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The Astronomy proposal on Area 51 has enjoyed a steady, though glacial, increase in commitment percentage. However, within the last four days it dropped by 10 percentage points:

2010-10-11:  42%
2010-12-25:  57%
2011-02-14:  72%
2011-03-08:  83%
2011-03-15:  85%
2011-03-19:  75%

What is the reason? Has the formula been tweaked again?

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Keep in mind that people can uncommit to the proposal. It could be the reason. –  HoLyVieR Mar 20 '11 at 2:25

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

We now very slightly age commitments over time, so that zombie proposals no longer lurch across the finish line.

To get to 100% you must have at least as many new committers coming in, as those who are aging out.

Again, this is a VERY VERY mild effect for now, just to prevent all proposals from crossing the 100% line as zombies 3-4 years from now.

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Sprint zombie, SPRINT! –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:55
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Very slightly? My proposal, 3D Graphics went from 80 committed to 81 (the 81st person had 3K rep), and the percentage dropped from 40% to 36%. Looking back - one of the first person to commit had 49K rep. So the proposal is going to need a whole lotta 51 rep newcomers to make up for that :( Not to mention the next half-dozen committers, have 8-10K rep, so when we lose those, it's game over... –  John C Mar 21 '11 at 14:44
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@John it's not so much that old committers are removed, it's that we gradually decay their contribution as they get older. Our data shows that the older the commitment, the less likely the person is to actually show up. –  David Fullerton Mar 21 '11 at 14:54

The commits graph is monotonic, so no one has uncommitted. We recently had a site-wide rep recalc on SO, which could possibly have affected the percentage. Your suggestion - a tweak in the calculation - is also quite plausible since they've had two sites fail after being in beta for some months.

I would like to know as well if they have tweaked things, but regardless your best bet is just to keep chugging along. If the bar is a little higher, then it will simply take a little longer.

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@Adam Davis; How do you know that a site has "failed"? Is physics close to failing? –  Carl Brannen Mar 20 '11 at 3:48
    
@Carl There is a notice posted on the site in advance of closing it, and eventually the site is closed, and the proposal page on area 51 shows that it didn't maintain enough activity, and gives a link to the final data dump - for instance: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/2732/atheism –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:51
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When a site is doing well it leaves beta and is officially launched, and the statistics on its proposal page are very good or excellent: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/1908/physics –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:52
    
A site will stay in beta until its activity is high enough that it is expected to do well. Although I suppose a site could be closed after being launched, it's probably unlikely. Physics.SE is just fine, though. –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:53
    
So if you want to know if a site is doing well, or poorly, check out the proposal page and see what the activity stats are. –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:54
    
Here's another example of a site that did poorly coming out of the gate: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/614/electronic-gadgets –  Adam Davis Mar 20 '11 at 3:57

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