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(If your regular hangouts are limited to SO and MSO, you probably won't understand this post. This is all about the people who have no idea what SO and MSO are.)

A lot of Stack Exchange sites suffer from a lack of community participation on meta.

That was with a visible link to the meta site in the top bar. Now the meta site is a lot less discoverable. You have to find it in a menu, rather drowned in the list of all hundred-odd Stack Exchange sites.

Please bring back the directly visible meta link. As a default — I know I can bring it back with a user script, but that's no use to inform users of the existence of meta sites.

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    You can also find it under help – 3ventic Dec 4 '13 at 22:48
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    Rather drowned? It's right there under the current site ... Am I missing something here? – Bart Dec 4 '13 at 22:48
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    @Bart Yes, number 2 in a list of 100+ isn't particularly visible, especially when you wouldn't be looking for anything like it in the first place. – Gilles Dec 4 '13 at 23:00
  • ... number 2, indented to be grouped with the particular site you're visiting. But well, experiences differ I guess. – Bart Dec 4 '13 at 23:02
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    @Bart It would actually be more visible and more discoverable if it was visually distinguished, like the chat and blog icons. – Gilles Dec 4 '13 at 23:05
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    I can actually understand the logic. Suppose user see something odd or a bug. First thing he'll look for is "help". The previous design had just "meta" which is like jibberish to most users who, unlike us, won't just click any random link they see. So he went to help center, searched for bug and landed here, finally figuring what Meta is. Having it under "help" makes more sense now, in my opinion. One extra click, true, but it might also prevent honest mistakes of newbies reaching Meta. – ShaWiz Dec 4 '13 at 23:08
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    @ShaWizDowArd You know, that's a good point. There's a meta link under help, that's a good place for bugs and support. And the community bulletin makes meta discoverable for discussion. Maybe that's enough. I think you should post this as an answer. – Gilles Dec 4 '13 at 23:17
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For the record, at first I shared your opinion and asked right away to bring back the link. (I still prefer to have link back to main from meta without site switcher, but that's off topic here :))

Anyway, now that the main contains link to meta under "help" I can actually understand the logic. Suppose user see something odd or a bug. First thing he'll look for is "help". The previous design had just "meta" which is like jibberish to most users who, unlike us, won't just click any random link they see. So he went to help center, searched for bug and landed on this help page, finally figuring what Meta is.

Having it under "help" makes more sense now, in my opinion. One extra click, true, but it might also prevent honest mistakes of newbies reaching Meta.

  • This has been implemented now. We can see Meta link under help menu on top bar. – hims056 Dec 6 '13 at 6:15
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    @hims056 I know, I posted after it was already there - not my doing. – ShaWiz Dec 6 '13 at 8:36
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    This sounds just horrible. Yes, let's make it harder for the newcomers to access meta and learn how it all works before they are in dire need of help and then come here and post a rant. I can't ask any questions!! Kill all ponies! – TsSkTo Dec 6 '13 at 8:51
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For what its worth, and just as an anecdotal data point, over on Programmers.SE we saw a very significant uptick in the number of people in chat over the day that we've never seen before. Lots of new faces in chat.

If it was the new navbar that brought them there, it may also be the case that people are finding the meta link more easily too. This is harder to validate, though could be something that one of the SE types could look at and/or post some stats for - ratio of main site to meta unique visitors per day for a period of time compared to same period of time a year ago.

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