[Sticky] How can I make this forum better for you?  

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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 264
2019-09-09 1:20 pm  

Now that the forum has been around for a few months I want to make a few changes to make it an even better resource for you.  So I'd like to ask you, what features would you like?

Obviously I can't honor every request as I'm a bit constrained by the forum software, but there are features that I can add. Here are some examples of what I CAN do for you:

Personal Messages

Many have asked for a Personal Message (PM) feature, so you can contact each other individually for discussions you would not want public (i.e. giving away your personal contact information or asking a personal question). 

I can purchase this feature, I have been holding off until I was sure the forum would remain popular and also wanted to be sure of the platform. Now that the Post Preview feature is working I have more confidence in the platform.

If I do implement Personal Messages I will likely add some restrictions to them, making them available only to users who have posted a minimum number of posts.  This is because the messages will add to the forums storage space. I also don't want it abused by spammers, so I'll need to put a reporting system in place in case someone decides to use it inappropriately.

But, all in all, it's a feature that many have requested and I would like to have it as well.

New Forum Sections

I think it's time to add some new forum sections. So I'd like to know what categories you would like to see added. Please let me know in this thread - if there is enough interest for a new category I will gladly add it.

Buy, Sell & Trade

I've been thinking about adding a section for people to post things that they want to buy, see or trade. By "things" I obviously mean components and assemblies related to electronics and robotics, so don't expect to sell your car here!

This could be a great idea, or it could be a nightmare! 

On the positive side, some of you have created printed circuit boards or have a basement full of robot parts that are collecting dust, and it would be great to have a way of trading or selling them to your fellow hobbyists.

On the negative side, we could be bombarded by commercial offers and unrelated products. Not what I want for the forum.

If I DO create this section it would have to be moderated and only approved posts displayed. And we would also need to determine what is allowed here.

Would anyone find this useful? Let me know, please.

I'd appreciate any input on the above features or other ones that you'd like to see.

Thanks!

😎

Bill

 

 

 

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
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Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 285
2019-09-09 2:20 pm  

@Dronebot Workshop

Personal Messages - YES YES YES

Buy, Sell & Trade - No, leave that up to eBay and co.

New Forum Sections - definitely

OK, I know that topics like HAM Radio or Model Railways are going off at a tangent to Electronics and Robotics but I seem to remember a few of guys with lively threads going on, on both of these subjects, but most have subsequently gone off the radar. I guess if they had been given their own playgound they might have stayed around for other stuff.

Creating sub-forums for C++ and Python Exchanges is something I would be most supportive of, as creating new forum sections and subsections cost nothing (I believe) and can be easily deleted if there is no traffic on them. Perhaps even a section for IoT makers. To analyse what is being talked about and whether it actually fits in an existing subsection or needs its own subsection is very subjective.

If I do implement Personal Messages I will likely add some restrictions to them, making them available only to users who have posted a minimum number of posts.  This is because the messages will add to the forums storage space. I also don't want it abused by spammers, so I'll need to put a reporting system in place in case someone decides to use it inappropriately.

As a humorous aside, shouldn't that be the other way around? Those who have only made a small number of posts will only need a small amount of storage space, whereas those more verbose (I won't mention names) among us, and I count myself in that bracket, would need considerably more storage space, especially for poetry 😍

On a more serious note, PM should not increase storage requirements if the messages are dynamically deleted by the server after a specified time elapse. There is no logical reason to archive that sort of stuff anyway!

OK, that was my tuppence worth, but here I am, eagerly awaiting the impending storm of criticism that has a course over ground in my direction.

SteveC - I wouldn't join a club that would accept people like me as members (Oscar Wilde)


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 264
2019-09-09 4:24 pm  
Posted by: @pugwash

As a humorous aside, shouldn't that be the other way around? Those who have only made a small number of posts will only need a small amount of storage space, whereas those more verbose (I won't mention names) among us, and I count myself in that bracket, would need considerably more storage space, especially for poetry 😍

That is an amusingly good point!

I'm not super concerned about the storage space, as hard disk space is pretty cheap these days. But I also don't want the forum used as a private email system by those who don't want to contribute otherwise.  And I certainly don't want it to be used for spam.

By requiring that a user has a minimum number of posts at least I can be fairly sure that they are active forum members.

