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Is this site the meta site for all of the Stack Exchange network, as well as the meta site for Stack Overflow proper?

The meta site should refer to all the stackexchange's sites, so why is it meta.stackoverflow.com and not meta.stackexchange.com ?

Even if I know meta.stackexchange.com is a link to meta.Stackoverflow.com.


2 Answers 2


In the beginning, there was only Stack Overflow. The name of the entity running it was called Stack Overflow Internet Services (SOIS).

Some time later, it created a new site, Server Fault, and it was good.

Eventually, there was a need for a meta discussion site: Meta Stack Overflow was created. Since most people were on Stack Overflow and the company name was Stack Overflow, it made sense to call it that. A third site—Super User—was created, but there was still no need to change the name.

Then SOIS launched a product called Stack Exchange, where people could create stacks on anything and everything as long as they agreed to pay a monthly fee at some point later in the future. This is what is now referred to as Stack Exchange 1.0. Like the stacks before it, it too received a meta-discussion site, Meta Stack Exchange. This was more about getting support with Stack Exchange sites, which operated under a different set of rules than the original trilogy of sites.

After a few months, this product was deemed a failure and a new project, Stack Exchange 2.0, was born. Area 51 was created to launch sites under this moniker with Area 51 Discuss intended to be the discussion site about creating sites. Each new site got their own child meta discussion site as part of this process, to allow each community to discuss issues specific to them.

Since Meta Stack Exchange was being used for Stack Exchange 1.0 sites and Area 51 Discuss was being used for discussion about creating sites, Meta Stack Overflow continued to be the best place to discuss the engine itself and the overall community.

Eventually, SOIS changed their name to Stack Exchange and it was determined that Meta Stack Exchange being solely for sites that were destined for the trashbin was leading to a certain amount of confusion, so they killed it and redirected it to here, where everyone's been talking about the network in general from the beginning.

  • Actually Server Fault predates Meta Stack Overflow, but your argument is otherwise sound.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 11:36
  • @ChrisF Ah, oops: fixed.
    – user149432
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 11:45
  • so, does that mean for general stackexchange meta queries, one can consult meta.stackoverflow.com??? or meta.serverfault.com?? Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 6:11
  • @VineetMenon As it should be clear from my answer, Meta Stack Overflow. Not sure where you got Meta Server Fault as an option.
    – user149432
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 6:13

I think this is historical. The whole meta concept came along some time after SO had been running for a while. The rest of the network of sites came along even later and the stackexchange umbrella began to cover other sites that each got their dedicated meta for site specific issues.

This site (Meta.SO) is a hopelessly tangled mess of being the meta for StackOverflow and being the primary meta for all general StackExchange related issues. Being the largest site in the network by far, a lot of precident is set on SO that trickles down to the other sites, so this makes some sense but someday I hope they split it up so that there is a meta for network wide issues and another for SO specific issues.

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