Proposal: Drones and Model Aviation

This proposal has a number of example questions that amount to "How to do X in Y software suite?" Some of these might be better suited to the specific product's support forums or GitHub. Should these support questions be considered on topic on this stack?

For reference, other sites have different policies for this:

  • Aviation.SE does not accept questions about specific CFD software (e.g. "why do I get this error in XFRL5?"), but it accepts general CFD questions ("What does this boundary layer parameter do for airfoil simulation?").

  • Engineering.SE is ok with suite-specific questions ("How to add a remote force in ANSYS?")

  • Robotics.SE is ok with suite-specific questions ("How to get data from ArduPilot through a serial port?")

To clarify, I am not referring to comparison questions like "What is the difference between ground station software packages A and B?" but rather specifically to support requests like "Why does ground station software A v0.9.11 lose connection with my transmitter?" or "How to set up antenna tracking in software B?"


This is a very good question. Personally, I feel the answer should be yes... in most cases. I think it is easy to agree that bug reports and associated issues with software packages should go on their respective GitHub issue trackers. That much I think is clear.

When it comes to "user-error" problems and questions about the behavior of said software packages, I think we should allow it. I can understand why the sites you listed above have the policies they do regarding asking for help with software suites. In my mind, we should be trying to be more like Robotics.SE and Engineering.SE in this regard than Avation.SE.

As an example from this proposal, most of the questions' subjects are the BetaFlight FC firmware. (This is an unfortunate coincidence of my inability to gain followers from non-drone enthusiasts. If you have a line on a more diverse audience, sharing to it would be great) The kinds of questions about BetaFlight which haven't been closed are in my mind justified living on this site because they concern how to use the software. Such questions are more relevant to a broader population than error reports, which are often due to the specific generation circumstances.

  • 3
    I say yes as well. 90% of all flight controllers use Betaflight or a fork of it. – tavis Dec 12 '19 at 20:41
  • I agree on the bugs vs. user-errors , but those are hard to tell apart at a glance, especially with the tendency a lot of people have of not posting anywhere near enough details to diagnose their problem. How do you propose we deal with description-lacking questions? – AEhere supports Monica Dec 13 '19 at 9:09
  • Furthermore, what line should we draw on what is "too broad"? I'm referring to questions for which RTFM is a valid, if abrasive, answer, ("hi how to connect the missionplanner ktx bye" being an extreme example). – AEhere supports Monica Dec 13 '19 at 9:13
  • I honestly fail to see why the standard for defining questions that are too broad or not specific enough from other SE sites wouldn't work here. The way I see it, any question without sufficient detail to accurately describe the problem is too broad and one which concerns many different questions at once is too broad. Do you see a reason why this wouldn't work well here? – ifconfig Dec 13 '19 at 16:01
  • I'm at a discord server helping people with questions, when BF 4.1 RC was release there were a few bugs to be solved, the users didn't have the knowledge to figure if it's a software bug or a configuration error and only few knows how to properly open and issue inside GitHub and yes it will be some kind of triage for the opensource/manufacteurs properties. I have the hope that the manufactures will help out – tiago ramos Dec 13 '19 at 19:08
  • Sorry, @tiagoramos, your message is unclear. What are you trying to say? – ifconfig Dec 13 '19 at 19:12
  • If you don't let specific software questions and redirect them to the GitHub, I say GitHub because 90% will be opentx and betaflight config questions, will start to overflow the GitHub with non issues, taking valuable time from the open source, I used to be part of the triage team in Ubuntu we wasted a lot of time with misconfigurations that could be used to debug real issues. – tiago ramos Dec 14 '19 at 15:08

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