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Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 150 Stack Exchange communities.

To post on a per-site meta you need to have at least 5 reputation on the parent site. To post on Meta.SE you need to register, but you don't need to have any reputation on an SE site.

Now, Meta.SO is both the meta for Stackoverflow and the meta for the whole network. But wouldn't the reasons to require a minimum reputation on per-site metas be equally valid on Meta.SE?

I'm not entirely sure what the main reasons behind the minimum reputation are, I can think of a few possible explanations:

  • It prevents users from accidentally posting on meta when they should post on main
  • It prevents noise from users that aren't active on the main site
  • per-site metas have far lower traffic, so community moderation is not as effective and a higher barrier of entry might be necessary

Requiring a minimum reputation (especially if also enabled on Meta.SE) also might have some other side-effects:

  • 1 rep users have no valid way of challenging community or diamond moderation actions except mailing the SE team

Would it make sense to enable the minimum reputation also on Meta.SE? It would reduce the number of completely off-topic posts on meta.SE, but might make it harder for 1 rep users to challenge moderation actions. Or is the minimum reputation barrier not needed on per-site metas and should it be disabled everywhere?

Maybe I'm also missing a reason why the minimum reputation requirement makes sense on per-site metas and shouldn't be enabled on Meta.SE. Or maybe they should be disabled on the per-site metas as well.

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I see your point, but do we really have so much trouble here on Meta because of the absence of that barrier? We have the occasional noise, yes. But nothing we can't handle. To me it reads a bit like implementing the "rule" because other sites have it as well. Not to directly address an issue we have here. And I like Meta SO (Or rather, the future Meta SE) to be a no-barrier place. If we really can't deal with all the crap we get flooded with, we can always throw up the barrier. – Bart Nov 2 '12 at 13:55
@Bart If the barrier is not necessary on Meta.SO, it is likely also not necessary on the per-site metas. I'm not sure if the barrier is a good idea, but I think the same reasoning likely applies to all kinds of meta sites. – Mad Scientist Nov 2 '12 at 14:00
"It prevents users from accidentally posting on meta when they should post on main" - I seem to recall this being the primary motivation, but I might be wrong (see this answer and its comments, too). If that's the case, MSO has the similar barrier of having to actually register a MSO account to post here. The reality that people are completely oblivious to that and end up posting SO-ish material here anyway is still quite the mystery to me. – Tim Stone Nov 2 '12 at 14:02
@MadScientist I can't argue for the other Metas since I don't really participate there. Perhaps you're right and the barrier is overkill there as well. I don't see a need for it here though. Please allow me my daily thwacking of blatantly off-topic users. ;) – Bart Nov 2 '12 at 14:05
@Bart On per site Metas we don't get spam, we don't get rants from obvious 1 rep throw away sock accounts and we don't get questions that should have been asked on the main site (well, on Meta Programmers we got one). Compare with MSO ;P – Yannis Nov 2 '12 at 14:17

3 Answers 3

I think there should not be any minimum rep requirements on Meta.SE because users can ask questions such as if a question is off-topic, why was my question closed, etc. If the reputation to participate in Meta.SE would be higher, the users could not ask those questions, which may result in more bad quality questions on main sites.

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The 5 rep requirement exists on all other Metas and users don't seem to have much trouble overcoming it when they honestly care to participate, MSO is the only exception. – Yannis Nov 2 '12 at 13:51
@YannisRizos consider SO Meta like the postmaster e-mail address. If you spamfilter it, you'll never hear about problems with your spamfilter. – itsbruce Nov 2 '12 at 13:55

I think that perhaps MSO should be split, in one part into what it actually says it is - meta.stackoverflow.com, and then also have a meta.stackexchange.com for the network as a whole.

meta.stackoverflow.com could then mirror rep from StackOverflow as with other sites, whereas perhaps rep on meta.stackexchange.com could mirror the highest rep you have on any one site, or network wide.

Leaving it as it is but enforcing a rep requirement would mean needing some way to earn rep before being able to participate, even though to earn rep you need to participate.

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Already planned, though it seems like it's going to take a while. – Manishearth Nov 21 '12 at 15:39
Already happened, and it did take a while. (And we're still feeling the repercussions.) – Al E. Oct 23 '14 at 23:32

I don't think that MSE should have a reputation minimum, but it should have at least a participation requirement.

Right now, people (especially spammers) can come in and post whatever they want without having any experience whatsoever with Stack Exchange. Yes, this stuff is usually taken care of quickly, but that's work on the mods.

I agree with Aziz's concern about allowing people to come here with their complaints.
Only thing is, we don't need people who won't have anything to complain about. :)

My proposal is to require at least one other account on the network with some activity, even if it is just deleted posts (for reasons other than spam/offensive). This way, they can come complain about their deleted posts. ;)

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The downside to this approach is that meta is also our primary source of bug reports, general user feedback, etc. This includes feedback from people who visit our sites anonymously and don't necessarily feel like signing up. – Adam Lear Oct 23 '14 at 20:14

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