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Invite un-committed followers to the Beta

This question came up regarding dsp.stackexchange but it may have general applicability. The generic issue is a site has graduated to private beta, but for whatever reason, is slow to gain critical mass.

It could incubate faster if committed beta members could invite others. Maybe this would be a privilege of gaining a certain level of rep.

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    @JeffAtwood: While the intent of the two questions are the same, they're not exactly duplicates because that request asked that the followers be allowed to join whereas this one requests that participants of private beta be allowed to invite their others (e.g., colleagues). This is perhaps a better system because it's a direct invite to another potential contributor after they have evaluated the site for a week (and applicable only when it is in extended private beta) rather than allowing random followers to join. Sep 2 '11 at 23:55
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    @JeffAtwood: (continued) While I do not object to your closing this question (because your answer there basically answers this request), the feature you talk about in your answer hasn't been implemented and your answer is also over a year old. I'd appreciate if you could update your answer and let us know if it is status-declined or status-deferred or status-planned Sep 2 '11 at 23:56
  • @yoda we are definitely looking at it, because private betas are yawning out to 14+ days now, which never happened before... Sep 3 '11 at 0:03
  • @JeffAtwood Thanks for the response. I believe that will be the case as the SE network branches out to more specialized fields from very generic ones like Cooking/Gardening/LanguageX/ReligionY etc. Glad that it's an option that's being considered. Sep 3 '11 at 0:05

What do you mean by "critical mass"? Private betas have very few users intentionally. The aim is to quickly build a solid foundation for the scope of the site. This is done by members who participated in the definition or, at least, saw it on Area 51. Hopefully these people know what they're doing or at least are trying to create a good site. People invited later would be quite a different class of users.

Private beta normally only lasts a week. If the site isn't ready at that point then measures are taken to evaluate whether the site can succeed and to work out the issues if possible. Inviting more people who previously knew nothing of the sites internals would probably be disastrous at that point. It's like piling more developers onto a late software project.

In any case, the point is not for the site to "incubate faster". It should incubate well.

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    Critical mass is not a fixed number. Depending on the nature of the subject, it might take more or less users to push a site beyond the private-public threshold. For example, in the most-recently in public beta site, perhaps 20 users would've sufficed to populate the question ark, but on sites with a more narrow & specialized focus, it might require more. This happened with crypto.SE and is now happening with dsp.SE. On both sites, the quality is good, but quantity is low. Allowing users to invite their professional peers would be a good way to increase the pool. Sep 1 '11 at 21:35

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