Why was the AI beta shut down?

All stats looked good except for visitors/day and high-rep users, but it was in beta for less than two weeks!!


1 Answer 1


The stats aren't everything. They certainly help, but five numbers cannot guarantee that we have a good, viable site on our hands.

Robert wrote a blog post about the AI site when it was shut down that goes into the details of what happened with that site and the lessons we started learning from it at the time.

The main reasons for the closure were these:

It had an laggardly 83 questions in its 12 days of existence. It wasn’t so much the lack of questions that was of concern — a site can stay in beta as long as it takes — but the conspicuous lack of expert-level questions.


70-80% of the questions didn’t run much deeper than “When will we have intelligent computers?” and “What is your favorite AI blog?”


AI’s problems began almost immediately when users started asking the first questions:

It has long been established that no question is too entry-level nor too basic. Everyone is welcome. But, in these earliest days, we are DESIGNING a site for experts. To attract experts, you need a site where people are asking very interesting and challenging questions, not the basic questions found on every other Q&A site. Remember, the pro sites WILL attract the enthusiasts, but not the other way around!

The earliest questions on a site will set the tone and topic of the site for a long time.

The AI site conspicuously lacked that “tone and topic” from day one, so it had nowhere to go and was closed down.

  • Are this type of questions accepted here? Shouldn't this type of questions be asked on discuss.area51.stackexchange.com same like this?
    – Himanshu
    Jul 18, 2013 at 4:41
  • 3
    @hims056 Not everything that mentions the words "Area 51" has to be migrated or closed, IMHO. This reads to me like a question about a former site in the network more so than something A51-related, whereas the question you linked to is very much a meta A51 issue.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:53
  • Thanks. I got the point. So if the question is related to any proposal then it should be asked on discuss.area51. If the question is related to any site (either beta or full) it should be asked on it's own meta.
    – Himanshu
    Jul 18, 2013 at 5:57
  • Lots of data bits passed through neurons by now, do you think the same proposal has better chance now? Jul 18, 2013 at 7:18
  • @ShaWizDowArd That depends entirely on who commits and participates. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with the topic.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 18, 2013 at 16:05

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