4

I did some looking up, but I couldn't figure out how to look it up with Google searches or if it's stated anywhere on a given site. I've also tried this terminal command: whois softwarerecs.stackexchange.com | grep "Creation", but it doesn't provide it either. I get this when I omit grep:

created:      1985-01-01
11
  • 3
    One can get a reasonable estimate from the date of the oldest question.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 28, 2023 at 20:54
  • 1
    Can you infer that the first question is the equivalent of the "Creation date" for the site?
    – AMtwo
    Jun 28, 2023 at 20:54
  • 1
  • 2
    It may also depend what you're defining as the site's "creation". The date it launches into private beta, or public beta? (I assume earlier steps in the Area 51 site process, such as the Commitment or Definition phases, wouldn't count.)
    – V2Blast
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:00
  • @V2Blast I never even heard of betas for SE sites. I'd say the public beta, but would you know how to get the other dates?
    – Oneechan69
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:02
  • @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact How come it says "1m" for Programming Language Design and Implementation? stackexchange.com/sites?view=list#oldest
    – Oneechan69
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:03
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    @Oneechan69 -- That site was created 1 month ago.
    – AMtwo
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:05
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    Oh my bad, I thought it meant 1 minute ago! 😂😂😂. Perhaps it should be "1 mo" instead to prevent confusion.
    – Oneechan69
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:11
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    @Oneechan69: See this FAQ for more info on proposing a site: How can I propose a new site? See also the Area 51 FAQ for more info on the site proposal process there.
    – V2Blast
    Jun 28, 2023 at 21:14
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    This was previously possible by looking at the last seen date of the Community user on the site. Jun 28, 2023 at 21:25
  • In some cases the Community user (UID -1 on all SE sites) is registered a day before the site is sent into private beta, so even looking at the Community user's creation date may not be that accurate. (That's if accuracy is a concern for you.) Jun 30, 2023 at 18:23

3 Answers 3

5

Stack Exchange API has sites object that provides the closed (private) beta date, open (public) beta date, and launch (graduation) date.

Example URL to return all sites with related dates in 1 call (current sites: 362, page size: 500): https://api.stackexchange.com/docs/sites#page=1&pagesize=500&filter=!-CC*HqP9jrj7n6mK7I7P6sWh1.tA&run=true

Sample result:

{
  "launch_date": 1221436800,
  "open_beta_date": 1217462400,
  "site_url": "https://stackoverflow.com",
  "name": "Stack Overflow"
},

...

{
  "launch_date": 1246147200,
  "open_beta_date": 1246147200,
  "site_url": "https://meta.stackexchange.com",
  "name": "Meta Stack Exchange"
},

...

{
  "launch_date": 1639665691,
  "open_beta_date": 1423508206,
  "closed_beta_date": 1422385200,
  "site_url": "https://coffee.stackexchange.com",
  "name": "Coffee"
},

...

{
  "open_beta_date": 1687885837,
  "closed_beta_date": 1684263600,
  "site_url": "https://langdev.stackexchange.com",
  "name": "Programming Language Design and Implementation"
},
2

I would consider "Site Creation" to be the day that the first question was asked on the site. Most of the time, the first question has PostID = 1 -- it's possible that Post 1 is deleted, and you might need to try another low number--but on most sites, just guessing 1 will do.

You can find this by using the /questions/1 slug for any given site. Examples:

You could also use Stack Exchange Data Explorer to directly query a copy of the real data. This allows you to write anything you want in SQL, and get the results. You could even write a fancy script that uses dynamic SQL to query every database and get the results for every site in the network.

A query for a simple, single-database query might look like this:

SELECT TOP 1
       p.Id,
       p.CreationDate --Estimated creation of site, based on oldest post
FROM dbo.Posts AS p
ORDER BY p.Id;

Note that in this SEDE query, it will always find the first post, whether the PostId is 1 or something else.

3
  • Risky, the first question might be deleted. My way is checking the join date of Community user. Jun 30, 2023 at 9:34
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    @Shadow, True. Though in practice, it's a pretty solid approach that works nearly always. I did write the query in a way to make sure that I wasn't depending on the PostId, but unfortunately, via the site itself, it's not particularly easy to reliably find the oldest question or the site creation date.
    – AMtwo
    Jun 30, 2023 at 13:58
  • @Shadow thanks for the pointer--I added a little bit that 1 is usually correct, but not always. It's too bad that the Sites.xml in the Data Dump has the most recent post date/time, but not the first post date/time. Snagging the XML and grabbing all the dates from that would be much easier.
    – AMtwo
    Jun 30, 2023 at 19:09
1

https://stackexchange.com/sites#oldest gives info about site age at month granularity, which appears to be the date when the site enters private beta.

You can find dates about private beta and public beta on a site's Area51 page (Ex. for Unix & Linux), where the tooltip on the time difference info will show a timestamp. Unfortunately, there's no tooltip with a timestamp for the launch info time difference.

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