Let's look at the reasons why we have a private beta stage and whether or not it does what it is supposed to.
- It is supposed to be private to prevent random visitors who don't know where they are and what they are supposed to do on an empty site.
It would be valid if a site was located at some public domain where random type-ins could occur. Currently you need to go through the multi-step procedure to access the site, so random visitors are probably non-existent.
- Private beta testers are supposed to create initial quality content.
As most likely there are no random users, it is basically just preventing public beta users from visiting the site, which doesn't serve any purpose in terms of quality content in my opinion. Are private beta users expected to ask better questions than public beta users 7 days later? What is the reason for such assumption?
- Limited amount of users can ask limited amount of questions, and most likely those questions would be asked in the first day, if not hours of their visit.
Let's look at the rough numbers of questions for current Gaming private beta:
1 day - 250 questions (80% of which were asked in first hours if I remember) 2 - 170 3 - 60 4 - 14 5 - 17 6 - 25
So in the first few hours there are already plenty of questions. Stretching private beta beyond 1-2 days doesn't do much in terms of content. If you now go to a gaming site it is pretty boring, no questions, no discussions. It just sits there waiting for fresh blood.
So, to sum everything up:
I think it wouldn't hurt if the private beta got dropped altogether, or at least would last a day or two. (I also think the whole commitment stage is unnecessary red tape, but it is another story :) ).
Thanks for reading.