appreciate the benefits of separating the customer support needle from the general posting haystack, but I'm not sure if funneling a thriving and successful community in to an untested and to be brutally honest, generic php-based Ning alternative is the answer.

    I'll confess I rarely use the forums on DIYDrones and mostly interact with the website via the blog stream on the front page, but I still am not particularly fond of missing hot content on the APM forums because it isn't tracking on the Ning site. A web forum misses the media rich experience you get from a modern social platform like Ning and outside of passing curiosity I just don't have the time I used to have in order to scrape content from web forums with my eye balls.

    If Ning is the Hackaday of UAS, then web forums are the UASnews(or worse). A viable source of good content that I read less frequently than RCGroups(a web forum that already has a critical mass of users if I want to divide my reading between two websites).

    I'd also like to make the point that I imagine the DIYDrones domain to be the primary source of advertising for 3DR(through word of mouth). YMMV. Every dime I have ever spent started with a blog post / product announcement from Chris or Jordi on DIYDrones.

    Dividing the user experience in this way seems very likely to cannibalize this nearly free source of advertising in the same way that Netflix nearly ate it's own tail when it decided to split it's rental business from video streaming. It seems equally likely to kill the advertising golden goose as it is to sweep negative feedback under the rug/put it under a microscope for better customer service attention(a distinction more centered in actual outcomes than good intentions).

    As someone who moved every couple of years growing up I can say from personal experience that a change of location feels like progress, but it rarely fixes the source of problems. In almost all cases, new problems virtually identical to the old ones will find you because you brought the source of the problems with you to the new home. Any perceived improvement from the technical support side likely stems from more manageable user levels and will evaporate upon an apples to apples head-count comparison. If the issue is clutter relating to non-core-3DR-customer-service functions I don't think that the forum software is the problem. That sounds like a moderation & forum organization issue.

    My point being, 3DR is currently catering to a broader market than where IRC-typical "RTFM" & trolling is acceptable from a user experience perspective. Considering significant resources have already been invested in this new forum, the concept of abandoning this vision for 3DR's tech support future seems unlikely. Maybe a freemium based model could work where the DIYDrones community gets to keep it's Ning, and you add a "premium customer service forum" add-on option during checkout for a reasonable fee?

    I'm reading between the line here but this entire thing seems to be inspired by a desire to protect the brand from dissatisifed customers. The php solution appears to be a reaction to internal 3DR complaints that using the Ning based site to support customers is extremely difficult because of the massive volume on un-related traffic that has nothing to do with customer support functions. 3DR is expanding and the customer service infrastructure is groaning under the weight?

    My take on that problem(supposing it exists):

    It is extraordinarily difficult to provide enterprise level customer support(a fantasy that is rarely realized in my personal experience) or consumer level for that matter, at hobbyist prices. If you try a one size fit all technical & customer service approach you will likely end up having to charge hobbyists the same "hand-holding tax" as the "Parrot ARDrone" crowd.

    If APM forum-use was a premium service available for purchase during checkout, then you can put the true cost of attentive customer support on the users that need that level of support. Many of the most demanding customers don't have time to play around in DIY/Maker land and if the goal is to cater to commercial/enterprise users then they will gladly pay extra for a guarantee that their standards & expectations will be met. Meanwhile, the majority of innovative content can take place on the free Ning website where people are not afraid of a soldering iron(generalizing here, this is not a swipe at dissatisfied users).

    I think the absolute worst case is that APM forums becomes the online equivalent to the 30 minute hold-time layer-cake experience you get from most customer support call centers in India. A CYA labyrinth where "failure demand" drives post counts rather than customer satisfaction, & forum volume is regulated by a 15 minute waiting period between posts.

    If the problem is in fact scaling customer support infrastructure those are the solutions I see:

    -flat pricing where the more demanding & least demanding customers average to a price point that is weakly satisfying for everyone,

    -optional premium support add-ons during checkout

    -thin the herd of customer service demand by adding an obstacle course between their frustration and a helpful employee(releasing products as "developer kits" to manage expectations where possible)

    -disregard the niche market of this community which drives the innovation and focus on risk-adverse business class customers & the general public. Raising prices accordingly. I'm obviously biased against this option.

    A change of forum software impresses me as a bandaid resulting from insufficient moderation & customer service resources which is an economic consequence of trying to meet high expectations without raising prices.

  • @Jon:

    You have to ask Tom about that as he is heading the Rover subforum, but my assumption would be, those are for discussing the respective technical aspects.

    As I wrote before, DIYD and the APM platform have both become too big and too complex. It really makes sense to separate the APM-related tech support from the general technology/policy/politics daily business as it happens on DIYD.

    And regarding the gold mining... The forum actually has a full text search function :).

  •       "Please keep in mind that the new forum is exclusively a tech support forum!"

    Then why is there topics like Sparkfun AVC and Safety? This is going to cause confusion and tons of cross posting especially with all the existing info/discussions.

    +1 for a single site/forum (single login) for the DIYd world. My vote would be with the phpBB format.

    Forums generally suck unless you're good at mining for gold or are not married and actually read every page. For the end user the best is an accurate wiki - but that requires manpower

  • Robert:

    The new forum is supposed to be THAT place. The plan is to move all tech support away from Ning. In the (old Google) wiki shouldn't be any activity anymore and the new WP wiki AFAIK does not have any such comment function. Leaves the dev-list. Chris has changed the description of the dev-list to redirect user questions from there to the new forum. If users post questions of the dev-list, developers should also guide those users to the new APM forum. As for other forums (RCG, etc.) - well - the new forum is the "official place" to ask questions, so if people go to the "wrong forum" they might not get the answers they need.

    So, if you ask me where you should hang out if you want to answer questions, I'd say, the new forum is the right place. If people get their answers only from there, they will (hopefully) stop going to all the "wrong" places.

    BTW: Do you think, TradHeli should have it's own subforum?

  • I'm with Charlie.  I've never been a fan of the Ning structure, particularly the way the forums works.  I've been wanting to move to a more common forum layout for a long time.

    The only issue I have with the new forum is that it's yet another place for people to ask questions.  There are so many places people put questions.  In the Wiki (at least they used to), Groups, various forums, etc.

    There should only be one place where people go to ask questions and give answers.

    I try to answer all TradHeli questions, but I just can't look in all these places.  I only monitor one place.

  • Hugues:

    Please keep in mind that the new forum is exclusively a tech support forum! There will be no blog posts and similar content. It's only for providing software and hardware support to the users.

    As for the login status, please check the attached picture. The links to the user control panel and messages as well as the logout link only appear if you are logged in.3692842069?profile=original

  • MR60

    Yes, I will try to prepare a list of suggestions and will ppost it in the "Forum help and feedback" subforum.

    As a general suggestion, I'd really like to see the same structuring as the current DYDforum, i.e. this very clear subdivision between blogs and discussions, this home page that gives you an excellent summary of what is most recent, most read (the top ten right column), the most recent blog posts in a column in the middle, a clear menu above that let's you navigate easily between all types of interest (arduplane, arducopter, manuals, forums, etc), and a clear indication next to the menu (or in the menu itself) if your are logged and access to your account (which I'm wondering where is displayed in the new forum, except in small letters at the bottom).

    I'll try to give more details later but that's my general wish.

  • Let's please stay constructive and avoid bashing each other, shall we? :)

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