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It seems that launched SE sites have a "Visit Meta" sidebar element on the front page with a list of top meta questions, but beta SE sites only have it on question pages. It seems to me that beta sites need people to participate in meta and help define the site.

Could SE add the Visit Meta element on the front page of beta sites as well?

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Gah! Always happens! I suppose I should be happy, though, that your revelationary edit happened before I started composing an answer to state that it's on the Question pages. –  Grace Note May 12 '11 at 19:50
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

During a beta, the homepage contains the Site Stats widget:

enter image description here

This is largely because the purpose of a beta is to get the site's stats to a healthy level so the site can be formally launched. These stats need to be front and center on the homepage.

Also remember that …

  • for the first 30 days of a site's existence, there is a permanent system message at the top of the site directing users to meta:

    got a question about the site itself? meta.sitename is the place to talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags we should use, etc.

  • interior question pages will contain "house ads" on the sidebar for meta, chat, and other interesting questions from across the network. Note that the size of this sidebar scales with the # of answers on a particular question, and will not appear at all on questions with 0 answers.

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This seems particularly important as a site is getting started. We want to encourage people to visit the meta site at this time. Chat should be more obvious as well e.g. to encourage a sense of community.

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we changed it recently so all private betas advertise chat exclusively in the sidebar. (and of course the system message specified in my answer is always there to direct people to meta as well..) –  Jeff Atwood Jun 13 '11 at 10:05
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