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Up till now, I only ever signed up to "normal" sites. I heard of "private beta" in comments to questions. But now I committed to Korean, and I would like to know what phases a proposal at Area 51 has to go through before becoming a full-fledged site. Specifically, Korean is in commitment phase, and it seems I cannot ask questions there until it gets "launched". Does this verb mean it becomes a full-fledged site, or is there something in between? And is there something before commitment phase? Can one ask an example question in this phase, or not? And if not, why? Are example question like question on full-fledged sites, or just the titles as they appear on the page of the proposal?

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    Did you read the FAQ? – Flimzy Aug 14 '15 at 20:26
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    AKA, how is Stack Exchange site formed? – Oded Aug 14 '15 at 20:28
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Timeline:

  1. Definition: A proposal is submitted on Area51. The proposal is said to be in the definition phase. People follow proposals. During the definition phase, people can post example question. These are simply proposed title for people to vote on to help discuss whether these type of questions are on-topic. You need at least 60 followers and 40 questions with a score >= 10
    If a full year pass without meeting the above criteria, the proposal is automatically closed

  2. Commitment: Once the proposal has 60 followers and 40 questions scoring >= 10, the proposal enters the commitment phase. Here, people, no matter whether the followed or not, commit to the site. The commitment phase takes into account many different factors: number of commiters, reputation commiters have on other sites, and the 'score' which looks at each commiters activity on the proposal. The factors take the phase to 100%. See more information on the 3 factors in the sidebar of any Area51 proposal in the Commitment phase.
    If a full year pass without meeting the above criteria, the proposal is automatically closed

  3. Private Beta: All commiters receive an email to join the site. During this phase people must be invited to use the site. This is a crucial stage - people discuss on the new meta what the site's scope will be and other administration tasks. This usually lasts two weeks, after which the Community Team of Stack Exchange decides the fate of the site: closing it, or launching the public beta.

  4. Public Beta: This phase can last as long as it takes - anyone can now join and the stats on the sidebar show the progress the site has in beta.

  5. Graduation: Once SE think it is ready, a site graduates and gets its own design, and logo. There are discussions going on whether moderator election should wait till now or not - as per this discussion, from now on, sites will be allowed to graduate before getting their own design and before the privilege thresholds are increased. This means, migration paths will be set up, the beta logo will be removed, elections will be held, community ads will be made and a link will be added in the footer.

At any time, SE employees can discuss and close a site (though unlikely to happen after graduation), but not without warning, and good reason.

Discussions about graduation, site closure and design:

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    Is there more info on commitment phase somewhere? I'd been assuming that it was just based on number of people, not on rep. – Catija Aug 14 '15 at 21:59
  • @Catija The commitment score is the minimum of three scores: x/200 committers in total. x/100 committers with 200+ rep on any other site. x% commitment score, based on committers' activity on all other sites and how old the commitment is - on the sidebar of any proposal in commitment, eg area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/75348/hebrew-language – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Aug 14 '15 at 22:00
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    That's interesting. I don't see that in the sidebar of the site I've committed to or to the one you've just linked. Perhaps only certain people can see it? .... Oh, I found it... it's in the "more info" section... which I've never seen. – Catija Aug 14 '15 at 22:04
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    In recent months, the transition between steps 4 and 5 has become much more nebulous. After announcement of "graduation", a site can remain in a beta-like state for months to years, with little or no real change. There are signs of progress, but the process is currently unclear. – 200_success Aug 15 '15 at 3:05
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    The "state of the art" of the graduation process is described in meta.magento.stackexchange.com/q/633 – user259867 Aug 15 '15 at 20:09
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    Private beta last for two weeks now, as Jon said here. (last paragraph) – Shadow The Princess Wizard Aug 16 '15 at 18:04

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