Many of us were sad when Theor. Physics SE was shut down due to not enough activity:

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Matter.SE is in Public Beta, which historically, gets promised 90 days with no shut down:

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We are in day 78, and our activity level needs to rise significantly.

Many of us have been working ever-so hard behind the scenes, to improve our activity. Not long ago we had only answered 61% of all questions, but with very hard work, we gradually climbed up to 86% on 13 June, then more and more until we reached an impressive 95%:

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We're now ranked #1 on all of Stack Exchange, for % questions answered on a Science site:

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But in the next 2 weeks we need to ask more questions, because of: this!

The really good news, is that if we get 140 more questions before 28 July, we will reach the Stack Exchange requirement for 10 questions/day. This is a realistic goal, that we can certainly achieve if we come together and ask questions!

Everyone here: We are the "co-founders" of this community.

If we want it to survive for future generations, we need to do this!

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info, it is very useful to see what we can do. I just asked my team to join and start asking questions. I guess every little bit helps! $\endgroup$
    – ProfM
    Jul 17, 2020 at 12:52
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, thank you. Has anyone considered sending a notice on the psi-k listserv? $\endgroup$
    – wcw
    Jul 22, 2020 at 11:11
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    $\begingroup$ @wcw Good suggestion. Sorry I didn't see it before! I've never heard of psi-k listserv, can you send a notice for us please? $\endgroup$ Jul 25, 2020 at 19:45

1 Answer 1


Don't take the Area 51 numbers too heavily

There is a blog post from 2010 that address this. At it's 89th day, some user of GIS was worryied about the site closure. It was not closed. Nowadays, it is fully graduated and a very important site to SE and to the world. I strongly recommend everyone to check out the blog post for further details.

Also, this was already discussed in Graduation, site closure, and a clearer outlook on the health of SE sites:

Past experience had led us to believe that “small” and “unhealthy” would mean the same thing: we took it as a given that quiet sites would develop spam and obvious broken windows, while high quality sites would always grow big and graduate. But you proved us wrong! Five years later, we have lots of tiny sites which have been in public beta for months or years, each consistently producing excellent Q&A which helps people with real problems. Small, consistently active sites are great!

Also worth reading is Congratulations to our 29 oldest beta sites - They're now no longer beta!

Although the Area 51's stats serves as a crude measurement of site quality. There are many cases of sites that had very low levels of activity and are still thrieving. Even relatively very quiet sites like Freelancing and Ebooks are still open and running for a long time despite having dangerously low stats.

The Theoretical Physics site was living under the time where the Area 51 stats were took too heavily and draconian and its closure was unfortunate. If it were living with present-day standards, it would probably still be open, although would be a relatively quiet site in the network.

The Area's 51 thresholds were defined a long time ago when only a few sites like Stack Overflow, Super User, Server Fault and Math Overflow were successful (and in very different standards than today), together with some ill-defined sites that failed so hard that I even can't find them in google anymore. The thresholds were then very artificially defined based on those sites, and it happens that they are very off from what reality eventually presented. They should be redefined in today's standards. However, as far as I know, Area 51 itself is a maintenance hell full of dragons that no one in SE wants to touch, so its rules are essentially frozen, but many of them are unenforced or enforced very differently than what is presented.

By the way, the Drones site just passed the 90-day and didn't reach the threshold, but it is still running up healthy and I don't think that SE is considering its closure. In fact, I don't remember of a single site that met the thresholds in 90 days, and if there was one or two of them, they were oddballs.

In today's standards, what is important to keep the site running is:

  • To keep it free of spam, hate speech, racism, etc.

  • To have some dedicated user base.

  • To have some continuously input of new accepted questions (i.e. not closed, off-topic, spam, etc), even if it is somewhat a low rate.

  • To have most of the site's questions properly answered.

  • To not become a moderation hell.

  • To not become a SE's resources drain.

Also, it is important to reference this answer.

NOTE: I'm just a common user and I am not affiliated to SE in any way. However, I am in SE's network for roughly 10 years and participated in a lot of sites, so I have some knowledge about how this works.

