Let's Make Robots!

Are we too many in here, should we start limiting acess?

Hi everyone :)

Are we too many in here, should we start limiting acess?

I have had the same thoughts before; at a point I felt like we where so many in here, that it was impossible to follow everything & everyone..

It sure is now.

Last time I did & said nothing, and it turned out to be the right solution; So many cool people dropped in, people I would never have known else. I am thankful I did not limit acess then.

However, are we shooting ourselves in the foot by growing uncontrolled? >There is like more than 2.000 people in here every day! More thatn 2.000 individual visitors.. I do not "know" everybody, is this cool?

Let me hear what you say :)

It would be easy to just shout down for new members for a while..

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Calculon320's picture
FAQ about building the bot, i mean. Not the site. That FAQ is great.
Myc Holmes's picture

I would have to agree woth the other MIke, these groups are dynamic and tend to wax and wane. So limiting membership would be a problem in the long term.

Personally, I check the RECENT POSTS to see if there is anything of interest. This is where the title is important. I tend to avoid any posts with "Help-newbie" in the title.

The one thing that I would suggest  is to have any posts include the program written for the robot. There are always new tips and tricks that can be discovered.

LMR is a great soite and keep up the good work. 

Myc 

 

brooksware2000's picture

I'm kind of two thoughts on this. First, just because a user has not posted a robot does not mean they aren't working on one. For instance, one may be in the planning stage or post smaller modules that will eventually add up to a robot of some sorts.  I think what can be classified as a robot is so varied that the argument can be made for most any project.  As an example, I posted two projects that are in the design phase (a motor controller and LCD controller).  Neither of those are robots but, together they can be used as components for a robot.

I  wonder if we could declutter things somewhat if there were more defined areas setup.  Examples would be entries for the different design stages i.e planning, parts sourcing, prototyping, construction and completed projects.  As you move from one stage to the other you would flag your posts which would add them to the associated areas.  There could be sub-areas for programming and electronics assemblies for those that have something to share but not yet a full bot.

My second thought is a warning system for those that are very vague with their questions.  When a question is asked the individual should've atleast attempted to solve the problem first.  They should post whatever code/design/schematic they have attempted instead of asking someone to do their homework for them.  Repeat offenders can be sent to the timeout section (no posts allowed for a set period).

Mike's picture

I'm a realtive n00b here and prone to shoot my mouth off, so ignore me if you feel I'm talking out of turn ...

I'm not clear what you problem is Frits.

Too many visitors isn't a problem if they are just reading; unless its causing costs to rise.

Too many posts? You don't have to read them all. But there's probably a lot of noise and repetition that hides the gems from the dross. The answer must be to extract the gems and find a way to show them off - eg tips/walkthroughs/wiki. Making these gems more prominent might cut down the dross. But probably not.

If you ever want to monetarise LMR - even if only to cover its running costs - more users is better.

Maybe you want to be more specific about the types of robotics that LMR is about. I've made a handful of Lego nxt robots (and will make a handful more I'm sure) because they are quick, easy and fun. I get the feeling that some people see this as frivolous because I've used neither soldering iron nor glue gun to produce them. The problem will be where will you draw the line. Are kit robots allowed if they plug together, or only if they need soldering? Are ready-made robots allowed eg Spyke?

Over the last ten years or so I've been an active member of maybe half a dozen online communities. Everyone of these (except LMR so far) has peaked and then withered. Unless LMR is truly unique, it will go the same way. In a year or maybe five years you will be wondering where everyone went and we will be having conversations about how to attract new visitors. Enjoy fame while it lasts.

If the problem is the number of repetitive posts, perhaps the answer is some sort of front desk for n00bs. They could post a question like "where do I start?" or "how do I connect an LCD panel?"; then a moderator or "senior" member of the community could say "look at node xxx". No other responses would be possible so we wouldn't start another thread and the question could then be deleted (or better still added to an FAQ). Only when youhave a robot or two under your belt could you create new threads other than "my robot".

Mike

OddBot's picture

I'm fairly new myself but have noticed myself some of the problems you mention. I tend to agree with the idea that until they can produce a robot (at least one under construction) that membership could be limited. They can still learn how to build a robot by reading all the tips and walkthroughs and using the search bar but limit their posting ability to avoid sketches and ideas becoming posted as robot projects.

I've been answering the same questions over and over lately, I'm going to do some tip/walkthrough/blog thingeys to answer them once and for all (with tags) but we still need people to search for the answer before they ask the question. Admittedly I tend to forget to use the search bar myself. Perhaps when someone goes to post a question in the forum section a reminder about the search bar should pop up. Maybe a program can monitor the subject for key words like help and transistor and automatically respond with a search result or a warning about posting forums entitled "Help me" which are so useless.

fritsl's picture
Get a hold of Grog, he's working on the FAQ - let's keep it there.
mintvelt's picture

First of all. I completely agree with Rik in that it is a bad idea to lock the gates. The last couple of months, however, it looks like the website has turned into one big shoutbox. If you don't keep up with the posts for a couple of days, so many things have changed that the only sensible thing to do is wait for the next pulse ;).

I also agree with Frits when he says he no longer feels he "knows" everyone that contributes. 

forum 

I don't believe that these issues are a "too many users" problem, but rather a "too many posts" problem or a "too hard to find stuff" problem. If the forum is moderated more intensely and scanned for double posts of questions, users will be forced to search better for an answer before a question is posted. On other forums you are forced to go to the forum before you post while on LMR you just create a forum topic from the "create content" menu item. Also moderators on other forums are more relentless when it comes to cleaning up nearly identical questions or threads. Perhaps improvements can be made to the search engine / interface as well. 

front page 

At the moment, anyone who updates his / her robot project or component is pushed to the top of the front page and some articles are updated a lot. I know I felt bad about that anytime I updated my robot page. Only the first post of a new robot and the last post, when it's marked finished, will do. Posting a new robot on this site should remain exciting for everyone and having other members applaud anyones efforts is one of the main things that make this community great. New robot posts shouldn't be bumped down by all the updates. 

It may also be a good idea to appoint a few editors that will periodically update (a section of) the front page. They can keep a cool idea or a nice robot or blog that they bumped into on this site on the front page for a couple of days. I realize that will turn the front page into sort of a newspaper, but if it's just the front page i wouldn't mind so much. 

limit access

Another option is to keep the forum open for any new member, whether they posted their bot or not, but to limit the other parts of the site. So that you can only blog or post components or walkthroughs, once your first robot is posted. However, those sections are pretty clean right now.

 

All in all I'd say there is room for improvement, but to limit the new users would be too much. This is still my favorite place on the web, just as it is.

 

OddBot's picture
I agree with Mintvelt about updates being moved to the front of the page. There have been times where I'm reluctant to do a minor update because I don't want to push new robots off the front page. Especially if I'm just correcting a small mistake.
BaseOverApex's picture

Users COULD readily be given the ability not to "promote"their robots to the front page, but as Frits reminds me, that means the robots simply doesn't appear AT ALL on the front page. Currently all robots are on the fron t page, althought he front page is several "screenfuls" in length.

Mike's picture

I feel that the front page is probably totally irrelevant for regular visitors to LMR - they will most likely launch straight in at recent posts. Irregular visitors won't have a clue what's new and what's not on the front page. Chosing wether or not to have your bot reappear on the front page would be a nice to have feature, but probably not a big plus point.

Mike