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Will Meta ever be used for new feature tests or trials? Should it be? I'm leaning heavily on the "trials" part of the question. I wouldn't expect the team to put something here that wasn't thought to be technically ready to go live on the 'main' sites also, but social engineering is hard.

What do people think about using the Meta site for trying out major new features?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since this question was asked, the team has indeed started to use Meta Stack Overflow — just MSO, not per-site metas (which didn't exist when this was originally asked) — for test runs of new features. A notable, somewhat recent example is the new review queue.

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Features so far have been tested in the field (SO.com) and tweaked when necessary. I think that this is a fine way to do it.

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I think we need to be mindful of the fact that the meta users are not typical users.

I'm not against this idea, I'm just saying that those of us who are on meta are more likely to be able to adapt to a new feature (and more likely to read the manuals) than those on the regular sites. We are the "Super Users" of the StackEngine.

On the other hand, you have an army of eager and willing beta-testers, so I say go to it!

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I believe meta would be an excellent proving ground for new features/enhancements. However, given there are already many features being requested for modification or removal from meta vs SO; I don't think all features would apply or be used in the same way. Still, for those relevant I would encourage it. I believe this would especially work well since I believe many of the users here are "more dedicated" than the average user, and therefore will be more forgiving to bugs and be more willing to provide constructive feedback about a feature that needs tweaking.

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