  • $\begingroup$ I appreciate all these and have read all those Meta posts many times, although I somehow had never before seen the "Freelancing" site, even though several times I've gone through the "All Sites" page and middle clicked every single site (to open each in a new tab) and clicked "join this community" on any of them that I hadn't yet joined, and yet somehow I had still never joined Freelancing.SE. You see, the fewer the questions/day, the lower the site comes up in everything, unless you change the default settings. TP was closed 7 years ago & Freelancing opened 7 years ago, so not much time gap. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2020 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ Another thing that you might not quite appreciate, since you were "last seen" 2 years and 3 months ago on A51, is that in the last 2 years A51 has become deadlier and deadlier: the requirements to get a site through have become pretty much impossible, unless you work on the proposal nearly full-time for several months (like I did) or have a Youtube celebrity with 172,000 subscribers making videos specifically asking fans to support the A51 (like Drones did). SE fired the only 2 mods of A51, & furloughed plenty of staff this year. Don't be surprised if sites from the bottom get closed. $\endgroup$ Jul 21, 2020 at 23:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani A51 always was deadly in the definition and commitment phase. However, since 99%+ of the proposals are simply deleted, so it easy to miss that. For example, this site was the 122958th site proposed and there are only 176 living sites today (including this one)! But once a site reaches the beta phase, it has a large chance of being a success. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani Also, the initial phases are much more deadly today than before mainly for two interrelated reasons: most of the useful sites already exists, so creating a viable new one is increasingly harder and this also makes existing users increasingly less interested in being engaging in the creation of a new one. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:07
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani Also, it is true that the CM that was most responsible for A51 leaved SE (probably fired) along with two other CMs and the future of A51 is shady. However, Matter Modelling already reached the beta phase, was not closed on its first days and does not shows signs of failure, so as long as this site doesn't eventually turns out into a ghost town full of broken windows, this site survived! $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ You are mostly right: (1) A51 was always deadly, (2) 99.86% of proposals fail, (3) it has become deadlier because "all the fruit has been picked". However, you might have missed these too: (4) Almost all surviving proposals were deleted when they switched to only allowing 1 year in Definition and 1 year in Commitment, then again almost all proposals were deleted when they switched to 4 months for each. The probability of failing now, is far worse than it was before... maybe 99.999% when they swithed to 1 year and 99.9999% when they switched to 4 months? (5) Many people left SE in 2019. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:12
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani The rule of thumb is simple: They won't delete truly living sites. They only will delete ghost towns with broken windows or sites that have very serious and deep problems. This is not the case of Matter Modelling, at least not so far and hopefully, will never be. $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ I agree that we are doing well, but many of us have been fighting like our lives are in danger. Last week we went 4 days in a row with 0 questions total. Many of us made a commitment to ask 140 questions in 14 days, and along with this Meta post... we turned things around, and that's why it looks like we're not a ghost town. I ask you though, not to try to give us a false sense of security, because we never know what the SE company is going to do. Encouraging people to participate more will only help us :) $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ Surely, don't take a false sense of security. There is a lot of hard job to do here. But don't panic also! $\endgroup$ Jul 22, 2020 at 0:16
  • $\begingroup$ you got me feeling very special when you claimed that we were the 122958th site proposal, but it turns out that's not true. Try changing he number at the end of this URL up by one and see what happens: "area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/122958" $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2020 at 20:08
  • $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani Most of the results are deleted proposals. In A51, proposals to sites that does not reaches the beta phase (i.e. die in the definition or commitment phases) are simply deleted as if they never existed. $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2020 at 11:55
  • $\begingroup$ If you do what I suggested in my last comment, you'll see that most of the pages are "example questions", for which there can be 40+ of them for one proposal! $\endgroup$ Jul 27, 2020 at 12:51
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani I don't really have anything to add to what Victor says here... Everything is correct. Short of a site failing two elections back to back, we don't close sites down once they're in public beta. The 90 day mark was a... pie-in-the-sky go-no-go from years back when that point was whether a site would "graduate" and become a full site or not... and we haven't used that in my entire time using SE... for the last five years, let alone my last two years working here. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Jul 27, 2020 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani You have to balance the health of the community with burning it out. If people feel like they're constantly afraid of coming under consideration for site closure and they have to stress over forcing half-needed questions to be asked... they may just give up because of the stress. From where I sit, what you're afraid of isn't going to happen. I can't promise that, but I don't see it. I don't know which, off the top of my head, but it's rare... I think there's Personal Productivity and... some form of cryptocurrency that I can think of... $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Jul 27, 2020 at 20:29
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    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani Being unable to field three moderators total... so if the site has three active mods, it's fine. Even then, we're sometimes flexible if the site is low-activity and stays clean on its own... but we like teams of mods who can work together rather than solo mods who feel like they're the only ones working on the site - this, too, can lead to burnout. A failed election would be one where the mod candidate position couldn't be filled. We don't have any requirements for number of votes. $\endgroup$
    – Catija
    Jul 27, 2020 at 20:33

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