Meta Stack Exchange seems to have different rules and user behavior than the "regular" Stack Exchange sites. How is it different?

Individual questions answered below:

Formerly How does Meta Stack Exchange work?.

How do I participate in Meta and not die trying?
The many memes of Meta

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  • 1
    Why's this a community wiki? Commented Jul 7, 2016 at 1:45
  • 5
    @john this is an FAQ entry, and all FAQ entries are CW.
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 5:14
  • 1
    @Pops why do all FAQ entries have to be community wiki? Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 1:29
  • 2
    @John y'know, it's been like that for so long (way before I was an employee, or even a very active meta user) that I'm not entirely sure what the original motivation was. My best guess is that it made them more accessible to editing. Would've been more important in the days before the suggested edit feature was implemented. These days... I guess it's just people being consistent with past behavior. If it bothers you, we could look at changing that rule.
    – Pops
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 18:24
  • 2
    @Pops Doesn't bother me, I was just curious why. Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 22:54
  • 1
    @JohnMiliter also, since it's joint effort of several users, reputation plays a role here. It's not "fair" the original poster will get all the reputation, when usually many others are involved. Since there is no way to share the reputation, it's better to just have nobody get any. Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 17:52

5 Answers 5



Like normal Stack Exchange sites, Meta Stack Exchange allows members to vote on questions and answers. For most posts, votes reflect the perceived usefulness: well-written, well-reasoned, well-researched posts tend to get more attention and more upvotes. Highly-voted and frequently-linked posts may become part of the community-curated FAQ or codified as part of the site’s help center.

Unlike normal Stack Exchange sites, Meta Stack Exchange invites the community to discuss, debate and propose changes to the way the community itself behaves, as well as how the software itself works. On many posts, especially feature requests, voting indicates agreement or disagreement with the viewpoint expressed in the post rather than just the quality or usefulness of the post itself.

Closing as "duplicate"

On most sites, voting to close a question as a duplicate of another post means that the same question has been asked before and has already been answered. On meta sites, however, it's not unusual for a question to be closed as a duplicate of another question that may not be asking the exact same question, if the answers to that post address the question being asked (especially if the target is tagged or is the "canonical" post regarding how something works). This helps people find/learn about the sites' policies, which is a significant part of the mission of meta sites.

Additionally, if the same feature has been suggested in the past, but received no answers, it may be closed as a duplicate. To that end, the system will allow users to choose an unanswered question as a target, which is ordinarily not allowed on main Q&A sites.


Meta has a reputation for being more... relaxed than the other Stack Exchange sites. Jokes and non-serious posts that would be swiftly deleted on the other sites have been welcomed here in the past and are sometimes still tolerated today, though to a significantly smaller degree that they were before.

  • 1
    See also: Meaning of downvotes in Meta vs Main sites?
    – Pops
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 14:29
  • Is the section on tone out of date? There's a 2016 post on fun being "hated" in general on Stack Exchange. And when I first joined MSE, I made some attempts at fun here that got shut down pretty quickly.
    – starball
    Commented Mar 24, 2023 at 1:02
  • @starball I did make an edit a month before you posted that to make it clear that they're accepted to a significantly smaller degree than before. I think it should stay, given that it clarifies the existence of prior joke posts from the time they were accepted, and some more recent non-serious posts have been accepted here, such as "thanks" posts and Winter Bash-related posts. Commented Sep 23, 2023 at 6:09

Required Tags

When asking a question on Meta Stack Exchange or on any per-site meta, you must include one of the four following required tags, which appear with white text on a dark background. This helps classify questions according to the type of response needed.

You've found an erroneous or unexpected behavior in the system that needs to be fixed. Your question should include what you did to discover the bug, the steps required to reproduce the problem, the given system output, and the expected system output. If necessary to document or explain the issue, include a screenshot in your post. Liberal use of freehand circles is strongly encouraged.

You want to solicit opinions or best-practices on a particular topic, with the goal of reaching community consensus.

You have an idea for a new feature to be added to the Stack Exchange network engine. Your question will contain the details of your proposal, along with a reason why the new feature is needed. (Note that voting on feature requests is usually used to indicate whether or not people agree with your request. See the above answer for more info.)

You need help with or have a question about one of the network sites' features.

Moderator-only Tags

These tags can only be applied and removed by Stack Exchange employees and appointed ♦ moderators. They appear in orange instead of the usual color, and confer a degree of official status.

