In most sites, it is requested to have 10 questions with score 10+ (apart from followers) to move to commit stage. Today I saw that 40 questions are required to cross. Whereas, available questions that can be asked are still five.

Is this a bug or a policy change? Isn't it more difficult now for communities to survive?

2 Answers 2


We increased the requirements to slow down the number of sites that were being created that don't have all that much support to begin with. These slow-grown communities spend a year-plus in development and then just barely limp across the finish line to have less than half the users show up for the beta launch.

This will not make it more difficult for communities to survive. It will make it easier. By increasing the bar on Definition, users have more time to build a support base. If we can't get that kind of support in the Definition phase, the site wont work.

This is only half of the equation, though. We are reviewing changes to the Commitment phase to capture the momentum sites will need after launch. With the changes in Definition, there will be more people to jump on the Commitment. If the signups aren't there when these proposals enter Commitment, the site will not work. We've shown that that decisively. These proposals that spend a year-plus just languishing in Commitment — slowly, slowly accumulating just enough users to eventually launch — do not build a healthy site.

These intermediate changes are just applying what we've already learned, something we can add quickly until we can design/build an Area 51 v2.0.

  • 11
    The faq hasn't been updated, it still reads “When at least ten questions have a score of at least ten net votes”. Feb 27, 2012 at 22:30
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    Robert, merely increasing requirements without giving these fledgling communities a means to group together and discuss scope will result in more stagnations. I think this change, along with a dedicated chatroom for each proposal displayed prominently on the proposal page (possibly with the option of chatting from that same window, like in gmail) will result in people (most of whom might have never run across each other on SE) trying to actually make a focused attempt at defining & promoting it. Discuss.A51 is not as visible as it should be. Could you possibly hint at what changes are planned? Feb 28, 2012 at 5:35
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    Can we up the limit of five upvotes per proposal to say 20 votes?
    – Ambo100
    Feb 28, 2012 at 19:11
  • @yoda More stagnations is preferable to letting proposals launch sites that are not ready. Area 51 v2.0 will likely be a complete rewrite with a new approach to how to we propose, grow, and train new communities. But we are still early in the brainstorming stages. Feb 28, 2012 at 19:17
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    @Ambo100 No, the changes are to require more people to build these sites. Not to get more work out of the same people. Feb 28, 2012 at 19:20
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    @RobertCartaino Well, I meant unfortunate stagnations in cases where they would've been ready if only they had some means to discuss. However, since you say several things are in the pipeline, I'll wait and watch for the changes. Feb 28, 2012 at 19:29
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    Having participated in some betas that have not had a high-percentage of committers even log into the new site, I think this is a great idea. If you are taking ideas for Area 51 v2.0, I'd suggest letting people write full questions: title, body, and tags, that would be immediately posted on the new site, if voted up enough here. (But don't let people answer the question; build up some anticipation!) Feb 28, 2012 at 20:05
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    @RobertCartaino. I can understand and do appreciate raising the number of good questions in the definition stage, but isn't going from 10 to 40 questions too much? Why not raise it up to 25 questions?
    – THelper
    Mar 2, 2012 at 8:15
  • @THelper Because a tiny, incremental increase like that will not produce the desired results. Mar 2, 2012 at 15:00
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    @RobertCartaino: How can you be sure 40 questions is enough?
    – Ambo100
    Mar 3, 2012 at 17:32
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    It still seems to be the case that only 60 followers are required. 60 followers can cast a total of 300 up-votes; even if they all agree on the 40 questions that's not enough people. Should we up the number of people needed officially, since that limit is effectively higher now anyway? Mar 8, 2012 at 4:04
  • FAQ still isn't correct. And please use "40" rather than "forty".
    – Jason S
    Apr 11, 2012 at 11:43
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    Also if you're going to revamp, please change the name/theme from Area51 to something that sounds and looks more legitimate. It might not turn off computer people, but the name and theme does turn off people who don't know what they're getting into. I have to tell people I refer this site to, "Ignore the aliens theme, it's for starting a Q/A site."
    – Jason S
    Apr 11, 2012 at 11:48
  • Just postulating here... I wonder if what the makers of stackExchange is really after is rate of growth rather than absolute numbers? You'll get the same complaints from the same groups because keeping a rate of growth high is really difficult. What this would mean is that some sites would never make it to beta or beyond because their rate of growth would be low no matter how many members have joined (and then forgotten about) the site.
    – ChronoFish
    Mar 1, 2013 at 3:10

This will however increase the time from when the proposal starts, to when the proposal goes live. This increases the chance that the people who liked the proposal at the beginning will move on and forget by the time the proposal goes live.

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