I'm here referring specifically to Electronics and Robotics (~20 days before beta ends), which shows great vital signs. I also remember written somewhere 60–90 days for a site to launch, so I'd like to know what the criterion is.
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Right now the rule is that a site can't be considered for launch until 90 days after the beta starts. Although this isn't 100% fair for sites that were imported from 1.0, there are only 4 of those, so having a special rule isn't worth it.
After 90 days, we look at various health-o-meters indicators which you can see on Area51: things like number of questions, number of visits, etc. Recently we have noticed that those indicators are not really perfect, especially for old Stack Exchange 1.0 sites. The indicators we are looking at (today) include things like "number of questions" which are inflated for 1.0 sites. We'd rather look at things like "number of questions in the last 30 days," for example. We want to revise the health-o-meter in the next week or so to reflect this.
Right now, deciding to launch a site is done by human beings on a case-by-case basis. We would like to continue to improve the metrics we gather and the way we judge sites' success so that there can be a completely algorithmic, automated way to decide when a site should launch and get any human judgement out of the system. In the long run, that will be important to scaling Stack Exchange.
The stats in that case are a little inflated from the importing of a SE 1.0 site, though.