From the FAQ:

Help sites get off the ground by defining the types of questions that are wanted, recruiting a critical mass of experts, and committing to the site's success.

This is false. There is no recruiting within the site and all attempt to recruit from within Area51 are prohibited. Indeed the suggestion is build a community "outside" of Area51 (such as Facebook, Google+, etc), but there is no mechanism to link-back. In fact doing so raises concerns

From the FAQ:

A good Q&A site needs a lot of people to support it, so users are asked to invite their friends and help build the community. Continuous participation is really, really important because each phase of the proposal has different ways to get involved.

There is no way within Area51 to invite friends and there is no way within Area51 to rally current supports for the continuous participation that is so important.

From the FAQ:

You can comment on individual questions to suggest improvements or voice concerns. For more extensive deliberations and discussions regarding the proposal as a whole, we have a separate Discussion Zone. Click "create new discussion" link near the top of the proposal to begin a new discussion.

The discussion zone is not proposal specific and you will quickly get lambasted for continuing a discussions that does not apply to Area51 as a whole.

From the FAQ:

The creation of Stack Exchange sites is a community-driven process. That does not mean the majority of Area 51 users have to love your site idea. It simply means you have to recruit a community of users large enough so that questions get good answers quickly. Reach out to other experts to build support for your site; bloggers, enthusiasts, and support groups can all benefit from a world-class, canonical collection of expert answers to the hardest questions.

Yet you can't recruit from within Area51. And for those users who have found your proposal, there is no way to communicate to them.

The most fundamental structure on the Web is the link. Yet Area51 is against the whole notion of link-backs. It's interested in attracting attention from communities. It's not interested in building communities. That makes me sad.

Just about everything you said here is incorrect. Area 51 was never intended to be the next Google Groups or Facebook platform where all the world's users would hang out, network, and socialize around creating these sites. There is an underlying assumption that if you're deeply interested in a topic that you would like to see hosted on the Stack Exchange platform, you would also know where those communities are and how to get in touch with them. We cannot conjure up a community for your every hobby or profession. That is what social media is for.

but there is no mechanism to link-back

There are 'share' buttons, social media icons, and links available just about anywhere you wish to link into. Feel free.

There is no way within Area51 to invite friends

'Following' or 'Committing' to a proposal gives you links you can send to others to follow. Clicking 'share this' will do the same. Every discussion has a link and so does every example question (although I don't think sharing an example question is all that useful).

The discussion zone is not proposal specific

Yes it is. As a matter of fact, most of the discussions here are proposal specific.

Clicking 'create new discussion' from any proposal will link the discussion directly into the proposal itself; and including a link to a proposal in any post will make it appear on the proposal page automatically.

Yet you can't recruit from within Area51

The Area 51 site does not contain your target audience. You can't simply say there should be a site about... and expect users to just start showing up. You have to go out and find that audience and rally their support to have your site created. Again, social media, existing forums, and similar online (and offline) groups are great for these activities.

And for those users who have found your proposal, there is no way to communicate to them.

The discussion section for the most part is what this is for. Everything we do here is out in the public; that is by design. If you're looking for some type of private messaging or communication system, we don't do that; not even on our regular Q&As.

  • 1
    We also have chat – James Jenkins Dec 19 '14 at 18:54
  • Everyone one of the "Share" buttons as you say are in one direction: From the social media back to the proposal. Where do you link from the proposal back out? For instance your recommendation to me was to build social sites in Google+, etc. Yet James just today chided me for displaying links to the Google+ site that is simply a meta-site to come back to Area51. Ridiculous. – ChronoFish Dec 19 '14 at 19:08
  • @ChronoFish Where did you put this link? There are certainly inappropriate places to advertise a proposal among our sites, but I see plenty of proposal discussions that say "I just created a group [here]" or "We created a chat room for this proposal." Unless such activities get really spammy, that should be just fine. – Robert Cartaino Dec 19 '14 at 19:11
  • As you are well aware, every discussion-zone comment gets shared system wide. While it may be filtered for a specific proposal, it's not limited to the proposal. As soon as you start asking meta-questions that should really be limited to the proposal, you start getting feedback that you're abusing the purpose of discussions area from non-members. Ridiculous. – ChronoFish Dec 19 '14 at 19:15
  • @ChronoFish I have never once seen someone complain that a proposal-specific discussion is not of enough general interest to the entire Area 51 community to show up in that listing. Where are you seeing this? <I ask again> – Robert Cartaino Dec 19 '14 at 19:20
  • Discussion @ChronoFish is referencing in regards to me is here – James Jenkins Dec 19 '14 at 19:39
  • @JamesJenkins The comments in example questions are there to ask for clarification or to suggest improvements to that post. Whether folks agree or not, that function IS reserved for comments about the merits of that question specifically. I think we can all agree that wasn't the best place to break into a parenthetical discussion about supporting Google Groups; maybe not, but thanks for the clarification. – Robert Cartaino Dec 19 '14 at 19:45
  • @RobertCartaino : Discussion around my first Healthcare IT attempt does not show up in my profile history - so it will be difficult to point to specific examples - though I did refer to it last year in a discussion with you (discuss.area51.stackexchange.com/questions/9491/… ). – ChronoFish Dec 19 '14 at 20:02

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