As for poetry, I could make a section for that, however I suspect that Robo Pi would be the only contributor!

I have no problem adding amateur radio and model railroads, they are actually both quite near and dear to me.  My grandfather was a HAM and always wanted me to get into it, but living in the suburbs of Montreal I had no place for an antenna.  And I spent several years constructing an HO gauge railway back in the 1990s, complete with hall effect sensors to detect where the trains were. 

I appreciate your suggestions!

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
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Posts: 285
2019-09-09 4:50 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

As for poetry, I could make a section for that, however, I suspect that Robo Pi would be the only contributor!

A Robo Pi sub-section may be a just reward for 1000 posts. I'm only joking but it would definitely fill up faster than any other subsection. 

And if you are reading this @Robo Pi Alysha looks great! 

This post was modified 1 week ago 2 times by Pugwash

SteveC - I wouldn't join a club that would accept people like me as members (Oscar Wilde)


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Honorable Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 655
2019-09-09 4:52 pm  
Posted by: @pugwash

would need considerably more storage space, especially for poetry 😍

Poetry seeping into the voids
displacing the space that was meant for the droids
a crime of semantics that's out of control
like a renegade cosmic linguistic black hole

The server's hard drive is gasping for air
no space for the data or computer software
all that exists is meaningless prose
arranged with a cadence fit for a rose

The robots are dying for lack of a byte
their sensors disarmed by the poetic blight
the end of the world is presumably nigh
and no one's to blame but Robo Pi

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
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Posts: 285
2019-09-09 4:55 pm  

@robo-pi

Truly incorrigible.

SteveC - I wouldn't join a club that would accept people like me as members (Oscar Wilde)


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
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Posts: 655
2019-09-09 5:57 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

An A.I. sub-forum would be nice.   I've been doing a lot of research into A.I. and it appears to be a field of study that is both highly diverse as well as highly misunderstood, or perhaps I should even say, highly disorganized?

As an example consider the following bulleted concepts:

  • Machine Learning
  • Software Artificial Neural Networks  or ANNs
  • Hardware Artificial Neural Networks also ANNs of a different type entirely.
  • Algorithmic A.I. Programs (mostly written in Python today but certainly not limited to Python)
  • Semantic A.I. (there are many different approaches to this field alone)
  • A.I. versus R.I. (R.I. = Real Intelligence)

 

Probably the greatest misconception today is that A.I. basically equals "Machine Learning".  But as you can see from the bulleted list above that's only one aspect of A.I.  In fact, the very term "Machine Learning" is misunderstood by many as being associated with training  ANNs only.   But there are many other methods that can be employed for machine learning as well.

I'm interested in studying Hardware ANNs, Semantic A.I., and the precise distinction between A.I. and R.I. When is that line crossed?   What criteria do we use to decide if something is "really" intelligent?

So yeah, a sub-forum dedicated to A.I. would be good.  I'd definitely be posting to that sub-forum a lot, especially this winter.   I'd also like to post something like the above bulleted list early on before people start treating A.I. as nothing other than Machine Learning via training software ANNs.  That's where a lot of attention is being placed recently, including at college level courses on A.I.   But there's really a lot more to it than just learning how to train software ANNs.

So yeah, A.I. is a broad subject area that deserves a dedicated sub-forum I think.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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codecage
(@codecage)
Member Moderator
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 234
2019-09-09 6:42 pm  

@acesar55 @robopi

See Alain, I told you it wouldn't be long before the port laureate showed up!  😜  

This post was modified 1 week ago by codecage

SteveG


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 264
2019-09-09 7:01 pm  
Posted by: @robo-pi

An A.I. sub-forum would be nice.   I've been doing a lot of research into A.I. and it appears to be a field of study that is both highly diverse as well as highly misunderstood, or perhaps I should even say, highly disorganized?

As an example consider the following bulleted concepts:

  • Machine Learning
  • Software Artificial Neural Networks  or ANNs
  • Hardware Artificial Neural Networks also ANNs of a different type entirely.
  • Algorithmic A.I. Programs (mostly written in Python today but certainly not limited to Python)
  • Semantic A.I. (there are many different approaches to this field alone)
  • A.I. versus R.I. (R.I. = Real Intelligence)

Excellent idea.  It would be wonderful to build a good resource for AI, as you have stated there is a lot of confusion and misinformation about a subject that is so important. 

