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I just stumbled across a comment on Code Review by Jeff Atwood

I just stumbled across a comment on Code Review by Jeff Atwood that only 2 people other than me seem to have noticed (and known the significance of the owner).

Beyond wanting to point out that fun-fact that the inventor of Stack Exchange commented here promoting the idea of code review and was hardly noticed, I think the content of his comment has significance.

Stack Overflow is certainly big enough to support related sites like this. – Jeff Atwood♦


My point? Code Review is still in beta, but perhaps that isn't the right measure for success.

It's been what? 3 years since Code Review began beta? And still no fancy upgrade. It seems to me that you determined, high-rep users who worked so hard to make this site a success must be feeling a little.. Meh.

But what you'll find is that this site was never meant to be big, and you guys have already achieved something incredible. Because as pointed out by users throughout the years, Stack Exchange isn't exactly the perfect format for this community. But it has its strengths.

This site is great because of the people here, and because of its monster of a big brother, Stack Overflow. Like Jeff says, Stack Overflow is big enough to support this community, and this format, regardless of the interface. We won't get traffic from Google, and we were never meant to. But that doesn't mean that this site isn't ready to move forward.

I think that it may be time for the people in charge here to point out that Code Review is a successful asset to Stack Exchange in its own way.

This site has reached it's full beta potential. Sure, there are always improvements to be made within the community, but why dampen this site's potential by keeping it in beta any longer?

It makes more sense to let this site to continue to grow with it's own design, and all of the advantages of graduation. The people here deserve it.

I'm new here, so I suggest this all humbly, but I think seeing the situation through new eyes is somewhat an advantage that might be worth sharing. I hope I haven't over-stepped my bounds, after contributing so little to the site.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I assure you, we wish we knew more about why we haven't graduated yet. What we have been told is that we just need to keep doing what we're doing, and we'll at least avoid shutdown. For more info on one of these obstacles, refer to Grace Note's answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jul 20 '14 at 19:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Jamal Noted. I'm looking at it from a morale standpoint. I think graduation is a positive thing, on the grounds that after 3 years, this site's potential is not going to shoot upward like other sites. It's a valuable tool, and yes, from reading meta, I see it needs voting increases. But I'd say it's reached its activity potential, and you guys deserve to graduate as a reward for the work required to get to this point. \$\endgroup\$ – Viziionary Jul 20 '14 at 19:48
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    \$\begingroup\$ We do certainly have good activity, but I'm also personally wondering if there are enough users to ensure self-moderation (they should especially be aware of our answer-invalidation policies). We also need a decent number of people willing to run in the moderator election. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jul 20 '14 at 19:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ One thing's for sure: The site certainly won't be short on editing whilst you're around. @Jamal \$\endgroup\$ – Viziionary Jul 20 '14 at 19:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ That's true. :-) Even then, I'd like to see more people making good edits as well. I can't be around for each question, and no matter how many edits I make, I'll always make mistakes. \$\endgroup\$ – Jamal Jul 20 '14 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jamal, you know that I will run for Moderator, but unless they need more than 3 I think it would be the same 3 mods! LOL \$\endgroup\$ – Malachi Jul 21 '14 at 14:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a side note, please don't ever feel worried about making suggestions or asking questions just because you're new! Especially when you think and write (and use Markdown) as well as you do. Oh, and, actually, this applies to people who aren't new, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Pops Aug 5 '14 at 17:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Maybe time to call @JeffAtwood himself to here and ask for an answer? \$\endgroup\$ – chillworld Aug 7 '14 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Actually, I have tried searching Code Review on Google. The second (or third) result was Code Review SE. \$\endgroup\$ – TheCoffeeCup Oct 8 '14 at 0:05
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Without any further ado:

Code Review is a successful asset to Stack Exchange in its own way.

(I hope that I qualify as one of the "people in charge" for the purposes of this discussion.)

To be fair, comments three and a half years old probably shouldn't generally be considered authoritative. Plus, Jeff moved on from the company long before I was hired, and I've been around for a year now. But we do still believe that there's room for multiple sites in the network related in some way or another to software development. If we didn't, this site and several others would have been shuttered long ago.

