I'm currently helping out on a beta site. One of the most valuable things on new beta sites, especially private/early public betas, is Meta participation - see this mod newsletter:

Treat Meta Questions Like Gold

It’s not unusual for your meta site to receive significantly less traffic than the main site. The problems begin when you meta starts to get ignored by the community and ignored by the moderators. It is particularly disturbing when users reach out in meta and starts talking about improving the site or asking for help… only to be ignored; No follow-up, only deafening silence

Because of this, Diamond mods get a notification in their inbox for each new question on their Meta, helping ensure that each meta post is addressed.

However, wouldn't it be great if Diamond mods weren't the only ones that could do this? The post does say that the community needs to be seeing these questions too.

As an involved user, I would really like to be notified of these new questions - it would increase the good I could do the site. How about this?:

enter image description here

Of course, it would be opt-in, not opt-out, and per-site. A feature like this would greatly improve the good that enthusiastic site-builders can do for the site, and would, most likely, increase the overall chances of a site's success.

  • It think the feature is like raising a kid. When it's young it needs a lot of attention. But as soon as it is mature enough to walk on its own and is clearly defined, then less hands-on is needed. Only the over-ambitious would want this for a mature meta site.
    – gunr2171
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:12
  • 1
    @gunr2171 Only betas, then? Again, it would be opt-in.
    – Undo
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:15
  • I can understand this feature for only beta sites. But remember why the feature exists in the first place: so moderators can help the users by responding fast. I'm no moderator of a beta site, but are normal users able to answer with the same quality as a mod? Would you be giving them too much information?
    – gunr2171
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:18
  • 1
    @gunr2171 IMO, any encouragement we can give users to participate in Metas will have a positive impact.
    – Undo
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:20
  • I'd vote again if you drew a red circle around your additions.
    – mpdonadio
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:47
  • Getting notified about new questions is only half the job of keeping up to date with Meta. How about answers? To spot new or updated answers, you'll have to visit Meta regularly anyway - in which case you'll also spot new questions, the notifications aren't really useful.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:49
  • 4
    @gunr2171 on several sites I've seen non-moderator senior users jump in to lend a hand (competently!) on meta, so yes, they can and it does happen. Commented Jul 28, 2014 at 22:13

3 Answers 3


I've made a userscript to do this.

Just like mods do, this userscript adds a diamond to the topbar (sorry if it's not the right colour - I'm not a mod on any site!) that goes red if there has been a new question posted on the current site's meta. Once you click it, it will show the 5 most recent questions. After clicking, next time it will be white (meaning there is no new question).

enter image description here enter image description here

To install

You can get this in the development version of my SE Additional Optional Features userscript from StackApps (This userscript adds a bunch of optional features to the SE site).

Or, if you don't want more features (don't know why! :P), you can get the single userscript from my post on StackApps.

  • The right color is blue, and it's a bit too big. But it still works :P
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:21
  • The spritesheet that contains the colored diamonds can be found here.
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:26
  • 1
    It's blue when there's a new meta post / mod message, gray when there is nothing of interest (not sure why there's two grays; appears to be the darker one), and orange when there's a new mod newsletter.
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:28
  • @Doorknob Thanks! I'll edit the script now to make it look more realistic :) Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:28
  • This will make things ultra confusing when people with this script will post screenshots while reporting bugs, or even worse, if someone will forget installing it he/she will post a bug report one day "I have a diamond but I'm no mod!" :D Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:34
  • 1
    @ShadowWizard confusion has already happened :D but I hope it never comes to your last thought :P Commented May 24, 2015 at 15:35
  • @Doorknob I've changed the colours :) does it look more genuine?? (look at the gif) Commented May 24, 2015 at 16:14
  • Still too big, and it's missing the hover style, but better. :P
    – Doorknob
    Commented May 24, 2015 at 16:34
  • @Doorknob Yeah - I couldn't directly use the SVG - I just got the colours and added them in. I'll add some hover effect to it as well if I can in a bit, and make it smaller - but I won't update the gif this time :) Commented May 24, 2015 at 16:52

As a workaround while this feature request is discussed, any user can receive email notifications of new meta questions. (Not one email per question - they'll get batched up.) It's not the same as having on-site notifications showing up when you return to the site, but it works. :)

Here's how:

  1. Go to https://stackexchange.com/filters.

  2. Click the orange "new filter" button on the right side of the page.

  3. Select "All questions" under "I'd like to include..."

  4. Then check "show meta sites" and type the site you're interested in into the search box next to the "Just these sites" option.

  5. Name your filter.

  6. Check the box and select your frequency (daily, every 3 hours, or every 15 minutes) if you'd like to receive an email when there are new posts matching your filter criteria.

add new filter for meta questions

  • Great workaround, but, as you say, it's not quite as nice as getting notifications in the global inbox.
    – Undo
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:39
  • 2
    Filters also have feeds. Much more convenient than the emails...
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:40
  • Oooh, right @Yannis! Forgot to mention that; once the filter is created, there's an RSS link at the bottom of the page for it.
    – Laura
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:43
  • @Undo I know it's not what you had in mind; I need more time to decide whether I agree with you that this is a good idea, as well as to start sketching out how it would behave. With the pending topbar redesign, we're actually going to put new meta post notifications in a mod-only area, so figuring out a spot for these for normal users would be tricky even if we decide to do it.
    – Laura
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:46
  • 1
    Some sites also feed new meta posts into their chat rooms. Of course, the utility of this depends on how popular your chat is. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:48
  • While I think this specific feature request has a rather narrow use case, a general way to add notifications for certain questions could be rather useful. For example, users might be able to add tag filters to their notifications, or changes/new answers for favorited questions. Not a whole new system, but a way to connect some existing parts to the top bar and show updates there. Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:45

I'm strikingly ambivalent to this idea. A lot of things happen on meta: some are important site policy discussions and others are the sort of interpersonal drama that is inevitable when people collaborate. Moderators absolutely need to be involved (or rather, be aware) of the drama. And everyone with a stake in a site should be aware of the general topics. But it doesn't serve much purpose to entice people to enter into the gossipy portions of meta.

Thankfully, we have a Community Bulletin where moderators can pin important meta-questions (via the tag). This gives ordinary users a way to discover the meta-questions of general interest without getting sucked into conflicts they don't care about. (I'd be partial to including those questions in the weekly newsletter as well.) Some sites include the meta feed in their chatrooms. (Hattip: Monica Cellio.) And anyone can build their own notification as Laura mentioned. Finally, the sort of people who care most about meta are the sort who also visit meta pretty regularly anyway. When I was a mod, it always amused me to see the notification of a post on meta shortly after I'd read and responded to it.

  • 6
    Arguably, users involved in private betas care about practically every post on meta. I'm wondering if this makes sense to have, and have on by default in private beta, then just turn it off once a site goes to public beta.
    – user50049
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 18:58
  • @TimPost On the flip side, having another tab open letting the live updates roll in doesn't seem that hard either...But I guess that's no different than it would be for moderators, who do have that feature.
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:12
  • 2
    @TimPost Meh. As with the main site, the real gems on Meta are the answers, and the inbox notifications are useless there. If you are interested in keeping up with the answers, you'll have to visit Meta regularly anyway.
    – yannis
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 19:55
  • 3
    @Yannis, I see no reason that a global notification couldn't include any question or answer posted on meta. Computers are cool. They are flexible like that.
    – jmac
    Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 1:57

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