I participate actively on Christianity.SE, which was just graduated. The meta site rep is always equal to the main site there. I like that because I don't have to worry about a rep pounding on the meta site if I make a bad suggestion.

Conversely, here on MSO, the rep is separate from the SO site. I have made a few bad suggestions and have taken quite a pounding for it (over 25% of my total rep on one post). This makes me hesitant to post things on MSO.

So why is it separate rep on MSO and not on the C.SE site?

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    This post will probably explain a lot. – Lix Jun 26 '13 at 19:46
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    Historical reasons mostly. Don't worry too much about your Meta rep though. It doesn't mean much. – Bart Jun 26 '13 at 19:48
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    Basically the plan was to move MSO over to the system the newer sites use a while ago, but the task of migrating all of the existing content on MSO over was so daunting that it has been continually pushed back. – Servy Jun 26 '13 at 19:49
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    I like the separate system. Yes, you sometimes get 15 downvotes for a question but it only takes 3 upvotes to completely replace all the lost rep. MSO is... different, it definitely has it's own "community" as there's a fair bit of activity (it comes about 1/3 of the way down). As to how to survive this still holds fairly true. – ben is uǝq backwards Jun 26 '13 at 19:55

Because MSO is a network wide meta. Per-site metas are moderated by the users of the main site who have reputation.

However, MSO deals with network policies, not just the policies of SO. So there are users with little to no rep on SO but are active on MSO (I was like this for quite a while). It's a bit unfair to deprive active users of privileges on a site about the whole network just because they don't participate on SO.

So there's a separate rep system here. Don't worry about the downvotes. Unless you're planning on participating in meta long-term (not just occasional visits), it's really not necessary.

  • It's a bit unfair to deprive active users of privileges on a site about the whole network just because they don't participate on SO. Very good point. I didn't think about those other guys. I participate occasionally on SO so I do not fall into that bracket. – fredsbend Jun 26 '13 at 20:05
  • @fredsbend I participate occasionally as well, but I only have 1.7k rep so I have very few privileges as compared to here (The important ones being closing and freely editing) – Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 20:06

This meta site exists pretty much for historical reasons. It isn't really only SO's meta site - but also a network wide meta site dealing with issues that affect the entire network.

There's changes coming though - The future of meta.stackoverflow and meta.stackexchange

Soon At some stage, Stack Overflow will have it's own meta site just like any other site on the network. The meta rep will be synchronized with the main (parent) site, and a new dedicated network wide meta will be maintained using it's own reputation system.

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    And yet look at the date of that post...I wouldn't expect the change to come anytime soon either. That said, the post does demonstrate that it would be better to have the other system, just that we haven't bothered to switch yet. – Servy Jun 26 '13 at 19:50
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    Yea - we don't know exactly where this task is situated on their list of priorities, but we do know that it's there and being discussed. I'd say on a scale of six to eight... this task is about a seven... – Lix Jun 26 '13 at 19:53
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    @Lix Just give them 6-8 weeks. – Undo Jun 26 '13 at 19:59
  • Yeah, this is not going to happen anytime soon. It's not in the pipeline, iirc. – Manishearth Jun 26 '13 at 19:59

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