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I've discussed previously about Area 51's broken model. After experimenting with a site in the definition stage, I've learned a few things, and I think I have an idea.

Let's just simply let users who commit to a proposal continue to refine the definition of the site. After all, they are going to be the ones actually using it. The less time that lapses between activity, the more defined the site will actually be. In addition, it might be fun to do an "Auto migrate", or at the very least, allow the asker of a question to automatically post the question to the new site.

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BTW, I should add that a key part of this proposal is to only allow committed users to continue to define the scope of the site. If they stop committing, their votes ideally should go away. –  PearsonArtPhoto May 26 '11 at 19:15

3 Answers 3

I would be very uncomfortable letting users continue to work on the accepted proposal once it is "done."

Users are committing to a proposal based on a series of questions shown to them when they digitally sign it. You're suggesting that the definition continue to change after they commit. That doesn't make sense.

Changes that are suggested during beta are done with full transparency of the community. But very few people flip back to that Definition area in Area 51 during Commit. So you'd have a few people continuing to make changes while everyone else has moved on to the next phase. That doesn't sound healthy, and possibly harmful.

At some point, you have to stop finagling with those proposals. Most of actual work of defining the site is done in beta. It's best to spend your time getting out there and evangelizing the site to get it into beta.

Also, you can't "auto migrate" example questions. They're not actual questions. They're bits of titles without a body and many of those titles are Mad Libs-style, fill-in-the-blan example questions. I'd hate to see those become the earliest questions on the site.

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digital signature != electronic signature. Just sayin... :) –  LeakyCode May 26 '11 at 23:09
    
Well, I'm not sure what would be best, but there needs to be some kind of involvement during the commitment phase more than there is now... I think if people are more involved during the commitment, it will lead to higher commitment fulfillment, quicker community defining during beta, and better communities as a whole. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/92836/… –  PearsonArtPhoto May 27 '11 at 0:07
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@Pearsonartphoto: I agree; It would be nice if there was something else to do during this signature-gathering phase. But we have to be careful about letting users fritter away too long on completed tasks just for the sake of keeping them amused. Perhaps in a 2nd-generation Area 51, we can find a way to keep the process of building a proposal more engaging. –  Robert Cartaino May 27 '11 at 14:47
    
I think they key is to get users in the commitment phase to do something useful. The most useful thing is to build the community somehow. Not sure what's best, but that's my $0.02. –  PearsonArtPhoto May 27 '11 at 19:08

Compromise?

Only allow committed users who have committed a response that has been highly upvoted (+20) on the Q to continue to contribute.

This way a person can't commit, change, uncommit.

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I don't think that's the answer either, unfortunately... New users join all the time in the commitment phase. Most of them will be the actual users of the site, as opposed to the definition stage folks... –  PearsonArtPhoto May 26 '11 at 19:20
    
But then you were in at the beginning. My point is that we have to have a process to prevent drive-by-changes. –  jcolebrand May 26 '11 at 19:21

I would dislike it if I committed to a proposal, then it changed.

If a proposal needs more definition, then it should stay in the definition stage longer.

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It's not so much that it would change, as it would continue to evolve. Also, it's fairly common for proposals to change drastically in the first days of the private beta, the idea is to have a more gradual shift during the commitment phase. If someone wants to drop their commitment, they can do so at any time. –  PearsonArtPhoto May 25 '11 at 16:52
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Proposals change by community coordinator decree at times (case in point changing "Exercise and Fitness" to "Exercise and Nutrition"), so why not let the participants evolve the proposal too? –  Doug T. May 25 '11 at 17:00
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@Doug If the proposal still needs more definition, it should stay in the definition stage. –  Adam Davis May 26 '11 at 17:26
    
It might need more definition, but all sites really do. It's currently extremely common for a site to basically ignore what happened in the definition stage, because the people and amount of time that lapsed between the definition and site starting beta is huge. See the linked question from the original question. –  PearsonArtPhoto May 26 '11 at 19:11
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how do we get it back into that stage then? There's no reversal process that I'm aware of right now. –  jcolebrand May 26 '11 at 19:19

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