You guys have put together a pretty darn nice site here, and more impressively, it's still improving all the time. When you look at the fact that you're still a beta site, the proper analysis isn't that you're bad, it's that the design of our beta/release system doesn't handle the things that make Code Review a special snowflake very well. In other words: it's not you, it's us.

But we're working on it, in part due to the fact that we do have great sites like yours still in beta! Recently, the community team has been talking about making a bunch of changes that would remove "graduation from beta" as the one be all, end all milestone in our process, and replacing them with smaller individual milestones that sites could achieve independently. It's still far too early in the process to be specific about this in any way, but I expect Code Review to look much more like a "full" site than a freshly launched beta when it's all over.


A couple people have asked about my word choice above. When I said "special snowflake," I was partially just trying to be cute, which probably wasn't the best idea. And jt0dd's comment is pretty accurate. But here's one example: one of the things we look at during site evaluations is "does this site result in answers to questions that are better than the answers you could get somewhere else?" It's one way we try to see if we're achieving our qualitative/fuzzy goal of making the Internet a better place. As I mentioned in chat, it's easier to compare "how do I cook broccoli so it's soft but not mushy" across sites than "what should be improved in the following eighty lines of code?"

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    \$\begingroup\$ "our beta/release system doesn't handle the things that make Code Review a special snowflake very well". I'm just curious, but do you have some examples of this? \$\endgroup\$ – Pimgd Aug 7 '14 at 6:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pimgd I would guess that he is referring to the fact that the numbers and figures that would typically show a healthy Stack Exchange site aren't a perfect tool to measure the health of an atypical site like Code Review, having key differences which make it both a successful asset and a "special snowflake" hence the need to be treated a bit differently. It it now the case that not all SE sites can be seen as nails to hammer. Based on the insight that Pops has just given, I would say that Stack Exchange sees this, and is adapting to it, so that unique communities like this one can thrive. \$\endgroup\$ – Viziionary Aug 7 '14 at 18:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pimgd reply got kinda long, so I edited the answer instead, see above. \$\endgroup\$ – Pops Aug 7 '14 at 22:22
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I wouldn't read too much into that historical comment:

  • It was made in the very early days of Code Review's existence.
  • Jeff Atwood is no longer actively involved in Stack Exchange operations.
  • The remark was made in response to a suggestion that some questions should be migrated from Stack Overflow. That is already the case today: Stack Overflow regularly migrates questions to us that contain working code, and we refer users to Stack Overflow when code that is posted here is broken.

Beta sites are like pre-IPO startups. Some of us have lots of stock options (reputation points) that are currently unvalued. However, we are already providing a valuable service to programmers worldwide. Our community is healthy and growing. The assessment we have been given is, graduation is mostly a matter of time.

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I think that it may be time for the people in charge here to point out that Code Review is a successful asset to Stack Exchange in its own way.

I believe that the big folks at Stack Exchange know how important Code Review is to a lot of people, which has been stated by Grace Note: (emphasized by me)

Past that, though, the site’s actually doing rather well. It has a humongous userbase behind it (albeit, again, bottom-heavy), the userbase is engaged on Meta, traffic metrics are superb, and overall the site has a positive feel. When we’re not looking at the stagnant and decayed questions, I see extremely in-depth reviews and helpful advice, as well as both askers and answerers working together. However, between the lack of voting and the poor question/answer return rate, it isn’t ready to see graduation.


This site has reached it's full beta potential.

Do you really know that? How can you be so sure?

Sure, there are always improvements to be made within the community, but why dampen this site's potential by keeping it in beta any longer?

It is not about "dampening the site's potential", it's about is it positive or negative?.

Sure, we are in general doing very well around here. However, what if our two-three top answerers in any specific tag would suddenly go on a break? Or, in worst case, leave for good? (Not that I think that's happening). Then we would get a whole lot more unanswered questions, perhaps another Zombie infestation which would not be healthy for a graduated site.

To graduate, we have been told to "keep doing what we're doing".

When it comes to our graduation, I trust the Community Managers of Stack Exchange. We will get there when we get there. As long as we graduate before PCG, I'm happy

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, I joined, and I intend to be a top answerer for JS as I improve, so I've got one of those 2-3 deserter spots covered :) \$\endgroup\$ – Viziionary Jul 23 '14 at 17:04

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