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I know some experts who I think may be interested in helping out shaping this site. Is it useful to approach and invite them as long as we are in private beta, or can I just as well wait until we are in public (which I hope will will be)?

It's a little bit less involved to ask people to join a public beta, as opposed to a private on.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was under the impression that no-one but the original 206 committees were able to see the private beta? $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 15 '14 at 23:06
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    $\begingroup$ @naught101 There is an "invite fellow experts" box (in the right sidebar on the main site) where any of the committees can invite further people. $\endgroup$ – gerrit Apr 15 '14 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, ok, I'm on a mobile, I missed that. $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 15 '14 at 23:09
  • $\begingroup$ In addition, anyone who has the Area 51 link can simply click "Visit the site now!", and they get redirected to a login screen for the site. $\endgroup$ – hichris123 Apr 16 '14 at 0:12
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    $\begingroup$ I think that it would only be worthwhile if the expert has expressed a general interest in the site (and they can't figure out the area51 method hichris123 just mentioned), or if there is a specific question which they would be very well suited to answer (and they can be directed to it). Otherwise, bringing people to a somewhat empty site is potentially off-putting. Hopefully there's not much point answering this question, cause we'll soon be out of private beta ;) $\endgroup$ – naught101 Apr 16 '14 at 1:32
  • $\begingroup$ @gerrit I can think of somebody I'd invite, but I don't see the "invite fellow experts" box. Is that available to all committees, or just to people with a certain rep level, d'you know? $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Apr 16 '14 at 9:48
  • $\begingroup$ @SimonW I can see it, and you have more rep than me. It's on the right hand side of the main-site front-page, under the heading "Invite Fellow Experts" $\endgroup$ – 410 gone Apr 16 '14 at 10:01
  • $\begingroup$ @EnergyNumbers huh. I see it, and I have absolutely no idea how I managed to miss it before....! Thanks. $\endgroup$ – Semidiurnal Simon Apr 16 '14 at 10:42
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I don't have any figures to back this up - only my gut feel. (But see the bottom of this post for a comment by the Stack Exchange community supremo, who's helped nurse about one hundred beta Stack Exchange sites along.)

My feeling is that these first two weeks are crucial. They can see very high attrition rate from committers. And the tone set by the questions will hava a very strong influence on what questions get asked when we go public, and how they are asked.

So I'd say yes, do invite experts to the private beta as soon as possible.

Ideally, you could even post a question or two that you know they'll find interesting, to get them active and engaged as soon as they arrive.

And please allow me to elevate Robert Cartaino's words from his comment below to a more prominent position (emphasis his):

Most definitely 100% yes. If you know experts to help build this site, they should be integral to the creation of this site from day one. You cannot start a site and say "we'll just get the experts later."

(Robert is the Director of Community Development for the Stack Exchange Network)

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    $\begingroup$ Most definitely 100% yes. If you know experts to help build this site, they should be integral to the creation of this site from day one. You cannot start a site and say "we'll just get the experts later." $\endgroup$ – Robert Cartaino Apr 16 '14 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure I should ask my advisor to participate; then he will know how I procrastinate, surfing SE. $\endgroup$ – Neo Apr 16 '14 at 18:06
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    $\begingroup$ A note: if you can't get a user to join right away, see if you can find something that they want to know, post it here, and after it receives a lot of attention point them to here. This works with almost anyone, really. $\endgroup$ – Anonymous Penguin Apr 16 '14 at 21:38

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