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Meta doesn't like me; I can't seem to keep my points. How can I post better and be well-received?

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@quack, @Downvoter - I'm not sure where to put this, or where it fits, what do you suggest, what's your opinion? – rlb.usa Mar 26 '10 at 20:40
@quack I am curious about the support tag? – rlb.usa Mar 26 '10 at 20:54
@rlb: i didn't add that; looks like Jon B did: – quack quixote Mar 26 '10 at 21:03
@rlb: Good question. I keep trying and failing, so there's either some miscommunication or meta and I are just mutually incompatible. – Gnome Mar 26 '10 at 21:07
This is my favorite post on meta, because when I need to find it I just search for "die meta". – user27414 Apr 8 '10 at 16:37
The most positive thing about this is that posting on meta makes it very easy to get the Peer Pressure badge :) – takrl Jul 1 '11 at 9:44
Wow, this is a meta meta question. – Goran Jovic Dec 5 '11 at 21:47
On Stack Overflow actual, coherent questions are rarely downvoted. Whereas Meta Stack Overflow is more like Reddit. – Colonel Panic Dec 17 '12 at 23:20
@ColonelPanic what is Reddit?? – user223277 Jul 27 '13 at 17:24
Yeah, I died trying. I got over 100 down-votes in total. I lost a ton of rep. – narawagames Jun 22 '15 at 2:05
up vote 101 down vote accepted

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.
share|improve this answer
At first I had the idea to post examples like "Here's what happens / what it looks like when you post a duplicate <example><example>..." but then I realized it would be like making examples of those posters, and exposing them to more shame. Hmmm... – rlb.usa Mar 26 '10 at 20:28
Hmmm. Most of the heavy meta users seem to violate these on a regular basis. Perhaps you need to mention that you're allowed to violate these principles, but only if you mention waffles. – tvanfosson Mar 26 '10 at 20:47
@tvan - fixed that for you. – user27414 Mar 26 '10 at 20:50
@Jon you forgot something ;) – perbert Mar 26 '10 at 20:51
Also: you can increase your chances of survival by learning by heart the following list, and using them in smart moments: Be subtle though. Nobody want a Jon Skeet riding a pony eating waffles surrounded by freehand circles during 6 to 8 weeks. – Gnoupi Mar 26 '10 at 20:52
I see you're trying to suggest that people use memes to successfully evade death and participate in Meta. You should totally drop that and try jQuery. – snicker Mar 26 '10 at 20:55
@Gnoupi -- but Chuck Norris with waffles on his head riding a bunny while drawing freehand circles for 6-8 weeks, that would be classic. – tvanfosson Mar 26 '10 at 21:02
you people are all insane. ooo, that reminds me, i have waffles... – quack quixote Mar 26 '10 at 21:06
Case-in-Point: See what too much Meta does to you? :P – rlb.usa Mar 26 '10 at 21:08
These are more 'guidelines' rather than actual rules. – George Stocker May 22 '10 at 19:40
"Don't Suggest Anything If You Are New". It's hard for expert users to imagine how their favourite site looks to newbies. How are we going to find out what the user experience is like for newbies if they aren't allowed to speak? I agree they should be encouraged to search first. – MarkJ Aug 12 '10 at 17:19
I'm going to have to down vote this answer , but I can't because Meta users are mean! And I don't have enough rep to do so. – Chamilyan Aug 18 '11 at 21:01
I already know all this, but I just took the time to read it. Excellent in every way. – Won't Nov 8 '11 at 21:58
@animuson While I may be wrong, a fair bit of the negativity that users experienced on MSO was due to the fact it was MSE i.e. users may experience something on SO, and then come complaining about it on MSO, and face the wrath of users from SE rather than support from SO users. Now that MSO is really MSO, those questions should not be treated the same, and MSE wont be seeing a lot of them as well. Hence, I don't think this post is relevant currently, and I certainly don't think we should assume that the environment is going to be as hard to participate in on MSE as well. – AsheeshR Apr 18 '14 at 2:11
@AsheeshR I think "MSE" got just as many complaints when it was part of MSO. Outside of the "Why does SO suck?" questions, there were still quite a bit of network-wide complaining. Also, this answer isn't specific to asking questions, but also posting answers. It seems completely relevant to the new MSE in my eyes. – animuson Apr 18 '14 at 2:20

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