Once every few weeks, I encounter a proposal on Area 51 that is obviously DOA. The proposal's scope is often nonsensical, overly broad, horrendously narrow, and/or covered well by existing sites on the network, and sample questions (if any are included) tend to be very unclear, overly broad, opinion-based, and or rhetorical themselves.

To be clear, I'm not talking about proposals that arguably need a little more attention in order to get back on track. I'm talking about proposals that are literally nowhere close to viable. The proposals might look like this (these are not actual proposals I've seen, but similar in style to the ones I am talking about):

  • Life
  • Johnson Memorial High School After-School Activities
  • Java Error Messages
  • Python on the Mac
  • Chinese Take-Out Restaurants in Western Des Moines
  • Blowing up Buildings with Dynamite

What should I do when I see something like this?

  • Should I flag it?
  • Should I leave it to the automated closure bots?
  • Should I downvote and closevote all of the included questions?
  • Should I start a discussion on Area 51 Discussion Zone?

In other words, does the community have a role or responsibility in helping to keep Area 51 clear of blatantly nonviable proposals, or is this solely the responsibility of diamond moderators and scripts? If the community does have a role, what is it?

In response to fbueckert's question, they do not usually meet the new proposal requirements. They typically gather only one or two additional followers and two or three questions. The question is whether I should wait for the new proposal culling scripts to run (or a moderator to happen to walk by) or whether I should say "There's no way it could make it" and take immediate action.

  • 1
    Does it meet the requirements for survival? New proposals are subject to very stringent requirements if they don't want to be closed within....five days, I think?
    – fbueckert
    Dec 9 '19 at 16:37
  • 3
    These days, there is now a field asking proposal authors to indicate where the active community is to form the site (shown only to moderators), and proposals which don't adequately indicate this are usually summarily closed on sight. Dec 9 '19 at 16:42

You should close them immediately, and make the reason clear.

These are a waste of space on the front page of Area 51, and take away exposure from legitimate proposals. Users try to treat them properly and waste time voting to close the junk questions, or responding to the discussion questions when the initiator inevitably wonders why they're being downvoted/closevoted/commented negatively.

They help nobody, and keeping them has downsides, so just get rid of them.


You shouldn't need to really do anything when you see a poor Area 51 proposal.

Users are required to provide a link to a community demonstrating an interest in the proposal that can act as the initial user base. If that link doesn't indicate enough support the proposal will be closed by a moderator or staff.


In general, the best thing you can do is ignore it. "Obviously DOA" proposals usually get automatically closed in short order by failing one of two criteria:

  • Most get closed within three days by failing to get either five followers or five proposed questions, or because the prior existing community that the user entered when proposing was found to be insufficient.
  • Most of the rest get closed after going a week with no activity.

There's also a Stack Exchange employee (currently animuson) keeping an eye on the place, closing proposals as needed.

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