Is there any reason behind the ghost reputation we gain on the meta of a Stack Exchange site? This reputation doesn't add up to anything, but it still shows me I have gained some. Is this supposed to make any sense?

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  • Is this all beta metas or just Programmers meta? Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:16
  • 2
    This is because of the very "hacky" implementation of reputation in the metas.. They simply copy every hour the reputation from the master site, overriding the old one. Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:19
  • @Peter: this is all beta metas. My guess is that once a site successfully gets out of beta, that ghost reputation will have some value. Right now, it is getting ignored in favor of your rep on the parent site, so as to have enough users with certain rights (editing, closing, deleting etc.) right from the onset.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:22
  • @Reg I don't think it will; I got the impression it was decided having separate meta reputation doesn't make sense, and it's kept separate on MSO only for historical reasons Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:23
  • @Michael: that was my understanding as well, but then I started noticing ghost rep having value on Area51 (it adds to your total rep, and you get a separate icon for each meta site on which you surpass 200 ghost rep points). Let's see what happens when QuickSave and NothingToInstall get created.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:30
  • I am not under the impression that this will change once a beta site graduates. Reputation for meta.superuser and meta.serverfault is your parent-site rep. Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 3:44
  • @rchern: excellent point. I withdraw my speculations.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Sep 12, 2010 at 17:36

1 Answer 1


From the FAQ of any of the child metas:

Reputation here is entirely derived from the parent website; your reputation is the same as your reputation on the parent website, synchronized hourly. Votes here do not affect your reputation in any way. However, you can earn unique badges here on the meta site.

(Please note that offensive penalties, if levied by the community through spam or offensive votes on your posts here, will affect your reputation on the parent website.)

This has a couple of consequences:

  • Users have the same powers on the meta site as the parent site. The more someone is vested in the parent site, it stands to reason that that should follow on the meta site.
  • Everything drives from the parent site, which is at is should be. The meta site doesn't exist as a place to gain reputation points.
  • You can cast votes more freely based on the content of the post without it affecting reputation points.

So, you may not be earning the reputation points that it shows, but it is still an indicator of activity. Don't you want to know when you get an upvote? You just need to think in terms of what each value of reputation points gain/loss means in terms of vote activity.

You can also earn badges on the meta site that are independent of badges from the parent site. Mortarboard is the first example that comes to mind relating to your reputation points. Other badges like Good/Great Question/Answer, etc. relate to upvotes. In the Stack Exchange system, votes tie to reputation points. A side effect of it being the same code-base, but I don't see it as a big enough deal that it would warrant changing for the meta sites.

There is also a blog entry that discusses the per-site metas.

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