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On Bio SE the badges look like genes. Could Astronomy SE change the badges to a ringed planet like Saturn?

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    $\begingroup$ Sites get special designs when they "graduate". I'll explain more on Monday. You can also look up graduation on Meta SE for more info. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Nov 13 '16 at 2:46
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Building site design is a large effort, so this effort is limited to "graduated" sites. Further explanation is below.


What is graduation? From Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites - Meta Stack Exchange:

Graduation is a hard concept to pin down quantitatively, but we basically expect that a graduated site should be able to continue growing and governing itself indefinitely without any outside help unless something truly catastrophic happens.

User summary of graduation:

[T]here are six effects of graduation:

  • Site Design: [...]

  • Moderator Elections: [...]

  • Community Ads: [...]

  • Reputation Levels: [...]

  • Full migration target: [...]

  • Being listed in the footer: [...]

From What are the design elements that could be changed upon graduation of a site? - Meta Stack Exchange:

Each graduating site gets its own unique design theme created by Stack Exchange's professional in-house design team (currently Jin), working with other designers as needed.

So far, every site's theme has included

  • a custom logo and favicon
  • custom decorative graphics (or intentional lack thereof)
  • a consistent color scheme

Most sites have also received

  • unique fonts consistent with the site theme
  • decorative boxes and borders consistent with the site theme
  • themed badge shapes/sizes/colors (color referring to background color, not bronze/silver/gold)
  • themed tag shapes/sizes/colors
  • unique upvote/downvote/favorite button images

Some sites have other changes that have to do with their topics. Photography's top bar is organized differently to make room for a "featured photo." Unix and Linux has slashes prepended to the text of its header buttons to give the feel that those link to "subdirectories" of the site. And Apple's <kbd> markup looks like an Apple keyboard's key.

From When Will My Site Graduate? - Stack Overflow Blog:

How long can a site stay in beta?

The simple answer is, it takes as long as it takes. We'll wait. If a site needs more activity, go out and evangelize it. As long as your site shows steady progress and continues to make the Internet a better place to get expert answers to your questions, it will march on. We don't want to kill a site because it hasn't reached full status in 90 days. Nor do we want to set a hard 90-day limit and launch a site too soon.

There's more to the health of a Stack Exchange site than having a lot of questions and answers. There's an economy to the site with reputation as its currency, and voting drives that economy. A site absolutely needs on-going, sustained voting to build a class of leaders that help run and govern the site. Without leadership, there can be no community.

So from this point forward, the graduation date of a site will depend heavily on having enough users with sufficient reputation to properly lead and govern the site. It's much more important to graduate a site when it has become self-sustaining, and has established a healthy community of avid users, closers, and editors -- rather than imposing an arbitrary 90-day limit.

Thus, the order of launch will favor those beta sites which have achieved the most "excellent" ratings on our Area 51 stats panel. For everyone else -- keep going!

Also, now, graduation does not necessarily mean that we will receive a design right away. From Feedback Requested: Design-Independent Graduation - Meta Stack Exchange:

The Community Team announces that a site is cleared for graduation. Without delay...

  • the beta label is removed
  • elections are held
  • migration paths are set up
  • community ads are run
  • a link to the site is added to the footer

...Then, as it becomes available

  • the site gets their custom design.
  • privilege thresholds are increased to graduated site levels
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    $\begingroup$ Nice answer. It might be worth mentioning something about design-independent graduation. In the case of some sites, there's been quite a gap. On Worldbuilding, six months and one day elapsed between the graduation announcement and the launch of the design. $\endgroup$
    – HDE 226868 Mod
    Nov 14 '16 at 23:49
  • $\begingroup$ @HDE226868 Added. Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage Mod
    Nov 15 '16 at 14:32

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