Update 2014-04-17 04:47 UTC: Stable, with some odds and ends to clean up

The main MSO/MSE sites are stable, but there are plenty of corners left to sweep. For details, see: The Status Of The Split

Not all of them mind you, just Meta Stack Overflow into Meta Stack Exchange.

I'll have you know, factually, that we really did believe this would take place in six-to-eight weeks when it was originally announced, but we've finally got a tentative date established.

If things go according to plan, we'll begin the operation shortly after 8:30 PM EDT on the 16th, completing everything within a few hour window. Ideally, all service disrupting endeavors will be completed within the first hour, which include:

  • The availability of Meta Stack Overflow
  • The availability of Stack Overflow (more on this shortly)
  • The availability of Chat on Meta Stack Overflow

As you know, we'll be bolting on a standard issue per-site meta on Stack Overflow, while breaking the link between what will have become Meta Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow. There's some irritable innards in that particular region, so we'll be asking folks to expect the unexpected during the maintenance window. Affected sites will be in and out of read-only mode, or quite possibly just down for maintenance while we're doing the actual break.

I'll be posting a system message on both Meta Stack Overflow as well as Stack Overflow itself 24 hours before we begin the actual work.

Did I say tentative in a six-to-eight-something time frame again? Why yes, I did - we're currently running some tests on the dev tier to simulate the split as closely as possible, so that we can better anticipate quirks that we need to address prior to actually doing it.

Once the sites have actually been stood up functionally on the production tier, we're going to get to work on finishing touches. This will include things like site settings (which determine bits of text you see in the question prompts, rep thresholds, etc) and all sorts of other fine tuning.

Once we're done:

  1. Stack Overflow will have a blank, empty child meta site just like every other site
  2. The new Meta Stack Exchange will be up and running
  3. All rooms on Chat Meta Stack Overflow will be moved to Chat Meta Stack Exchange
  4. I'll send over about 150 - 200 questions from MSE to MSO, most of which will be tag or SO-specific feature related posts that got buried by the network stuff without resolution.

If the tentative date moves, I'll update this post with the new date. However, we do not anticipate this happening any later than Saturday, April 19 - in the case that we see down time we can't mitigate and need to do it on a weekend.

The ground work is basically done, we're finishing up sanity now with a great deal of confidence, and we're pretty certain that we'll hit between those dates, if not directly on the tentative 16th.

Questions? Kvetch? Anonymous confessions? Answer below, and I'll address each in comments.

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    How you plan to migrate all the unicorns over to MSE? :) – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 9 '14 at 11:22
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    @ShadowWizard We did some testing on this in Minecraft, the community team will be walking 'round the place holding wheat in our hands and the unicorns will follow us. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 11:42
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    Finally!! :-D – Doorknob Apr 9 '14 at 12:18
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    Earn Marshal before the 16th. Challenge Accepted. – Jamal Apr 9 '14 at 16:29
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    No matter what happens, I'm bringing my giant "S"! And I'm gonna use it! – Jeff Atwood Apr 9 '14 at 19:52
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    So we're supposed to use the answer section here for questions!? What kind of place is this?! – Cole Johnson Apr 10 '14 at 2:13
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    @Cole enjoy it while it lasts, rule breaking party! :D – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 12:30
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    Maybe this should be on the MSO community bulletin board... – nhinkle Apr 11 '14 at 6:34
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    @waiwai933 Nick's tweet says it's still happening tonight. But he posted that last night, so it's possible something has changed. – Steven V Apr 16 '14 at 13:07
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    It is finally happening? It feels unreal. Like something from the future, like flying cars. Appropriate soundtrack. – Pekka Apr 16 '14 at 21:26
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    Wee suggestion: if you're going to have a system wide announcement pointing here (which is the case), you might want to include a bit of context at the top of this post. I don't think "The MSO/MSE split is underway" means anything to the average SO user. Or even to me, and I'm in the top 10% of SO users. And having clicked the link, the post still assumes a bunch of knowledge. grumble – Steve Bennett Apr 17 '14 at 0:10
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    I like it. Except for the font I'm typing this comment in. Ewwww. – bjb568 Apr 17 '14 at 0:51
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    You even migrated my drafted question! – Himanshu Jansari Apr 17 '14 at 4:05
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    @hims056 Hahah, well, it was basically just renaming the database, so presumably that would work. Interesting though, thanks for mentioning that! – Tim Post Apr 17 '14 at 7:55
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    @TimPost - Why is there no Community Bulletin (blog) about this brand new Meta Stack Exchange site in whole community? As a Sports user I don't know what is happening here. At least link this question in Community Bulletin in every site as you did in MSO. (Am I missing something?) – Himanshu Jansari Apr 17 '14 at 10:24

22 Answers 22


Stack Overflow will have a blank, empty child meta site just like every other site

Oh dear, you're still doing it wrong.

With this approach, we're going to end up with

  • Meta Stack Overflow, the meta site for Stack Overflow
  • Meta Stack Exchange, the meta site for Stack Overflow

Even today, Stack Overflow represents a vast majority of the traffic (both in terms of views and of posts) on the network. So Stack Overflow issues tend to dominate the current MSO. Woe betide the wanderer from other sites who proposes something that makes sense on the site(s) they're familiar with but not on SO. (I get bitten by it occasionally, even though I am an SO and MSO regular and generally know how to frame things for the MSO crowd.)

This difficulty is exacerbated by the historical baggage that MSO carries. To a newcomer, it is rarely obvious what applies to SO only and what applies to the network in general.

