# Is beta-graduation the goal here? With a limited reserve of high-quality answer-writers, might it present more challenges?

I'm a big fan of this site, and have spent most of my SE time here. The technical level of the community is an incredible resource, and the moderation top-notch. I think this site is an excellent model for the value and potential of Stack Exchange.

I found a bit of discussion of beta-graduation and questions per day in

In the roughly 2 years since, the site has continued to grow rapidly in its collection of high quality, well-sourced answers. The question rate (a metric relevant to beta-graduation) has been fairly steady at roughly 2/3 of the rate for graduation.

My personal feeling is that there is nothing wrong with Stack Exchange beta status for some SE sites, including this one, and this question rate gives the time and space for the fairly small number of knowledgable answer-writers the time and space to write high quality answers. What I value here most myself is primarily the answer-base, and the introduction of new users to the answer-base via linking to it.

The recent SpaceX Roadster-related traffic transient might be characterized as "fun", and it was really well managed by the community and moderators. It also gives some insight into what a double or triple-the question rate experience might be like here. I saw a faint hint of angst, and hundreds of up votes (in toto) for answers that sometimes did not match the quality of answers that get a quarter of those votes during "normal" times. Up-vote skewing and dilution, if it became much more commonplace, might present several problems. Lower quality answers that simply "sound good" or sound authoritative may become a more popular style, making it a little less satisfying to the core of high quality answer-writers here.

I'm just one user here and so I'm curious if "growing the site" or beta-graduation is actually appealing to people in general, and in particular to the much smaller group who contribute a large fraction of the SE gold, high quality answers.

Is, or should beta-graduation be a goal for this site? Is that the idea here?

• Just FYI, Politics.SE (which will probably be in beta forever) had a similar spike after the 2016 election, before settling back down to low question numbers. That having been said, Elon Musk is stirring the space pot in a way not done since the 60s. There may yet be hope Space.SE makes it out. – Machavity Feb 23 '18 at 13:09
• Can you say more about why exactly one would hope? – uhoh Feb 23 '18 at 14:59
• The problem with any beta site is generating enough questions to meet the criteria for graduation. You need 10 per day to graduate. Space.SE is sitting at 11.1 as of right now. But some of that is driven by the Tesla and the novelty of that. I expect that to fall some. But unlike Politics.SE (where interest in Trump waned), we have a nascent commercial space industry, along with a visionary Musk, who might just be to Mars what JFK was to the Moon. The key is you need fertile ground for new questions, and it's quite fertile now. – Machavity Feb 23 '18 at 15:10
• @Machavity Sorry for the late react - yes, but there are no clear, numerical criteria, at least openly communicated ones by the SE. Checking the list of the sites, we can see that around at 10000 questions is the median between the beta and graduated sites. The Space SE is now at around 7000. I think graduation will happen in 1-2 years. – peterh Jun 8 '18 at 23:54
• The SE view on graduation has changed quite dramatically - it is no longer such a definite goal or target. Remaining in beta longer is just fine. Read meta.stackexchange.com/q/303727/154443 – Rory Alsop Jun 28 '18 at 7:07
• @RoryAlsop thanks for the link and info! Yes this sounds good to me (after skimming only). Now on to the (seemingly) punishingly invisible color changes for highlighted links that seems to be bad in order to push us to graduate? Why is the changing-link-color scheme so subtle for beta sites? – uhoh Jun 28 '18 at 7:27
• That one really does annoy me, yes @uhoh. My eyes are old so I prefer a much higher contrast. – Rory Alsop Jun 28 '18 at 10:42

Yes.

All companies want more profit, all websites want more visitors, and so on. It is essentially the collective appearance of our induvidual wish to make our tasks better.

Why do we want this, it can have many different reasons. My personal reasons are these:

• Having good sites about the space exploration helps to popularize it, which helps the Humanity to step forward.
• Having this site with some beautiful SE design would look so beautiful. :-)
• Putting the site after the Beta stage could help to circumvent the (for me) surrealistic SE idea that they generally don't migrate questions from or to betas. And the question migrations work as cross-advertising between the Beta sites, which is useful for all participants. I never understood, why the SE gives up this potential.

However, I faced - not here -, that in general, the users of the SE sites simply don't have even a little bit of sense of their own group interest. I have no idea, why is this so, maybe they have, only they won't admit it. Sometimes they have, but they think quite differently, what should we do to reach this goal. But all of these doesn't change the fact:

Putting the site after Beta is our elemental group interest and this should determine our deeds and choices.

