Back when the idea of beta sites was young, the expectation was that beta was a fairly quick process. Even now, Area 51 sets the expectation that 90 days is a good "start thinking about graduation" checkpoint, and today I got this in email for a new private beta:
Q: How long is the beta?
A: After a few months, when it becomes abundantly clear that it's Making The Internet A Better Place, we'll slap a proper logo and design on it, and make it a full-fledged citizen of the Stack Exchange network.
This hasn't been true in a very long time; even when a site is deemed ready to graduate, after a year or two (or more), it can easily take three months or more to get from "decision" to "graduation" because of limited design resources. (Also, I'd hardly refer to the fine work our design folks do as "slapping a proper logo and design" on it.)
I'm not complaining about the timeline; sites take time to bake and we shouldn't expect things to move that quickly.
But...could we update what we say about the process to be more realistic? On just about every beta site I've been active on, I've seen "when will we graduate?" queries starting several months in, because people thought it would just be a few months. Maybe we should set better expectations.