MSO is widely viewed as a cesspool where denizens of other Stack Exchange sites dare not venture. This perception is not unfounded: it's not just old bad ideas like mandating comments on downvotes that get scorned into oblivion, anything that requires familiarity with smaller sites needs to be framed very carefully to avoid reactions that only have SO in mind. If MSE starts with MSO's content, that perception isn't going to change. Even if MSE started as it should, as a blank slate, getting the MSE community to not be dominated by the MSO community would be a difficult objective.

To give an example, I conducted a small survey on Computer Science Meta. The responses were:

  • (+7) “Splitting the sites will be good, as the new site will largely have only content that's relevant to everyone.” But that isn't what you're proposing!
  • (+5, write-in) “The SE platform is not a good fit for Meta SE.”
  • (+4) “I tried participating on Meta Stack Overflow and got downvoted into oblivion.”
  • (+4) “I just ignore the content that's specific to Stack Overflow”
  • (+0) “I didn't even know that Meta Stack Overflow wasn't just the meta site of Stack Overflow”

Ok, the numbers aren't nearly statistically significant, but it does show “MSO sucks” on equal terms with “MSO, meh”, and it's not a matter of awareness. I didn't get around to conducting this survey on other sites. You should do something like this (perhaps with better options to choose from) before you put any work in creating a useless duplicate of MSO.

At a strict minimum, a bunch of posts should be considered presumably about SO and should start out on MSO and be migrated to MSE only if deemed applicable. Out of the ~65k questions currently on MSO, I see:

I'd be much more comfortable with MSE starting only with what is obviously relevant to MSE: , , , , , , , , , , … (I'm only coming up with ~5k questions, not even as much as alone!) This is the only way that gives MSE a fighting chance of becoming a real site about Stack Exchange, and not yet another MSO.

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    c'mon Gilles, you just can't imagine how much fun is it going to be coming witch hunting. I for one can't wait to start flagging / VtC-ing all this stuff coming from SO crowd as off-topic, fully knowing that they can't do anything over it. This is beginning of the end of their tyranny over MSE – gnat Apr 9 '14 at 12:24
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    @gnat More than the off-topic (SO-specific) issues on MSE, which we can indeed deal with, my worry is about the on-topic issues that will get irrelevant answers. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Apr 9 '14 at 12:28
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    I'm only migrating stuff that is 1 - still relevant and 2 - mostly unresolved back to MSO because these things tend to get swept under the carpet due to the 'network' noise. Yes, we're going to have to continue cleaning up post-split, I was speaking to the immediate plan, as what's going to happen on the day of the split, and in the days coming after it. There is no conceivable way to get this perfect all at once, I'm afraid. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 12:37
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    @TimPost But by doing it this way, MSE will be full of SO noise. I think that a majority of the current MSO content belongs on MSO (or dead and buried), but I haven't made an objective study. Have you? – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Apr 9 '14 at 12:48
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    @gnat Great, now I really want to make 3K on MSE by the time of the split so I can join in. – Billy Mailman Apr 9 '14 at 13:00
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    @Gilles Not a full objective study, but after the initial migrations of current stuff, I'm going to start piecing together other stuff that really relates only to SO and has lasting value. After that, a whole lot of pruning is going to be needed on MSE. It's not going to be easy, but this is the sanest way to go about it (also considering constraints of bulk migration tools, and the messes mistakes with it leave in their wake) – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 13:54
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    Totally not interested in getting lots and lots of people excited about participating on MSE. The last thing MSE needs is a bunch of folks who don't know how the system works and haven't bothered discussing their ideas with their own community first jumping in to tell us how we're doing it all wrong... Which, as you well know, is exactly what tends to happen and naturally leaves a bad taste. We're aiming to make MSE less SO-centric, not turn it into the first-level support forum for the entire network. The vast majority of meta questions should be asked locally. – Shog9 Apr 9 '14 at 16:06
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    As a regular here who's from other sites, not SO, I'm really looking forward to this split so that our issues can get heard more clearly. SO thinks their questions get buried by the network, while I think network questions get buried by SO. Yes, there'll be legacy SO stuff remaining here that'll need to be cleaned up, but that will be way, way easier once the flow of new SO questions stops. We don't have to fix all the posts on Day 1; we can do that over time. – Monica Cellio Apr 9 '14 at 18:56
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    yes, what @Shog9 said! It's like politics -- by the time you work your way up to the "big house" of the national meta, you'll have.. seen things.. in your political career. And come on, who doesn't love politics! (crickets) – Jeff Atwood Apr 9 '14 at 19:54
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    @Shog9 This is a straw man argument. The folks you're refering to aren't coming from non-SO sites more than from SO. To make MSE less SO-centric, you must not burden it with years of SO-specific history. This has nothing to do with support. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Apr 10 '14 at 1:43
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    I said this somewhere else already, but MSO has been MSE for muuuuch longer now than it has been MSO. This isn't a taxonomy problem, it's a community and topic problem - network issues are a superset of those on any site, including SO. We're not splitting this up now as a token nod to consistency - we're doing it because the community has outgrown the venue: SO needs a meta, and MSE needs SO to stop dumping its support problems. A practical split for practical reasons. – Shog9 Apr 10 '14 at 4:13
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    My last words on this - I care a lot more about the usefulness and relevancy of the content on the new MSO than anything else initially. The whole purpose of this split is to give our flagship site a proper meta, which it fought hard to get. I'm sick of seeing new contributors to our flagship site come here for help and get bullied into oblivion by people that barely participate on said site. That is the first problem I'm fixing, everything else comes after that. This move is intended primarily for the benefit of Stack Overflow - we'll work out the rest once that's done. – Tim Post Apr 10 '14 at 4:21
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    @TimPost If your plans for the existing posts were exactly opposite -- start MSE with a blank slate, and leave the current content as MSO questions, then selectively migrate, I think there would be a lot less opposition. – Chris Apr 16 '14 at 21:33
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    I would have gladly sacrificed all the associated meta to have this vision maintained, but I suspect I'm in the minority, and that may be the driving force between this 'backwards' migration. – Benjol Apr 17 '14 at 4:45
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    @StevenVascellaro Were you around three years ago? When the split happened, MSE was still full of SO-specific information and discussions with no indication that they weren't applicable elsewhere. After a couple of years, we did manage to close or edit most of them, so it's ok now. – Gilles 'SO- stop being evil' Jul 11 '17 at 23:27

