I wrote a query to calculate the number of the started sites per year. Here is the result:

Enter image description here

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:

Enter image description here

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?

  • Comments archived.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 1:19
  • cote - 1. To go side by side with; hence, to pass by; to outrun and get before. Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 12:24

1 Answer 1


C'mon, there were NOT 17 sites that launched in 2008! Your graph is WRONG, as you are counting the earliest post: on Software Engineering, the earliest post is dated Aug 1 '08 (as it was migrated from Stack Overflow), while the site was actually created Sep 1 '10, according to Community's age (which is the same as the site age).

A correct graph (that's also a cool bar graph) would be:


  • Area51 launched halfway through 2010
  • This graph includes sites that did not go through Area 51, such as Ask Patents
  • This graph (now) excludes all metas, including this site.
  • This graph excludes failed betas (which are deleted from SEDE)
  • We're only halfway through 2017 now, when I made this graph

My thoughts: Area 51 does not need to crank out 25 sites a year to work, so it's not really fair to compare it to Stack Overflow. Also, I'm still waiting for the "next gen" they're supposed to be working on (instead of majorly improving the existing code).

Query Code:

declare  db_c cursor for select [name] 
       from sys.databases 
       where database_id > 5 -- skip master, temp, model, msdb, Data.SE

declare @db_c_name sysname   -- holds name of db after fetch
declare @sql nvarchar(max) -- holds build up sql string

-- result table
create table #all (
    number int, site nvarchar(250), id int   

open db_c
fetch next from db_c into @db_c_name
while(@@FETCH_STATUS = 0)
    set @sql = N'use '+ QUOTENAME(@db_c_name) +';
    insert into #all
       QUOTENAME(@db_c_name) +
    , id + 2
    from users where id=-1
    exec (@sql)
   fetch next from db_c into @db_c_name
close db_c;
deallocate db_c;

select number, site, ROW_NUMBER() OVER (PARTITION BY(number) order by number)  from #all where site not like '%meta%'
  • 1
    It is a good point that the first post date and the actual lauch dates are different on many sites. But it doesn't really affect the statistics of the last 4 years, it is the same as in my stats. Thus, my graph is okay, contrary your statement. There is also a minor fault in your stat: the meta sites are generated together with the main ones, thus they doesn't really count. Also this doesn't affect the identified tendency about the A51 coming death.
    – peterh
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 18:15
  • @peterh Now it doesn't include meta sites. :P
    – Laurel
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 18:27
  • 5
    ...and still shows the tendency exactly as I've identified. The A51 is dying, and except voting me down, you didn't provide any argument against it.
    – peterh
    Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 23:38

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