I was looking at the current meta users and noticed that only a hand full of people are actually getting involved in the discussions that shape Pro Webmasters.

Most questions and answers here come from the top 20 or so users from the parent site, with reputation being the judge of 'top'. That doesn't mean someone with 1 rep isn't actually less dumb than all of us combined.

Normally, I'd just be thankful for the peace and quiet .. but we're in the middle of:

  • Electing moderators
  • Deciding on a new domain name
  • Discussing the final logo / design of the parent site
  • Evaluating what is and what is not on topic for the site

Are we possibly confusing people by simply saying "got questions about the site itself?" I suspect that we're not adequately informing beta users that their opinion counts in the shaping of this site. Maybe we could change that to "got feedback?" or something similar?

Going back to quiet, this (particular) meta has been kind of ..scary quiet.. during the private beta. We're now into the public beta and its gotten even quieter. I simply can't conceive over 900 people just agreeing, consistently or otherwise, with each other under any circumstances. Something is wrong.


Robert has raised this issue on meta.stackoverflow.com to get more suggestions.

  • 1
    Good idea about punching up the "come to meta" byline. I'm stealing your idea <grin>. Jul 23, 2010 at 22:24
  • Maybe we should close more questions, then people might come here to complain ;) Jul 25, 2010 at 0:09
  • @Robert - Updated to link to your post on MSO. Thanks for taking it to a wider audience.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 26, 2010 at 13:24

4 Answers 4


Most people don't care. They want their questions answered, and that's it.

I agree that more of the founding members from the private beta should be involved, but if they don't want to be, then so be it. I'm guessing that if I did one of those overlapping circle graph thingos to show meta.stackoverflow and meta.webmasters participation, the meta.webmasters users would live almost entirely inside meta.stackoverflow.

To be honest the biggest reason I feel compelled to be active here is because I've spent years as a ServerFault user battling against the StackOverflow users on meta.stackoverflow - it took a long time to even get them to remember that there was a world outside of SO. So I'm here to enjoy and relish the oppertunity to meta-participate amongst a group of peers where even if we're not on the same page we're at least reading the same book.

  • I don't want to force anyone to get involved, I just want to make sure that they know they are welcome to be involved .. and realize exactly what 'involvement' means at this phase of the site.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 28, 2010 at 9:42

How about this:

  1. Users under X rep don't and may never care about Meta, and that's normal. I care a lot about my library, but I never go to their board meetings, I just appreciate the resource.
  2. Users who hit a certain X rep will actually care about how the site works.
  3. Users who keep coming back over N weeks care about how the site works.
  4. Users who hit an off-topic area care about Meta.
  5. SE software keeps track of rep and whether or not a user has visited Meta.

So a proposal, once a user hits X rep or N weeks of activity, hit them with a notice banner along the top of the main site that says

"Hey, you seem to have done a nice job being involved! Get involved over on Meta"


I'm not really sure we need to push for more people to come here. There doesn't seem to be that much activity on the site (not millions of questions) and a lot of the questions are quite dozy ones which have that kind of "I have to ask a question so I'll ask a question about ..." feeling. Also there is the "is this person really running a website and if so why are you asking this question?" sort of question. If the number of people participating increases and the site gains more focus, I'd expect there to be more people coming to this channel to participate.

  • Re "is this person really running a website" - just wait til the SO user "metal-gear-solid" gets wind of this place :/ Jul 25, 2010 at 0:08
  • There is still the question of policies, FAQ's, etc that need not only discussion but also votes from the community.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 28, 2010 at 9:44

I would love to seem more activity in the meta for webmasters. At the same time, is the lack of use of the meta site a sign the site is working as designed and people are just liking what they see.

Also, how many people really use meta.stackoverflow vs the total population of stackoverflow users? Webmasters may have 900+ users but we probably only have 200-300 active(actually having asked or answered a question) and of those maybe 100 that are considerably active (asking and answering questions).

So if 20 of the 100 are active in both then we have over 20% meta participation which is pretty high in my opinion. I think our focus maybe should be on getting more people to use the site webmasters site!

  • Its also a matter of flying without meta FAQ's, community vetted policy regarding certain types of questions, etc. While I hope to bring more people to meta, I also hope to get more of the 100 or so active users more active in policy discussions.
    – Tim Post
    Jul 28, 2010 at 9:41

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