Where would Meta Stack Exchange find a place in the top bar site-dropdown by default?

top bar

Meta of Individual sites is easily accessible when we are on individual sites. For someone who is so far not a user of Meta Stack Overflow (soon to be Meta Stack Exchange), if it is buried in the middle of "More Stack Exchange Communities", it would be extremely odd for users to find out MSE. It needs to be prominently placed as well.

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    Most likely same place where Meta Stack Overflow is now, between MathOverflow and Mi Yodeya, renamed to Meta Stack Exchange. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 9 '14 at 12:08
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    That's probably not going to change, MSO is just attached like any per-site meta to SO, and Careers (built on SO and tied in quite a bit) is also connected to it. I don't think we've finalized just how we're going to show MSE in the site switcher (I'm going to be following up on that shortly) – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 13:56
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    MSE will behave like a regular "main" site in the site switcher. If it's among your top sites by reputation, or if you manually "pin" it, it will appear under the "Your Communities" header. If you do not have an account on MSE, it will appear (as a top-level site) under "More Stack Exchange Communities". Initially, we're not going to shove new people to MSE; most things can be taken care of on their site's meta. This is in keeping with MSO discoverability right now, albeit with a new, hopefully slightly less confusing name. :) – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 14:42
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    Once we finish all the cleanup work after the MSO/MSE split, if we feel like not enough people know about MSE, we may reconsider this plan, but I don't think it's necessary, or even really wise, to direct people to MSE who aren't familiar with the concept of a "network meta"...at least at first while we're still dealing with the transition. – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 14:44
  • @Laura Thanks... sounds reasonable :-) – Aditya Apr 9 '14 at 15:18
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    Based on @Shog9♦'s comment to Gilles' answer, it might not be a bad thing for MSE to be buried. It would mean that users would usually have been active for at least a little while on other SE sites before discovering MSE, and as a result, there would be fewer naive and newbie questions that should have been asked on local meta sites. – Kevin Apr 16 '14 at 22:46

Who will become a moderator on Meta Stack Exchange? Will the MSE mods be the same mods as on Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Overflow?

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    Initially, us (select employees including the community team, some of the core / careers developers, managers and folks that handle support). Once we've actually wrapped our head around what we're doing on the new MSE to a larger extent, we can revisit the idea of appointing or electing moderators there. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 10:56
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    All I can say is "sniff" :( – ChrisF Apr 9 '14 at 11:23
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    @ChrisF I think it would be fair if anyone who's moderating more than 3 sites would be able to moderate MSE, wouldn't it? :) – gnat Apr 9 '14 at 11:49
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    Do mods on other sites have any special privileges / responsibilities / things we need to know about? – Reinstate Monica Apr 9 '14 at 11:55
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    @AviD: What do you mean by that? A mod on MSE would have the same privileges as mods on other sites. – ProgramFOX Apr 9 '14 at 11:56
  • @ProgramFOX I mean, mods on other sites that visit MSE. Anything special we need to know that changes for mods-on-other-sites, now that MSE is kinda like the meta-meta-site. – Reinstate Monica Apr 9 '14 at 12:00
  • @AviD: Ah, I understand. I don't think that mods-on-other-sites will get special privileges on MSE, because MSE will have its own moderators. – ProgramFOX Apr 9 '14 at 12:03
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    @ProgramFOX oh clearly. Was curious if there was going to be a "special" role there, more for notification than for privileges. (e.g. pinging othermods on topics they need to know... Kinda like how mods get a special ping for any post on their own metas). – Reinstate Monica Apr 9 '14 at 12:09
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    @AviD There is no planned special role on MSE for non-MSE mods. The bulk of things mods need to know about get communicated through your diamond dropdown in the topbar (new topics on your site's meta, mod messages, AND – as of recently – mod newsletter articles.) The last of that lot, the mod newsletter articles, will often direct you to a particular MSE post or blog post for more details. We are not expecting mods to have to check MSE on their own, on a regular basis, to stay on top of things (though your presence is welcome as often as you'd like to come!) – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 14:38

I assume reputation will transfer over to the new MSE, and our SO rep will come to MSO?

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    Yep. MSE will have all your MSO reps (minus the few posts that will be migrated back over to MSO) and you'll continue to earn new rep there, and the new MSO will behave like all other child metas and inherit your main site (SO) rep. – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 17:39
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    Yay! \o/ 15 characters – Canadian Luke Apr 9 '14 at 17:49
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    Hah! It will be much harder to earn rep. on MSE once the split is complete so those of us here with high rep. will have a bit of an advantage. (By advantage, I mean bragging rights.) – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Apr 10 '14 at 1:38
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    @Laura: What about badges? Same thing as rep (all to MSE)? – Jamal Apr 10 '14 at 2:00
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    @Laura was there consideration put in place to simply have your MSE reputation be the aggregate sum of your SE reputations? It would seem more appropriate. – corsiKa Apr 16 '14 at 21:32

Never mind that we probably won't get our daily fix of programming questions on either meta site anymore, but for intrigued scavengers — because, let's face it, they're definitely out there — where will the existing deleted programming questions reside?

