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Since the MSO/MSE split, it has become quite clear that questions on MSE that are only relevant to a specific site are off-topic on MSE. There is even a close reason for these questions

This question pertains only to a specific site in the Stack Exchange Network. Questions on Meta Stack Exchange should pertain to our network or software that drives it as a whole, within the guidelines defined in the help center. You should ask this question on the meta site where your concern originated.

However, these guidelines leaves a small gap where certain users may not be able to get any assistance.

Users with less than 5 rep cannot participate in the site's meta (which would obviously include suspended users), so how are these users supposed to get assistance if they can't post on their per-site meta and the question would supposedly be off-topic for MSE?

Since new users may need the most help in trying to understand the site's rules and culture, we may be inadvertently driving them away because they can't get help. Questions about why their question was closed and how to improve it would certainly be worthy of the meta site and may allow users to redeem their content.

Of course, I'm not advocating we remove the 5 rep limit for participating in the per-site meta as that restriction helps limit the off-topic questions and other noise on the meta site. But I am curious how we should be directing these users and handling these types of questions.


This question was inspired by How to get a Question OFF hold? as the user was curious about reopening a specific question on a specific site. No one has voted to close it as off-topic yet (at least as of this writing), but I didn't see any relevant discussions on meta about this scenario, a side question here is how questions like this should be handled?

  • Should the question be allowed to remain open?
  • Should it be migrated to the appropriate meta site (or can it be migrated since the OP doesn't have enough rep)?
  • And if it does get migrated, will the OP even be allowed to participate in the discussion
  • Or is there another avenue that I am missing.
  • Could it be "inadvertently driving them helpless"? – brasofilo Jun 15 '14 at 17:49
  • As an aside: I disagree that the example question would be a better fit on a per-site Meta. Its title and the part "I can't find a button to ask for "off hold" or anything" are quite generic, I feel. Only when people insisted an example was needed it became specific to a site. – Arjan Jun 15 '14 at 18:25
  • @Arjan that specific question may not have been the perfect example as the original question was about a general topic, but the edited question and the comments are about a specific question on a specific site. And we can only assume that the reason the OP asked that question on MSE was because Meta.Arqade was unavailable to him. – psubsee2003 Jun 15 '14 at 18:38
  • @brasofilo major typo, thanks for catching it. It should have been "driving them away". It is corrected now. – psubsee2003 Jun 15 '14 at 18:39
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Getting 5 reputation, on any site is trivial. One fair post, two fair edits... really really easy.

So if one really wants to participate in a per site meta, he'll just invest few minutes on the site, and he can go ahead and ask on its meta.

As for suspended users, they know why they got suspended through email and/or private moderator messages, on which they can reply. No need to appeal in the meta site.

And as last resort, posting here in MSE is not that terrible, sometimes even if a question is site specific it might still fit here, as you notice the question you linked to got no close votes.

  • 1
    While I agree that 5 rep is virtually nothing, it feels like a bad user experience to say "You want help with why your question was closed and downvoted, you need to go suggested a couple of edits first". Plus they effectively need to stay 2 edits ahead of the downvotes on their question, which could be 5-10 edits on some high traffic sites. – psubsee2003 Jun 15 '14 at 11:36
  • @psubsee2003 they can always read the faq's, MSE and probably most meta's got tons of posts "why my question was downvotes/closed etc". As for "2 edits ahead of the downvotes on their question" that's not correct, even if user who started with 1 rep got 20 downvotes, he'll still have 1 and any approved suggested edit will give him +2 rep. – Shadow Jun 15 '14 at 11:37
  • I meant posts that gets downvotes after the user starts trying to edit to get enough rep – psubsee2003 Jun 15 '14 at 11:45
  • @psubsee2003 well, that's true but sounds like an edge case... most downvotes occur shortly after the question was posted. – Shadow Jun 15 '14 at 11:46
  • Ultimately there is nothing you said I disagree with. But it was your last paragraph that I really wanted to reinforce. Does the community agree that MSE is an acceptable alternative despite the existence of the close reason – psubsee2003 Jun 15 '14 at 11:52
  • @psubsee2003 that's the catch indeed. I fear some users here won't agree with this, but not most. Generally speaking, I want to believe most users agree with me on this one and won't close such questions on spot. :) – Shadow Jun 15 '14 at 11:57

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