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On every site except on SO and MSO in the top right of a user's main profile there is a link to the same user's meta profile and on a user's meta profile there is a link to the same user's main profile. Here is an example:

TeX-SX meta link from main site

TeX-SX main link from meta site

I want to suggest to add this kind of links to SO and MSO (I am aware of there being links to all accounts in the profile but this is not what I'm suggesting). This suggestion was argued against but I think that argument is bad. Even if MSO is independent of SO it makes sense to have links between user's profiles (for which there is an account of both sites). After all, there is an important relation between SO and MSO even though the former is not strictly the parent of the former. Adding such links will make

  • it more convenient to switch between user's SO and MSO profiles, and
  • the structure of profiles will be more consistent across the SX network.
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closed as off-topic by nicael, rene, Braiam, Martijn Pieters, Shadow Wizard Nov 28 at 23:26

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2  
Meta is the meta site for more than just SO. As Bill mentions you can see the account links from the user profile, which is one additional click. –  JNK Dec 16 '11 at 13:05
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@JNK'sMetAccount It would still be convenient and MSO is still meta for SO even if it's also meta for whole SX. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 13:27
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@N.N. - So why wouldn't all sites point here for their meta user link? You can't argue consistency when this would be completely inconsistent (which is one of the reasons it doesn't exist). –  Nick Craver Dec 16 '11 at 15:13

2 Answers 2

If a user has accounts on both Stack Overflow and Meta, links to both will be listed in the accounts tab on their profile. The reason they're not linked together in the same way other sites are linked to their Metas is that SO and Meta don't have exactly the same parent/child relationship that the others do. This (Meta) would now be more accurately named Meta Stack Exchange, since it's for questions about the whole network, not just SO.

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That is not the same kind of link that I'm thinking of. That link is further away. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 13:13
9  
@N.N. You mean you have to move the mouse? –  Bill the Lizard Dec 16 '11 at 13:15
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I mean that the link is in a sub page of the profile. It makes no sense for this issue to argue that the relation between SO and MSO is slightly different from other sites. They still have a main–meta relation and it can be thought of as inconsistent to not have the links for them. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 13:20
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@NN - there's a main-meta user relationship between SO and MSO? News to me :) –  Nick Craver Dec 16 '11 at 13:56
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@N.N. The relation isn't just slightly different though. As you pointed out, a user on SO doesn't even have to set up a Meta account. Even if they do, reputation isn't linked to SO as it is between sites that have a proper parent/meta relationship. I think it would be even more confusing if the link were there for some users and not for others. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 16 '11 at 13:59
    
@BilltheLizard Why do you think it would be confusing? If there is a link there is another account which perfectly reflects the situation. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 14:13
    
@N.N. Because some accounts would have the link and others wouldn't. It would be completely non-obvious why. Right now everyone's profile is consistent so there's no question about who has accounts where. If I want to see if you have a Meta account I can go to your accounts page. It's listed there because it's a separate site, not a (proper) child of SO. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 16 '11 at 14:19
    
@N.N. I can't help but notice that we've both used the word "consistent" to describe two nearly opposite relationships. :) I think the underlying problem is that with Meta being considered a full and separate site of its own, SO and Meta aren't really consistent with the other sites in the SE network. Neither one really has its own linked Meta like all the others. –  Bill the Lizard Dec 16 '11 at 14:25
    
Yes, we refer to different aspects when we speak of consistency. But that we seem to be aware of. However, I think the consistency of interface is more important than the consistency of exactly what the sites are in how they relate. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 14:30
    
@N.N. - Ok, for the sake of argument let's say we did this, that link also appears on the child meta. The link from MSO would point...where? It's not the meta for any one site, so where would that link go? Users here don't always come from SO, that's less and less the case percentage-wise. –  Nick Craver Dec 16 '11 at 15:11
    
@NickCraver A link from a users's MSO profile to a user's SO profile appears if the user has an SO account, else there's no link. The other direction might be more intuitive. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 15:44
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@N.N. - I disagree that'd be the ideal behavior, the problem is there is no ideal behavior, explaining why the link is or isn't there for some users pointing to different IDs isn't intuitive, isn't consistent and isn't valid for many users...it's better to leave it off completely, which we do. Not to mention that because MSO isn't a meta of SO, it's not the trivial syncing problem solved for sites that are child metas, it'd be a totally different code path to kinda support this, so it's no good on either end. –  Nick Craver Dec 16 '11 at 15:49

This is a pointless change.

1 - The meta user can be for multiple accounts on multiple sites. Which main site do you want to link to? What if the user doesn't have an SO account at all?

2 - More importantly, the Accounts links are on the SAME PAGE! Just scroll down. Here is a handy dandy picture for you from a random SuperUser user page on meta:

enter image description here

This is not rocket science. There is a massive BOLD heading that says

Accounts

Just use that. It's the same number of clicks!

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2  
I'm already aware of this. In my question I mentioned that it would only apply for those who have accounts both on SO and MSO. Also I think no one would be confused by the link from MSO going to SO. Adding the link will make the sites more consistent (in that they look them same across the network) and it will bring the link closer to the top which makes it faster to access. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 13:40
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@N.N. - if anyone is having trouble scrolling half a screen in their browser, we probably don't need to redesign the accounts page just for them. –  JNK Dec 16 '11 at 13:59
    
I think it's a reasonable convenience to add. For any application, if it easily can be modified such that it's more convenient to use there might be a reason to modify it. It's not a big change and the links will not be obstructive. –  N.N. Dec 16 '11 at 14:15
    
To say it all, if a user's reputation on Meta Stack Overflow is lower than other 5 sites, the link to the MSO's account would not be shown there. The reason there isn't a link to MSO on SO (and vice versa) is that the code to add that link should find the user accounts used in the two sites from the same user. That is not a problem with other metas, where the user ID is the same for both the meta site, and the main site. (For example, my user ID is 199 on Drupal Answers, and Drupal Answers Meta.) –  kiamlaluno Oct 1 '12 at 14:01

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