I had posted a discussion on a new proposal that would allow people to leave suggestions for possible questions. This was to give people some ideas for their own suggestions.

It was just now closed as supposedly off-topic and people could simply take and copy them. But is that a good and convincing reason? Let's see:

  1. Asking people to simply suggest(!) more ideas for example questions than 5 could not be more on-topic than not -- that is all this here is about.
  2. Nobody -- unless they allow for bots here -- can be forced to copy a question and make it his own proposal; that is a deliberate and willfull action.
  3. What is more: Everybody can leave new ideas on his own -- so this increases the speed of getting a proposal into beta (the best definition of helpful there is).

And that last point seems to be exactly what is bothering the Area 51 moderators. It seems that their business model is to have as many people stick around here for as long as possible and not have to install a new site.

Any thoughts?

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    ...did you not read any of Robert's comments? He explains it very well. – fbueckert Feb 26 '16 at 19:29
  • You deleted most of your comments, so I don't see much going on. That said, the argument Robert made is very applicable, and you're not arguing against it. As is, your proposal might work, but so far, you're the only one to have left any example questions, and everyone else has only 51 rep. Sounds almost like manufactured interest. – fbueckert Feb 26 '16 at 19:46
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    @fbueckert It is certainly not manufactured but what do you expect that I do not advertise for a new site? And -- as I have written below - most of the users come from communities that are not SE-affine. – gwr Feb 26 '16 at 19:50
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    @fbueckert Incidentally, I don't generally see it as a bad thing that a proposal has a lot of low-rep followers building it. Getting more of those "experience points" is a function of the Commitment phase, but we have to encourage folks who are trying to build on subjects that are outside the core community. Otherwise we are just rehashing the same ideas over and over again. – Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '16 at 19:52
  • @Robert I get the wider audience. What I don't get, in this case, is the lack of any example questions beyond the creator's. That doesn't really display interest a whole lot, in my opinion. Rather just friends joining because someone asked. – fbueckert Feb 26 '16 at 19:55
  • @fbueckert That's what the Area 51 process will bear out. I was only editorializing on the general premise that a lot of 51-rep users equates to a doomed proposal. – Robert Cartaino Feb 26 '16 at 20:00
  • @fbueckert You are aware that the proposal is 2 days old? What do you expect? And of course I asked or should we all meet beforehand and then stream in in troves? – gwr Feb 26 '16 at 20:33
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    Yes, and 20 other people have managed to join in that timeframe. But none have asked any questions. Obviously, if they can join, they can ask. But none have. Why is that? That's why I'm leaning towards it being manufactured interest. You even put up a possible repository of questions for them to ask, which leans hard into the puppet territory. – fbueckert Feb 26 '16 at 23:59
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    Your post at What can and should be done to make this site take off? is well done. It provides good guidance for new users to become well rounded SE users – James Jenkins Feb 27 '16 at 10:53

I understand your frustration, and have experienced it as well on this topic. I will let one of the moderators address your specific concerns. But the 5 question limit is there for a valid reason, your idea is an attempt to get around the limit. It could be considered gaming the system, and no site will beta launch where it made it through a phase by gaming.

By closing your question, the proposal actually has a better chance to launch.

P.S. Faster does not always equal better.


The purpose of holding users at five "example questions" each is that we are trying to determine if there is a breadth of users with sufficiently broad interest in what they would actually like to ask if we create the site. Area 51 is about trying to answer one question:

"Do we actually have sufficient support to build a strong site?"

Too often we've seen proposals pushed through by the work of one (or perhaps a few) well-meaning users telling people what to post or how to vote, etc… but when we actually launch this the site, there's actually little interest in it at all. The demand was artificial. It's sad, but it happens.

There's no mathematically-derived truth that says "40 questions with 10+ votes" means you automatically have a great site (no matter how you get those questions). Those numbers were derived empirically through a lot of experience and hard-earned failures. But the participation has to be organic or those numbers don't mean anything at all.

So when we see people telling folks how to vote… or what to post (let's assume someone takes your advice), it only calls into question whether we have enough organic participation to launch this proposal at all.

Essentially, when we do the final eyes-on evaluation prior to launch, these activities only raise concerns that (potentially) we might be seeing artificially inflated numbers — and that puts the final evaluation (confidence in moving the proposal forward) in jeopardy.

It's ultimately self-defeating, and that's why we don't allow it.

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