The process of transitioning this site from one platform to another solution is not ideal. Much of the (temporary) pains of going through this transition are part of a compromise — a compromise that was arrived at to even enable this migration to happen. To assure that we end up with the best possible site in the long run, some hard decisions had to be made.
A bit of background—
On Alex's side (SharePoint Overflow), he was one of the lucky few who beat the odds and built a successful site — a proposition where thousands (well over 99%) of his fellow site owners failed. The privately-owned subscription model of Stack Exchange was a huge failure and SharePoint Overflow was faced with either (a) shutting down, (b) porting the site over to one pale clones of the Stack Exchange software, or (c) migrating the system to the upgraded and already-successful Stack Exchange Network.
I think he made the right choice.
On Stack Exchange's side, our previous experiences of simply migrating existing "SE 1.0" sites have been less than stellar. Many of the imported sites are among the weakest sites in our network. Some are still struggling and haven't really been able to get it together to get this whole thing going. It's not the fault of the owners nor those communities; Those sites were simply created under a different premise.
We didn't want that to happen to SharePoint Overflow.
As discussed in Rebecca's introductory post, we decided that the best way to assure this site's long-term success was to go through that same process of community engagement that launched our other Stack Exchange sites. I never realized just how important those early stages are to inspiring and maintaining the level of energy and meta activity found on the other sites.
But SharePoint Overflow is one of the last sites we agreed to move over to the Stack Exchange Network. There are no more plans to import existing sites (with few exceptions).
The problem is, there is no mechanism for transitioning a site in stages like this. There's no read-only mode for the old site; There's no way to tell Google that the content will go offline temporarily while we retool — If we were forced to redevelop the legacy code of SharePoint Overflow just to accommodate this last site migration, we would have had to turn Alex and SharePoint Overflow away.
At the risk of sounding a bit boastful, this is a huge opportunity for the SharePoint site. Alex and the SharePoint community have done an awesome job with this site, but it can take years (if ever) to build up the type of traffic exposure and "Google juice" that a Stack Exchange site gets in its opening weeks. The Stack Exchange network is still growing at 18% per month, across the board. Stack Overflow is one of the top-400 sites on the Internet. And the SharePoint Stack Exchange is hot on the heels of Stack Overflow-like content. That's huge.
I hope you can tolerate a bit of these "growing pains" while we launch this site. We're not going through this process to piss anyone off or to deprive them of their searchable content. Enjoy the site; Enjoy the chat rooms; Enjoy the added exposure. In a few weeks, we'll start the import and Google will pick up that content almost immediately. Then well all reminisce about those Wild West days when SharePoint Overflow went dark for a few weeks.
"Pardon our appearance while we do some remodeling."