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With reference to How are we doing? and Why does this Beta have a problem with question frequency?, plus the fact that we are now on day 2320 in Beta and are still lagging on some stats, I'm wondering if we will ever get out of Beta. In addition, the update on Warning about answers that just copy online sources can hardly be a good thing.

Concerning the stats, 6.2 questions per day is someway short of the 'required' 10, and we are also lagging on answer ration (current 2.2 versus the 'required' 2.5). On the other hand, I noted yannis' comment "You shouldn't take the Area 51 stats too seriously; they are just indicators of the site's health, and not the only things that matter towards graduation." in response to the question Why does this Beta have a problem with question frequency?.

ANSWER RATIO

If yannis is right (and he's been around for a while), we probably shouldn't worry too much about the 'answer ratio'. I would hope, also, that the SE powers that be would note that many questions here have one or two really good answers, and that any additional answers are unlikely to be more than repetition, spam or relevant 'scraps' which are better filed under 'comments' than 'answers'. I'm struggling to see how, for example, the following would benefit from more answers:

  1. How do historians and linguists know how to pronounce the names from non-phonetic scripts?
  2. Was there really a Communist presidential nominee or political party in the 1876 election?
  3. Did ancient Rome have slave hunters?
  4. Would colonial Maryland have been tolerant to all religions?

QUESTIONS PER DAY

'Questions per day' is probably another matter as we are someway from the target. Among the possible solutions to this might be:

  1. Be more supportive of new users' questions. Much has been said on this recently and although I think we definitely need to do this, we don't want the site flooded with sub-standard, poorly researched questions either.
  2. Ask more questions ourselves. Although we do need new members to keep the site alive and 'fresh', old members should be much better equipped to ask 'quality' questions. That said, the best questions tend to stem from a genuine desire to know something rather than trying to 'force it'...
  3. Upvote questions more. No, I'm not recommending bribery (see below 'On the last point...). Nor am I suggesting an indiscriminate upvote on anything that doesn't deserve to be closed, but there is a clear imbalance between the number of upvotes on questions and upvotes on answers (not to mention that answers get 10 and questions only 5).

On this last point, reputation is particularly important for newbies: it's needed to the get privileges which allow them to participate more actively on the site in the long-term (which will make it more likely that they'll stay). However, asking questions doesn't seem to be nearly as good a way to get reputation as riding on the coat tails of popular questions by giving short answers which (due to the sheer number of views) have a good chance of picking up 2 or 3 votes (4 to 6 upvotes on a question) even though they don't really add anything that hasn't already been said.

The A - 10 / Q - 5 vote policy applies to all sites, and I've no reason to doubt that for most SE sites its a good policy. On History, though, I beg to differ: a good question can easily take longer to research and formulate than a good answer, especially if you are not already well-informed on the general area of the question. We can't change SE policy, but we can change the way we vote on questions.

COPYING ONLINE ANSWERS

There does seem to have been an increase in this and, if Robert Cartaino feels the need to update an old post on this, perhaps we need to pay serious attention - or am I misunderstanding something here?

SUMMARY

This 'question' is already far longer than originally intended so, to get to the point:

  1. How are we going to increase the number of questions without compromising quality?
  2. Should we be worried about the amount of block copying, even from non-Wikipedia sources?
  3. How will (1) and (2) impact our chances of graduating?
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    I'll admit to abject ignorance regarding graduating, and ask an idiot question :- does not moving out of Beta put H:SE in danger of being closed? If not, does it matter? Apologies if this is a really stupid question. – TheHonRose Feb 17 '18 at 13:39
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    I'm no expert either but, from what I understand, we can either stay beta, be closed or graduate. Does it matter? My guess is that it makes it less likely that we'd be closed if we graduate (although I think it's unlikely anyway we'd be closed as we do pretty well on the other stats (e.g. visitors per day, answer rate). – Lars Bosteen Feb 17 '18 at 13:43
  • Thanks for clearing that up. I agree we need more and better questions, but provided we're not closed, graduating is no Holy Grail for me! – TheHonRose Feb 17 '18 at 13:57
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    This is actually one of my favorite topics. Feel free to pop into the Time Machine and ask about it any time. I'll admit my previous answers about it now appear to be obsolete. I'll see if I can't write one here that won't go obsolete. – T.E.D. Feb 17 '18 at 15:23
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When this question gets asked, there are two basic things users want to know about this site's status:

1) (When) Is History ever going to get out of "Beta"?

2) Is History in danger of being closed down if it remains in Beta?

When is History going to get out of "Beta"?

The criteria for "graduation" out of beta has changed in recent years. Its a bit fuzzy, but it now basically boils down to consistently generating 10 questions a day.

As a mod I get access to some great statistical information, including nice pretty graphs of our performance over any time period I care to ask for, which I frustratingly am not allowed to share. However, what I believe I can say is we have always been on a steady (if bumpy) upslope on QPD which, if projected into the future, puts our average over 10 (eyeballing it here) in roughly 3 or 4 years. That's of course assuming growth remains like it has been in the past.

As a user you can perform a quick check of this yourself, by going to the main page and clicking on "Questions" and then "Newest". Just count up how many you see for each day. As of this writing, the last three days are 8, 9, and 9, but that's likely just a blip. The last few times I've done this check the 3 day average has been a smidge over 7.

I know "3 years" sounds like a lot, but I've been tracking this since nearly inception, and for me we are getting tantalizingly close. When I started as a moderator we were getting roughly 4.5 QPD. I'm quite confident we'll get there.

Is History in danger of being closed down if it remains in Beta?

No.

The latest info from Stack Exchange is that sites can remain in Beta indefinitely, as long as they are useful functioning sites. Sites that get closed are ones that are incapable of keeping themselves clean of garbage posts, or where no questions are getting answered. We are worlds past that kind of poor state. So as long as we don't drastically regress, and SE can afford to keep the servers powered, we have a home here.


CODA: Well, let's all just post tons of questions then!

If you think you can do that, and make them good answerable questions, and keep it up indefinitely, go for it. But I honestly don't think the best way to get there is by trying to artificially pump up one stat. I'd rather see us get more users and more visitors, such that we get more than 10 questions a day with no special effort at all.

To that end, if you can promote this site, and treat new users reasonably when they venture to participate, that is probably better. People need to keep this site good with useful answers, good edits and tags, and free from douchbaggery too.

Do what you can do best to make this a good useful site for everyone, and we'll get there together.


Further reading:

Graduation, Site Closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites

What to expect when you're expecting graduation

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    Protip: Pay particular attention to posts in questions that make the Hot Network Questions list. Consider that like we're having an Open House. – T.E.D. Feb 17 '18 at 16:06
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    Agreed, artificially increasing the number of questions won't do much for the health of the site, and I don't have tons of questions to ask (like I said, it isn't easy). I am hoping, though, that experienced users will ask a few more as they are more likely to come up with good ones (which will improve the quality of our content). – Lars Bosteen Feb 18 '18 at 0:15
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    On the topic of questions, credit to @Aaron Brick for consistently coming up with good ones. – Lars Bosteen Feb 18 '18 at 0:18
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    Hey thanks, @LarsBosteen! – Aaron Brick Aug 7 '18 at 0:51

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