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When a proposal gets in the commitment phase, you are asked to spread the word and let everyone know that such a site is about to start so that they can commit to it.

However, is it really useful to advertise the site to users that are not already member of another Stack Exchange site? For example, they don't seem to give much weight at all in getting through the commitment phase. Also, they are not familiar with the system and so are maybe not very useful or even annoying/harmful in the first precious hours/days of a site.

Should commitment only be for users with at least 500 on other sites? Or should referring the website outside the Stack Exchange network be discouraged until the public beta phase?

Another thing is, an outside user will not have much clue what the commitment exactly is. Their initial experience might be negative because there is nothing else to do than to click a commit button and wait anywhere between 1 day and 1 year.

What do you think?

share|improve this question
Here comes an s! – Dennis Williamson Jul 14 '10 at 10:34
@Dennis Did you mean the typo in the title? – Peter Smit Jul 14 '10 at 10:45
No, I meant the "warning" in the fourth word in the body of the question. ("gets" shouldn't have an apostrophe since it's not a contraction.) I don't have enough rep here or I'd edit your post to fix that and a few other typos. Don't take it too seriously, though. I meant it in good humor. – Dennis Williamson Jul 14 '10 at 10:55
New users are "not very useful or even annoying/harmful"? Ouch! Point them towards the FAQ and if they read it, they'll be alright! – rlb.usa Jul 14 '10 at 15:45
I want at least 500k rep on the other sites... – warren Jul 14 '10 at 18:40
@Peter Smit: "500k". The whole of Stack Exchange needs to move much closer to the SEH (Skeet Event Horizon) before any user will have a total of 500k. Do you mean 50k? Or 5k? Or 500? – Peter Mortensen Jul 14 '10 at 20:09
Ai, I messed up between 1K and 500, making it 500k. Corrected! – Peter Smit Jul 15 '10 at 10:14
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Another possible advantage of recruiting outsiders: If the evidence shows that sites with large numbers of low-rep committers tend to be successful then the SE2.0 team is likely to change their formula on Area51 to something that values low-rep committers and thereby allows for more interesting niche sites (like MO) to make it through the process. Remember that right now everyone is guessing about what will make for a successful site. I big goal of the first few launches is to figure out what actually does make for a successful site. If you tailor your behavior to what currently gets points that will mess up the value of the data.

share|improve this answer

Yes, you should encourage good potential users to commit to the proposal, even if they don't add as much weight to the commitment calculation. Every user counts, even if they aren't equal in the percentage. And once you have a solid foundation of users familiar with the SE system, then getting good users and experts in the domain who are not familiar is just as valuable for their experience alone.

One additional benefit of committing is immediate access to the private beta (and in fact, whether invites will be allowed has actually been put up in the air now). If your friends are people you know will be an excellent component to the site, give them a head-start by having them commit and participate in the foundation of the site. Their contributions will help shape the growth of the site, and the more experts you can harvest towards this goal, the better.

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Users who are expert in the knowledge domain should be invited regardless of their SE familiarity as they're the ones who will actually build the value. I do caution careful wording to outside communities. Let them know it could be a very lengthy process before they actually get to do anything, if ever. I wish I had done so. – matt wilkie Jul 14 '10 at 20:18

The commitment percentage is (at the moment) based on reputation so inviting people from outside SO won't move the site nearer to beta by very much at all.

However, it is useful as it will increase the number of people in the private beta which will increase the number of useful questions asked and answered thus getting the site off to a good start.

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