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Answer by rick , Husband, father, coffee addict, dork · Apr 05, 2010 at 04:16 PM
"Bootstrap mode" is a term which originated at StackOverflow, and for us it basically means that all the minimum requirements are relaxed in order to help encourage and incubate growth at newly established OSQA sites.
It is always possible for the site owner to set new values in the administrative interface, but with over 20 settings to adjust we felt it might be easier to offer a simple "checkbox" solution. When the bootstrap mode is checked, your site will allow everyone who registers to vote, comment, answer, etc.
I definitely recommend placing your new OSQA site in bootstrap mode until it builds up momentum and really gets going. Pretty soon we'll also support a menu of "presets" like "small, medium, large, etc" that you can use to adjust all the settings at once as your site grows. Bootstrap mode is just the start, although a very important one.