Update: Do not sympathy commit. Only commit if you will spend significant time on the site when it enters private and public beta!

Update 2: So the English community should not sympathy commit to non-English proposals. Translation is difficult, then I'm not asking Is there any chance without English community support? anymore. The real question is: For non-English proposals is there any chance at all? If not, we should simply close all non-English proposals.

Persian IT @ commit phase http://lh3.googleusercontent.com/04h0YuaI76BQdF-QAUfYHnM8EEzSnUolZes5y-NQ51wpiAjAJPjn6cAyyykIvFMjOPzt3RxJtrFOc4X7bitI3RnFVQ=s512

OK. Finally the commit phase has begun. During the definition phase I asked if it's OK to have non-English questions and answers in Area 51. Joel Spolsky answered:

...It is our long term goal to make the Stack Exchange Network a great, planetary resource for all the world's citizens no matter what language they speak...

Now in Persian IT we have 30 commited, and still 0% progress. I'm not sure how commit percent works, but I know it's related to rep points. Sure we have people like Mehrdad Afshari with 87K rep and I will ask them to support Persian IT, but is there any chance to pass commit phase without English community support?

I mean look at Gaming proposal, same commited as Persian IT but 14% commit percent. So in short we have people without enough Stack Overflow rep points who want to have a non-English Q&A site based on Stack Exchange, but it seems it's not effective and we need English community support. so will you support non-English proposal?

P.S.: If it helps, here is the translation for some of the Persian IT on-topic questions:

  • How to backup installed packages and updates in Ubuntu?
  • How to run Apple OS on virtual machine?
  • What are differences between crossover cable and network cable?
  • Well, S.Mark with 32K total rep commit to Persian IT and commit percent is 1%! actually I'm kind of sure we can't pass this phase without English community support.
    – Hamed
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 9:21
  • (Jeff asked me to revoke the commitment based on meta.stackexchange.com/questions/53743/… ), so, sorry about that, I have to revoke the vote.
    – YOU
    Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 3:37
  • @S.Mark no problem, I totally understand that. Sympathy Commit is not good for proposal (maybe backfire) so we are going to find another way. thanks anyway
    – Hamed
    Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 4:02

3 Answers 3


Our goal is to make sites which work.

At first, we will do this by having very strict criteria, and only creating a tiny number of sites for which there is overwhelming support. As time goes on, we will relax the criteria, as long as the sites that get created actually work. If, say, 95% of the sites that make it to beta actually survive for three months and get a lot of of good Q&A and help a lot of people, we'll make it easier and easier to get past the commitment phase.

Look at Jeff's answer here. We are deliberately trying to create more sites for the greater Stack Overflow community first. Once those sites get up and running, the Stack Overflow community will be much larger. We're not trying to create sites for the public at large or for people who never used Stack Overflow -- yet. That will come as a byproduct of expanding the community.

What does that mean for non-English sites? Well, the same rules apply. If there are a lot of existing users of Stack Overflow who want to talk about, say, programming in a different language, we'll make that site. But if the only way to get a non-English site off the ground is to recruit a lot of people from outside the community, we run the very strong risk that the site gets created by people who don't understand voting, and who don't understand tags, and who use the "answer" feature to write comments and further questions, and thus the sites will be permanently broken. We saw this happen with many StackOverflow 1.0 sites which struggled to get off the ground because not enough of the early users had experience with our platform.

Ultimately, however, I believe that there will be sites in every language, just like there are Facebook users around the world. Facebook started with students at one college, then two colleges, then a few more, and eventually spread to high schools, then workplaces, then cities, then the world. It doesn't take long, but if you just swing the doors wide open on the first day nobody really knows what they're supposed to be doing and it doesn't work.


If I spoke the language, I would probably commit.

I don't, however, and committing would be a lie: there's no way I can fulfill the obligations asked of me. (Which are "to visit at least three times per week, to ask at least three questions during the beta phase, and to answer as many questions as I can for at least three months.")

If there is a way for me to support your proposal without deception (even benevolent), I'd look into that, but I've simply ignored the non-English proposals so far because I'm not fluent in another language.

Faking commitments just to meet the threshold could backfire into a failed site, and I doubt that's what you want:

What you are suggesting is the exact opposite of what Commit is about. We don't need people (in Commit) to say "Yeah, sound like a good site idea." We need people who will actually commit to using the site. All the good intentions in the world do not put people in the seats on day one. – Robert Cartaino

It's important for those "people in the seats" to have some familiarity with the system to shortcut growing pains and confusion.


Since it's based on reputation, and all the current sites are in English and cater to English speakers, I suspect you are right - you are experiencing a catch 22.

I suspect the key here is that with lower reputation users you'll simply need to get a lot more of them to commit.

  • 4
    Well, I don't know, in Web Applications proposal they have Jeff Atwood support with 214K rep, Kyle Cronin with 71K rep, Jonathan Sampson with 59k and at least 15 people with more than 10K rep! so How many people with 51 rep we need for this? 10000?
    – Hamed
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 9:18
  • 1
    Or be assiduous in attracting bilingual supporters who can get reputation in the main sites. Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 11:21
  • @Hameds: We don't know how this "percentage" is calculated. I personally doubt that is a simple sum. Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 12:22
  • @Hameds: I guess somewhere above 10K reputation, it doesn't count anymore how much reputation you actually have, you're just another 10K+ user, so Jeff Atwood, Kyle Cronin and Jonathan Sampson have the same Commitment Power Commented Jun 16, 2010 at 16:33

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