Going to meta.stackexchange.com will give you a 503 Service Unavailable error. Since this meta is the de facto meta for the entire network, wouldn't it make since to redirect it here?
If not, I'm curious about the reasons for not doing so.
No, it shouldn't. The problem was that there was two definitions in the zone file - i've fixed it so that meta.stackexchange.com now only has one DNS entry.
So this won't affect everyone equally - depends on which response you get back first. This should clear up in about half an hour (unless you have a crappy DNS provider who ignores our TTLs)
This just cropped up because Fog Creek finally shut down those load balancers that were forwarding the traffic to us.