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    There must be a list of the best programming questions asked on Meta. – Qantas 94 Heavy Apr 9 '14 at 10:55
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    I'm not going to consider these sorts of questions initially, most likely ever - as they're deleted they aren't really worth worrying about. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 10:55
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    I wonder in particular where deleted WSOiN will eventually find its grave – gnat Apr 9 '14 at 11:02
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    @Tim Post: Which means deleted questions will remain where they are... which is where exactly? On a related note, will redirects work with any old question ID regardless of whether the question exists at all? – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 9 '14 at 11:04
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    @BoltClock'saUnicorn At the heart of it, the meta.so database will just be renamed to be meta.se -- so everything that lives on meta.so now is then, by default, on meta.se -- and that includes deleted questions. – balpha Apr 9 '14 at 11:09
  • @balpha: Simple enough, thanks. – BoltClock's a Unicorn Apr 9 '14 at 11:09
  • @Tim: "Worth worrying about" != "Fun to read" :D – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 16 '14 at 12:19

Will the unicorns also migrate to MSE? Will there be enough waffles for them in there?

The real question: will all the memes and memes-related posts stay on MSO? For example, the main memes posts is marked as faq. Faq posts are said to be migrated.

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    What soulless monster downvoted this? – uɐɯsO uɐɥʇɐN Apr 10 '14 at 1:39
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    In case you're being serious here, see this comment from balpha. Database is the same so it means all faq's will be the same. Unicorns, narwhals, oscillation and all other memes are safe! – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 7:57
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    @ShadowWizard Thanks, that explains it. And yes, I am serious :) – Szymon Apr 10 '14 at 11:24
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    @uɐɯsOuɐɥʇɐN 3 soulless monsters.. – ɥʇǝS Apr 10 '14 at 22:02
  • The memes and greatest hits will probably just live on MSE, the first concern is finding relevant unresolved discussions that need to get back over to MSO. I'll be finalizing-ish my list of those tomorrow to have them ready, and then sending over what I missed in the few days after the split. – Tim Post Apr 14 '14 at 15:15
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    @TimPost I don't agree that the Memes should be moved to MSE. There are specific nuances that are only relevant to M/SO that would make no sense of MSE. – Braiam Apr 14 '14 at 19:15

What, exactly, is happening to MSO Chat?

There are currently three chat servers: chat.SE, chat.SO, and chat.meta.SO. What is this split going to mean?

  • Will chat.meta.SO just get moved to chat.meta.SE? (This seems most likely to me.)
    • What about new-Meta Stack Overflow? Does it use chat.SO, or chat.SE, or chat.meta.SE, or its own new server?
  • Will chat.meta.SO get shared between new-MSO and MSE?
  • Will MSO use chat.SE?
  • Will MSO just not have a chat server?
  • Are there secret plans to merge chat.SO and chat.SE?
    • So does MSO use chat.SE or chat.meta.SE?
  • Waffles? Unicorns? Brown? ...Brown waffle unicorns?
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    You missed one bullet point: brown. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 11 '14 at 7:54
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    @ShadowWizard Ooh, that's serious. I'll add it. – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Apr 11 '14 at 7:58
  • The plan so far is s/chat.mso/chat.mse/ MSO will be like every other child meta site in the network (none of which have actual chat domains, but going to chat from a meta site takes you to that site's related rooms). – Tim Post Apr 14 '14 at 15:14
  • @TimPost ...I'm confused. Are you talking about new-MSO or MSE, and will it be using chat.SO or chat.SE? – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Apr 15 '14 at 3:53
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    chat.SO will be the same, chat.SE too. chat.meta.SO will be moved to chat.meta.SE. – Braiam Apr 16 '14 at 14:29

What will happen with SO-specific tags like or ? If the questions that are currently tagged with them are planned to be left (with the exception of unanswered ones), how do you plan to address the issue of the large number of tags left with historical questions, that are currently off-topic on MSE and should no longer be used?

Will there be something like historical lock for tags, with explanation why those tags are there? Or you have some other concept for that?

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    Tags are going to be a little interesting, especially with the bulk migration tool. That's something I'm working on now, and part of the reason why the initial selection of posts I'm lobbing back over the fence will be quite small. Making sure they carry over is the most important part, dealing with the remnants on the new MSE is another matter altogether. Fortunately, I learned a lot during the AVP->Sound split that was recently completed. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 11:17
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    In addition to what @Tim said, neither of those tags is actually SO-specific, although many of the questions in them are. – Shog9 Apr 9 '14 at 16:13

Will Meta Stack Exchange get a fancy new design to help differentiate it from Stack Overflow and Meta Stack Overflow? Are Jin and Stéphane hard at work on determining what this new site will look like? If so, is it possible to see a preview?

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    Yes, there will be a new design. I'm not sure how public it is (and I don't have a screenshot handy either way), but there you go. – Adam Lear Apr 12 '14 at 3:51

How will old existing questions that should now belong on the new meta site be migrated over?

Will the 'no migration of questions older than 60 days' rule be disabled for current MSO posts so that relevant questions can be moved to the correct SO Meta site, or will everything have to be reposted?

