I just committed to a site which went into private beta, and I haven't yet received my beta invite.

True, it might just be a fluke. Or I checked too soon. Or whatever.

In any case, it exposes a fundamental flaw in the way Private Betas are set up. Currently, you gain access to a private beta by clicking the link in an email sent to the address you gave Area 51 when you committed.

See any unneeded complication? There is a chance of the email getting mistyped, being sent to spam, or SE's email servers being blacklisted. In either case, I wouldn't get my invitation.

How can we fix it?

Make Area 51 private betas tied to the OpenID I use to log in. If it's the same, and is linked to the same A51 account I committed with, I have access to the site, right? When I have access, I could then generate those private beta invite URL's for other people.

Are there any problems with this idea?

1 Answer 1


That's more or less how it used to work before. I don't recall the exact motivation for the change, but thinking about it now I see two potential problems with this idea:

  1. Some people use unregistered profiles on Area 51 to commit to proposals and others don't always remember what OpenID they used or know what an OpenID is. We would get emails from people who couldn't figure out how to sign in with an "approved" credential (or were unregistered and had no whitelisted credentials) and we had no way of just getting them onto the site.

  2. Committing to the proposal isn't the only way to get access to a private beta. Using a link with a code allows anyone to easily invite another person into the beta and we encourage such invitations. Within reason, of course - don't go around posting these links on reddit or whatever because that'd likely just torpedo a community's chance to form and iron out any initial quirks they may have.

    We did have invitations before the access mechanism was changed, but folks would still run into problems logging in, so it was a hassle.

  • Then could we have an account-tied system for registered users? Or is it too much work?
    – Undo
    Jul 17, 2013 at 4:55
  • @Undo Unlikely. Why have two systems and add confusion to an already complex system when we can have just one?
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 17, 2013 at 5:00
  • Your point #2 was the primary motivation for the change :)
    – Laura
    Jul 18, 2013 at 15:57

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .