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Take these users in the Persian IT Proposal:

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Although I know you can type whatever you want, or nothing at all, those "reasons to commit" just feel wrong to me.

Perhaps we need more information on the FAQ or an official reply to this question explaining what it means and what is expected from us once we commit.

At least these two users won't be able to help if the site reaches the beta stage, and also, it messes with the benchmarks the team is trying to get at this stages from usage data.

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I went to the gaming proposal, clicked on the Commit link, filled it out, and was this close |--| to clicking the commit button, but then I reread the commitment and chickened out. Three times a week for three months? I'd like to use this site, not adopt it. –  mmyers Jun 15 '10 at 18:43
that's why commitment shouldn't be taken lightly (although 3 times a week is waaaay lower than what I do now for other sites in the trilogy) @mmy –  juanformoso Jun 15 '10 at 19:27
Yeah, I visit SO and Meta a lot more than that--but I wouldn't be visiting Gaming during downtime at work and I have other things to do in the evenings. –  mmyers Jun 15 '10 at 19:35

5 Answers 5

up vote 49 down vote accepted

Right. Do not commit to sites just for "sympathy" if you're not going to actually help make the site work by asking and answering questions, voting on them, etc. Otherwise the site will go into beta but it won't have enough real users, so it won't reach critical mass and it will be closed down after the beta.

Remember, we only want to create sites that really have an audience. We are going to close down sites that don't get enough traffic.

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adding to what Joel said, do not sympathy commit to a site proposal. Only commit if you will spend significant time on the site when it enters private and public beta! –  Jeff Atwood Jun 15 '10 at 22:16
I have a problem - I want to commit to a site, but I simply don't have any questions... I may well have answers and would vote for stuff but because I won't ask questions (I repeat, don't really have questions to ask at the moment) I can't commit. –  Murph Jun 29 '10 at 10:10
@Murph, I'm sure you can think up 3 questions to generate a little content while the beta lasts... –  juanformoso Jun 29 '10 at 20:50
@Juan - ok, three during the beta period is slightly less awful but nevertheless I really don't currently have much in the way of questions. OTOH I've owned a recumbent for 21 years so I may, possibly, have some answers. –  Murph Jul 1 '10 at 13:38

It's somewhat of a strange predicament. We are required to "commit" to a site that may never get off the ground, or it may take months to get off the ground. By that time we may have completely lost interest in the proposal. We see several hundred people already committed to proposals that are only at a 19% commitment level, for example. To me, this is very discouraging.

It's inevitable that there's going to be many reasons for committing than what was originally intended. There seems to be even more incentive to falsely commit (particularly towards the end) since there's an extra seven days to wait to see the beta if you didn't commit.

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

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From Joel Spolsky blog post about StackExchange 2.0:

...If a site gets to 100% commitment, we’ll email everyone who committed and notify them when the closed beta will begin. During this closed beta, they’ll be expected to seed the site with enough interesting questions, answers, tags, and a site-specific FAQ. They’ll appoint temporary moderators and publicize the site...

and as I said we need English community support, we can't pass commit phase without their support, so what's next? We are going to translate questions in beta phase to English for our international users who interested to answer Persian questions. also I'm looking for a way to find more Persian users with hight level rep in trilogy to commit and support our community, any idea?

