I wrote a query to calculate the number of the started sites per year. Here is the result:
Note, the data for 2017 is scaled up by 12/5, because it is yet end of May.
The graph shows
- a strong, probably exponential growth until 2011,
- then a stagnation phase between 2012-2014,
- a finally an obvious decrease since 2014.
If the decrease is roughly linear and continues to remain linear, we can foresee the death of the Area 51 to around 2020.
Furthermore, if we compare the growth of Stack Overflow to the whole network, we get this:
This graph shows the total number of posted to Stack Overflow, and to the whole network, per month. It includes also the deleted posts.
Note, this graph shows the new posts on the sites.
As we can see,
- Stack Overflow was in an increasing phase until around 2014. Probably it was the year as practically all programmer started to use it.
- Since then, Stack Overflow, while still grows in size, stagnates in the user activity (new posts/month).
- The Stack Exchange network shows a stable, linear growth since its start, without no sign of any stagnation.
If we linearly extrapolate the current "eras", we can predict that Stack Exchange will cote Stack Overflow around at 2023 in the number of the user activity (new posts/month), and in the sense of the total content around at 2030.
Now compare the predictions.
How could it be possible, if the future of Area 51 is highly questionable at the latest in 2020?