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.
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:
- the volume of questions asked
- the number of answers provided for each question.
Each presents its own problem for us.
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.
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.
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.