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Let me start out by saying that I sincerely hope this site gets off the ground. This is the first beta I've participated in, so I don't know how we're doing in comparison to other sites at the same point in its cycle.

Additionally, when viewing the site through Area 51, you can see the progress in each category. My question is, Do we need to meet every category in order to become a site? Or, if there are some categories which "mean less" than others, which ones are they? I'm interested to see how we're doing at this point in time. If we're not doing as well as we should, we can mount a serious effort to change things before it's too late. If anyone knows where to get that information, please post.

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Comparing it to Space Exploration that is merely 2 and a half months ahead in its beta days to Astronomy SE, I can say that you've gathered more questions and answers than we did at the edge to going public. But I see Astronomy developing more early days problems, so I can see the need to perhaps accelerate the pro tempore moderator selection process. Some of the problems here that I didn't see as apparent on Space.SE:

  • Plagiarism and attempts at creating canonical Q&A early on
  • Scope interfering with scopes of other SE sites, with opposition from the latter
  • Greater number of inexperienced SE members that need guidance
  • The majority of questions still seem to be of the general reference Q&A kind
  • Private beta members are less active in meta, with not many discussions active

But don't get me wrong, all of these points can be worked on and will be a lot easier to achieve once you get your own moderators. They will have quite a bit of work in the early days, but this workload does decrease as the community itself learns the ropes and the site has more high reputation users.

As far as the community goes, I'd say you're in slight advantage to where we were during the private beta, largely probably due to some of our Space Exploration regulars moving here and with clear intentions in making Astronomy (2.0, reboot?) work this time around. My suggestion to kickstart it would be in also tapping from external to SE experts, get some fresh but highly qualified names here to establish more authoritative presence. Depending on SE community alone is, in my opinion, not the best option with the nature of the site being so far away in scope from the ability of your average tech geek (myself included, no disrespect intended) that is lurking the seas of Stack Exchange to keep threads interesting and insightful.

Oh, and it is also by far too early to be looking at Area 51 statistics. With merely a week on your tachometer, those stats are not the best indication of how well the site is progressing. What you want is quality. Quality that will reassure each of your members it's not wrong to suggest this website to some of their friends and not merely be seen as spamming their inboxes.

Once publicly available stats will start making sense, you will be able to somewhat track them on Quantcast. For the time being though, they are utterly irrelevant and not worth preoccupying yourself with them.

My 2 cents. ;)

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To graduate from private beta, we just need to show that we can sustain activity for longer than very-short term, from what I can tell. I would say we are doing a fairly good job of this.

The stats on Area 51 are going to be a little off right now, because we are in private beta and there is lots of enthusiasm.

Ultimately, we don't need to meet every single category to become a full, graduated, our-own-theme site. Those stats are just guidelines - 'this is what you should be shooting for.'

Those stats will become colored in a few weeks to show us how we're doing. In my opinion, the % answered one is the most important - it's a gauge of whether we have enough experts, IMO.

The views are going to be low for a while - our job is to build a site, Google will get the visitors. What we need to do is provide quality content. That's really what it comes down to.

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