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As y'all are aware, the Bioacoustics proposal made its way through the Area 51 definition and commitment phases, and is currently in the private beta phase (since last Tuesday, June 21st). So what's next for this community?

As Catija mentioned in the announcement on Area 51 a couple of weeks back (emphasis mine):

This private beta phase is a really important stepping stone and its success relies on the committers inviting other people from the bioacoustics community to create high quality questions and answers about this subject in order for it to progress from private beta to public beta.

During private beta, the site will not be visible from the rest of the network but may be accessed by visiting the Area 51 proposal or through a link shared by an existing user. If the proposal meets specific activity targets and contains high-quality content, it will go public and be visible from the network as a beta site.

The site that most recently made it out of private beta was the Substrate and Polkadot site, and while they were undergoing that phase, we identified that some parts of our UI don't make it clear to users participating in this phase what types of actions they can take to help this community succeed and make it into the public beta phase. We still haven't had the chance to thoroughly revise all the bits that need to be revised to properly set everyone's expectations, so I thought it'd be beneficial to give you some advice, just like I did for Substrate and Polkadot.

So, firstly, to have all the expectations properly set, I'll quote from what I wrote then, regarding sites making it from private to public beta (emphasis mine for this post):

(...) the email that is sent to users who've committed to the proposal on Area 51 once a site makes it into private beta is (...) very outdated. (...) It makes it seem like all sites that make it into private beta will surely make into public beta, with time being the only thing between one phase and the other — when, in fact, sites that don't perform well in private beta get shut down.

So what can you do to help the Bioacoustics site make it to public Beta?

(the following is copied over from the post linked to above, with edits to links where relevant)

  • Read through the help center: We have a comprehensive help center with articles explaining how most of our system works. We suggest you go through some of the articles there — especially if you're new to the Stack Exchange network.

  • Vote early, vote often: Voting is how good content gets recognized, wrong or incoherent content is signaled, and how a community of editors, closers, stewards, and moderators comes into existence in the SE network. Read more in this blog post and in this FAQ on Meta Stack Exchange, and be careful not to engage in voting fraud or sock-puppeting.

  • Discuss what your site is about on Meta: The Essential Questions of Every Beta is a community-curated revised version of an earlier blog post that lists a few of the most important things new communities should be discussing in Meta. You should be making use of your Meta site to discuss things like:

    • Are questions about [subject] on- or off-topic?
    • What should our documentation contain?
    • How should we tag questions about [subject]?
    • What's the site's 'elevator pitch'?
    • How do we promote our site?
  • Edit, close, or delete content: Sometimes questions or answers need a little tweak, either because they have typos or because they don't quite fit the site's scope without some edits; you should help out by editing those posts. Sometimes questions are beyond being salvageable, though, and you should instead be closing or deleting them.

  • Invite fellow experts to the site: There's an "invite fellow experts" box on the site's right sidebar – make use of it!

  • Start building guidance for tags: Tags are an important way to sort content in our sites, and having the proper guidance on how tags should be used is essential to ensure content is properly tagged. Read more here about tagging, and here about providing tag guidance.


We understand that the email may have caused some confusion, and that the situation is not ideal — ideally we would've already fixed the relevant outdated bits — but hope that with the guidance above y'all have all the information you need to help your site succeed.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, please leave 'em in an answer below!

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  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you could post your second section ("So what can you do to help the Bioacoustics site make it to public Beta?") on Area51.meta so that it benefits to all Beta sites: What are the criteria to go from private to public beta? $\endgroup$
    – Noil
    Jun 24, 2022 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ I'm planning on updating all the relevant documentation, so posting it in a question is likely not necessary (especially 'cause the relevant info is scattered around the site already). I might post an announcement when the changes are rolled out, though, if relevant ;) $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 24, 2022 at 8:59
  • $\begingroup$ Has a general invitation been sent out to bioacoustics-l mailing list? I don't think I saw one $\endgroup$
    – Dan Stowell Mod
    Jun 25, 2022 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know what "bioacoustics-l mailing list" is meant to be referring to — can you clarify, @DanStowell ? $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 27, 2022 at 9:03
  • $\begingroup$ mail-archive.com/bioacoustics-l@cornell.edu/maillist.html ---- I think maybe we can do this after the site goes public? $\endgroup$
    – Dan Stowell Mod
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:29
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not familiarized with this mailing list, so I wouldn't be able to advise on how to proceed. As mentioned in the original question, you should be inviting experts you think will participate in a way that will help this community grow into a self-sustaining one. I'm not sure if posting to a mailing list is the best way to accomplish that. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 27, 2022 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ @DanStowell With only 25 questions asked at this point, it's very unlikely this site will go public. That's what this question is trying to convey - going public is not guaranteed - y'all have to show us there's interest in this subject enough to make it viable and, as of now, you're not there. $\endgroup$
    – Catija StaffMod
    Jun 27, 2022 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ Expanding on Cat's comment here. $\endgroup$
    – JNat StaffMod
    Jun 29, 2022 at 10:59
  • $\begingroup$ The mailing lists are for experts, so those are appropriate for outreach. $\endgroup$
    – Shannon
    Jul 6, 2022 at 20:53

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