Indicates that a post is an official poll for community ad selection. A moderator-only tag since July 19, 2011. Only used on per-site metas.

Indicates that a question is a part of the official Stack Exchange FAQ.

Marks a question for display in the bulletin ad on the site's sidebar. When used on a per-site meta, the post will show up on the main site and the meta site. When used on Meta Stack Exchange, it makes the question show up on the sidebar on all sites (except per-site metas).

This tag is automatically removed 30 days after it is applied, by a weekly script.

Indicates that the policy outlined in the post is officially part of the moderator agreement and that moderators are expected to enforce it. A moderator-only tag since July 8, 2020.

Indicates the Stack Exchange Product Team is sharing concepts in the Discovery phase, relating to product or configuration changes. Meta crowd can provide feedback which might be taken into account into the next phases. A moderator-only tag since April 23, 2020.

Indicates that a submitted issue is actually due to the existing design of the system and is not considered erroneous behaviour. In other words, "it's not a bug, it's a feature!"

Indicates that a feature request has been implemented, a bug has been fixed, or another type of request has been processed.

Indicates that a request (usually a feature request) has been considered, but will not be implemented.

Indicates that the request is good, but will not be implemented at present (it may be considered for the future).

Indicates that a reported erroneous behavior cannot be reproduced by the development team.

Indicates that a feature request has been considered and received positively enough that it has been queued up for implementation, but is currently blocked due to other circumstances (see the full tag wiki for more info).

Indicates that the symptoms of a bug report have been reproduced/confirmed by the development team.

Indicates that a circumstances behind a bug report are set to be internally reviewed, or that the feature request has merit but further investigation is required before a decision can be made.

  • 12
    So the difference between six and eight weeks is simply planned or deferred?
    – user50049
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 16:02
  • @Jon - It was more an ill attempt at humor than a suggestion :)
    – user50049
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 16:28
  • @Tim: Damn. I fail. LOL
    – Jon Seigel
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 17:11
  • 3
    I didn't even know about [status-review] !
    – Earlz
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 17:48
  • 1
    @Earlz: now you know
    – perbert
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 17:54
  • @Earlz: I didn't know about it either, until I was writing the answer. Fortunately there aren't that many tags on meta, so I just clicked through the whole list to make sure I didn't miss any. Unless, of course, there's an super-special red tag that exists on paper but hasn't been applied to any real post yet....
    – Pops
    Commented Apr 23, 2010 at 19:07
  • @PopularDemand I heard that tag is tagged internally on paper with [status-planned]. :P Wait... what is "a lot of tag pages to flip through" when "not many" is classified as 44?!?!?!?! (Or did the number of pages increase drastically recently?) Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 0:42

Search first

Before you post, please use the search function. It's extremely likely that what you are going to ask has been asked/discussed many times before. If you didn't find it, search again with different wordings.

Don't complain if you're treated a bit rough for posting a duplicate question

You were told to search first, weren't you? Anyway, you might find a few people who think you didn't do adequate research before finding the duplicate target question. If you did search for your question but didn't find it, don't worry! Your duplicate still remains useful as a signpost for searchability purposes, to help others who use the same wording that doesn't match the target question find that.

Remain polite

Meta can seem to be harsh at first, but it's actually far from it. Yes, we do tend to free-flow downvotes and be more vocal about our opinions here, but don't take it personally. Just be polite and don't act in a trollish way. Everyone here is here to help you.

For more information, see How do I participate in Meta and not die trying?


Reputation and privileges

Accounts on Meta Stack Exchange have their own reputation, not associated with any other sites on the Stack Exchange network.

Other meta sites share reputation with their main sites. For example, a Meta Stack Overflow account has the same reputation as the associated Stack Overflow account.

Meta Stack Exchange does not share reputation or privileges with any other sites, aside from the reputation gained from the association bonus. For the purposes of reputation, Meta Stack Exchange is treated as if it were a main Q&A site; this means that most reputation and privileges are gained here through participation on the Meta site itself. (If this is the first site you gain 200 reputation on, it will count for an association bonus on other sites.)



As explained in this answer, the term "Meta" is taken from Greek, and in Stack Exchange's case, it's a site about another site. Each Q&A site in the Stack Exchange network of sites has its own "meta" site (aka "per-site meta") where people can ask about the site itself.


Stack Exchange is not owned by Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly Facebook) and not affiliated with them in any way.

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