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