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    Initially, we're only migrating questions that are still actionable by the new MSO community. Tag requests of various types, SO-specific support questions that got missed, SO-specific feature requests that were missed, or flopped due to being proposed in front of the whole network, etc. There probably won't be migration paths initially, but we'll revisit that in a couple of weeks after it's done. Remember, we don't want MSE folks losing a heap of rep to a meta site that they probably won't participate much on (and therein lies the intrinsic problem / impetus for doing this). – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 10:54
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    As I've noted before, we can circumvent the 60-day limit on a case-by-case basis for migrations that are really worth it. I expect we'll see a few of these crop up over time, but I'm more interested in pulling resources from MSE as they are needed on MSO rather than pushing stuff from MSE down to MSO "just in case". At some point, we'll likely just delete a lot of the old, ignored stuff on MSE. – Shog9 Apr 9 '14 at 16:11

MSO was the go-to place for anything related to SO and SE in general(features, bugs, disputes, unicorns, and pretty much everything).

Now post the split, do we plan to have a "new info page" or a "guideline Q&A post" for the users to be aware of what goes into MSO and the stuffs MSE is going to handle? Or do we have any other plan on educating the existing and news folks regarding the same?

Also, are we going to have an option of migrating the posts from MSO to MSE, back and forth, in the initial days post the split?

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    Yes, that copy, along with a modified version of the 'hero' bar will be in place when we stand the new site up. Additionally, we'll be using the system notification feature for the first couple of weeks to point folks to the new copy that explains the purpose of the site. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 11:43
  • @TimPost - How exactly is the notification feature going to be used here? I'm not quite able to understand that part. How are we going to determine the type of question and accordingly push a notification to the user? – SudoRahul Apr 9 '14 at 11:47
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    Tim meant system message, the little banner that appears at the top of the site for every user. (We usually use it only to announce planned downtime/maintenance, but it also gets used on brand new sites to inform people that meta is a thing. So we'll use it here on MSO and on the new MSE to help people get to the right place.) – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 14:48
  • @Laura if you mean the same banner as the "Welcome back... click here to reload" that appears when asynch log happens, then it's really, really, not "little". – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 7:58
  • @ShadowWizard I don't; I mean the little one that goes underneath the header / main nav and above the main content. – Laura Apr 10 '14 at 12:17
  • @Laura hmm... don't remember ever seeing such a banner. Guess I'll see soon enough. :) – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 12:27
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    @ShadowWizard This is what it looks like when we launch a new beta site: i.stack.imgur.com/Zixi2.png (it's a little subtler styling on SO) – Laura Apr 10 '14 at 14:31
  • @Laura oh, I get it now. Not very little but also not intrusive. Cheers! – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 14:35

How will moderators on other sites be signified? Will there be an empty diamond with a number, as suggested earlier?

IAmAFancyMSEMod ♦
FooBarUser ◇13
MSEModAndModElsewhere ♦◇1

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    We have no plans for an MSE identifier of being a mod elsewhere (just like it is on MSO now). On MSE, the only requirement for participation is that you are somehow involved in one or more sites in the SE network. If being a moderator on a different site is relevant to an MSE discussion, say so (and why, preferably :) - within the discussion itself. – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 14:46
  • @Laura wait... you say "requirement for participation is that you are somehow involved in one or more sites in the SE network" so does it mean that user won't be able to create account on MSE if he doesn't have account in at least one other site? – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 9 '14 at 19:23
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    @ShadowWizard No, it just means we'll still nuke spam accounts that aren't real users :) – Laura Apr 9 '14 at 19:47

How will existing links be handled? For example, if I had something like this:

Look! The MSO/MSE split is happening! There is a post about it here.

Look! The MSO/MSE split is happening! [There is a post about it here.](https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/228888/)

Wouldn't the link break after the split? How will this be handled, if at all?

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    I believe the plan was that new-MSO started counting post IDs at (last old-MSO post ID + 1), and IDs below that got redirected to MSE. – michaelb958--GoFundMonica Apr 9 '14 at 12:31
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    That's precisely how we're going to do it. The first MSO (new) post ID will be the last MSE post ID +1, anything below it just redirects. We're also rebaking content to correct links where we control them, and not relying solely on the redirects to work. – Tim Post Apr 9 '14 at 13:57
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    @TimPost why not a review queue? :P A couple hundred thousand posts shouldn't take too long, right? – Cole Johnson Apr 10 '14 at 2:15
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    @TimPost But you'll re-redirect (or not redirect at all) if it was a question moved from Meta.SE to Meta.SO, like those few hundred Stack Overflow questions, right? (Just checking! Redirection loops/failures on day 1 would be good to avoid.) – doppelgreener Apr 11 '14 at 7:25
  • I think it'll be a double-redirect, @JonathanHobbs. MSO low post # -> MSE. Then the standard "this question has been migrated" redirect back to MSO. Of course, if the ID in question is an answer rather than a question this might result in a multi-step redirect. – TRiG Apr 14 '14 at 12:03
  • @TRiG unless it doesn't stop there because MSE's sending them off to visit a MSO low post # ;) Hence my asking! – doppelgreener Apr 14 '14 at 12:04
  • I think that stuff migrated from MSE to MSO will get a shiny new post ID, even if it originally started on MSO. Just because it's easier for the devs to do it that way. – TRiG Apr 14 '14 at 12:06
  • Right. The way redirects work, we should be able to get a URL that points at MSO redirecting to MSE redirecting via a migration path back to MSO without much drama. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:28

I think most clean-up requests (, , , , etc.?) should be migrated back to MSO.

Throwing away years worth of data about areas that need to be addressed (or leaving them where they likely won't get much attention) seems like a bad idea (at least to me personally).

Random additional / related thought - we'll have to search both sites for any (non-new) Stack Overflow-specific thing ... indefinitely. Unless we delete these from MSE, then we'll just have them pop up again on MSO eventually ... probably, minus any discussion already made on the topic, and any votes showing either agreement, or disagreement. Either way doesn't seem ideal.

