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I get the feeling that uncertainty is killing this Stack. Since the 'Do we need a history site?' question I feel like we are in limbo. The public beta was scheduled to start at around the same time, but hasn't. Is this normal?

Given the tiny user base in the private beta, it makes sense that the number of questions is lessening. Add to that the expectation that the site will close and I can see the rate of engagement approaching zero.

I think a public beta is the only way to test if the site can survive the denizens of the Internet at large and hopefully give it a chance to attract some real academics.

Am I overreacting? What is the plan?

  • 2
    It seems we are now in public beta! Yay. – Noldorin Oct 25 '11 at 19:39
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Am I overreacting? What is the plan?

Yeah, a bit, but to be fair we've been less communicative this past week than we would be normally in this situation.

Right now, there's just not much to the site. Lotta talk here on meta about what sort of questions could be appropriate, but not many actual questions.

Yes, there are limitations to how much we can expect from a closed beta. But when there's this little content, it starts to look like a ghost town - that's not really gonna encourage new users if we open it up either. Even the best site definition is pointless if there's no appreciable work getting done on the actual site.

So here are a few things you can do, for now:

  • If you know someone who could benefit from asking on the site, or could contribute really good answers to the site, invite them in (there's a little form for this on the right-hand side of the main site).

  • If you're researching something and find yourself with a historical question, ask it. Even if you end up digging up the answer yourself. Building a variety of legitimate questions goes a long way toward making something of the site.

  • Edit existing Q&A to improve the quality can help encourage others to do the same, and improve the appeal of the entire site as a result.

  • Thanks for the feedback Shog. :) – RedBlueThing Oct 23 '11 at 12:28
  • Would you consider security.stackexchange.com a failure in this context? Considering that it isn't a beta site, it doesn't have significantly more new questions or significantly more active users than history.stackexchange.com right now. – Wladimir Palant Oct 24 '11 at 17:02
  • It has over 2,000 questions, @Wladimir, most with extremely high-quality answers. But it's not really a fair comparison either - that site is public, launched, branded... This one is still trying to get off the ground by tugging furiously at its bootstraps. History is a very broad subject compared to IT security - if this site makes it, it should be considerably larger... – Shog9 Oct 24 '11 at 17:21

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