Must we have 15 questions per day and over 1,500 visits per day before we move away from the beta stage like Area 51 suggests, would that guarantee anything?
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Or maybe the next day, depending how much work @Jin has to do with the site design based on feedback from us in the next day or so...
Design for Bicycles Stack Exchange.
Basically, we're graduating now, but it takes several days before the design goes live.
Must we have 15 questions per day and over 1,500 visits per day
No, it doesn't really work that way. There are only a few minimum requirements that must be met before a site qualifies to graduate:
- Must be in beta at least 90 days.
- At least 10 users with 2,000+ reputation
- At least 5 users with 3,000+ reputation
You're good on all those fronts.
Having 3 questions/day is "worrying" but not completely unexpected or damning. Bicycles is inherently a smaller topic, and not all sites have to be huge to graduate.
We'd like to see a larger audience for the Bicycles site. More users means the site is less vulnerable to the sudden loss of a few, key users. So how do you do that?
We find that the best way to attract user to a site is by highlighting your most intriguing questions. Most users find this site through search engines. So, as long as you are asking QUALITY questions, users will continue to find the site and, hopefully, become contributors of their own.
That's why quality is so important at this stage. You want to ASSURE that users who stumble across one of your questions will see your front page and say "Wow, this is the site for me!" — and that's how the site will grow to graduation.
Don't panic. It will happen soon enough. Just keep the quality high and use those social bookmarks.
More activity would certainly help. As to what will trigger the change out of beta, that's up to the Stack Exchange people, of course.
Perhaps the question is "what's keeping us in beta?" The SE folks will have to answer that one, but I can offer an opinion: We need more people posting good questions, and more people answering them. But--and this is very important--it's critical we maintain the level of quality. Having a bunch of "what's the best bike" questions to fill the gap wouldn't help.
We expected that winter in the northern hemisphere would be a slow time for this site, since the bulk of our users are in North America and England. (I haven't checked for a while, but I think we do have a bunch of folks Down Under.) Now that people are taking bikes down from the attic, it's the perfect time to recruit more users.
Keep asking and answering those questions. If you see a bad question, help make it better by commenting or editing.
You can help with publicity by posting links to Facebook, Twitter, and so on. (Each question has FB and Twitter links in it, under the voting arrows.)
If you have a blog, use it to posting examples of good questions. Like this one, this other one and also this one. Tell us about it here or in chat!
You could also try putting this site in your signature on related web forums, or hand out flyers, or maybe try to involve bike shops.
Or, maybe organize a bicycles.SE event in your area.
In summary, we'll need more visits per day and more questions asked per day. Slow growth will be best, making it easier to help new users ask good, answerable questions.
Edit: Freiheit brought this question up in the weekly moderator chat, and the answer boils down to that we need to continue growing, but we're not in danger of being shut down or anything.
This post on the Stack Exchange blog may help, for anyone who hasn't see it: When Will My Site Graduate?