Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 158 Stack Exchange communities.

What is meta?
Here's how it works:
  1. Any Stack Exchange user can ask a question
  2. The community provides support, votes on ideas, and reports bugs
  3. Your voice helps shape the way Stack Exchange operates

Per my promise on "Stack Overflow Is", I've been thinking of potential solutions to the "rudeness problem". In the course of this I've realized that it's actually MSO where I most often occasion to see (and admittedly and ashamedly make) rude comments. As such, my first set of suggestions are about Meta.

Proposal: More Meta Moderation.

First let me clarify that I'm not proposing removing references to unicorns and Jon Skeet and so on. I think Meta should still be a bit more relaxed than the main sites.

I do think, however, that we should do more to ensure that discussions here are focused and respectful.

Meta is a place for discussion, which means more comments, but I feel that the discussion gets carried away too often. There are regularly heated discussions where many comments are aimed at nitpicking and being provocative without actually addressing any points being made. The end result is anger, resentment, and a pile of garbage that obscures the real issues and likely discourages anyone who comes across those posts.

In my experience, it seems that more of the unconstructive and inflammatory stuff is allowed to remain on Meta than on the main network sites. This has no benefit and is actively harmful. Let me say that I and others need to take responsibility for what we say and do, absolutely, but I still think moderation has a role to play here.

Important stuff goes on here. There are a lot of people who really, really care about the network participating in MSO and that inevitably leads to tension. I say that we should recognize that and take Meta a little more seriously1 so that we can better solve problems without creating more of them.

To help with more moderation, I've also separately proposed that moderators from other SE sites be allowed to moderate on MSO. Please vote on that notion separately from this one, thanks!

1With regard to moderation. It would definitely be helpful sometimes if we took other things less seriously so that there would be less drama! But that's another discussion :P

share|improve this question
I thought meta was mostly well moderated already (certainly in the areas that are contentious it seems to stay within reasonable bounds) – Flexo Jun 27 '12 at 19:03
@Flexo I really have to disagree. I've seen the occasional post get locked but for the most part haven't seen anything done about outright insults, flaming, etc. – Matthew Read Jun 27 '12 at 19:09
I can't reply to it now that it's been deleted, but I wanted to say this on BoltClock's post: I'm not intending to belittle you or your work moderating, or that of any other mods, I really honestly appreciate it. I just think we as a community might want to change how we approach moderating MSO. – Matthew Read Jun 27 '12 at 19:15
It's alright. My answer wasn't intended as a mean snap-back or anything, but I can understand if it was taken that way. I should have known better! – BoltClock's a Unicorn Jun 27 '12 at 19:17
Things that are downright insulting end up getting deleted in my experience. There's usually a bit of leeway at first, though, since behind many angry rants there's a useful point that may need to be addressed. – Adam Lear Jun 27 '12 at 19:34
Examples of unmoderated unconstructive/inflammatory posts or rudeness would go a long way. – user149432 Jun 27 '12 at 19:48
@Mark I don't think so. Anecdotes are easy to find, even on the main sites ("SO is not a perfect example of its guidelines") and I don't want to put the focus on individual commenters or comments. This is my experience -- if yours doesn't match or you just don't trust me, downvoting and moving on is totally OK, I won't blame you. – Matthew Read Jun 27 '12 at 19:53
@MatthewRead Without any direct evidence of there being an actual problem to solve, I'm not sure what support you hope to accrue from this. If you're not comfortable with anecdotal data, show aggregate data. Something, anything to indicate we actually need more moderation here other than your own private assessment. – user149432 Jun 27 '12 at 19:57
possible duplicate of The future of meta.stackoverflow and meta.stackexchange – jcolebrand Jun 27 '12 at 19:58
@AnnaLear I was wondering what was up with a certain pointless rant that was left around for a while earlier. Are rants usually left up for a bit to see if anyone can tease out a useful point of contention or what? – Ben Brocka Jun 27 '12 at 19:58
@MatthewRead Put another way: you clearly think there's a real problem that needs to be solved such that you felt this request was warranted and had merit. Show your work with the rest of the class: help us see what you see. What, specifically, are you referring to when you claim there's a problem with lack of moderation on MSO? All we have now is a statement of your personal opinion with nothing to back it up. – user149432 Jun 27 '12 at 20:01
Removing the chaff conversations (the ones that tend to go nutty) to "" will allow the conversations on "" to be much more focused. Once those two funnels have been erected, clamping down on the nutty will become even easier. Divide and conquer, my good sir. – jcolebrand Jun 27 '12 at 20:01
@AnnaLear something about reputation and female dogs from earlier today. I know you saw it, you closed it. – Ben Brocka Jun 27 '12 at 20:07
Perhaps someone is referencing the slapfest… @ann – random Jun 27 '12 at 20:11
@jcolebrand I was hopping the nutty discussions would stay on MSO when we get MSE... – Yannis Jun 27 '12 at 22:19

Meta is the one place where we should be allowing a little more latitude for people's opinions.

We don't allow any kind of soapboxing or off-topic discussion on the main sites; meta serves as a safety valve for those discussions.

Of course, we don't allow patently offensive interactions here, but these aren't generally a problem for the most part, and I believe the existing moderation is adequate for those cases.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .