TL;DR: MSO still is used like before the MSO–MSE split by most SO users. Is this really intended, and if yes, why?

Recently, I visited Stack Overflow somewhat more often and through the sidebar noticed some questions on MSO, which did not seem to be specific to Stack Overflow at all, but rather pertained to all of Stack Exchange. Some of these questions had a lot of feedback, even from Stack Exchange employees.

After observing this for about a month now, I get the feeling that a lot of questions that could as well have been asked here on MSE are asked on MSO. This pertains to all four general types of meta questions (support, bug, feature request and discussion) and in particular with respect to some feature requests and discussion, I got the feeling that I am missing some, if not most of the interesting stuff here on MSE.¹ I even began wondering, if posting a feature request on MSO instead of MSE would increase its chances of being successful.

Here are some examples of questions that are not SO-specific and that are asked on MSO, most by high-reputation users, which are very unlikely to be oblivious of the MSO–MSE split:

Moreover I quickly went through MSO’s homepage (recently active questions)²:

  • 31 questions could as well have been asked on MSE.
  • 11 questions were clearly SO-specific.
  • 5 questions were in a grey zone.

In contrast, on the per-site metas on which I am active, there only very rarely is a question that might as well have been posted on MSE. I made the same statistic for Meta Academia and only found four not-Academia-specific questions and three grey ones. Going by this and SO’s sheer size, the policy of not migrating only affects a few questions on other per-site metas, but has a huge impact through MSO.

I think that this is an issue due to the following reasons:

  • It creates redundancy, which is bad for the same reason as duplicate questions are: Time is wasted; it’s more difficult to find information; people who could give a good answer do not see the question.
  • People who are interested in giving feedback on general SE issues, but who are not active on MSO miss interesting feature requests and discussions.
  • The positive effect of people from different sites with different experiences and perspectives (as to how the SE engine is used) coming together on Meta is diminished.

Going by the fact that some of the above questions are answered by people who are capable of migrating them, I do however assume that this is intended. Thus my question is:

What is the current rationale for keeping questions that pertain to all of Stack Exchange on per-site metas instead of migrating them to MSE? I am asking in particular in light of the developments after the MSO–MSE split and the fact that MSO does not compare to other per-site metas as described above. I am aware that there are several questions about this issue or surrounding this (e.g., here, here, here and here), but they were all asked long before the MSO–MSE split or shortly afterwards, when it wasn’t clear how things would develop.

¹ Note that this is not about new features that are first tested on Stack Overflow, such as Triage.
² I did not invest much time in every question, and thus I may have erred in my classification for some and also I might have accidentally skipped some questions.

  • 1
    At least in my experience there are a few reasons, feature requests/bugs/etc can be posted on any Meta site even if it applies to all sites. That's always been the case. Migrating these posts with high votes/view count can have a huge rep impact to the user on the target site, similar to how we don't migrate older off-topic posts. So unless a CM steps in to migrate them, I think it'd be rare a SO mod would migrate the posts. At least, I won't.
    – Taryn
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:13
  • @bluefeet: Yes, but as I wrote, you cannot really compare other per-site metas to MSO. I am aware of the reputation impact, but that would not be an issue, if things get migrated quickly. Finally, I am quite aware that things are not migrated; my question is why this isn’t the case (on a policy level).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:16
  • As I said, it's always been the case that features can be posted on any meta site and they aren't necessarily migrated here. Just because it's split now, doesn't mean that would change.
    – Taryn
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:18
  • But so what? Before the MSO–MSE split, this was hardly an issue; now it is. Also, just that things were always done that way, doesn’t mean that this was good (yet alone that it still is good).
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:19
  • possible duplicate of Should MSE related questions be allowed on independent meta.SE sites?
    – gnat
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:36
  • @gnat That's pre-split, and so the terminology is dated there (including in a comment, which isn't easy to edit). Plus, this one has an answer, unlike the other one.
    – user259867
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:50
  • 2
    "Posting on a child meta is absolutely fine! The Stack Exchange team monitors all of the child metas..." - it's been like that for at least four years
    – gnat
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


What is the current rationale for keeping questions that pertain to all of Stack Exchange on per-site metas instead of migrating them to MSE?

Simple: just because a question could be asked in regards to every site doesn't mean the answers would apply equally everywhere. You're talking about roughly the same thing, but to very different groups of people...

This was actually a big reason for splitting those sites in the first place: every other site had its own meta culture, but Stack Overflow had to compete with folks from the entire network to get their voices heard - often with fairly unsatisfactory results. For example:

  • techniques that work on sites that get 10 questions a day often don't work on a site that gets 8K
  • hand-wringing about too many edits destroying the home page are irrelevant on a site where the home page is different for every user and completely changes every few minutes.

Just as before, anyone is free to ask questions on MSE if they want a network-wide audience - but they don't have to if that's not really what they're after. In cases where a question turns out to be critically important to everyone, we can and will migrate.

  • 1
    1) just because a question could be asked in regards to every site doesn't mean the answers would apply equally everywhere – I agree with that, but how does it apply to the example questions posted in my question? 2) Just as before, anyone is free to ask questions on MSE if they want a network-wide audience – But right now, I get a much bigger audience on MSO (probably even with respect to users of the whole network, as a lot of users from other site are also active on SO); this can hardly be the point.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18, 2015 at 19:30
  • "techniques that work on sites that get 10 questions a day" -- do you by chance know if one of these techniques was used here? "it looks like magic, but for over ten days since I posted this, I have seen no 'problem' questions anymore..."
    – gnat
    Mar 18, 2015 at 20:10
  • Clarify your question please, @Wrzlprmft. Why would you think it wouldn't apply to the questions you identified?
    – Shog9
    Mar 18, 2015 at 20:52
  • I threw salt over my shoulder a week or so ago, @gnat - let's attribute it to that.
    – Shog9
    Mar 18, 2015 at 20:53
  • would be great if you throw a bit more salt like that (or napalm)
    – gnat
    Mar 18, 2015 at 22:15
  • @Shog9: Take for example Please clarify "score" vs. "reputation" on tag badge descriptions. Badge description are as well or as bad understandable to SO users than to other SE users. And even if they weren’t, changes to this description would apply universally to all of Stack Exchange. I see nothing that is specific to SO in that question. Similar thoughts apply to all other examples I posted.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 18, 2015 at 22:37
  • As I said, just because the questions apply everywhere doesn't mean the answers will, @Wrzlprmft.
    – Shog9
    Mar 19, 2015 at 1:54
  • @Shog9: I got that. But what I was trying to describe is that the problem is so generic and detached from the topic of the site that I cannot even conceive a reasonable answer to it that is not generic. Seriously: How could an answer to this question be specific to SO?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Mar 19, 2015 at 7:34

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