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Personal opinion: Stack Exchange would be better if more people participated in the metas, particularly for smaller stacks (where things are less settled and more community input would be beneficial). To help with that, we should always display at least 1 local meta post in a sidebar. This could be done in the current "Featured on Meta" sidebar or an additional sidebar.

If I go to Stack Overflow and look in "Featured on Meta", there are 2 posts for Meta and 4 for Stack Overflow's meta. This probably helps keep eyes on the SO meta and encourage community participation in it.

If I look at Arqade, they currently have a "hot meta post" so they have a visible meta link going.

If I go to a lot of other stacks, just randomly... English Language Learners, Politics, Workplace... really almost any of them, they don't have anything marked as "Featured" or "Hot" for their meta so consequently there is no obvious link to their metas at all. In fact, opening up Politics, the only link to their meta is the "hidden" one under the hamburger menu. There's nothing on the actual page.

Perhaps one solution is to tweak "hotness" so that sub-stack metas always have at least 1 hot item, provided at least something has been posted or changed there within the last week.

tl;dr: Individual stack metas need at least some visibility at all times. A prominent link at a minimum, but perhaps a sidebar that always features something, even if nothing is technically "hot" or "featured" at the moment.

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    FWIW, there's a 'Feedback' link in the footer, and the 'hamburger' menu (rightmost icon in the top bar) lets you switch to the meta site as well. On some sites, there simply aren't any active Meta discussions.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:33
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    @Glorfindel I actually forgot about that hamburger menu link to the meta. (I'll edit that in.) I guess that's my real complaint, though: metas are too important to be "hidden" inside an unlabeled hamburger menu icon. Some kind of prominent display would be nice. Maybe the "hotness" rules can be tweaked so that there is always at least 1 local meta post that qualifies?
    – JamieB
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 15:44
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    Yeah, I'm in favor of better visibility of / more participation in per-site metas, so that might work. At least the bar could be put significantly lower than it is now. If there's no activity on a meta in a week, there's not much point in showing a post, but otherwise, every question with a positive score could qualify. That will also make sure it gets downvoted if it doesn't deserve that score.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Commented Mar 15, 2023 at 18:32
  • Somewhat related to the point on getting more visibility to meta sites, there's a proposal for getting more visibility to MSE in particular: meta.stackexchange.com/q/280505/997587 (see also the alternate proposals in the answer posts there).
    – starball
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 5:35

1 Answer 1

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One possibility could be to display a "Meta FAQ" section on the right sidebar on main sites, with links to per-site meta posts with the tag. This would be the similar to the current FAQ section on Meta.SE and Meta.SO, except that it would bring the user from main to the per-site meta.

On some sites there may be no FAQ posts on Meta, or they may exist but are rather outdated (for example Ask Ubuntu Meta has FAQ questions on Accept Rate, bookmarking questions, and using Too Localized as close reason). This however would be a nice incentive for the communities to create or update these posts (or simply untag them, which would also be a good clean-up result).

There used to be functionality for displaying this section on the per-site meta itself, see for example FAQ sidebar for per site metas from 2014, but that doesn't seem to be used anymore except on Meta.SE and Meta.SO. There is also a proposal to show the big list question FAQ for Stack Exchange sites on all sites (see Is the FAQ accessible by a link on the sites (besides MSE)?). However, both of these do not actually propose making the per-site meta more visible from the main site.

A better name for the sidebar section would be necessary, to make it clear that they are not frequently asked regular questions but frequently asked questions on how to use the site. Maybe "How the site works FAQ" or something, but then more concise/formal.

Additionally a link could be put below the FAQ list to /help/whats-meta (e.g., for SO: https://stackoverflow.com/help/whats-meta, but every site has a customized version of that page) or to /help/privileges/participate-in-meta. This link could even be titled "Ask your own question on how the site works" to invite users to interact on the per-site meta.

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  • That would at least be an improvement, although ideally I'd like to see it link some regular posts, too, even if it's just "the most recent active". Like if I look on English Language Learners right now, there are no meta posts linked, but on the meta there is a post that was answered yesterday, created 2 days ago, with 21 views. So basically no one saw that post. Maybe "Latest Meta Discussions" could be the sidebar, with just like the top one or two most recently active?
    – JamieB
    Commented Mar 16, 2023 at 17:44

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