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This question already has an answer here:

Please note that we are Extending the private beta to 10/18.


Original post:

Creating a successful new web site is hard. Even with a dedicated network of users to draw from, it takes a considerable level of commitment and buy-in from an active community to get the site off the ground.

Unfortunately, Sitecore isn't going to make it.

During the private beta, we only attracted about half the activity of what would normally be considered a viable site. And after reviewing the performance of this site in comparison to the site's we've launched to date, it is evident that we do not have enough momentum and support to get this site off the ground.

Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain why a site didn't work, but with over 5,000 questions for Sitecore on Stack Overflow, perhaps there simply isn't enough demand to support a second site. Whatever the reason, these decisions are always difficult, and I'm sure disappointing to everyone involved.

I thank you for your efforts to get the community this far; unfortunately, we will be closing this site on Friday, October 7th.

Best regards.

marked as duplicate by Robert Cartaino Oct 4 '16 at 19:19

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  • 3
    That seems very harsh considering its been less than 3 weeks! And the support we had to get this to private beta was beyond anything any other community has put together. What are you expecting from a private beta? This seems like a very short sighted decision. – Richard Seal Oct 3 '16 at 17:30
  • 2
    What will happen to all the very useful information that is now on this site? – Richard Seal Oct 3 '16 at 17:30
  • 1
    what happens to the earned reputation? – Richard Seal Oct 3 '16 at 17:50
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    @RobertCartaino wow this is ridiculous, we don't even get a chance at a public beta? – techphoria414 Oct 3 '16 at 17:50
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    @RobertCartaino I think there have been a misunderstanding. What we were aiming at was not the amount, but the quality of content. The people involved are the best of the Sitecore community, and honestly, I have never seen this amount of quality Sitecore-related content appear anywhere in such a short time. We were really trying to show how good we can be at creating good content when we have a platform, a place of our own. We didn't attempt to attract the broader part of the community which would bring in more activity and more content. I truly believe this site deserves another chance. – Dmytro Shevchenko Oct 3 '16 at 18:33
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    @RobertCartaino Give us one more month in Private Beta, and we will represent. That is all I ask. No one was aware that the Private Beta was only two weeks. This is information that had we known, we would've used a different strategy. – Pete Navarra Oct 3 '16 at 18:47
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    I would ask for an extension also - it really was not clear of the requirements to get out of the private beta – Richard Seal Oct 3 '16 at 18:51
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    I request for an extension too. – Hetal Dave Oct 3 '16 at 18:56
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    I'm requesting the extension as well. – mservais Oct 3 '16 at 18:58
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    @RobertCartaino I appreciate that you extended the private beta to three weeks, but the site started the same week Sitecore had a major conference that took a huge amount of us away our projects and computers. We lost an entire week of traction due to the launch date. As stated above, I don't think any of us knew the private beta would only last 2 weeks, and if we had the community would have been more vigilant promoting it. I second Pete-Navarra's request for a one month extension. – Corey Smith Oct 3 '16 at 19:01
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    Considering this launched the week that 50% of the community was at Symposium this is a no-brainer. – Jon Upchurch Oct 3 '16 at 19:04
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    @RobertCartaino we didn't see anywhere this private beta only last two weeks. Give us extension – scFootsteps Oct 3 '16 at 19:07
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    Agreed with the above, and I don't believe that using the number of questions at StackOverflow under the sitecore tag is a fair benchmark. I personally don't treat asking SO questions about Sitecore to be fruitful, simply because of the lower density of Sitecore knowledge, whereas a dedicated site for the platform allows subject experts to focus their efforts answering high quality questions. – JohnD Oct 3 '16 at 19:07
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    @RobertCartaino I would like to request an extension, as well. Please understand that the majority of the community leaders (those invited to the private beta) were all away at a Sitecore conference for the first week of this beta, and were playing catch-up for the following week. If we can get an extension, we can easily invite additional users and show you the increase in support that you're looking for. – Zachary Kniebel Oct 3 '16 at 19:11
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    @RobertCartaino I would also ask you not to hold against the community the fact that it appears as though many of those who are commenting here, myself included, have not yet contributed to this meta. I assure you that I have, and am trying to track down the reason why my contributions are not currently displaying. I'm sure that I am not the only one. – Zachary Kniebel Oct 3 '16 at 19:16
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Well Robert, we're going to have to agree to disagree on this.

While you don't believe the site can actually make it; I strongly disagree. You're asking for "organic growth" while the site exists in a somewhat closed or restricted environment, not receiving any search engine traffic and relying on members tweeting one question at the time to act as teasers for the site. I feel this is inappropriate or even border-lining unrealistic expectations.

That aside; I also feel a bit blind-sided by the communication (or lack thereof) from your side. No quantifiable metrics were given (you have 2 weeks to reach this target) - something I feel goes directly against the overall spirit of the Stack Exchange. You're given a goal - do this for this privilege, that tag, that medal. Gamification.

As for the information we were given, when the private beta opened. Well you know the email, but here's an exert:

Q: How long will the private beta last? A: Private betas generally last 1-2 weeks while you prepare the site for opening day. Once the site is populated with questions, and its initial scope established, we'll open it up for public beta.

