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This question was just closed. While I understand why it could be interpreted as not constructive, I think that it is a legitimate question (though it should have been worded better). The question was essentially asking how many users does a site require to grow on it's own, which has an answer: it depends on the size of the site. I was in the process of writing this answer before the question got closed:

How ever many users it takes to make a high quality, active site.

If your site has good content, and is active, like Stack Overflow and Wikipedia, people will promote it, and want to join it and post content.

Of course, it takes a different amount of people to reach that level for every site. For sites like Wikipedia, is a general encyclopedia and needs tons of content to be popular, you will need a lot of people to generate that content. However, if you are running a small niche site, you will need less content, and as such less people, to reach that tipping point.

Can that question be reopened?

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That question was closed in part because it was polling members by asking for their experience. That portion of the question would have to be removed as that clearly is not suitable for this website as per the faq.

Additionally, I'm not sure the remaining portion of the question:

I am curious to know roughly how many users would have to sign up to my website, (for the sake of argument think wikipedia or stackoverflow with 0 users) in order for the site to reach 'critical mass', the tipping point where the site begins to grow naturally without a great deal of promotion on my part.

is non-constructive in its current form. It's purely hypothetical.

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  • Would it be on-topic if someone were to ask "how many users would it take for a site to reach a 'tipping point': where the site grew on it's own without any outside help"? – user6901 Feb 19 '12 at 18:50
  • @Christofian can you see where the objective answer would be localized to the specific instance of the site in question? ("How much does it cost to run my site?" + "How much do I make per visitor?" = answer, but only for that instance as other sites have different costs and revenue models) – danlefree Feb 19 '12 at 20:17
  • Could we not migrate the question to onstartups - would that not be a better home for it? – toomanyairmiles Feb 19 '12 at 21:59
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    It does not matter where you put it. The question is still subjective. If you want to ask a question about this on the onstartups site I think you might want to ask a new question. Instead of asking polling users for what 'critical mass' is for a site. Why not ask, is there an equation that startups or VCs use to see when a site/company has hit critical mass by taking visitors, value per visitor, cost per visitor,and flat overhead cost into account? That would be a way of wording it that would not get as subjective results back. – Ben Hoffman Feb 20 '12 at 15:18
  • Firstly it's not my question, I only flagged the migration question suggestion. It's a difficult question to ask, i'm certain it could be phrased better, but it's VERY much in the onstartups wheelhouse rather than ours and I'm sure they will help the OP out. – toomanyairmiles Feb 20 '12 at 23:24
  • @toomanyairmiles just recently discovered onstartups by chance. Maybe I missed it because its Beta. I no longer want to ask this question, but onstartups is great – Adjam Mar 15 '12 at 11:28
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Thanks for taking the time to discuss my question on Meta.

I would be willing to concede to John Conde, but then other subjective questions like this: What is a lot of traffic? and this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/647210/just-what-is-a-big-database appear to have slipped through the stack exchange net, and both have yielded some interesting answers. If those questions get to be asked, perhaps someone could help re-write the question so that it meets Johns requirements of being constructive and non-hypothetical?

Phrased correctly I believe that this question (which is as valid in spirit as the examples listed above) could contribute to the site and yield good answers.

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