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In other words, what determines the future of a Beta site, i.e. which path it goes down:

  • beta is closed (failure) or
  • beta becomes a public live site with its own artwork (success)

And what is the timeline for this?

On the FAQ I read, "If the site does not get used, it will be deleted." but I'm missing how that decision is made.

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2  
possible duplicate of When Will My Site Graduate? –  ЯegDwight Jan 25 '11 at 13:49

2 Answers 2

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The "success criteria" is outlined in detail in this blog post:

When Will My Site Graduate?

But here's the gist.

A site will stay in beta for at least 90 days. After 90 days, it becomes eligible for graduation as a full site. A site will graduate when it has:

  1. Established a critical mass of "experts" so that there is a reasonable expectation that your question will be answered (+90% according to the Area 51 analytics).
  2. Reached a level of maturity to become a self-sustaining, community-moderated site (+10 users with +2,000 rep, 5 users with +3,000 rep).
  3. Reach a critical mass of users where the traffic indicates strong, sustainable growth.

If the site has not reached these goals by 90 days in beta, it can remain a beta site as long as it continues to show steady progress. But if the beta site is showing a general, unrecoverable, downward trend, it may be closed as inviable.

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yep, that's a clear answer thank you. Particularly interesting to me is the grace period after 90 days in beta, as long as the site is showing progress. –  Wikis Jan 25 '11 at 20:09
    
Is there a definition of steady progress? –  Belinda Jun 8 '11 at 14:42
    
@Belinda It's pretty obvious when a site has stopped making "steady progress" because it is typically followed by a precipitous drop in a key metric such as % answered questions and daily visits. Steady progress means that the site continues to receive high-quality questions and that users have a reasonable high expectation expectation that their questions will be answered. We've never had to precisely define "steady progress" because the drop that follows is SO obvious, that it is hard to miss. –  Robert Cartaino Jun 8 '11 at 15:22
    
I'd expected that if the worrying or OK stats did not go up for a while that it may not count as steady progress but that doesn't seem to be the case. –  Belinda Jun 8 '11 at 21:20

It looks like possibly a 90 day evaluation period after launch. If you look at beta's sites toward the top right on Area 51 there is message similar to this:

This site is in

Public Beta Anyone can participate!

The site's progress will be evaluated in 70 days.

Once 90 days hits, there is a set of criteria at the top of the page that shows whether a site is doing Excellent, Okay, or Worrying.

However, I am not sure if the final decision is manual or not based on this criteria.

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