Are you suggesting an AI forum with the bullet points on your list as sub-forums? Do you envision enough content to start populating each category? Keep in mind that I'd move the many posts you and others have already made on the subject into this new forum and categories, so some of the content is already there.

And of course, for you, I'll also need to include an "AI Poetry" section as well!

😎

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Robo Pi
(@robo-pi)
Honorable Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 655
2019-09-09 7:54 pm  
Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

Are you suggesting an AI forum with the bullet points on your list as sub-forums? Do you envision enough content to start populating each category?

I think there will be enough interest in all those sub-categories to keep them all active.   Although I should point out that I made that bullet list of sub-categories just off the top of my head.  So it might prove productive to get input from others on these topics to potentially refine the list, or change it up a bit.

As I've mentioned my main interest is in the hardwired ANNs which are actually quite different from software ANNs in many respects.    I'll also be focusing on Semantic A.I. techniques so I can see that being a useful sub-category, at least for me.   And, of course, software ANNs are the craze right now so that's what most people will be familiar with. 

I kind of like the idea of a General Algorithmic A.I. Programs category (not sure if that's a good title for a sub-forum, maybe just "General A.I. Programs" would be better. ), a lot of people might have programs they've written that they feel represent a form of intelligent processing.   And having them share what they are doing would be nice.

I'm not likely to post in these A.I. forums until late fall or winter.  But when I do it will probably be a hurricane of linguistic descriptions as hazardous as my poetry. 😎 

I'm really hoping that I'll eventually have some instructional videos to accompany them as well. But only time will tell on that one.

By the way, I don't mean to imply by any of this that I have a clue what I'm doing.  I just have a lot of ideas and being able to post those ideas and get feedback on them will be very helpful.  I'd really like to see if I can get others interested in Semantic A.I. techniques specifically to hear their ideas on how they would go about building such a system.   So I'll be hoping to first explain what it is and maybe give some examples to get others started down that path and then see what they come up with.

As I say.  No rush.  At least not for me.  I won't be posting much there until late fall or winter.  We can always add the appropriate sub-forms at that time.   But A.I. in general should be something that every robotics enthusiast should be interested in to some degree.

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
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Posts: 285
2019-09-10 7:38 am  

@dronebot-workshop

I do have one technical request:

That when unsubscribing from post threads, that the viewer is not redirected to the front website page, but remains in the unsubscribe section until they have finished i.e. that the page just refreshes and not redirects.

This post was modified 1 week ago by Pugwash

SteveC - I wouldn't join a club that would accept people like me as members (Oscar Wilde)


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DroneBot Workshop
(@dronebot-workshop)
Workshop Guru Admin
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 264
2019-09-11 1:59 pm  

@pugwash

Hi Pugwash

So far I have not been able to find a setting for unsubscribe redirects, although I have found one for subscription confirmations.  I'll post a question on the support forum and see if anyone has a way to accomplish this.

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Pugwash
(@pugwash)
Reputable Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 285
2019-09-11 2:14 pm  

@dronebot-workshop

When the unsubscribe link is clicked a routine is called to delete the thread connection to me in the database.

Afterwhich

window.location.href = "https://forum.dronebotworkshop.com";

is called.

this should be changed to

window.location.reload(true);

to reload the page from the server.

SteveC - I wouldn't join a club that would accept people like me as members (Oscar Wilde)


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Meyerb
(@meyerb)
Active Member
Joined: 2 months ago
Posts: 5
2019-09-17 1:23 am  

Hello! I couldn't find a place to put this post because I don't see a forum for simple appreciative words. But boy do I have them! I just want to say thank you for all the work you put into this Forum and DroneBot Workshop videos and resources!!! I have had such joy watching your videos and following along putting things together and learning about coding and electronics. I watch something nearly every day and sometimes several times as I work in my little workshop with a huge smile on my face. I just wanted to say thank you to you, Bill, and to everyone who takes the time to participate in the dialogue here. Someday I hope to have more to add, but for now, I just keep enjoying all things here and hope that everyone enjoys this as much as I do! Thanks again to everyone! 🙂


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