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Can someone who has had some success with getting friends to sign onto Area 51 proposals give me some suggestions on what I should include in an email to promote a proposal to friends.

I just sent an email off to one friend, but I think it was quite difficult. The things I tried to cover:

  • How to sign on to the site and create an account (Using Facebook etc.)
  • How to follow the proposal once the account has been created
  • How the site creation flow works (follow -> commit -> beta -> release)
  • The need for the user to vote on on-topic and off-topic questions as that is what is currently lacking from the proposal
  • Something brief about Stack Exchange and the fact that I don't have any financial interest, i.e "this is not an advertisement or I make $10 for each referral".

I've been hesitating to send this email for the following reasons:

  1. The site hasn't been built, so I need an email that would persuade someone to use a site that is not yet built
  2. The process IMO is quite encompassing, compared to say signing on to Twitter. It's hard to explain the whole SE experience to someone who is an outsider e.g a non-programmer.

Your answer doesn't necessarily need to be a cut and paste solution, I appreciate discussion on my thoughts above.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'd go with something along the lines of the following:

Hi [first name],

Recently, I've been participating a lot on a Question and Answer platform called Stack Exchange, and some users are interested in setting up a site for [topic]. They need people to help develop the site proposal, and since you're interested in [topic], I thought you might want to know about this and help get the proposal off the ground. If you're interested, all you have to do is go to [proposal link] and click the [select one of the below]

"follow" button. They'll ask you to sign in (just click on the Facebook logo) and then you can vote on questions which you think should be on or off topic.

"commit" button. They'll ask you to sign in (just click on the Facebook logo) and they'll let you know when the site starts up!

If you have any questions about Stack Exchange, please ask me! I've spent a lot of time there recently, and I really think it's fun!

Don't copy this word for word. You'll be embarrassed when someone searches for this on Google and they'll feel cheated because it's just boilerplate.

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And I thought everything was copied these days! – xiaohouzi79 Feb 22 '11 at 6:21
I half chuckled, and half wept when I read (just click on the Facebook logo). – Tim Post Feb 22 '11 at 15:44

You don't need to explain the entire process to your friend. They don't care. Why try and explain how to build an entire house when all you need is "can you put that brick there?"

Think in terms of "small, incremental units of work" — whatever you need them to do, ask them for that next small unit. If you need example questions, have them ask a question. Need followers? Click on this link. Try out the site? Here's the URL.


I'm trying to get a Q&A site created for Garden & Landscaping. I think you would really enjoy this site, but I need a few more gardening enthusiasts to sign up to get it created.

Please click [here], hit 'Commit', then click the link in your email if you can help us out. Thanks!

This Stack Exchange thing is really cool. They started out with a programming site which became a top-400 site. Now they're asking people what kind of sites they want. Why not a gardening site? That would be great!

All we need is a few more people to commit. If you are interested in how this works, you can read more about the process here.

Let me know what you think. Thanks, xiaohouzi79

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