Q: How can I help the site succeed? A: During the private beta, ask questions, answer questions, tag questions, edit questions, and vote.

Q: What else? A: The minute the public beta opens, invite your friends. Spread the word via Twitter, blogs, and email far and wide. Hang out on the site answering incoming questions during the first few hours so that newcomers understand what a great experience a working, popular Stack Exchange site can be.

While I can't speak for everyone else; I do know first hand how I read the above. We've been discussing questions (a lot), tags, good questions, grey area questions, no-gos and so on, and trying to reach out into all content areas involving Sitecore. Especially the ones who fall out of scope on StackOverflow which is decidedly meant for programming related questions. And while I don't have an exact count, I'd guess less than 30% of the questions we have would fit into the scope of SO. It might be tolerated there (when no one is looking) but they remain unwanted.

And while we've been discussing all of this, I was (and I know more were) waiting for the 2 weeks to be up, to open up the flood gates. Everyone "at the ready". Ready to reach the targets, crunch the numbers, get the traffic going.

And now you're saying; "Nope. Won't happen.". This is indeed disappointing.

You then proceed to argue; "Stack Overflow is good enough - 5.000 questions" and so on. Well I've been part of that effort for a good 7-8 years now - that comes to less than 1.000 a year on average. We have 110 in 3 weeks in a closed eco system. I could also argue; the very people generating that content on Stack Overflow are the people who would be participating and dedicating their efforts here instead. Or even - feedback I have received over the past 4 weeks while this has been going on - we would attract an even greater audience to this site than SO would ever see - simply because the community is more tightly knit.

I would ask that you reconsider this. The community is right now and over the next 24 hours demonstrating the commitment they have towards this endeavor. They - like me - were waiting for the promised and indicated public beta to really dig in. Don't let that misunderstanding stand in the way of making this a success.

  • 6
    Very well put! I agree wholehartedly – Richard Seal Oct 4 '16 at 1:20
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    Agreed. Much better approach. Fantastic Mark! – Pete Navarra Oct 4 '16 at 2:11
5

I concur with the other respondants.

The focus should be on quality and not quantity.

Sitecore questions are not going to fall in line with StackOverflow. They aren't just programming questions but also configuration, GUI usage, as well as marketing related questions.

If we get shoved back to StackOverflow our questions will get non-applicable answers or down votes because they aren't programming related.

Sitecore has ~5000 customers and only ~10000 developers. Meaning many organizations have only 1 or 2 real Sitecore resources.

By having a dedicated StackExchange site, we will get conversations between people who actually understand Sitecore and it's proper usage.

In the short time that I have been using this site -- since finding out it even existed at the Symposium -- I have received helpful responses from @MarkCassidy, @PeteNavarra, and @DmytroShevchenko

2

Adding in Stats current as of 10/4/2016 12:30PM EDT

enter image description here

Everyone is doing a really great job improving the stats!

Hopefully before the end of our beta period meet expectations!

Great work all.

-11

In response to the comment-threads above:

With respect, many of these slow starting sites come with promises of crowds arriving just around the corner — so we've tried extending private betas many many many times… and it has never worked.

After launching 200+ sites, these slow launches have been shown to create poor-performing sites 100% of the time. Sites don't suddenly take off by simply ignoring the numbers and opening to the public anyway.

I understand there may be extenuating circumstances, but you simply need more momentum going into launch.

On occasion we have to close these sites that don't have the support we thought they had. There's typically nothing inherently wrong with the subject itself… but when the turnout is this low, you have to determine if the subject still has the support it seemed to have in the proposal process.

If you still believe your site will work, feel free to restart the proposal and prove it. That will give you more time to plan for a successful launch. You will definitely need more of a running start to create something viable. Slow starts have always struggled to maintain any level of traffic even after launch. Always. But rebooting a proposal to get that running start has created some of our most successful launches to date!

If the support is here, your efforts should go quickly the second time around. If not, it wasn't meant to be.

Good luck!

  • 3
    How did this site get to public beta? area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/95499/esperanto-language - please explain the difference between those stats and ours – Richard Seal Oct 3 '16 at 19:39
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    Does the content that we've curated thus far get pulled into the "reboot"? – Pete Navarra Oct 3 '16 at 20:02
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    4 days, to bring it back round? Will the beta shut 00:00 Friday or 23:59 on Friday? – Anicho Oct 3 '16 at 20:03
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    So basically you are choosing quantity over quality, 4-5 weeks of creating the questions instead of focusing on the importance of the content itself. Can you please answer on @RichardSeal question? – Una Verhoeven Oct 3 '16 at 22:38
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    @Robert Is the decision to close final? Our community is working very hard to improve the metrics. Please bear in mind that the launch of the site coincided with the international Sitecore Symposium conference and MVP Summit events, so that our ability to focus on this endeavor was limited, as a large portion of our most active community members were involved in attending the conference and conference related events. Please pay us the courtesy of evaluating the site's metrics at the end of the beta period. – Dan Solovay Oct 4 '16 at 1:57

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