I don't know if this is an appropriate question for Meta, but I couldn't think where else to ask.

It seems to me that Writers beta does not get very many questions. I hate being negative, but compared to the more technical SE sites, this site is very quiet. How long has it been in beta; how long will it continue in beta; and what will become of it if it continues at its current pace?


1 Answer 1


Robert Cartaino gave a great, comprehensive overview on graduation requirements over at What happens now? . It's been some time since then, though - more than a year. So where do we stand as of April '12?

The first place to look is at our Area 51 stats. As of this writing, we're 509 days into Beta; many of the stats (particularly those relating to community response) are quite good, but traffic is only OK, and questions per day is extremely low. This certainly matches your concerns.

I'll point you to two articles from the blog: Does this site have a chance of succeeding? and No Artificial Intelligence in Area 51. The former describes how SE sites can build up a critical mass - slowly but surely - until they reach graduation. The latter describes when a site is, alas, sent to the dustbin.

Writers.SE has been in beta for quite a while, no question. As long as we are progressing, there's no reason to hurry or fear. However, there's real concern that we aren't progressing. Our question count remains extremely low; we're plagued by fundamental issues of site definition; the question How has this site helped you and your writing? has received no answers.

Looking at how we might expect our site to develop, one can always be optimistic, but there's cause for concern as well. The route of growing into a critical mass only applies if we can find a solid core to grow around - and I'm not sure the Q&A base we've got at the moment provides that. If Writers.SE would ultimately be "just like today, only 10 times as fast-moving," I'm not sure that's a site we'd find valuable (again, see the "how has the site helped you?" issue).

Our major hope at the moment is that growth will be in quality and professionalism as well as in sheer quantity. That's not an unreasonable hope - the site lies around, growing slowly; gradually, people start finding the site through searches, through word of mouth; it trickles upwards towards more and more writing pros (of all stripes). In some sense, the site is primed to get better, not worse.

But that's an element that's outside our control - and our site-definition issues might be a real barrier to this entire process ever occurring.

The single best thing we can do at the moment is to write excellent questions. Excellent questions create activity; they maintain interest in the site; they expand our knowledge base and our search hits with the best possible content.

The other best thing is to spread the word - particularly to pros.


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