What Exactly Is Meta? Why/How Is It Different? What Goes Here?
Meta is a special place for suggestions, bugs, and discussion about the Stack Exchange sites. It is the only place where more frivolous discussions are allowed. Meta is also harsh(er) to your feelings. That said, here are a few guidelines if you'd like to keep your sanity and reputation points.
Do Always Search for Your Question First, (Repeat if Necessary)
- Meta has been around for some time, and the fact is that most common questions/bugs/suggestions have already been answered. It's easier and less time consuming to search for your question. If you can't find it, think of different search terms and search again.
Heavily Consider Not Suggesting Anything If You Are New
Although this sounds cruel, elitist, and rude, it is innately true: The higher-reputation users have been around longer than you have and have a better understanding of Meta and the Stack Exchange sites. It takes a little while to get used to Stack Exchange and learn the inner workings and methodologies of why things are the way they are.
The reason it is very difficult to find anything on Stack Exchange which is trivial or sloppy is that all of the inner workings have carefully been thought through, tested, and polished. In other words, if you have no idea what rocket science is, it makes no sense to walk into NASA and start telling them how things should be.
- If you still have suggestion(s), that's great! However, the best advice to you is to hold that thought, learn the ropes, eat your waffles, ride your ponies, and then revisit us. You will have a better background and more experience to suggest. Don't suggest anything before thoroughly checking if it was suggested before.
Don't Criticize, Downtalk, or Insult. Be Constructive
- Meta's primary audience are the high reputation users, the very ones who have spent hours, and sometimes sleepless nights, answering and asking questions, sometimes even pouring out their hearts over mundane tasks like retagging. If you do post anything disrespectful, you can almost count on being reprimanded. Meta is still composed of people, and as people, everyone must be treated politely as such.
- Instead of being rude or disrespectful, turn those negatives into positives, be polite and constructive and you will be much better received.
Don't Post Incorrect Answers/Comments
- Just like on regular Stack Exchange sites, wrong answers get downvoted. If you'd like to keep your reputation points, simply follow common sense. If you don't know, don't pretend that you do. If you aren't sure, say so (or don't post at all).
Don't Whine or Complain
- While Meta is a place for questions, answers, suggestions, and bugs, it isn't your mommy. Meta expects its audience to act – and post – like mature adults. If you've had your hair ruffled up, the preferred procedure is to persevere, putting on a pretension of imperturbability in the presence of perceived persecution, and carry on. However, if you really feel that a great wrong was done, or a pattern is developing, you can post it on Meta. But please, please, don't whine.
- Downvotes on Meta can mean disagreement, incorrectness or that the downvoter got up on the wrong side of his/her bed. Votes are yours to cast, so are theirs. Don't complain about votes.
Remember Meta is a Website, Not Your Entire Life
- Just like any other activity, it is important to remember that life exists outside of this website. Spending days on end doing nothing but Meta is bad for your health (and we have to put up with your crazed antics). So please, remember that Meta is a website, and keep things in perspective.
When in doubt...
- Waffles, ponies, unicorns and bacon are good fallback subjects when you have nothing else to say.