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I know we have just started, but over the last few months I have read of a few sites stuck in Beta and I want to make sure we aren't one of them.

  • Looking at the current stats at area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/77367/civicrm I'd say things are moving along pretty nicely after just a few days. Once the public beta opens there will be a job to do to get the traffic up, but other than that I'm not unduly concerned with progress. – Graham Mar 29 '15 at 11:57
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Sites move out of Beta when they are deemed to be viable. This is not an exact science and there are certain basics that must be in place before it can happen (http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/07/does-this-site-have-a-chance-of-succeeding/), but, from my research I think there are two very important components where we have the potential to have problems:

  1. the volume of questions asked
  2. the number of answers provided for each question.

Each presents its own problem for us.

  1. The volume of questions: Although I consider us to be a very active community, in reality we are not a very big community. If we say "only expert questions here, no beginner questions" we may not have the volume of questions deemed sufficient to move out of beta. Our forums have many (often duplicate) beginner questions, but it is hard for a new user to find them. On our SE site the judicious use of tags for these beginner questions should lead to easier searching for newbies and less repetitive answering for those of us who respond to those beginner questions.

  2. The number of answers for each question: The SE admins think viable sites will have 2.5 answers per question. We have some very expert users who would be able to offer a couple of solutions to many of the questions asked, and may be tempted to do so in the one answer. "You could do A or you could do B". Although this is more efficient in some ways it needs to be discouraged. Firstly offering two solutions in the one answer prevents people from selectively voting the "best" answer to the top. Secondly, it will be harder to reach the perceived ideal of at least two answers per question.

  • ...when they are deemed to be viable. Your answer is discouragingly misleading in that it suggests "beta" sites are not yet viable. That is not the case at all. The term "graduate" is a horrible misnomer I wish we would get rid of. There is a large middle class of sites that will never graduate. Sites in "beta" can be doing great, but the concept of "graduation" for larger sites is not going away anytime soon (booo). But I did recently suggested we at least remove the 'beta' label when it no longer applies (and a few other features I hope to break out of graduation, like elections). – Robert Cartaino Mar 30 '15 at 15:33
  • I wrote a bit more about the beta/graduation (mis)labeling in this blog post — The New Stack Exchange Beta Theme – Robert Cartaino Mar 30 '15 at 15:46
  • @RobertCartaino I think the real difference between beta sites and finished sites is not the theme, but the threat of being shut down. I see proposals like Joomla which seem to be quite strong but are still in beta after a year. I'm curious to know if that site is still in beta because you are contemplating shutting it down? And if not, why keep the beta label? – Coleman Apr 2 '15 at 16:06
  • I disagree about it being best to put separate answers in order to separate voting for the different possible solutions. The best answer is the not the same thing as the best solution. An answer which accurately presents the options and the decision factors for how to proceed is a good one. – mc0e Apr 4 '15 at 0:24
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Your enthusiasm is great, but please don't focus too much on the beta/graduated distinction, especially since — as you mentioned — this is still an extremely early stage of this site's life.

I realize that we (meaning the SE team) have basically set up a situation where my advice above is sort of saying "Hey look, at the end of that rainbow, it's a goal! Now, everyone: do not think about that goal, okay?" Which begs the question: what is the goal here?

In my opinion, the goal is to build a great repository of information about CiviCRM, using the Q&A format. You guys have already started talking about the site's intended audience and use cases, which is moving in the right direction. Graduation is just something that may happen as you work towards that goal; it's not the goal in and of itself.

  • Q was not great but A addresses the goal "to build a great reposit... using the Q&A format". Q was a first day post & already "SE sites are only for experts" had been quoted to (mis)direct (IMO) the use of this site. This was an attempt to use a 'self-interest' approach to help people realise that the 'usual' SE model wasn't for us. I answer the basic questions on our forum & want those questions here where it will be easier for people to find or be sent to existing answer. Also, on the forums people do offer alternative solutions within the one answer & that isn't good for Q&A format IMO. – JoAnne Mar 28 '15 at 23:30

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