What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 131 Stack Exchange communities.

Each SE site has its own Meta site.

Why isn't there just one common Meta site? What kind of questions are supposed to appear on the different Meta sites?

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Great Idea! I'll implement it promptly.... POOF! There you go! I've migrated your question for you as well :) –  Lix Feb 12 '12 at 20:24
    
In all seriousness though, you have found the correct meta site. People come from all through the land to here. Questions arise from all the SE sites. –  Lix Feb 12 '12 at 20:25
    
@Lix If nothing, it's mostly visited (compared to other meta sites). –  BЈовић Feb 12 '12 at 20:27
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This site (meta) is the common meta site. It covers all of the Stack Exchange network, not just Stack Overflow. This is the "national capitol" governing the whole network while the other per-site metas are the "state capitols" governing the individual sites. –  Jeff Mercado Feb 12 '12 at 20:27
    
@JeffMercado So, what kind of questions should be asked there (other metas)? Answering this question is the answer to why they exists –  BЈовић Feb 12 '12 at 20:28
    
@VJovic: Questions on the other metas for other sites should be for specific issues on the parent site. If it can apply to the whole network, then it should probably go here. –  Jeff Mercado Feb 12 '12 at 20:30
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I'd rather ask why SO has no meta site. –  CodesInChaos Feb 12 '12 at 21:15
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@CodeInChaos, or more accurately "Why SO and SE share a meta site". Seems like "meta.stackexchange.com" would make more sense for the "capitol" site, but that just redirects to meta.stackoverflow.com. –  Ben Lee Feb 13 '12 at 17:39

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The per-site metas are for discussion of things that related only to their own 'main' site, while this 'main meta' is for things that apply globally (as well as for Stack Overflow itself).

If you wanted to discuss the closing/deleting of a question on a site, for example, you wouldn't post it here unless it was from Stack Overflow; you would post it on its own Meta.


Note as per nhinkle in a comment below, it is OK to post feature requests on a per-site Meta, as well. I would even say that it's OK to post almost anything Meta on your favorite per-site Meta most of the time. Sometimes, such posts will be moved here from their per-site, if they are deemed to be of general applicability.

There is some overlap in the applicability, then. But the general principle is that per-site metas are primarily there in order to facilitate local Meta discussion.

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Like for example what? What are questions that do not belong here? –  BЈовић Feb 12 '12 at 20:30
    
I posted an example in an edit. I don't know how important it is to post more; Basically, if you consider posting a Meta topic, consider if it applies only to one site, or to all; post accordingly. Also look at the posts that already exist on the Meta in question. –  Andrew Barber Feb 12 '12 at 20:32
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If a user wants to dispute a question that was closed on Super User - you would not see it posted here. It would be posted on Meta Super User –  Lix Feb 12 '12 at 20:33
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This is not entirely true @AndrewBarber. The SE Team has explicitly said that it's ok to post feature requests and bug reports on per-site metas that apply to the whole network. You're always welcome to post them on MSO, and most people do, but it's perfectly fine to post things like that to sub-site metas. –  nhinkle Feb 12 '12 at 21:06
    
@nhinkle I'm not saying it's not OK, really; but the OP here was asking for a difference between them, and why the site-specific ones might exist. I'll modify my answer to reflect. –  Andrew Barber Feb 12 '12 at 21:12

You can post any topic on a site's meta site that is of interest to users of that community.

This includes both specific topics only relevant there (discussing site/content policy, etc.), as well as topic relevant to multiple sites, like or topics. The team sees them and responds to them anyway. You can also post your support questions on how to use these sites there.

If you're not willing to participate on MSO if you're only e.g. on Super User, Gaming, or Cooking, you don't need to post your issues here. Just don't be surprised if you get a link back to MSO as an answer, when something's already been or being discussed here.

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One could view the site-specific Meta sites as having the same purpose as local government in many governmental systems. That is to say that while it makes sense for there to be a large, centralized body (meta.stackoverflow.com) to address issues that effect everyone - how the system works, changes that will occur across the board, etc. there are many issues that only really effect the local users of a site.

Arguably, putting those questions up on the much more heavily trafficked main meta site means you lose the voice of local users.

Does CrossValidated really need dozens or hundreds of people who don't care about statistics weighing in on the CV journal club, or whether or not CV is appropriate to use as part of a statistics coursework? Or does Ubuntu or Bicycles really need me giving them my 5 cents, when I use neither Ubuntu nor a bike?

Decentralized problems are often best solved by decentralized groups. It allows sites to build themselves, support their own community, and defends them a bit from becoming "What StackOverflow users thing X site should look like" rather than "What X site's users do".

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