The Drones and Model Aircraft Area 51 proposal has now become a beta site: drones.SE. What does this mean for us, and how should we handle questions from now on?

We've already recognized that there's an obvious overlap between aviation and "drones" (we have to remember that drone.SE is still defining what's on-topic for them or not):

I suppose the key question is, is it a big overlap or not? For reference, as of right now (2020-04-21) we have 217 questions tagged out of 18,369 total on aviation.SE.

Here are some questions that I think we need to discuss, there are certainly more:

  1. Most fundamentally, should we support drones.SE or not? That may seem like an odd or even hostile question, but there is an overlap, new stack proposals are fragile, and people's time is limited. Our support - or lack of it - could make a difference to whether drones.SE becomes permanent or not. Do we want it to be permanent? Would we be glad to send UAS questions to another site, or would we rather have them here?
  2. Assuming we do support drones.SE, what sort of questions do we send there vs. keep here? When we get a question that's clearly only about unmanned aviation, do we close it and direct the OP to drones.SE?
  3. What about those existing 217 questions? Do we close them, edit them to link to drones.SE, do nothing, or something else?
  4. How do we handle questions that have a necessary overlap between manned and unmanned aviation? Our top-voted UAS question has a deliberate overlap, for example. Do we need to define this more sharply and update our help pages?
  5. How do we engage the drones.SE community? Just glancing at their users, I don't see much overlap with our community. That may actually be a good thing because it suggests two distinct audiences for two distinct purposes.

Interestingly, I can't immediately see a question on the drones.SE meta site about how they view aviation.SE and the overlap in scope.

  1. if you like drones, sure. As Aviation, there is nothing we can/should do.

  2. We'll send anything that is on topic there and not on topic here, as always.

  3. Those questions are on topic here, they stay open and here. Again, as always. It's not like Physics.SE has closed questions about aerodynamics and sent them all here.

  4. If someone feels that we're getting too many questions that are out of scope, we can redefine our help pages and me more strict about it, but if the questions are on topic there is no need to act.

  5. See 1. If you're interested in drones, go and be part of that community as well, but there will be no official guidance for all the members of this one. At most we could have a community ad.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ "It's not like Physics.SE has closed questions about aerodynamics and sent them all here." -- plus one on that $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer May 1 '20 at 22:12
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I get it wrong, but isn't there a number of questions migrated from Physics to Aviation? aviation.stackexchange.com/… $\endgroup$ – bogl May 7 '20 at 11:23
  • $\begingroup$ @bogl sure, some, but not all questions about aerodynamic & co. $\endgroup$ – Federico May 7 '20 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ This is recently coming up again, with at least one ASE member advocating closure of the questions aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/83112/… and aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/83102/… as being off-topic. See the comments under those questions, if they are still present. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Dec 25 '20 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer the best way to deal with this kind of issues is to open a new meta discussion. $\endgroup$ – Federico Dec 25 '20 at 21:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Federico -- ok, thanks, will do so if the present questions gets closed or is about to be. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer Dec 27 '20 at 11:19

I think it will help Av.SE to have a site that we can send the hobbyist questions where they can get attention from like-minded people. When I see the questions about building or operating a small recreational drone here, my tendency is to see that as "not really what this site is about", but at the same time if we're the only place to go, you feel bad about saying "off topic, sorry, closed." So having drones.se is a good solution: "hey, that sounds like a good question, we'll migrate it & you can get a good answer over there."

It would make the reviews easier if we had a better set of canned "off topic here, migrate to... space/physics/travel/drones.se" options, since it seems like those sorts of questions come up with some frequency.

  • $\begingroup$ One can always leave a helpful comment under their question suggesting that they might get better results at Drones.SE, without actually migrating or closing the question. Not saying that some obviously practical-advice-oriented questions should never ever be migrated or closed-- not sure I have an opinion on that-- but just saying that it's always an option just to leave a comment like that. Just to be helpful. $\endgroup$ – quiet flyer May 1 '20 at 22:17

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