I recently asked a question in a particular meta site about how to improve a question in the corresponding main site. Apparently, the post on meta draw more attention (and consequently more downvotes) to my post on main, resulting in what's known as the meta-effect. Similarly to revenge-downvoting detection and reversal, should sites have mechanisms for detecting and reversing the meta-effect?


2 Answers 2


The meta effect itself isn't inherently negative, and it doesn't generally need to be reversed.

It does sometimes seem like we need a way to protect a question from the meta effect, particularly when we're using a specific question as an example, but don't intend to affect the curation of that specific question, however, when the meta post is literally asking about a specific question, the meta effect is generally the intended result. In your example, you asked for how to improve your post; that directly invites users to view your question and act on it, and therefore there is nothing to reverse anyway. This is the system working as intended.


Posting on Meta is like adding a catalyst to a chemical reaction. The catalyst makes the reaction faster but you get the same result in the end.

So for any post if it's good it will get upvotes more quickly and if it's not useful it will get downvotes more quickly.

You get the same outcome in a day that might have taken weeks otherwise. There's nothing to reverse because the outcome is what it is given the value of the post. If you want to attract upvotes, make sure your post is high quality and useful on the site you're posting it.

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    You get the same outcome that is not true, without the meta effect the reaction stops early, so to speak. given the value of the post is also questionable, with the meta effect a post could be -20 or so while the 'real' value is closer to, say, -3 (which it would have gotten, as a final outcome, without the meta effect). I think the voting system implicitly takes into account that questions in general attract an average number of views and an average level of scrutiny/strictness from the people that view the question. The meta effect invalidates both of these assumptions.
    – Marijn
    Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 8:44
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    @Marijn I know posts continue to accumulate votes over years, because mine do. The most useful ones end up with hundreds of votes. Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 8:50
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    Some posts do continue to receive votes of course (up or down) but I think that is an exception. For the average post by the average user voting stops soon after posting, maybe they will attract an occasional vote or two afterwards but certainly not in the amounts that the meta effect causes within one day.
    – Marijn
    Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 9:04

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