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From Area 51 budding to public beta, there are many metrics like avg. traffic, activity etc which decide the fate of a SE site. But, what happens when a graduate SE site which was active for long suddenly becomes inactive? Would it be left as it is or would it be shut down?

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For example? I don't believe we have such sites. Lets deal with the problem when we have it. –  Oded May 28 '13 at 12:17
@Oded with ever growing list of sites and ever changing world, I do think this question is very interesting in the least, if not totally relevant just yet. –  Shadow Wizard May 28 '13 at 12:18
@ShaWizDowArd - Not saying it isn't interesting. But what will happen? Who knows. We will cross that bridge when we get to it (if ever). I do expect that the site will be removed and the data go into the data dump (like closed open betas do at the moment). –  Oded May 28 '13 at 12:20
@Oded I want to know about the policy. –  SS-3.1415926535897932384626433 May 28 '13 at 12:21
@SachinShekhar well, it appears there's no policy just yet. :) –  Shadow Wizard May 28 '13 at 12:24
A great question for SE team. Even if the answer would be "Oh, we haven't thought about it" –  Danubian Sailor May 28 '13 at 18:11

1 Answer 1

up vote 17 down vote accepted

I'm Grace Note, a Community Manager.

Nowadays, the entire point of the "graduation" stage in a site's lifecycle is to identify a site that has enough growing traffic and self-sustenance that it will not hit an "inactive" status. That's one reason why graduation is extremely infrequent even amongst sites that are "performing very well".

We on the Community Team are always watching every site. If we've done our job, then we'd never actually see a site one day just go dark, barring some kind of exceptional circumstance that we'd .. well .. need to deal with uniquely when it happened. Did a site just fall out of Google? Did some other site lure an entire community away? These are all exceptional scenarios for which no real policy can be prepared. I'd go further to say that because it'd be some extreme situation that would result in that kind of "death", we would have to evaluate these on a case-by-case basis, with our primary intention usually being the revival of the site. I do not imagine that there's likely to be any sort of consistent reasoning for this dropoff to happen repeatedly on the same reasons.

We also lack any mechanical systems for handling this kind of scenario. Since they hit graduation, it's a clear sign that there's enough value to the Internet as a whole that we can't just remove them in the same fashion as we handle Beta site elimination. But since this isn't a sort of situation we're expecting, we haven't delved into setting up any mechanism for publicly preserving their content.

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We also lack any mechanical systems for handling this kind of scenario so reports of the great SE Site Cruncher are exaggerated? –  Ben Brocka May 28 '13 at 13:52
That's for beta sites. –  Grace Note May 28 '13 at 13:52
"If we've done our job, then we'd never actually see a site one day just go dark, barring some kind of exceptional circumstance..." I can concieve one such circumstance: The death of the thing that the site is about. This is especially plausible for technologies. Sites such as Magento, SmugMug, ExpressionEngine® CMS, Tridion, Raspberry Pi... could one day die for that reason. –  Daniel Daranas May 28 '13 at 14:16
@Daniel I'd still classify that as an exceptional circumstance, though. It is certainly a risk that this can happen, but depending on the nature of the technology's "death" (Is it absolutely gone? Will people still use it after the company went under? Is our archive going to be helpful to keep around?) what we do in this situation can still vary. –  Grace Note May 28 '13 at 14:22
Technology's death? Hmm you mean Apple, Android or Ubuntu sites? It's a good question if there really should be a site for single product. –  Danubian Sailor May 28 '13 at 18:14
@GraceNote Imho, that's less exceptional than expected: technologies of that scope (a single product (line)) tend to be rather short-lived, and/or lots of content becomes obsolete quickly (how many questions and answers on Ask Ubuntu are valid with the latest version?). Therefore, I think there should be some idea of how to deal with sites that we have to expect to have high proportions of content that will become obsolete rather quickly. –  Raphael Aug 18 '14 at 13:47

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