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I searched around a bit for this question, but I could only find people wondering what happened to their reputation on Meta, rather than why.

Recently I've been posting a few helpful questions on ELU Meta and I have received a number of upvotes. I was confused as to where the reputation from them was going until I read that Meta votes don't "count". Why is this the case? Isn't contributing to a site designed to discuss and improve another site a helpful activity that should be rewarded?

marked as duplicate by gnat, Nathan Tuggy, PolyGeo, Werner, Ward Jan 30 '16 at 6:59

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Isn't contributing to a site designed to discuss and improve another site a helpful activity that should be rewarded?

It is helpful. And it is rewarded: with badges, for example. And with abstract points of appreciation on every answer. You can look at your meta profile, see a bunch of double-digit posts, and feel good about your contributions. Or, you can use this query which calculates your meta-ELU reputation. I know, the number from the query is imaginary imaginary internet points, as opposed to real imaginary internet points that you see on the site...

One thing the meta participation will not give you is extra privileges (which are linked to reputation). And there is a good reason for that: meta participation does not imply expertise in the subject matter of the site. If meta votes counted toward reputation, the votes on my meta.SO posts would enable me to close questions on the site, without any evidence that I know something about programming. And Mad Scientist would be close to 20K on Mathematics site, based purely on meta posts — without ever posting on the main site.

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