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I have committed to a couple of Area 51 sites. When I click on 'great off topic' or 'great on topic' for a question that has no votes at all yet, I get a pop up explaining that the site is in 'commitment phase', but that's all. I thought at this point I could start contributing? I'm not finding an answer by searching previous questions.

What am I missing?

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You're missing the FAQ –  Ladybug Killer Jul 28 '10 at 21:27
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@Ladybug killer - Sorry, but despite several re-readings, nowhere in the FAQ do I see it spelled out that questions are disabled when a site goes into commitment. As a user interface issue, it would seem reasonable that in this case the voting boxes be disabled or some other clear indication given that voting was no longer an option. –  mickeyf Jul 28 '10 at 21:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Voting for on/off topic questions is only available during the definition phase of the proposal. Once the site gets the votes it needs on the on/off topic questions, it moves into the Commitment phase and thus no longer needs votes on the questions. Now the proposal needs enough committers to move into the Private Beta phase.

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Your opening sentence concisely answers my question. I'm disappointed that I had to ask. –  mickeyf Jul 28 '10 at 22:06

Voting is used to get a baseline of what is on- and off-topic. When a proposal moves to committment phase it means that a sufficient number of on- and off-topic questions have been created, thus there is no more need for voting.

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I see in the FAQ that an individual question must have x votes to be flagged as on/off topic, but not that the proposal itself needs some magic number of questions. Did I miss this too? Maybe I should have stayed in bed this morning if my reading is so bad today...;) –  mickeyf Jul 28 '10 at 21:55

It's by design, see Robert Cartaino's post about this.

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This is entirely reasonable, but I do think the poor newcomer could be made more aware of it up front. Fortunately, there is a User Interface proposal in commitment, maybe all the UIs will start improving... –  mickeyf Jul 28 '10 at 22:03

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