It's worth noting that the site wasn't closed merely because it wasn't receiving many questions per day. Plenty of sites function well without many questions at all — there are sites with 0.1 questions per day that are still open.
The current policy on beta site graduation and shutdown is detailed at Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites.
When a site starts to consistently receive 10 questions/day, we’ll
consider it for graduation.
If a public beta site does not produce
consistently helpful content, and lacks the caretakers needed for
flags and spam to get handled and our Be Nice policy to be upheld, it
will be closed.
The second point is indeed what happened. I dug out the final meta post from the data dump below, which explains exactly what the problem was:
We recently opened a call
for new moderators to step up and help lead this site, which was
met with a few upvotes and a lot of tumbleweeds rolling by. Given the
non-existent interest there, we were forced to look more closely at
the health of this site and whether this community is suitable to
continue functioning moving forward.
The result: We are planning to close this site on March
So where is this site falling flat?
Those last two bullet points are great cause for concern. Voting as
a whole has dropped significantly since the start of the site,
approaching something of a stand-still. The overall number of upvotes
and unique voters on the site has continued to decline to the point
where the pages are becoming flooded with zero-scored posts.
Most of the questions and answers being posted on this site are
coming from drive-by users who generally ask one or two questions and
don't really do anything else with the site. They don't accumulate any
reputation, and don't end up participating in the site further.
But this community is supposed to be a collection of
community-curated content. It needs users who are willing to fix
mistakes and vote on posts in order to survive and grow, but
is lacking the users who are interested in doing those things.
Without such commitments, we're not creating a site full of
knowledge, but rather creating a database full of text.
Here's what the graphs currently look like (without February
included since it hasn't been a full month yet):
All of this boils down to: it looks like there isn't an
actual community behind this site that's interested in seeing it
succeed. It is mostly composed of curious users and a few
power users who have been keeping the lights on.
Thank you to everyone who has participated on the site over the
I have omitted certain sections of the post for brevity, you can find the full text in the ProductivityMeta folder, in
Ultimately, I don't think sending an email out would make much difference here. The ideal candidates for moderators are the power users; the dedicated few who visit the site every day and curate. Having to email users who are no longer regular visitors to the site to ask them to step up doesn't seem like a very effective idea... and who's to say these users will be any more committed to the site this time round?
I realise, of course, that it's very disappointing for a site not to succeed... but it's better than leaving an unmaintained, unhealthy site to linger and die slowly, and avoid wasting the efforts of the few users who are left.