One thing these discussions showed us is that, contrary to what the Community Team had long believed, getting a custom design is just one of several reasons folks want their sites to graduate. Our assumption was that a design was the only real incentive; we were wrong. It is indeed a big, exciting moment and a thing we will continue to invest resources in, but there are other aspects of graduation the community is interested in independently.
We also considered that although we're hiring designers as fast as we can, our design backlog still isn’t going to disappear overnight. Long story short, if we have stuff besides designs that our set-to-graduate sites want and can give it to them, maybe we should!
In keeping with your feedback, we’re considering laying out the mechanics of graduation a little differently in the coming days. It would look like this:
The Community Team announces that a site is cleared for graduation. Without delay...
- the beta label is removed
- elections are held
- migration paths are set up
- community ads are run
- a link to the site is added to the footer
...Then, as it becomes available
- the site gets their custom design.
- privilege thresholds are increased to graduated site levels
Note: We propose keeping the lower privilege thresholds in place until designs are ready because we think raising them without giving you something to celebrate just wouldn’t be that much fun.
We hope this approach will be smarter, and more encouraging than the current state of affairs. I want to be upfront in saying that we don’t yet know how soon we can implement this because we’re looking for community feedback here first. If there’s broad support for this idea, then we’ll figure out the technical details and let you know.
What do you say, should we give design-independent graduation a try?
EDIT: That was a nearly unequivocal YES, so we're going to figure out how soon we can put this into practice. More to come!