The second private beta launch of EmbeddedSystems has been killed after about a week and a half.
Having had one disappointing experience with the maiden beta, and now a second (though with less personal buy-in, because of my experience with the first), the engineer in me feels compelled to start running a DFMA on this process. Here's where this exercise leads me.
In professional practice, I would never sign on the dotted line until the rules are made clear to me. I would put the work in up front to make sure I understood the needs, the timetable, the review steps, and the tools available to me to do the work.
In the Area51 process, I have very little of that. I don't know the rules, the metrics for success, and the timetable for review is simply unrealistic for the endeavor given those conditions.
I get that SE needs to somehow monetize our expertise to make this endeavor worth their bandwidth. I don't mind that. What I do mind is that in the Area51 process, SE feels like the executioner, not a partner. There are community coordinators like @JonEricson and @RobertCartaino who are generally encouraging, but certainly aren't playing the role of coaches who help move us through the process -- they just tell us when its over, and encourage us to start again.
Having been through two private betas (with the first the more successful of the two, in terms of engaging questions, IMO), and getting the feeling that critical mass in this area will be hard to come by, I'll say up front that I'd be very reticent to participate in a third without a clear review plan, some metrics, and an engaged community partner who can help move us to graduation to public beta.
This is a repost of a meta ES.SE post, but I'm reposting it here as a general discussion on private beta launches and graduations to public beta.
EDIT: Discussion has led me to request a feature to reinvite committers from previous launch attempts to new attempts. I added a reference to here at a feature request at the Area51 discussion area.