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Retrocomputing Stack Exchange is leaving beta on the 16th of December. Here's the official announcement.

What is beta?

As the (somewhat out of date) Help Center article says:

“Beta” means that the site is still being defined and constructed

We've done pretty well at this, I think.

  • We've got a good understanding of what's on-topic and what's not.
  • Most of our tags have detailed tag wiki excerpts, explaining how and why they should be used.
  • Us pro tem moderators are doing less than half the work.
  • 96% of our questions are answered, with an average of 2.6 answers per question.
  • We've got over 3000 visits per day. (3142, at time of writing.)

Apart from making an FAQ, and the (hotly debated) 10 questions per day metric, we meet all the classic criteria for graduation.

What graduation means

There are several aspects to graduation. These used to be bundled together as an all-or-nothing thing, but they aren't any more. This means:

  • Losing the beta label (yes! 16th December 2021, give or take)
    • "Graduated" on our Area 51 page
    • Removing the “Site Stats” and “Help us grow this site!” boxes shown to anonymous users.
  • Moderator elections (2022 or 2023)
  • Migration paths, maybe, if we ask for them.

But we won't have:

  • Increased reputation thresholds
  • Custom site design (but we might get minor customisation)

How we can prepare

If you think we shouldn't graduate, for whatever reason, please say so: there's still time to slam on the brakes.

Otherwise, we don't really need to do anything. If you want to, though, here are some ideas:

  • Write tag wiki excerpts for every single tag. I think this is achievable, even for weird tags like , and .
  • Approve (or reject) the pending tag synonyms
  • Make sure the /help/on-topic page is up to date. (You can edit it here.)
  • Make an index for the questions and comment discussions, so it's easier for new users to look up whether something's on topic.
  • Write some Q&A pairs, or edit existing questions into FAQs. (New-ish users: you're the best for this. If you have had a question about how the site works, chances are it's FAQ-worthy.)
  • Answer some unanswered questions.
  • Start thinking of questions for our first moderator election.
    • Also consider who you might want to nominate, and whether you might want to nominate yourself.
  • Visit The BBS, and give the Annoying Robot some company. Maybe even have a party?
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  • 2
    Yay!!!! Endlich.
    – Raffzahn
    Nov 16 '21 at 0:28
  • 2
    At last! (....)
    – davidbak
    Nov 16 '21 at 3:34
  • 2
    ‘We've got a good understanding of what's on-topic and what's not.’ — unless it’s an emulator question… Nov 16 '21 at 15:11
  • Also, ‘If you have had a question about how the site works’ — are we supposed to be building the main site FAQ or a Meta FAQ? Nov 16 '21 at 15:15
  • At the linked central Meta question it is mentioned in a few places that 10 questions per day threshold is still required to trigger moderator elections. Is this correct? Nov 16 '21 at 15:49
  • @user3840170 Why not both? Meta is (almost) its own meta site, after all. Though, given how far we've got without one, an FAQ is probably not necessary.
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Nov 16 '21 at 21:40
  • 3
    @user3840170 And no, the 10 questions per day threshold won't be required for us. The official announcement when we actually graduate will explain things. (Moderator elections require a great deal of behind-the-scenes work, so they're always triggered manually.)
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Nov 16 '21 at 21:41
  • 1
    What about ‘minor customisation’? I assume we can forget about something like ELU, but I wouldn’t like the site to keep looking as bland as Writing or Law… Nov 17 '21 at 19:33
  • @user3840170 They haven't implemented the code for that yet, but when they have, we'll get access to it. (Modulo them not having that many people to handle our requests.)
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Nov 17 '21 at 21:00
  • 3
    Champagne anyone?
    – knol
    Dec 16 '21 at 21:03
  • 1
    @knol - only if it's properly aged; otherwise it's not really suited for this forum. Dec 17 '21 at 1:48
  • 2
    @another-dave If you re-used the bottle, would that qualify as old-hardware-adaptation?
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Dec 17 '21 at 14:03
  • 1
    But somehow, I can still cast close votes on others’ questions with just over 1000 rep... Why aren’t rep thresholds raised? Dec 18 '21 at 3:07
  • 2
    @Someone_who_likes_SE They haven't been linked for over five years. It's a multi-stage thing. (Shameless self-promotion: I made a PPCG challenge on the subject.)
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Dec 19 '21 at 4:42
  • 1
    FWIW - There was a discussion on building site logos a while back. Might come in handy now! retrocomputing.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/96/…
    – Aaron
    Dec 24 '21 at 12:46
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From the central Meta post:

In the past, we were able to offer a custom site design to graduated sites. Although site redesigns aren’t happening right now, we have a shared interest internally in experimenting with ways to get this or similar benefits back. We know the sites that lost their “Beta” label in 2019 are still waiting for a redesign, too. We hope that some sort of design love (or perhaps theme customization) will come in the future, but we don't have concrete details of what this will look like or a timeline of when this will happen.

Since we are apparently not getting a custom theme any time soon, I decided to celebrate by creating a tiny user style sheet to customise the header.

.site-header {
    font-family: 'Pet Me 64', 'C64 Pro', monospace;
    text-transform: uppercase;
    --theme-header-link-color: #5090d0;
    --theme-header-background-color: #181090;
}

.site-header .site-header--link {
    font-weight: normal !important;
    font-size: 24px;
}

.site-header .site-header--link::after {
    content: '█';
}

For Meta:

.site-header {
    --theme-header-link-color: silver;
    --theme-header-background-color: black;
}

Install it with Stylus. You will have to also install the fonts Pet Me or C64 Pro yourself, as I have nowhere to point a @font-face declaration to.

Not much of a change, actually, and not a design I put too much thought to. It’s just something quick-and-dirty to make the site look a little less bland. I had some other ideas, but I decided not to spend the effort on them just yet.

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  • I made the prompt blink with animation: blink-box 2s infinite; after content: '█';, and @keyframes blink-box { 50% { content: ' '; } } at the end. (This is probably too annoying for the actual site, but I think it's neat.)
    – wizzwizz4 Mod
    Dec 20 '21 at 9:34
  • I thought about it too, then decided it’s too annoying indeed and left it out. Dec 20 '21 at 16:14

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