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For Beta sites, it is not uncommon to get closed if they for example don't fullfill the desired activity criteria as explained in Stack Exchange blog post When a Site Grows Quiet (2012-04-24).

My question is, can something like this happen to graduated Stack Exchange sites too, if for example their activity drops too much or does not grow fast enough?

Are there other criteria or conditions that would make a graduated Stack Exchange site closable? If so, what are such close reasons? The only things apart from the (lack of) activity, which spontaneously comes to my mind, that could kick a graduated site out of its comfortable stable equilibrium is a drop in the quality of the content in the course of time, or that the site can no longer fulfill its mission as often stated in the "About" for some reason. But maybe there are other things I am not able to think of...

If a graduated site is getting into serious problems, would Stack Exchange give them some timely warnings, such that people would have a fair chance of trying to solve the issues and avoid the site getting closed?

Did something like this ever happen in the past?

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I assume it would be a case by case basis, the example of Programmers comes to mind though, which was in trouble for a while and was radically changed; full story –  Richard Tingle Oct 27 '13 at 23:47
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You've asked the one question sitting in the depths of all our subconscious that none of us had the courage to ask. :D Can the unthinkable happen... –  jmort253 Oct 28 '13 at 6:16
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I've been thinking of this case since I started exploring Area 51 and saw many closed Beta sites. Thankfully, you have asked this! –  Andrew T. Apr 9 at 2:05

1 Answer 1

up vote 15 down vote accepted

First, it's never happened in the past. Why? Because the community team knows their stuff. SE has an amazing process for launching a site.

It's been said by a Community Manager (I can't find a link right now, sorry), something to like this (I can't remember the exact wording, but it doesn't really matter):

We only launch sites when we see a runaway growth effect, something that seems sustainable.

So far, the team has been very good at determining whether a site can make it in the long run.

If they did make a mistake, and graduated site active did drop like a rock? First, there would probably be an extensive review of internal policy/procedures, etc. Second, the site would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. There isn't (to my knowledge) a set procedure for this. Nor should there be.

My guess is that if a site did turn into a ghost town overnight, the site would probably have its questions merged into another site(s) where the questions would be on-topic.

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Sounds like something Robert would say, though I can't find a source for that exact quote. Regardless, we absolutely do look at trends rather than point-in-time stats when trying to decide if a site is "ready". –  Shog9 Oct 27 '13 at 23:55
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Actually, it has happened in the past (well, sort of): meta.stackexchange.com/a/200144/162704 –  Yannis Oct 28 '13 at 13:51

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