If you're a user on a long-toiling beta site that's been waiting 7-8 years to get out of beta, this may be the post you've been waiting for.
The 29 Beta sites that are 7+ years old no longer have the "Beta" label!
I'm on record as saying that we need to ditch the "beta" label for our older sites and get rid of the graduation process - or at least make some major changes to it - and I'm not unique in that. We're well aware of the growing absurdity of sites that are years-old, yet still weighted down with a "beta" indicator for little defensible reason.
The first major step, Design-independent graduation, was an important change that separated graduation from getting a full-site theme... but this still left sites in limbo that couldn't meet the 10 questions per day metric for graduating.
Around the same time we recognized that "small sites" may never hit that target but they can still be successful sites and they wouldn't be at risk of closure unless they failed to maintain moderation levels to keep spam at bay and the questions on-topic and of good quality. This was a great step towards helping y'all feel that your communities would be safe from closure.
In the almost four years since that announcement it's become clear on many of your meta sites and even here on MSE that being unable to get rid of the "beta" label in your banners is a major concern to your communities - and it's time to address that.
What does it mean?
For now, if a site started private beta before July 2012, that site is no longer "beta" - it is a full site by our definition. We've removed the word "beta" from the site banners because we believe that these sites aren't really beta sites any more, even if they don't get ten questions per day.
The sites that qualify will:
- have the "Beta" removed from their banner
- be moved to the "Launched" sites list on Area 51 - which will also remove the A51 info box from the right sidebar
- retain beta reputation levels
- have their full-site elections delayed, but scheduled eventually
This is the start of a process that we are already discussing internally and will be bringing to the network for public discussion once the plan is finalized. My hope is that this will mean the end of the monolith we currently refer to as "Graduation" in favor of a well-defined set of small targets to achieve the various elements that made up "Graduation".
If your site isn't one of these 29, don't fear! This update shouldn't leave you worried that your site may be shut down. Our decision that low-volume sites are still valuable hasn't changed. Some sites being released from beta now doesn't mean the others are failing.
I'm sure you have many questions, please feel free to ask (in an answer) and I'll answer what I can. It helps me out a lot if you can limit answers to focus on a single question/subject rather than asking a dozen questions in one answer.
Thanks so much for your patience and stay tuned!
Full list of sites (ordered by creation date):
- Board & Card Games
- Sound Design
- Video Production
- Project Management
- Physical Fitness
- Software Testing & Quality Assurance
- German Language
- Gardening and Landscaping
- French Language
- Biblical Hermeneutics
- Spanish Language
- Computational Science
- Chinese Language
- Русский язык
- Psychology and Neuroscience
- The Great Outdoors
- Martial Arts
- Windows Phone
- Russian Language