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I have nothing against that proposal, it was just an example I found to make a point about committing without really meaning it. Sadly, if you don't have enough users to pass the commit phase, you're going to have to wait a little while until they relax the rules: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/53695/… –  juanformoso Jun 15 '10 at 21:06
@Hameds - You can start by translating all the example questions into english so that followers and committers will see first hand what it will be like to operate on the site. You can do the translation in the comments if you like. Keep in mind you'll also need people who will reverse the translation - if I answer in english, someone may need to come along later and translate my answer, which will require enough rep to edit my question, or enter a new question (which then robs me of rep). I don't know that this is a good idea, but if you pull it off in the example questions, then perhaps... –  Adam Davis Jun 15 '10 at 21:10
Translating everything sounds difficult. –  Alexandre Jasmin Jun 15 '10 at 22:42
If you're supposed to translate everything, why wouldn't you simply use Super User? If the community is really going to be that active, maybe you could ask them to participate in the trilogy for a while and achieve some reputation rather than rushing just to get a site up. –  xmm0 Jun 15 '10 at 22:59
@Pollyanna I agree translation is not that easy, it's just an idea to help international users who commit to non-English proposal –  Hameds Jun 16 '10 at 4:04
@Mehrdad, I get your point,but if we want to pass commit phase we need active people who have hight rep in trilogy like YOU. How we ask people with 51 rep who are not really familiar with system to participate in trilogy while our professional users ,who can actually commit to Persian IT, are not interested to commit? Please take a look at commit comments, we really want to build this together but without professional help it seems impossible. –  Hameds Jun 16 '10 at 4:19
I think this is coming down to a great idea, but at the wrong time. As @Mehrdad said, if you translate all of the questions, you are basically just duplicating SU/SF. The only way to launch a site that duplicates the purpose of an existing site is to do it in another language, for that you simply have to have enough native speakers of that language with reputation scores high enough to get it past the commitment phase. Otherwise (and unfortunately), I don't think the idea would be tenable. If everyone that committed just participates in other SE sites, the percentage will just naturally grow. –  Tim Post Jun 16 '10 at 9:15
@Hameds: My commitment counts for 1%. What is going to be done about the other 99%? Honestly, having been active in the trilogy for more than a year, I haven't really encountered a single high rep Persian user. So yes, that's impossible and as Jeff, Joel, Robert, and David said in different posts, it's designed to be impossible (at least, at this point in time)... –  xmm0 Jun 16 '10 at 10:26
... I think you are making a mistake by thinking that it's just the commitment phase that we have a problem and if we can get enough commitment votes (without actual help) and pass this phase, we can have a great community. This is simply not true. Building a community is much harder than gathering a couple hundred votes. You need an existing base of professional users that want and can help to build a good community. To sum it up, commitment phase is something to help you build the community, not an enemy to bypass with a trick. –  xmm0 Jun 16 '10 at 10:29
So if you really want to build such a community, and since we don't have an existing base of high rep users, the only way is to build such a base. The most viable solution is to have the users participate in the current trilogy site so that we can build enough commitment, and consequently, experience so that the community will be great when it's launched. –  xmm0 Jun 16 '10 at 10:35
@Mehrdad so far 86 committed to Persian IT, most of them with 51 rep, but it doesn't mean they all are just newbies. There is guy who wrote books for wrox press but he is not active member of trilogy yet he want to contribute in Persian IT. There are other guys who are professional in their fields too. I can name at least 15 people right now who can support pro background of community, none of them has high rep in trilogy. I can assure we have people who know how to use system, we also can teach others how to use it but this measure for commit phase just not works for non-English communities.. –  Hameds Jun 16 '10 at 13:52
...English is third language in all world with more than 1.5 billion people who can speak English as first or second language, Persian language spoken in few countries with max 100 million people. Do you really expect Persian IT community can compete with English community? Let me give an example: when SO started who brings people and encourage them to contribute in system? Is there any rep measure for creating trilogy sites? now we are at same position, we want to build this community, we have experts, we have beginners, we will try to build this together. –  Hameds Jun 16 '10 at 14:01
... so I think ANY English proposal can easily pass commit phase or even beta phase because they have support of high rep users from English community of trilogy, but what about non-English proposals? Well they can never compete because honestly I think no one even thought to reserve seats for them! –  Hameds Jun 16 '10 at 14:09
@Hameds I'm not saying anything about whether the community is going to work or not at this point. Let me make it simple: It's clear that at the moment, Joel and Jeff do not want to take the risk of having foreign language communities unless they have direct overlap with the trilogy user base. -- There are three viable options: 1) wait until the rules are relaxed or they change their mind (or try to convince them directly). 2) have the future users of Persian IT participate in the trilogy and gain reputation and experience 3) give up with SE and develop a custom platform for Q&A. –  xmm0 Jun 16 '10 at 14:17
My point is: we can't benefit from users who can't speak Persian. They can't help even if they want to (unless they are willing to learn Persian, of course!) Translation and things like that are really a waste of effort with no clear benefit for anybody. –  xmm0 Jun 16 '10 at 14:21

No. You shouldn't sympathy commit to anything.

Commit to sites that you will be actually be committed to

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OK, so you can see it as gaming the system.

I considered it more as redressing the perceived 'injustice' of only high-rep users being considered 'real'.

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SE1.0 was about survival of the fittest. SE2.0 is about culling ;) –  Benjol Jun 16 '10 at 9:17
Not gaming the system... ruining the system is more like it –  juanformoso Jun 16 '10 at 13:08
The idea is to ensure that a group will have an adequate starting community. Obviously, it's easier to do this with some topics than others, and there is a certain amount of unfairness there. However, I don't see that starting a group with an inadequate community and probably watching it die is a better idea. –  David Thornley Jun 16 '10 at 13:45
@David, @Juan. But what makes you so sure that non-SO users would be so bad - or useless - for starting a community? And if you really believe that, how is SE ever to break out of the geek ghetto? The overlap of people interested in computers AND insert-random-topic-here can only get smaller with time. –  Benjol Jun 17 '10 at 5:00
I'm not sure of anything as far as building Internet communities goes, but some things appear to me to be better bets than others. Jeff and Joel appear to be cautious here, not wanting to have SE groups that are likely to fail. As far as leaving the geek community goes, (1) people on Q&A internet communities are showing at least some geekiness (meaning that as a compliment, of course), and (2) the new sites will attract people not on Trilogy sites, and there will eventually be a more varied base of people to start SE groups. –  David Thornley Jun 17 '10 at 14:12

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