If this isn't done initially, I think it should at least be done at some point, or an active effort should be made to address these posts on MSE.

I'm concerned, because you mentioned migrating feature-related posts, which this doesn't seem to fall under.

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    There are a ton of these that are effectively unactionable, because no one's ever looked over them to see if they merit action. Shuffling them around accomplishes nothing - they should probably just be deleted. For the ones that do merit action but have simply fallen through the cracks, migrating them back when they're acted on makes sense. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 22:50
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    Putting them on MSO should give them more (appropriate) attention, i.e. more upvotes / downvotes to determine if they merit action. Just deleting them is essentially sweeping the (possible) problem under the rug. The same goes for leaving actionable ones on MSE (left under the 'rug' of 10s of thousands of posts). – Bernhard Barker Apr 14 '14 at 23:02
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    Migrating thousands of posts isn't going to give anything more attention - it's just switching rugs. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 23:03
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    By assumption, most people will go looking on MSO if they're interested in cleaning up SO, so, in that sense, they should get more attention. Also, splitting the same things across different sites doesn't make too much sense to me (presumably MSO will be the place for new SO clean-up requests, while the old ones would remain on MSE), especially for things that are easy to identify as such. – Bernhard Barker Apr 14 '14 at 23:22
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    If people were going out of their way to look for them, they'd already be handled. Either we're gonna migrate them individually and make sure they get the attention they need, or we're gonna leave them be... Or delete them. Mass-migration of unanswered questions is a huge headache with little to no payoff. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 23:23
  • Random additional thought - we'll have to search both sites for any (non-new) Stack Overflow-specific thing ... indefinitely. Unless we delete these from MSE, then we'll just have them pop up again on MSO eventually ... probably. – Bernhard Barker Apr 16 '14 at 22:40
  • Welcome to my world, @Dukeling – Shog9 Apr 16 '14 at 22:50
  • @Shog9, ok, but maybe decoupling the migration (like flag/review) would help to break the identification/decision into two processes which could be better done by different 'workforces'? But maybe using tag/review instead: I think that there's definitely merit to having what are essentially 'off topic' questions marked as such: broken windows and all that... (Sorry if this is the nth time you've seen this suggested) – Benjol Apr 17 '14 at 5:02
  • There's some value cleaning it up, @Benjol... But in a sense, it's low-interest debt. I'd rather pay it off slowly (or not at all) than take time away from current issues. – Shog9 Apr 17 '14 at 5:06
  • @Shog9. OK. Maybe that doesn't come across clearly enough in yours and Tim's posts, which tend to sound slightly categorical rather than 6-8 weekish about this 'cleanup' issue :) – Benjol Apr 17 '14 at 5:13

What theme will be applied on MSE? Same as MSO? Or a grey shaded theme of SE site (i.e. same as any per site meta of beta sites)? I hope for a better one. And how about the logo? Somewhat like this?

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    +1 on this. The meta font angers my insides. – CodingIntrigue Apr 14 '14 at 12:04
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    Grey for Glory! – Lix Apr 14 '14 at 12:11
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    It's actually very awesome, Jin came up with a great concept that illustrates the nature of the site, I can't wait for everyone to see it (I'm quite fond of it). Don't want to spoil the surprise! – Tim Post Apr 14 '14 at 15:12
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    I'm pretty sure it looks roughly like this: i.3ventic.eu/1397601634-14.png, i.3ventic.eu/1397684247-21.png – 3ventic Apr 16 '14 at 21:37
  • @3ventic'sShadow, and that looks really awful. – davidkonrad Apr 16 '14 at 22:18
  • @davidkonrad The buttons and tags look a bit large, but other than that I personally like it. – 3ventic Apr 16 '14 at 22:20
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    @3ventic'sShadow, Well, taste cannot be discussed :-) – davidkonrad Apr 16 '14 at 22:21
  • Just hope MSO finally get rid of the problem that have been here on meta, that on certain browsers, on certain resolutions, and on linux - the userview is corrupted, the personal info is aligned below the userimage. I actually thought - in a year or so - that this was the way meta was decided to look like until I saw my own page on a windows-box. But it is only on certain resolutions on certain browsers this "error" appears. – davidkonrad Apr 16 '14 at 22:28

I've got some requests about Magic Links. So, here's another one: please, add it at the beginning of each site launch. At Stack Overflow em Português we're still missing one...

What will happen to [metaso]?
And out of curiosity, is there an interface where devs manage those?

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    Sorry, no news about pt magic links, but [metase] will no longer be supported and will be converted to [metase] once the split is live. – Oded Apr 9 '14 at 19:34
  • @Oded As of now, [metase] works in chat but [metase] does not. I note that [metase] sends people to MSE (not MSO) in comments which is weird. – Raphael Apr 22 '14 at 14:30
  • That is intentional - what [metase] was for is indeed now [metase]. The plan is to migrate all magic links at a certain point. And I will look into chat too. – Oded Apr 22 '14 at 14:33

How will we actually get people who are on SO to go to MSE to ask general questions?

I imagine that questions like "Where do I ask <X>?" would belong on MSE, not MSO. Same with "Can I delete my account?", etc.

However, the reason new users ask questions like that here on MSO is because they are on SO, then they travel to the nearest meta to ask.

There's not much reason to just hang out on the main SE site. Therefore MSE isn't really the "nearest meta" to anything. MSE is outside the usual main <-> meta pairing; no matter where you are it is potentially off the beaten path.

In other words: People generally ask questions on the corresponding meta of the network site that they are on when they have that question. Since nobody is ever really on the SE general site, it follows that nobody will really follow through to a general MSE site either.

