The following concerns me, "Who is active on meta?". Do opinions, expressed by upvotes represent the entire population of Stack Exchange? For starters 701 pages of users on meta vs 9794 users on SO.

I speak out of own experience, that I couldn't (and still can't after asking one question) upvote answers I find valuable.

So who wants to upvote, and can't at the moment? People that are active on a Q&A site, have valid opinions about it, but aren't active on meta yet. They find argumentations they agree with, but can't upvote, but can't post a duplicate question/discussion either.

As a small experiment, I suggest that everybody who feels this way (and can't upvote!) favorites this question instead. This might somehow give an indication of how valid this statement is?

A possible solution, as mentioned here (again, which I can't upvote), is to allow more privileges on meta, based on priviliges gained on other SE sites. I would also make a meta account automatically whenever you join any SE site, to lower the threshold of participating in meta.

Ofcourse I know the privilege to upvote takes only 15 reputation, that's 2 people that agree with your proposal/discussion. Yet, as a good example, my previous question shows that that isn't always evident. Answering other questions isn't trivial (or desired) for a new meta user that simply wants to vote on his opinion. Bottomline, it should be easier for non-meta users to vote.

I realize this question is somewhat controversial, as it criticizes meta (that's you guys!), but I hope it will be given a good chance.

  • 5
    The account association bonus only requires 200 rep on another stackechange site. If you don't have at least 200 rep on another site, then you probably don't have enough experience with the stack exchange ecosystem to be permitted to vote on these issues. Votes are already anonymous, so you don't need to create an unassociated account to ensure your privacy for voting. You can, however, set up an anonymous account for posting questions and answers anonymously if you don't want to associate your account for that.
    – Pollyanna
    Feb 18 '11 at 14:38

If you have at least 200 reputation on any Stack Exchange site, you automatically have 100 reputation on Meta if you associate your account. If you're "active on a Q&A site, have valid opinions about it", then it's fairly common to have at least 200 reputation.

Of course, having myself joined Meta with less than 200 (I had 131 on Stack Overflow when I joined), I know that this isn't something we can expect of all users who come to Meta. But that doesn't mean you're silenced. On Meta Stack Overflow, any registered user is capable of commenting regardless of reputation. So, even if you can't upvote or downvote, you can still express support or opposition to a question with a comment.

Yes, voting affect some weight, but you know what has a much stronger impact than a blank "yes" or "no"? Actually coming out and describing what is or is not a good idea, and why. Those speak a lot more towards "user opinion", and can even shift things that are highly voted if a strong enough statement is presented. Or, even, the comment of one new user who can't vote can rally the support of dozens of veterans whose opinions are shifted, and get a whole lot more upvotes for the question than what a single individual alone can provide.

  • Very strong points. I had your first paragraph already typed in my answer, when I saw the "new answers" message.
    – jzd
    Feb 18 '11 at 13:37
  • @Grace Note: Oh, so if I would have joined meta, after I had my 200+ on SO and Programmers.SE. I would have gotton 100 rep for starters? This is a good system, but wouldn't it be better if I also got it when I reach 200 on any SE site? Then I probably wouldn't have posted this question. Feb 18 '11 at 13:45
  • 2
    @Steven It's only 100 flat, you can't get more than one association bonus. Also, if you get 200 reputation post-fact, then dissociate your accounts, and then reassociate them. This should grant you the +100 bonus. It is retroactive, just not automatically so.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 18 '11 at 13:46
  • @Grace Note: Well thank you for the hint. Ofcourse you can't expect users in the same situation as me to know this ... Feb 18 '11 at 13:49
  • 1
    @Steven It isn't very well known. But that's why we have Meta Stack Overflow. We're happy to help new users with understanding the ins and outs of the system. ♪
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 18 '11 at 13:50
  • @Grace Note: I'll accept this as an answer after some time, to give the 'favorite' experiment a fighting chance. ;p Feb 18 '11 at 13:51
  • Totally forgot about the association bonus, which will sort out most things. However, I disagree with the "come out and have your say" bit - if a point has been made, and made well, what's the point of adding a "I think so too" answer? Voting should be the only required activity on a Meta.
    – Pekka
    Feb 18 '11 at 14:22
  • @Pekka I didn't suggest posting an answer. And I don't disagree that it helps to be able to vote. But it's not like features are just implemented blind by just analyzing votes - that'd be inane. Comments can indicate good reasons for support, things which can make things more favorable. It's not always necessary to comment, and in those scenarios a vote can handle it simply. But comments can (and often do) bring out information that even the post author may not have been aware of. Many users already comment "+1" anyway, but those who can't upvote themselves still have a valid avenue.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 18 '11 at 14:26
  • @Grace ah, fair enough. Misread you
    – Pekka
    Feb 18 '11 at 14:41

Grace Note, really covers the my main argument against this. I would also like to address your point of:

"For starters 701 pages of users on meta vs 9794 users on SO."

Yes, this statistic is true, but I would argue it is better to have more users on SO then on meta. SO is the heart and it is better to have it more populated and flowing than meta.

Secondly, many of those users are not that active even on SO, they aren't spending enough time on SO to even have much of an opinion on meta. (Many of which don't even up vote or accept answers on SO).

  • 1
    +1 because having SO without MSO would suck, but having MSO without SO would be nonsensical.
    – Pops
    Feb 18 '11 at 15:58

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