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I know OnStartups is in Area51 right now, but I kinda liked the site. I also got it's newsletter every time.

What are you going to do with OnStartups? Will it be refined or redesigned? Or will it be thrown in the garbage completely?

There were actually very useful answers to be found on that site. I would love to see the site continue somehow.

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    related: discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/12607/… and from there brightjourney.com – Bart Jan 28 '14 at 20:30
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    Three years in beta, and when the site was closed the only marginal metric was questions per day... – Robert Harvey Jan 28 '14 at 20:32
  • Yeah I know the site lacked activity at last, but still the content that could be found on the site was useful for me. I'm currently following 2 startups very closely, a little bit helping where I can, and soon I plan to start my own. As such, the site had really useful information for me. – Forza Jan 28 '14 at 20:38
  • The information is not gone. You can get that. And it seems to have been incorporated into that other site. – Bart Jan 28 '14 at 20:39
  • Yeah Thx for the link Bart! Didn't know the other site existed. I'll check it out immediately :) – Forza Jan 28 '14 at 20:40
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    brightjourney.com as Bart mentioned! – Patricia. Jan 30 '14 at 8:48
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Kind of an incredibly negative outcome for Stack Exchange, unfortunately. (Also, I liked using this site! It will be a cold, cold day in hell before I go to Quora for startup advice.)

I wonder if SE should consider moving to a read-only archive of long beta sites like this, which have very long betas but ultimately don't survive.

That solves a couple problems:

  • SE keeps the "juice" and traffic; site still visibly connected to SE

  • Easy to refer to old answers and questions (versus the dump)

  • Far less incentive to fork the content, since Google will crush the duplicate content. Right now there is no authoritative source for those posts any more.

For shorter betas this is of course a non-issue. But for very long betas that generate a bunch of content, moving to a read-only archive site that is still connected to the network might be the way to go.

But who knows, maybe this is a one time thing and it'll never happen again so it doesn't matter. Onstartups was always a bit of an outlier in the way the relationship worked.

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    Oh Wow. Jeff Atwood himself comes to answer my question :) This is actually a very good idea. I'm very happy with the service from brightjourney.com , but I agree that sites with so many useful answers should somehow stay part of the Stack Exchange network. – Forza Feb 27 '14 at 9:48
  • It wasn't something that we wanted to do, Robert and I spent a great deal of time trying to avoid it. That said, I am working on something that produces static html sites from dumps and allows for content curating (think simple flat file wiki with markdown smarts). A bit of a way out, though. I started it when I was helping a parent create something of a memorial from her son's contributions on a site. As for happening again? Very unlikely, action was needed way before the site landed on my list, we're not going to let that happen again. – Tim Post Mar 1 '14 at 3:21
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Jeff Atwood's answer has given me a new idea on the topic.

The problem with OnStartups was insufficient moderation, so that the site being open for public would risk drowning in crap.

If so, instead of deleting the site, why not keep it, but close it to new users.

For example:

  • allow posting questions only if you have earned at least 25 reputation on the site
  • allow answering and suggesting edits only if you have at least 100 reputation on the site (which means, you are either old user or you have association bonus).

This would strongly reduce the amount of crap, and therefore the moderation needed (not eliminating it completely, however).

Yes, it would require additional development work, but the topic like startups is quite attractive for Google and could bring some money from ads, so deleting the site is throwing baby out with the bathwater, a disadvantage both for SE and for community.

  • Huh. Wow. That's... A really good idea. And actually requires zero development work. Damn, I wish someone had thought of that before! For what it's worth, I implemented something similar but less drastic for the Lego site a couple years back. They made a good go of it. – Shog9 Mar 1 '14 at 0:28
  • That ... might not have helped in this case, but it could be something that if turned on much sooner when a site shows these kinds of warning signs would be extremely useful. OnStartups had less than 20 users actively doing anything but asking and answering, this would have just prolonged it in that case, but if done a year prior - things might have been different. – Tim Post Mar 1 '14 at 3:15

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