If you haven't already heard, Literature is moving on to public beta! We've built a great community here, avoided the mistakes of the last Literature site, and sparked useful discussions about the scope of our site. Thank you to everyone who contributed time and effort to help build our site, and I hope to see even more interest and activity on our site in the future!
This is where we have to be extremely careful, and extremely vigilant. At least one user has told me that this is the most active private beta they've been in so far. It's really tempting, therefore, to sit back and assume that we've got it all in the bag for another few weeks, because we'll get another surge of activity that will very quickly build us a large permanent userbase.
Currently, we're still dropping, and while we may have gotten closer to a steady question rate, it's still nothing like it was the first week. That's still good, but it's obviously not as high as it once was. That's not a bad thing. It's natural. However, we need to keep the momentum going. This is why I wanted people to not ask all their questions in quick succession; spread them out so we can try to keep a decent pace and ensure continuing levels of high activity.
Yes, we're going to get a slight boost now that we're going public. We probably already have. But it's not going to help if we don't keep asking, answering, editing, voting, reviewing, commenting, flagging . . . you get the idea.
I reread the question, and this time something popped out at me:
We've built a great community here, avoided the mistakes of the last Literature site, and sparked useful discussions about the scope of our site.
Ooh. I'm going to disagree, for a few reasons:
First, we've built a community (sort of), but it's one that is quickly going to change. People are going to leave now that private beta's done, and others will come in. It's anyone's guess as to whether new folks will be more or less dedicated to the long-term future of the site.
When we entered private beta, I read through the old chat transcripts in the Literature chat room, going back to the start of the first site. Three weeks into Literature 1.0, it did not seem like the site was doing so poorly. Yeah, the key problems that would take it down were not yet as apparent, but activity seemed okay.
We cannot make the same assumption. Humans have the collective arrogance to think that just because we succeeded where others have failed, we won't fail in the same place. That's not true. There are a dozen ways a site can flop within the first year. Please, please, please don't assume that we won't go the same way as the old site. It took them 269 days to go down, and I'm not at all comfortable assuming that we won't, after about 19 or 20 days.
Useful scope discussions are still going on and, really, should never stop. As I'm writing this addendum, there's a discussion going on in chat about tagging, which I've been observing from afar. That discussion needs to continue, as will all the ones that come after it. We may have answered some of the real essential questions of every beta, but there's plenty more talking to do.
I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate . . . but don't bring out the
champagne soda pop just yet. There's plenty of work to do.