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I am calculating the differences between graduated betas v.s. discontinued betas for an academic paper. A key influencer on this is the process that is followed within Area 51.

Back in March 2010, a comprehensive post explained the process by which a beta site goes from proposal to graduated site: Area 51 > Private Beta > Public Beta > Graduated Site.

With the passage of time, it appears the comprehensive post no longer accurately reflects the process undertaken. It appears there were various views on the utility of the private beta stage. The Area 51 FAQ makes no reference to private betas. The Area 51 proposal page lists the phases as Define > Commit > Public Beta. I have attempted to locate any public announcement but it seems none was made?

Am I correct in my understanding that private betas have been discontinued? If so, why so and what was the policy change date? Is it possible to identify which sites went through the former process of having a private beta and those which went through the new policy of not having a private beta stage?

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The private beta phase does still exists, and usually only lasts for seven to fourteen days.

You seem to be interpreting the Area 51 page as "no private beta phase exists." That is incorrect. Viewing the beta phase tab (for convenience), all of them currently say public beta, because they are all currently in public beta. For the week or so while they are in private beta, that third option does indeed say "private beta" rather than public.

Public vs Private Beta

Screenshot taken from the Wayback Machine Archive on February 15, 2014.

The tab itself is appropriately named just "beta" to account for both possibilities.

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