How will we encourage people to ask non-SO-specific questions on MSE instead of MSO after the split, as MSO will still be the nearest meta to SO, which is where most of these people are going to be coming from?

Or will we just have to deal with an endless stream of migrating generic network questions from MSO to MSE (and even worse, an endless stream of "this belongs on MSE" comments instead of actual answers, and general increase in answer turnaround times / OP frustration potential from the extra "you should ask on MSE -> oh OK I will" round-trip protocol handshake, as it were -- potentially more harm than good)?

I support the split but feel it will be wasted effort if MSE is not made more immediately accessible, because otherwise everybody on SO is still going to come to MSO to ask their network questions.

  • What makes you think they'll hide links to MSE? It will still have the footer link. – random Apr 14 '14 at 21:02
  • The thing I've heard people say is that "whole network issues can still be posted on whichever per-site meta you're most comfortable with" which sounds like a nightmare; 100 unlinked duplicates of the same feature request - excellent – Richard Tingle Apr 14 '14 at 21:04
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    @random When I click the "StackExchange" drop-down in the navigation bar the first item is the site I am on, the second item is the meta for the site I am on. Do you think somebody is going to click on the footer link, given the easy path to MSO that exists in the navigation area (which is also used for all other common tasks, and thus attractive as a means of navigation) instead? – Jason C Apr 14 '14 at 21:04
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    You're kinda missing the point of all this. It's not to get SO users to stop posting on MSO - it's to give folks who aren't SO users a place to go. If I'm a SO user and I have a question about my question, a meta-question as it were, MSO is exactly where I should be asking this - not MSE! – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:10
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    Oh, and if I catch folks telling SO users to post on MSE, that will be ended right quick. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:11
  • @Shog9 Folks who aren't SO users have other site metas. Nobody just has a generic SE account. You always have to sign up somewhere to post on a meta, and you're going to go to the meta of the site you signed up on, SO or not (but never SE). What would be an example path that a person who has no accounts anywhere on any SE site would take to post on MSE? – Jason C Apr 14 '14 at 21:11
  • Right. So what's your point? Site-metas are supposed to be conveniently-accessible to site-members. That's their purpose. MSE will essentially become the meta-meta, a place to discuss issues that have run their course on one or more per-site metas without being resolved: day-to-day support and discussion of most per-site issues should not be happening there. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:14
  • @Shog9 You stated that the point of MSE is to give folks who aren't SO users a place to go. Question 1: Propose an example path that a person who has no accounts anywhere on SE site would take to post on MSE. The difficulty you will have in doing so is strongly illustrative of my point. Question 2: How will we get people to post on MSE? – Jason C Apr 14 '14 at 21:16
  • If you delete all the current MSO questions that mention an SO question in any way, that'll be MSE, and there's a lot of that still – random Apr 14 '14 at 21:18
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    A1: Why does someone with no SE accounts need to be on MSE? (they don't, unless their question is "how do I create an account") A2: we won't; they will anyway. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:18
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    A3: correct. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:19
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    MSE is for people who are interested in the network as a whole, and there are plenty of those too – random Apr 14 '14 at 21:19
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    Nothing's stopping anyone from going to their own meta sites. We want them to go there. MSE should not be a first-stop for anything. Do you call your congressman every time you hit a pothole? Of course not, because you're not crazy. If MSE gets <1% of the posts of all the other metas, that would not be a terrible thing at all - that's a scalable system right there. You're looking at this change and predicting that MSE will get much less traffic after the split - yes, it should, and that's why we're doing it; there'd be no point otherwise. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:24
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    If you've ever used SU, SF or the other 150+ sites on the network, ask how those users ever managed to find their way to MSO when it's not their nearest meta – random Apr 14 '14 at 21:25
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    Tell ya what: Tim's gonna crank out a blog post here when this juggernaut gets moving, and we'll try to make sure it clears this up for you. – Shog9 Apr 14 '14 at 21:27

How are you planning to handle the incoming links from other SE sites?

Specifically, other SE sites often link to a MSO post in response to a user question about the interface. I know that Parenting.SE does so a number of times, referring how-to questions to the canonical answer on MSO. I'm on mobile so I won't provide example URLs now.

If you don't handle those links, they're going to be broken by your planned split.

I imagine one way of addressing it would be to traverse the local metas and rewrite MSO links to the new MSE, but you probably have a smarter solution.

  • We're re-baking all of that, links that pointed to MSO up till the post ID cutoff that we determine at the split will be rewritten. That tool has been put together, so it's something that can run all nice and automated like. Plus, we're re-directing all postst - if you go to questions/123 on MSO, you'll get redirected to questions/123 on MSE - up until the last post ID on the old MSO (I know that sounds confusing, but question 1 on the new MSO will likely be 29877, where 29876 and below just redirect) – Tim Post Apr 10 '14 at 13:39
  • Awesome. You got everything covered! – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 10 '14 at 13:41
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    this was explained in Feb 2012 – gnat Apr 10 '14 at 13:44

Our current accounts on Meta Stack Overflow will move to Meta Stack Exchange, yes. But what about people who use OpenID logins which give a different identifier for each domain? I know that when MathOverflow moved to SE 2.0, some people had to create new accounts and then merge them, and that wasn’t even a change of domain name.

I predict some level of account confusion.

  • The problems we saw on MO were mostly an artifact of differences (quite vast) in how we handled this on the SE 1.0 platform vs now. I don't think this is going to be an issue, but there will be a very simple support channel for it. These can usually be correlated by the authenticating email, which solves this to a large degree at the account level (there is an 'account' that acts like a spine that holds all of your linked profiles together). – Tim Post Apr 14 '14 at 15:11

UPDATE: this is now fixed

Don't forget to update the Help Centre pages. They still use old MSO terminology and so, though I haven't checked, presumably they also document the old MSO model, too.

