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Is there anyway I can know the "health" of a beta SE site? There are a lot of metric I can get, such as number of daily visitors, question asked, ratio of the answered question, ratio of the accepted answers, unique users etc.

But the problem is, at the end of the beta period, how do we know whether that site will graduate into a formal SE site? The SO team can always decide that in a cabal, and tell everyone their decision after much argument, deliberation and politics. But this is not transparent and subject to whims and fancies of the flickering temper of the SO team.

What I want to know, is is there an objective metric (read: Just One Number) that allows one to say, without dispute and doubt, whether a beta site "make it" or not?

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this is outdated; area51 now has stats – Tshepang Jan 23 '11 at 19:54

No, and there shouldn't be.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to produce useful, healthy sites that will be sustainable in the long run.

Deciding up front on an untested criteria and promising to stick with it will result in bad outcomes. Such as a site that won't likely be successful, but hits the requirement (maybe because it's a wildly popular topic, but attracts nothing but subjective questions). Or a site that is almost certain to be a big hit by any reasonable human analysis once it gets more critical mass, but is too slow to achieve it in some pre-determined time period (perhaps because its experts have low overlap with programmers).

Transparency and clarity around thresholds are desirable, but in this case, it would be far more problematic to effectively commit to ignoring the data and other fact points that are learned during the beta.

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I appreciate your comment. But as you know only too well. The more vague the criteria is the more disputes it will arise later on when deciding whether to keep or discard a SE site. – Graviton Aug 27 '10 at 6:45
@Ngu, I completely agree, but think that that frustration is a better outcome than the only alternative I see, which is accepting a less-informed process to measure projected site viability in the interest of early clarity and fairness. To paraphrase Churchill (paraphrasing unnamed others,) "It has been said that this undefined, non-transparent way is the worst possible approach... except for all the others yet thought of." Okay, so Churchill probably didn't dangle his preposition; it's lucky we're not on the English Language site. – Jaydles Aug 27 '10 at 12:35

To directly answer your question: if there is such a metric, it's not public yet.

Remember, the entire Area 51 process is itself a beta. So after the Just One Number is created — if it is created at all — the formula used to calculate it will almost certainly change a bit after the admins see how well the first few graduating sites do.

Personally, I'm skeptical that there can be a good Just One Number; too many intangibles. But that's probably a discussion to pursue elsewhere.

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This site hold a lot of information on all the sites.

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This is not useful as it won't tell me at the end of the beta period, which sites will make it to the public sites. – Graviton Aug 26 '10 at 15:30
The Progress in the beta phase is just the duration of the beta phase. – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Aug 26 '10 at 17:52

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