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I've been wondering for a while what it would need for the site to leave Beta. We seem to have an excellent ranking for most things except questions, which is definitely improving.

So what's left?

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As Torben mentioned, our questions per day statistic is the one statistic on Area 51 that stands out.

However, I believe that those statistics may not be the only thing they consider when evaluating whether a site is ready to launch.

There are aspects of participation that don't translate directly into the Area 51 stats, and I am a bit worried that we are behind the live sites in those aspects.

We have 90+ people who have enough reputation to cast close votes, yet I cannot recall seeing a single question that has been closed without a moderator assisting (for those who may not be familiar with the process, closing a question requires 5 users with sufficient permissions, but a moderator's single vote is sufficient). While this could be a case of us moderators being overzealous, I've waited for a day or two on several questions that were clearly off-topic, and still the most I recall seeing were 3 users casting close votes.

From what I see in the live sites, questions that clearly need to be closed get multiple close votes very quickly, and maybe half of them get closed in an hour or two, without a moderator needing to step in.

More concerning, however, is our meta participation.

It feels like our overall meta participation has faltered in a big way.

For the most part, meta mostly sees activity when we get a new user who has questions, when someone is unhappy with the site policies, or when moderators propose and discuss maintenance or other site-related issues. Participation in those cases seems to involve just a handful of users.

As an excellent case-in-point, we were recently asked to participate in a self-evaluation. As part of the self-evaluation, we were encouraged to vote and comment, to actively discuss how well or poorly the selected questions reflect our community.

It looks to me like we got 4 people who actively participated, and only one single user besides the moderators followed through with a comment as requested (thank you deworde, btw!).

Maybe the Community Team isn't looking at anything besides the Area 51 statistics, but I believe that an improvement in our overall site participation, beyond simply asking, answering, and voting, would go a long way towards helping us graduate.

EDIT: Here's a great opportunity to help move the process along! We've been asked to participate in another self evaluation of the site! It would be great if we could get some more votes and especially comments to demonstrate participation in the process!

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  • So what other kinds of things would typically be discussed on a meta? Nov 27 '12 at 1:23
  • @balancedmama Anything pertaining to the rules, organization, or running of the main site. So discussions to clarify what is and is not on topic, what our general policies are, bug reports, questions about how parts of the system work, requests to change rules, new feature requests, etc..
    – user420
    Nov 27 '12 at 13:19
  • Okay, so I had the right idea, you're just saying you aren't getting enough discussion on here. Nov 27 '12 at 13:55
  • @balancedmama Its really more of participation, even if it is just voting. We don't need to have a ton of questions, or even more than what we already have. What we need is more votes, answers, and opinions expressed on the topics we have.
    – user420
    Nov 27 '12 at 14:34
  • .cont: Take this question. 8 votes between 2 answers on a question with important implications for the site. The voting on this question is more in line with what we would like to see: 22 votes on the question, and 54 votes between all the answers (including both up- and down- votes).
    – user420
    Nov 27 '12 at 14:35
  • Not disagreeing! I guess discussion was the wrong word - participation is better. Nov 27 '12 at 14:36
  • @balancedmama Yep, it sounds like we're on the same page :) I just wanted to clarify that we don't need everyone to write their own answers, or even add comments. Voting is simple, anonymous, and takes only a second, but people still aren't doing it enough, and that's a bad sign :(
    – user420
    Nov 27 '12 at 14:41
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The Area 51 dashboard indicates that the site status is "excellent" except that our 2.3 questions per day "needs work."

We should raise this to 10 or 15 questions per day - then we'll probably launch!

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