Nice theme, though.


I opened new meta and I was stressed where my profile has gone. No questions, no answers, no activity. Later I realized the split and found that the profile has been migrated to MSE and I need to start on MSO from scratch. Convention badge still links to MSO where I have 0 posts. I am unhappy with this situation. Is it intentional or unwanted side-effect?

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    This is intentional. Really, the main thing that has been changed is that the site previously named "Meta Stack Overflow" has been renamed and re-themed to "Meta Stack Exchange", with all accounts and posts preserved, and a new standard meta site for Stack Overflow has been created. Only a limited number of posts will be migrated from Meta Stack Exchange to Meta Stack Overflow; the site will largely be starting fresh. – Jeremy Apr 17 '14 at 11:53
  • Hmm, I see. But I am unhappy cause I was so close to this badge. – Leos Literak Apr 17 '14 at 13:47
  • You are no further from the badge than you were. The site was renamed from MSO to MSE. How does this take you further away from your badge? Then a new MSO was created. This is completely unrelated. – TRiG Oct 6 '14 at 16:40
  • But I wanted it for MSO. – Leos Literak Oct 7 '14 at 8:25

But why? Is it for logic coherence? To get more traffic by spliting into multiple sites? (No it can't be), because there are too much traffic on this meta site? (really?) Excuse my ignorance, but having multiple sites on asking and answering question of how to asking and answering questions just blows my mind like a explosive bullet hit a juicy watermelon.

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    this has been asked and answered in The future of meta.stackoverflow and meta.stackexchange – gnat Apr 10 '14 at 14:57
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    There's also Stack Overflow is getting a place of its own - the gist is that the network stuff has become a bit of an unruly house guest and needs to get its own digs, because important stuff related just to SO is getting lost in the noise (tag discussions, etc) - and pile on down-votes from folks that really don't participate on SO here on meta are growing increasingly toxic. – Tim Post Apr 10 '14 at 15:00
  • Read these two comments for some more info, too. – Billy Mailman Apr 10 '14 at 15:00
  • LOl, most the posts on meta have less than 50 views. What you are telling me is that SE have decided to concentrate on improving the Stackoverflow main site on the expense of their smaller sites - unless the users who frequent those sites get more involved with meta questions. – user202362 Apr 10 '14 at 15:24
  • Also splitng meta sites doesn't solve the toxic downvoting issue. – user202362 Apr 10 '14 at 15:32
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    @TimPost If you don't want important questions to be buried, you place a better sorting algorithm and make sure each questions is viewed by certain minimum amount of staff and certain maximum amount of staff, so you don't miss anything or waste any staff's time. If you don't want users to sit in meta all day, you put a rule to limit the amount of votes a user who doesn't frequent any other sites can do. Split the site and hope magic will happen is next to bury head in the sand and hope danger will automatically go away ... – user202362 Apr 10 '14 at 15:50
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    @telkitty.exe you seem to miss the main point in all of this. Order. Each site in Stack Exchange got its own Meta site, which have no reputation of its own and used only for requests/bugs/discussions specific to that site. In all those per-site meta, downvotes indeed are toothless due to no reputation loss. Stack Overflow is also part of Stack Exchange, so it deserves its own child-Meta, used only for its own specific bugs/requests/discussions. It's that simple. No evil plan at work here and it's sad you try to see the empty half of a full glass. – Shadow Wizard is Vaccinating Apr 10 '14 at 18:16
  • "What you are telling me is that SE have decided to concentrate on improving the Stackoverflow main site on the expense of their smaller sites" -- actually some of us who are regulars on the other sites have complained in the past about our meta posts about stack exchange getting lost in a sea of meta posts about stack overflow explicitly. This move will help the 'smaller sites' and stack overflow by separating the two types of meta traffic. This is a good thing. Stack Overflow deserves a meta of its own. Stack Exchange as a whole needs a place to talk about cross-site issues. – Rob Moir Apr 11 '14 at 8:45
  • Oh my! I got the only negatively voted answer in a thread full of positively voted answers – all of them but mine. I feel so special! It reminds me of primary school when I was the bottom 35%, it reminds me of the start of high school when the ranking slipped to bottom 20%. It is not until after I entered university – one of the best in this country did I start to get distinctions, a scholarship and honours degree, had 2 professional jobs, had thousands of hours on certain online games, becoming the elitest troll through entertaining the mass & still graduate at the same time as everyone else. – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 8:30
  • Sometimes, trying isn’t enough – you need to be born with the talent! – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 8:31
  • As your elite pet troll - I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream. I know you, that gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam. And I know it's true that visions are seldom all they seem. But if I know you, I know what you'll do. You'll love me at once, the way you did once upon a dream! – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 8:32
  • P.S. you can not downvote a comment so I am safe from question/answer ban. I am also counting on me being unimportant enough to not get a manual ban ^_^ – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 8:44
  • P.P.S. the colour scheme here kind of sucks ... but that's just my humble opinion @_@ – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 8:49
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    You are talking to yourself an awful lot these days. Have you considered changing to a decaffeinated brand? They're just as tasty as the real thing. – Tim Post Apr 17 '14 at 12:05
  • Nothing to do with coffee, it maybe more to do with the amount of downvotes that have been following me like a bunch of babies around a mother hen. I used to get -10 votes, now they are almost -20, it seems I have been gaining followers! – user202362 Apr 17 '14 at 13:40

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