Since they are the same engine, I figured they would be running the same code base, just with different databases. However Meta is at svn revision 3813 while SO is at 3772, nearly 50 revisions behind. What gives?
In the Meta announcement blog entry, Jeff noted that there'd be code-level differences:
- bounties make little sense on a discussion site
- wording needs to be tweaked (i.e. questions->topics, answers->replies)
- need to be able to follow questions/get notices of additional replies
- remove notion of community wiki, as discussion sites have a stronger sense of ownership, plus nothing will be off-topic
Those would require code changes rather than just database changes, since there aren't database switches you can throw (yet) to change the wording on the site or disable wiki across the board.