• Space SE graduating from beta helps "humanity step forward"? How exactly? A "beautiful site design" will make the answers better? Also I don't understand about migration at all. It happens in and out of this site now. Are you saying that it doesn't, or that it shouldn't? – uhoh Feb 23 '18 at 14:59
• @uhoh 1) The SE is the 60th most visited site, world-wide. And the most visited Q&A site. 2) A beautiful site design is one my motivation to wish the graduation. It has no direct effect to the answers. The obvious indirect effect is that it makes the site better advertised & more attractive -> we will have more questions and more answers -> we will be able to better tune the filtering. 3) Question migration means, that a newcomer, whose question is closed as offtopic, gets a typically better treated answer on a different site. Thus, instead of having a negative experience from a single SE – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 15:05
• @uhoh site, he will have a positive experience from two sites. Having well-defined migration pathes, it works as a cross-advertising, which is useful for all participants. The SE tries to minimize question migrations from and to betas on a reason which sounds surrealistic to me (they say, "they want to protect the communities from eachother"), but this obstacle disappears after site graduations -> so the goal is to graduate the site ASAP. | On graduated sites, there are also community migration pathes, which means, questions can be voted for migration by VtC votes, not only by mods. – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 15:07
• Ah, I didn't know about how migration works on graduated sites, thanks! I understand SE is big and wonderful (e.g. the "Stack Exchange Rocks!" on my profile) but how exactly does Space SE graduating from beta help "humanity step forward"? – uhoh Feb 23 '18 at 15:29
• @uhoh Thank youv ery much! The SE is the largest Q&A site on the whole internet... and if you look around with Google, you will also find that it is far the best one. Furthermore, it is very loved also by Google (I don't know, it is an intentional privilege given by the Google to the site network, or that its AI only understood that people likes the content what they find here). If we make a graduated site about the space exploration, it will be probably the most popular Question & Answer site in the topic. Yes, on the whole Internet. That makes the SE important, and this small, beta site much – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 16:28
• @uhoh more important, as it seems on the first spot (little amateur site with some tens of regular answerers). People asking questions from the google search engine, will most likely find this site. It doesn't work in every topic, the main profile of the SE is still the programming site stackoverflow.com , but the space.stackexchange.com will be a much more important one as we would think from its size. – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 16:31
• @uhoh Also I don't expect earth-shaking results from a graduated Space SE, but I think it will be a small step, to help the voters of the US, to think a little bit more friendly about the NASA funding on the next elections. And this has already an important effect to the humanity. – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 16:33
• @uhoh Even if we don't believe in big ideals, we also can think that popularizing the space exploration is a Good Thing and we can work on it. Particularly, if it is also very funny. :-) – peterh Feb 23 '18 at 16:40
• How specifically does graduating from beta make searching via google better? It works very nicely now. Instead of ten sentences about SE in general, can you just state something short, simple and clear addressing how Space SE graduating from beta helps "humanity step forward"? – uhoh Feb 23 '18 at 23:46
• "Having this site with some beautiful SE design would look so beautiful." it's everyone's wish to have a dedicated site design, but the last site design was in October 2016 – Andrew T. Feb 24 '18 at 15:25
• @AndrewT. It's my wish to have an environment that continues to foster the great answers we get here, and a question rate that is not so high that it interferes with helping new users improve their questions without the question-closing mills and associated angst that can occur in high Q-rate sites. A "beautiful looking" site design is probably almost irrelevant for these. So it's "everyone minus $N$" where $N \ \ge 1$ – uhoh Feb 25 '18 at 12:18
• @uhoh Sorry for the late reaction. I explained a chain of effects, this required 10 sentences. I can summarize it in around 3 sentences, if you wish, but then I will have to leave out important steps. Around so: (1) graduated site -> (2) better advertising -> (3) more visitors -> (4) stronger impact to the collective thinking of the humanity -> (5) we will have interstellar colonies next year. :-) | Well, (4) -> (5) is only my dream :-), but (1)->(4) is imho rational. – peterh Jun 9 '18 at 0:08
• @uhoh Not only the click rate counts, the google tracks and estimates, how satisfied are you with the content on the targets, thus HQ is important - until a point that it doesn't decrease an exponential growth into a linear (or even decreasing) one. This site has now a slow linear growth, after graduation an exponential esplosion will happen, it will be crucial to allow it. For example, the collective reaction of the Chemistry SE was for the graduation, that they killed nearly all the newcomer questions, and now they are smaller than a beta. – peterh Jun 9 '18 at 0:11