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I was wandering around Area 51 for some research on a question I'm writing and went to the proposal page for Retro Computing. I clicked on the "Visit the site now" button to see what the site is about and was instead taken to the "confirm account creation" page instead of the front page of the site.

I think that this is because the site is still in private beta as the same thing happens when I follow the process on the Arts and Crafts Area 51 page (in private browsing mode, since I'm already in that private beta).

But, when I followed the same chain of events on the Language Learning and Latin Language proposals, which are in public beta, the links worked just fine.

Is this the intended behavior? It makes me feel like I'm being strong-armed into joining a site.... which, if it's in private beta, I wouldn't be able to join without having committed or being invited - right?

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Yes, this is intended, although easy to get around. Users are still defining the site and its scope, and we don't know if it's actually going to get anywhere yet, so it doesn't make sense to let standard visitors and search bots look through everything there. Generally, that means everyone who accesses the private beta should probably create an account, because the point is for you to participate in defining the site - so we direct everyone to the account creation page first. However, you can simply click the Questions tab at the top to browse around if you don't actually want to create an account.

We used to lock out all users who hadn't committed to the proposal from joining the private beta. We don't do that anymore. Everyone who committed will be sent a link to join easily, but anyone who didn't can still join the private beta by following the Area 51 link directly to the site. If you try to visit the site without going to Area 51 first, you won't be able to join or view anything.

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