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To be honest, I'm not sure if this question belongs on the general Stackexchange Meta or here. Since it's mainly about Crypto.SE, I've decided to post it here. (Feel free to kick me in case that was wrong.)

Anyway…

I frequently check the stats at Area51. At the time of writing, the Area51 stats related to Crypto.SE tell me it's been in beta for 893 days. Now, I might be the curious and impatient type, but I keep wondering about some things:

  • How long can a site like Crypto.SE be in beta?
  • What would push a proposal from beta into the regular-site arena?

And to satisfy my curiosity to the fullest:

  • Is there any information available about what proposal was in beta the longest in SE history? (Independent of the fact if it's still alive as a site today, or if the proposal didn't make it…)
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    $\begingroup$ There isn't a specified maximum time for a site to be in beta. As far as I know, there aren't any hard metrics on when a site becomes graduation-ready, either; it's mostly done by community feel/activity levels/etc. I seem to recall a SE staff member once saying that if they run across a beta site that scores excellent in all categories (and has been around long enough for statistical significance), then that site auto-graduates. But that may no longer be the case. $\endgroup$ – Reid Dec 22 '13 at 14:49
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    $\begingroup$ Also, the 'beta' tab on Area51 seems to be sorted by time in beta, so you can view the oldest beta sites there. This doesn't answer your question, but I figured it would be interesting, since it lets us compare how we're doing against the other "mega-betas". (For reference, we're on page 4 out of 5.) $\endgroup$ – Reid Dec 22 '13 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ Apparently, one of the current bottlenecks is that graduating sites are supposed to get a fancy custom design, and SE currently only employs one graphic designer (Jin) who's really busy with all sorts of more urgent stuff. They say they're looking for more designers, though (and they did outsource the hats this year, for example). $\endgroup$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 22 '13 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ @IlmariKaronen Being around here longer than I am — you don't by any chance happen to know what contact option to use to offer myself as a “designing human resource” to SE, do you? $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Dec 23 '13 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ You could try careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/24481/designer-stack-exchange $\endgroup$ – Ilmari Karonen Dec 23 '13 at 14:38
  • $\begingroup$ @IlmariKaronen Tnx — who knows… next year might turn out to be different than I thought after all. ;) $\endgroup$ – e-sushi Dec 23 '13 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ I, uh, I guess we're not doing too bad. I had no idea codegolf and codereview had been in beta so long! $\endgroup$ – Thomas Dec 24 '13 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ @Thomas: Same! It seems that the graduation process has essentially slowed to a halt. The last site that graduated was 6 months ago, and the next was 5 months before that (unfortunately, after that, the granularity goes up to a year and the data becomes less useful)... there are a lot of SE sites that should be graduated in my opinion (this site being near the middle/top of my mental list). $\endgroup$ – Reid Dec 24 '13 at 14:54
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    $\begingroup$ There are around 10-15 bigger sites which haven't graduated yet. $\endgroup$ – CodesInChaos Mar 23 '14 at 17:27
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Since no one else has posted a better answer, I'll just copy/paste my comments so this question can be marked as "answered":

There isn't a specified maximum time for a site to be in beta. As far as I know, there aren't any hard metrics on when a site becomes graduation-ready, either; it's mostly done by community feel/activity levels/etc. I seem to recall a SE staff member once saying that if they run across a beta site that scores excellent in all categories (and has been around long enough for statistical significance), then that site auto-graduates. But that may no longer be the case.

Also, the 'beta' tab on Area51 seems to be sorted by time in beta, so you can view the oldest beta sites there. This doesn't answer your question, but I figured it would be interesting, since it lets us compare how we're doing against the other "mega-betas". (For reference, we're on page 4 out of 5.)

It seems that the graduation process has essentially slowed to a halt. The last site that graduated was 6 months ago, and the next was 5 months before that (unfortunately, after that, the granularity goes up to a year and the data becomes less useful)... there are a lot of SE sites that should be graduated in my opinion (this site being near the middle/top of my mental list).

As it stands, I am hopeful that this site will graduate sometime in the near future, though I do recognize that there are other sites which are probably more-deserving.

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    $\begingroup$ This is essentially correct. I will say that the reason sites are slow to graduate is that we like to roll out a custom design with each new site. (Think of it as a privilege earned by the entire community.) Unfortunately, our in-house designer has a largish backlog. Fortunately: A) he does a bangup job so our sites look great, and B) we are in the process of bringing on at least one more designer. Expect to see a few more graduations in the new year. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Dec 26 '13 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ @JonEricson: I can definitely agree with (A)! I've never seen a site design I didn't like. I am also intensely jealous of ITSecurity's design. :P $\endgroup$ – Reid Dec 26 '13 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ @JonEricson I'm curious, does the community get any input into the design? $\endgroup$ – mikeazo Jun 27 '14 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @mikeazo: Yes, definately. Usually the process is multi-phased with the designer presenting their first draft and the community providing feedback for subsequent revisions. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Jun 27 '14 at 13:41
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Something to add is that a full site has higher rep-thresholds, and actually in my mind (as much as I want crypto to graduate) we might not be ready.

If we compare the Privilege thresholds:

We have around 45,51 61 users with over 1000 rep, which brings edit privileges (no clue how many are active). We have 20,26 33 users with 2000 rep, which is what this would be pushed up to with 'graduating'. More seriously, there would be only 13 ... 17 22 users with 3000 rep as would be required to cast open/close votes (including both moderators).

If all these high-rep users are happy to put in the time then great, but it would be quite a commitment.


Quoting Replace graduation with an incremental process:

The requirements for graduation:

  • Site design (Jin must have time, and the site must be pretty well established)
  • New rep levels (Effective community moderation that won't go away on the rep level increase)
  • Moderator elections (Enough "permanent" members, a well knit community, an active-ish meta, good community moderation, [see also][4])
  • Community ads (Views, ?)
  • Site footer (Views, ?)
  • Migration paths (Enough questions)
  • Less pressure on other sites not to migrate to the site (Established scope, no danger of "inorganic growth" due to migration)

Does seem that rep is the only one that might be an issue for us?

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    $\begingroup$ Excellent point. What really worries me is that we only have 6 users who have 10k+ rep (access to mod tools) with two of those being diamond mods, whereas currently 20 users have access to them. I definitely think this is probably our #1 issue with being launched. $\endgroup$ – Reid Dec 24 '13 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ They'll just have to start paying the mods so we can quit our jobs :) $\endgroup$ – mikeazo Jun 27 '14 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ Just updated these figures less than a year later. Although the pace seems to be increasing, it is worth to note that we still only have 8 people over 10K (and codes has probably better things to do than moderate :P ) @Reid $\endgroup$ – Maarten Bodewes Jan 24 '15 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ Cheers. I don't know about others, but I had to stop paying attention because I just don't have the time any more (after what realistically was only about 6 months of activity). $\endgroup$ – figlesquidge Jan 26 '15 at 15:15
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Looks like we're in the graduation queue:

Current list in the queue is: Salesforce, Expression Engine, Anime, Computer Science, Japanese, Cryptography, Movies, Blender, and English Language Learners. – Grace Note♦ Aug 6 '14 at 0:13

Salesforce, Expression engine and Movies have already launched since that comment was written.

And the codereview meta has this useful question: Tracking Graduation Progress

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