Even though data dumps of closed sites are available for download, it might be useful to know a week or month in advance that a public beta site is scheduled for closure.

What is the usual procedure for a website being closed?

i.e, after the decision for closure is made, is it announced on the site-specific meta? Is it announced on Meta.SE? How much time ahead of the closure is it announced?

I know about existence of This Meta.SE Question but the accepted answer doesn't really answer the questions above.


As discussed in: Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites, just about the only criteria remaining to keep a site open is having enough users (three minimum) willing to step up to Moderate♦ it.

If a site is in decline and doesn't have enough users willing to take care of it, we will typically issue several calls (through a meta post) to try and recruit more interest. Failing that, we will post a final site-closure notice announcing the closure date. This will appear as a 'system message' plastered across the top of every page on the site — all the time referring users back to a meta post where they can express interest in keeping it going.

I can't imagine a site going from functional to "final notice" in less than a month; more typically the effort would persist three to five months… or more. Typically you can tell when a site is no longer working because view counts drop, questions go unanswered, and meta community issues go unanswered or never addressed. There is no particular system to reach out to non-users or disconnected users who are no longer participating in the site. If a site is closed, its content is archived through a "data dump" (search meta), or you can typically find specific posts through the Wayback Machine if you are wondering why a link to a post only brings up the final closure notice.

  • Off-topic but similar question: if a site is being shut down, is there a way to "rescue" certain questions that would be acceptable on other sites by migrating them? Jul 2 '18 at 2:20
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    @NicolBolas Yes, the site is still operational and accessible during this process, so communities will often discuss which questions can be moved elsewhere. Jul 2 '18 at 3:10
  • Why not keep the old posts up as live links, with a clear notice that the site has been closed and put into read-only mode (as is done during maintenance periods)? This is what's done to closed Wikimedia projects, such as simple.wikiquote.org. Jul 2 '18 at 4:18
  • The calls which are issued are on site-specific metas, correct? as a screenshot in this question suggests Jul 2 '18 at 6:32
  • @PeeyushKushwaha yes of course, no point putting them elsewhere. Jul 2 '18 at 13:55
  • @NicolBolas there were such efforts in the past. E.g. Technical Commmunications evacuated to Writers Wayback doesn't have the techcomm pages, but you could find them in the data dump.
    – Helmar
    Jul 2 '18 at 16:07
  • @ShadowWizard thanks! That clears it up. Not exactly easy to figure out on your own if you haven't seen it before since everything goes offline! Jul 2 '18 at 17:05

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