A few minutes ago, I recieved an email which read (in part)
On Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 2:23 PM, Stack Exchange Area 51 wrote:
The proposal you've committed to is over halfway to beta! To get it the rest of the way, we need more people to commit to using the site.
If you know anyone who might be interested, send them this link:
Committing is the only way to get access to the private beta, and every committer moves the proposal one step closer to launching. Hurry! Once the private beta begins, new sign-ups will be closed until the site goes public.
I'm aware that the proposal is over halfway - It was at 59% before I signed up an hour ago, now it's at 60%. It's always been "over halfway to beta" in the time that I've been a part of it. I'm also aware that it needs to be promoted - there was a gaudy banner with various sharing tools that appeared after I signed up.
It seems like this email system was written with the first committer in mind. For most everyone else,
if (proposal_commit_percent > 50) then send_email() end
is pretty meaningless. An email reminder seems like a decent idea, but it needs a little more implementation effort. How about something along the line of
The proposal you've committed to has advanced another 25% towards beta!
with appropriate implementation code to record the proposal's progress at the time the user committed and get the logic right (hint: It's not
if (proposal_commit_percent > 25)). An alternative notification could be:
The proposal you've committed to is X% closer to beta than it was when you committed 90 days ago!
Both seem motivating, timely, and meaningful, which the current implementation misses. They serve as reminders after a reasonable amount of time, which is a good thing.