To solve this problem, I suggest that if one makes a commitment to contribute to the success of a site, but then does not follow through, they should lose some token reputation on the area51 site.
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I think, in this case, a 'carrot' approach is better than a 'stick' approach. Instead of punishing those that don't follow through with their commitments, we should be rewarding those that do. For example, I think that users that follow through on their commitments should count more in the commitment phase than users that don't.
I would think that it would have to be pretty hefty amount of rep to have any real effect. I can see that there could be a pretty big (good) feeling of martyrdom for the people to commit for the reasons in your example if this is implemented.