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I wondered for a long time what is the difference between a "beta" site and an official one. I have a major problem at school when the lightspeed systems blocks the beta sites but not the official ones so I couldn't get onto Astronomy SE but I could get onto Math SE. Is it the number of people participating? Is it the number of questions or answers? Can moderators make a site official?

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First of all, to correct the term, there are "beta" sites, and there are "graduated" sites (the one you called "official").

What is the difference between a "beta" site and an official one.

The core features are still the same, but some differences are (AFAIK):

I have a major problem at school when the lightspeed systems blocks the beta sites but not the official ones so I couldn't get onto Astronomy SE but I could get onto Math SE.

This is something that is out of control of Stack Exchange. You must inquire this with your IT support and perhaps asking to unblock/whitelist with convincing arguments. However, some clarifications might be needed: are you sure you cannot access all beta sites?

When can a “beta” site become an official one? Is it the number of people participating? Is it the number of questions or answers? Can moderators make a site official?

When Stack Exchange staffs deem that the site is ready for graduation (see also: Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites and their related links). It's not related to the number of people participating (but might be related to the active users in moderating contents). It's also not really related to the number of questions or answers. And no, the moderators don't have the power to graduate the site on their own.

The baseline that Stack Exchange gave was "consistent 10 questions/day", but since October 2017, no beta sites have graduated.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you. I see why now. $\endgroup$ – Max0815 Feb 24 at 15:47

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