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If the Community Managers team (henceforth CM) so decides, we're scheduled to start public beta in two days (Tuesday). I'm not sure we're ready.

On most new beta sites, announcements from the CM team that the site will stay in private beta for another week are met with disappointment. I'd like to stipulate that we really want and need another week.

I originally brought up the idea of requesting extended private beta (henceforth EPB) in chat, and it seemed to be met with general agreement. Here is my reasoning:

  • We have a great amount of activity now. We're not going to starve of new content in EPB.
  • We really haven't fully hashed out the basics of our policy yet, IMO. For example, I'm still not entirely sure when to flag an answer as Very Low Quality (VLQ).
  • I'm not sure we're effectively keeping up with our existing content moderation-wise. I don't have any objective evidence of this, but it's just a feeling I have.
  • When public beta hits, we're going to get a huge amount of activity. It feels like the eyes of SE in general are upon us. When we open the doors, there's going to be a rush.

    Are we ready to deal with it? Do we have enough high-rep users?

    Also, I'm imagining quite a few comments around SE on many closed recommendation questions pointing people here. These people that post recommendation questions on other sites aren't very likely to read the rules here, either. Can we handle it?

It seems weird to be requesting another week in private beta, but I believe it's fully necessary for the long-term health of the site.

Please, express your opinions in votes/comments/answers below. Am I missing something?

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    I was about to ask the same... at least 14 days to have all the corners rounded up. There are still issues to deal with and a checklist would help so we can solve the issues that we wouldn't want the outsiders to trip with. – Braiam Feb 9 '14 at 5:03
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    I agree. a) We definitely need some more high rep users. b) there still does need to be some decisions made on exact scope. c) I expect an absolutely horrific volume of questions as soon as it is open. – Nick Wilde Feb 9 '14 at 5:29
  • What is VLQ? What is CM? (Community Moderator?) – Olli Feb 9 '14 at 12:04
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    @Olli Very Low Quality – Kelly Thomas Feb 9 '14 at 12:48
  • @Olli And Community Managers. See Tim and Robert around here :) – Izzy Feb 9 '14 at 13:49
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This site is all but ready to move on to public beta, but we tend to agree — we're giving this site another week to shore up the core community before launch.

You have set up a strong foundation of what works on this site, but this extra week will help you put some of that dialog into action… and to let it all soak in so the core community is largely on the same page before the site goes public.

  • 7
    Thank you! Can you make this question featured, so that participants who don't frequent the (rather active) meta compulsively have a better chance of noticing? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Feb 11 '14 at 20:19
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    @Gilles Done.... – Robert Cartaino Feb 11 '14 at 20:19
  • Does this effect the moderator nominations? I'd kinda like to see what this site is like in public beta before deciding whether to accept my nomination or not. – Seth Feb 11 '14 at 20:46
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    @Seth Nominations, no. But it may delay the final appointments just a bit. We like the site to be in public beta for a time (typically about 2-3 weeks, I believe) before we start actively looking for candidates. – Robert Cartaino Feb 11 '14 at 20:52
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I agree, we need to answer some critical questions before we leave private beta. If we don't have a strong community agreement on these we will have inconsistant policy and people will get inconsistent down/close votes, and will be driven away from the site.

Important meta-questions /policies, that are still open, that need to be decided on prior to exiting private Beta:

  • Are Games OK?, At the moment games seem to be allowed (thought it is close), but we are yet to try out any (noneducational) Game questions to set how it works. (actually I'm going to do that now)
  • Multiple Programs in one answer? Meta, Area51
7

The main things we need to do before public beta are:

If we can't make sufficient progress before Tuesday evening, then we should extend the private beta by a few days.

6

I would propose that the best option although I don't know if it is (easily) possible would be a limited public beta; like open it up and allow up 200 new users to register and then close it for another week. This would have lots of benefits over both going totally public and keeping private for another week:

  • Give everyone a bigger pool of users to get rep from
  • Give everyone with higher rep more moderating experience
  • Give everyone more examples of good and bad questions (and more examples to bring to debate for those active on meta)
  • Prevent an overwhelming deluge of new users until all of the policies are solidified
  • (and lots more IMO)
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    I like this idea, but I don't think it is realistic to see this implemented before Tuesday. – Bernhard Feb 9 '14 at 9:30
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    Also, a lot of people might be pissed to hear about the site, and be greeted with "Sorry, you were too late. Try again later" message. – Olli Feb 9 '14 at 12:08
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    Use the "Invite Fellow Experts"... if we all invite one person, we have our 200 new users :-) – Nicolas Raoul Feb 10 '14 at 3:24

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