In Area51 a proposal has a list of discussion question that reference it.

Discussion question example

I would like to propose a similar feature for question in the SE network that are referenced in discussion on their respective Meta site.

Often the discussion and comments on the Meta side greatly add to original question, especially if the question has been closed.

Here is an example, original question, Meta discussion.


Usually, a Meta discussion about a specific question is an indication of one of the following:

  • It contains evidence of widespread abuse, such as vandalism or spam, that is easier contained in a Meta posting than to flag each and every instance. Sometimes, it is not the fault of the question, so basically scarring the question by maintaining the link is not really useful.

  • There is a strange bug with something like close votes or bounty postings. Half the time there is no error, the other half it gets resolved and thus the Meta report is no longer relevant to the question.

  • There is either a rules dispute or feelings are hurt (your example scenario is of this class). The discussion is great to provide a resolution to the conflict, though in some cases the resolution is status quo (i.e. there was some level of overreaction). In other cases, an ideal resolution has lots of future application on similar scenarios, which strains the necessity of tying down the question to the discussion.

  • Someone wants to point out a discrepancy in the open/closed status of two similar questions. The way these play out is typically just a wake-up call on the part of closers and reopeners more than it is something that is useful for reference.

All of these scenarios are generally not good. The discussions are helpful, but things would run smoother if we didn't run into the need fo discussion. And in the majority of questions, there won't be any discussions to be had, or previous questions will have made the dispute easily solved within comments.

Site policies and guidelines are developed so that people can act on things in general and not have to mediate each individual question. Whereas, when you introduce a specific UI hook to highlight discussions for questions on the main site, to me it feels like it's building an expectation that there should often be discussions. These are largely uncommon and undesired, when it comes to the scale of individual questions. Note that on Meta Stack Overflow right now, there are only 324 questions on compared to 20k questions in total.

I don't have any opposition towards telling people that there is a Meta discussion - it is usually very important to do so, as many authors may not be aware that their question is suddenly embroiled in a huge Meta back-and-forth. I always like to comment on questions with this information whenever I see it. I just feel that altering the UI to expect this is a step in the wrong direction, from the perspective of mentality. It also feels like it's branding the discussion with a higher level of importance than is always present. Like times when a moderator should interfere, Meta discussions should often be seen as exceptions as the site grows.

  • +1 for the specific question tag, wasn't aware of that! – Brian Deragon Dec 13 '11 at 23:00

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