I've been trying to get a technical support site for our game, ROBLOX up and running on Area-51 for the past several days.

I whipped 180 people into a fury and sent that to that page (for some reason my referral count - once 150+, bounced back to ~90). Most sites launch at between 200-400 committed users.

We're stuck at 3%.

I found in this post - Area 51 Commit Percent - the the commitment score is calculated thus:

The final commitment percentage of a proposal is equal to the MINIMUM of these three numbers:

  1. Total Commitment Score (above) / 500
  2. Total # of committers / 200
  3. Total # of committers with 200+ rep on a single site / 100

Since I am referring users that are largely new to SO, this means I can never get the ROBLOX site launched, even if I send 1000s of people to click the commit button. I could easily refer several hundred more people, but it doesn't seem like it would make a difference.

This seems backwards. If anything, Area 51 should be trying to suck in new users. I have no incentive to russle up more ROBLOX users and send them here if I have no expectation that my site will ever launch.

So my questions are:

  1. Do I understand the situation correctly, or am I mistaken?
  2. Is this really the incentive structure that Area-51 wants?

I tried actually emailing the support address for Area-51, no response.

  • 1
    I hate to say it, but your site does not sound like a good fit for the StackExchange network. See "Can I use Stack Exchange to support my product?" in the Area 51 FAQ. Edit: Even if it were on topic, you'd have to justify why said questions wouldn't fall into an existing site's purview, such as gamedev's. – Powerlord Nov 19 '10 at 18:18
  • About the change in your referral count numbers: That number now only includes those who have verified their email address. See this question from yesterday about the numbers on your proposal. – mmyers Nov 19 '10 at 18:35
  • ROBLOX has a large technical component - building techniques and also an embedded scripting language. We've tried forums and wikis before and we think a SO format might work best. It doesn't belong in gamedev - the people there would get upset when 20% of all questions were about ROBLOX. – John Shedletsky Nov 19 '10 at 18:39
  • @John Shedletsky: how did you manage to get so much attention to the proposal in such a short time? We would like to know at area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/13716/wikispeedia... – P.Mort. - forgot Clay Shirky_q Nov 19 '10 at 21:02
  • @Peter I run an online game with millions of active players. – John Shedletsky Nov 21 '10 at 22:06
  • 3
    Have you tried using gaming.stackexchange.com for ROBLOX questions? They might fit there just fine, maybe even those that touch a little Lua programming. – Tadeusz A. Kadłubowski Nov 25 '10 at 12:02
  • I don't think we'd get upset, you're welcome to come to our chatroom and talk with us about it, or post about it on the GD.SE meta. – Noctrine Jun 16 '13 at 15:50

I won't pretend to speak for the team on this specific issue, but one of the things they made very clear at the outset was that a proposed SE site needs members who are actually familiar with the Stack Exchange system in order to survive.

Most people who come into SE blind end up treating it like any old discussion forum, and if a site doesn't have any people with real experience, it's not going to do very well. If you imagine the site as a business, you need at least a few managers, otherwise you'll have chaos.

Referrals are great, but you need at least a few experienced (high-reputation) committed users in order to launch the site.

  • A few, sure. A 100? Probably not. – John Shedletsky Nov 19 '10 at 18:40
  • 1
    @John: The sites are community moderated, and that's a big job. If you could get a few people to be on the site 24/7 then you could do it with just a few. Seeding a site with 100 experience users increases the odds that enough will be online at a time. – Bill the Lizard Nov 19 '10 at 18:46
  • 4
    @John: Using the Cooking SE as an example (as it's the one I'm most active on, and one of the most active SEs), we had almost 40 users with over 10k reputation commit and about 17 pages of users with over 1k. Nearly 4 months later, there are just 17 users with close/reopen privileges. There's a major funnel effect here; usually about 2/3 of committers register, less than 1/3 fulfill their commitments, and less than 1/10 remain active on the site afterward. So actually 100 experienced "committed" users is a pretty low number. You'd likely end up with maybe 10 high-rep members by launch. – Aarobot Nov 19 '10 at 18:57
  • @Aarobot But I can constantly push new users to the beta site from ROBLOX.com. A distinction should be drawn between: 1. people with experience using SO (high rep) and 2. people with domain knowledge (low rep). In this case, they are completely disjoint sets and the people in (2) are much more valuable for launching a useful site than the people in (1). – John Shedletsky Nov 19 '10 at 19:16
  • 1
    @Aarobot's answer is a good summary of the team's position – David Fullerton Nov 19 '10 at 22:43
  • 8
    @John: I don't think the team agrees, and I don't personally agree tat the people with domain knowledge are actually "much more valuable." Both sets of people are crucial. If you don't have people who know how to run the site effectively, then the site won't run effectively, and people will leave. Stack Overflow and the other SEs aren't great just because of the software; the people who pour hours into retags, edits, closes and reopens, deletes and undeletes, flagging or downvoting bad posts, and so on - they are absolutely crucial for the sites' health. – Aarobot Nov 19 '10 at 23:41

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