Nice job, everyone! We've gone live and are now open to the public — Enjoy!
We've got a lot of work to do here.
The purpose of a private beta is to prepare the site for opening day. But this site needs a lot more participation or I fear it may never get out of private beta. We've extend the private-beta of this site, but that's only a stop-gap measure to give you more time.
It's odd because there was obviously a lot of drive to have this site created. The proposal was launched in near-record time (~30 days). You usually know when a site is going to do great when there is so much buzz and enthusiasm — but somewhere between creating this proposal and launching the site, only about half the people showed up, and that enthusiasm and momentum was lost.
There's little participation in the meta forum or asking the 7-essential questions during beta. Of the 80-or-so questions we expect to see during the private beta (minimum bar), this site asked only 33 questions. But it's not about simply asking more questions. At this point, we need to gauge the interest-level in having this site at all.
The only way to make up for the shortfall is to use the 'Invite Fellow Experts' interface found on the home page.
Why not just launch to get more people?
The purpose of a private beta is organize a group of founders who want to help build the new site. We are here to gauge the interest and wherewithal of this group to create a strong foundation before we open it to the public. Historically, when there wasn't enough interest or participation in building the early community, we've tried opening sites despite their lackluster beginnings. But such last-ditch efforts consistently resulted in sites sites that continued their long decline well after they went public.
So we're here to assure the idea for this site has enough interest before launch. That's the entire purpose behind Area 51 and the private beta. But right now my fear is that there was more interest in having this site than using it.
Traffic slows down somewhat during the US Thanksgiving holidays; we've taken that into account. But this site clearly does not have enough participants to found a healthy site. We need more participants.