Meta doesn't like me; I can't seem to keep my points. How can I make good posts that are well-received?

  • 22
    The most positive thing about this is that posting on meta makes it very easy to get the Peer Pressure badge :)
    – takrl
    Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 9:44
  • 30
    On Stack Overflow actual, coherent questions are rarely downvoted. Whereas Meta Stack Overflow is more like Reddit. Commented Dec 17, 2012 at 23:20
  • 9
    @ColonelPanic While that's true, racking points on Stack Overflow is quite difficult. Your question has to be really extraordinary or just lucky enough to attract enough attention before it quickly dies off. I am lucky enough if I can get a single point on well composed questions or answers that sometimes take more then 30-40 minutes to write.
    – Matthew
    Commented May 31, 2019 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


What exactly is meta? Why/how is it different? What goes here?

Meta Stack Exchange is a special place for suggestions, bugs, support questions, and discussion about the Stack Exchange sites. It is the only place where more frivolous discussions are allowed. Meta is also harsh(er) to your feelings. That said, here are a few guidelines if you'd like to keep your sanity and reputation points.

Always search for your question first

Meta has been around for some time, and the fact is that most common questions/bugs/suggestions have already been answered. It's easier and less time consuming to search for your question. If you can't find it, think of different wordings and search again.

Heavily consider not requesting a new feature if you're new

Although this sounds cruel, elitist, and rude, it is innately true: the experienced users have been around longer than you have and have a better understanding of Meta and the Stack Exchange sites. It takes a little while to get used to Stack Exchange and learn the inner workings and methodologies of why things are the way they are.

The reason it is very difficult to find anything trivial or sloppy on Stack Exchange is that all of the inner workings have carefully been thought through, tested, and polished. In other words, if you have no idea what rocket science is, it makes no sense to walk into NASA and start telling them how things should be.

If you still have suggestion(s), that's great! However, the best advice to you is to hold that thought, learn the ropes, eat your waffles, ride your ponies/unicorns, and then revisit us. You will have a better background and more experience to suggest. Don't suggest anything before thoroughly checking if it was suggested before.

If your idea has been suggested before but not implemented, and you think the system has changed in such a way that the original reasons for not implementing it no longer apply, see here before asking.

Consider whether your question may be phrased better as a question and an answer

If you find a problem that no one has asked about before, and you think you have found a solution to that problem, it's better to ask a neutral question that simply asks about the problem and asks for ways to solve it, and post your solution as a self-answer, rather than provide both the problem and solution in the question. This way, if your solution turns out to be unpopular, only your answer will be downvoted, not your question.

In addition, even if your answer turns out to be a downvote magnet, you can always delete it, whereas an unpopular question with multiple answers or a single answer with upvotes cannot be self-deleted and quickly drains your reputation.

Don't criticize, put down, or insult. Be constructive.

Meta's primary audience is experienced Stack Exchange users who've spent hours, and sometimes sleepless nights, asking and answering questions, sometimes even pouring out their hearts over mundane tasks like editing tags. If you do post anything disrespectful, you can almost count on being reprimanded. Meta is still composed of people, and as people, everyone must be treated politely as such.

Instead of being rude or disrespectful, turn those negatives into positives. Be polite and constructive and you will be much better received.

Don't post incorrect answers/comments

Just like on regular Stack Exchange sites, wrong answers get downvoted. If you'd like to keep your reputation points, simply follow common sense. If you don't know, don't pretend that you do. If you aren't sure, say so (or don't post at all).

Don't whine or complain

While Meta is a place for questions, answers, suggestions, and bugs, it isn't a place to rant. Meta expects its audience to act – and post – like mature adults. If you've had your hair ruffled up, the preferred procedure is to persevere, putting on a pretension of imperturbability in the presence of perceived persecution, and carry on. However, if you really feel that a great wrong was done, or a pattern is developing, you can post it on Meta. But please, please, don't whine.

On meta, voting can be different on some questions, especially feature requests. On such questions, users often vote to signify whether or not they agree with the suggested feature, and downvotes are often used to indicate disagreement with the feature proposal rather than indicate that the post itself is of bad quality.

Remember, Stack Exchange is just a website, not your entire life

Just like any other activity, it is important to remember that life exists outside of this website. Spending days on end doing nothing but Stack Exchange is bad for your health (and we have to put up with your crazed antics). So please, remember that SE is a website, and keep things in perspective.

When in doubt...

  • Waffles, ponies, unicorns and bacon are good fallback subjects when you have nothing else to say.
  • When adding images to your questions, make sure to highlight important features using freehand circles
  • 47
    Hmmm. Most of the heavy meta users seem to violate these on a regular basis. Perhaps you need to mention that you're allowed to violate these principles, but only if you mention waffles.
    – tvanfosson
    Commented Mar 26, 2010 at 20:47
  • 14
    Also: you can increase your chances of survival by learning by heart the following list, and using them in smart moments: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/19478/the-many-memes-of-meta. Be subtle though. Nobody want a Jon Skeet riding a pony eating waffles surrounded by freehand circles during 6 to 8 weeks.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Mar 26, 2010 at 20:52
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    I see you're trying to suggest that people use memes to successfully evade death and participate in Meta. You should totally drop that and try jQuery.
    – snicker
    Commented Mar 26, 2010 at 20:55
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    Case-in-Point: See what too much Meta does to you? :P
    – rlb.usa
    Commented Mar 26, 2010 at 21:08
  • meta.stackexchange.com/questions/44102/… ...could be one of the top ten, post-modern depictions of freehand circles, ponies, and Yoda.
    – IAbstract
    Commented Mar 27, 2010 at 8:42
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    These are more 'guidelines' rather than actual rules. Commented May 22, 2010 at 19:40
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    "Don't Suggest Anything If You Are New". It's hard for expert users to imagine how their favourite site looks to newbies. How are we going to find out what the user experience is like for newbies if they aren't allowed to speak? I agree they should be encouraged to search first.
    – MarkJ
    Commented Aug 12, 2010 at 17:19
  • 2
    Ok I see. Though I wish I got a link to this question when registering on meta, we all would have spared our precious time. And NO, I am not going to post this as a feature-request, I have learned my lesson. Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 11:14
  • That answer might be linked in the short description of the keyword "feature-request". Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 12:41
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    @animuson While I may be wrong, a fair bit of the negativity that users experienced on MSO was due to the fact it was MSE i.e. users may experience something on SO, and then come complaining about it on MSO, and face the wrath of users from SE rather than support from SO users. Now that MSO is really MSO, those questions should not be treated the same, and MSE wont be seeing a lot of them as well. Hence, I don't think this post is relevant currently, and I certainly don't think we should assume that the environment is going to be as hard to participate in on MSE as well.
    – asheeshr
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 2:11
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    @AsheeshR I think "MSE" got just as many complaints when it was part of MSO. Outside of the "Why does SO suck?" questions, there were still quite a bit of network-wide complaining. Also, this answer isn't specific to asking questions, but also posting answers. It seems completely relevant to the new MSE in my eyes.
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Apr 18, 2014 at 2:20
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    "On meta, voting can be different on some questions...often vote to signify whether or not they agree with the suggested feature, and downvotes are often used to indicate disagreement with the feature rather than indicate that the post itself is of bad quality." - Why does the on-hover text for DVs say otherwise instead? It indicates that a DV is for "answers without research effort". Is this an implicit behavior on Meta (and only here), therefore does not justify a correction of such on-hover text?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Nov 17, 2017 at 21:04
  • @DarkCygnus it's mentioned in What's Meta? on per-child meta. The correction was already suggested and declined a long time ago. Commented Jun 25, 2023 at 17:50

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