I would like this question not to be answered or voted on while it is located on meta, please. I believe it is off topic, and I would like to avoid a "discussion". I may be even removing it later. Thank you.
Here on Stack Exchange, to every site we have a "meta" site, and also there is a general meta site for the whole project. As I understand it, a meta site is supposed to govern the "main", underlying site in some way. For example, the guide lines for closing questions and the reasons for a specific question to be closed would often be discussed on meta, elections to moderation are held in meta, and so on.
But there is no direct correspondence between the people that visit the underlying site and the meta site. For all I know, it is plausible that the people that even read the meta news are a tiny fraction of the actual population. Furthermore, in the light of the recent events, when a large protest movement has formed at the meta site of Stack Exchange (Did you notice some people have "Reinstate Monica" in their names?), it is dubious whether even the most resonant meta events have any noticeable effect on the main sites:
But then there are thousands and thousands of users who rarely or never come here, who probably not even heard of what happened during the last months. And guess what: for those people "life" just continues. When you turn to the top users on Stack Overflow for example, you find: none out of that group suspended activity in order to support "the community". I randomly clicked on 20+ profiles. None of them even mentions Monica, or any other form of conflict that keeps "us" so busy here. And make no mistake: each one of those top users might contribute more "value" to SE Inc. in one day compared to what "we" concerned users get done in a whole week.
I find this to be a great time to apply our knowledge of political science. (Of which I myself have very little.) I make a (tentative) claim that meta is supposed to be a governing institute, and I propose that we study and measure the influence it has on the main sites. Otherwise, I am open to discovering that Meta was never a governing institute at all. I see how this is a somewhat wide question, so I also welcome comments as to how I can make it sharper.
As I see it, meta has only consulting voice in the decision making process of the Stack Exchange company, but meta also has direct, if weak, influence on the population of the underlying site (by virtue of being a sample of said population), and that makes it similar to a trade union. So, meta could theoretically influence the behaviour of the community far enough to induce a strike. Also, seeing how the moderators are elected on meta, and guide lines for moderation are also developed on meta, it makes meta similar to a legislative assembly — but, as we can see, it is not independent of the Stack Exchange company governance, and its powers extend downward, but not upwards, unless indirectly through the community at large. (Note though that by no means I wish this expression of view to restrict the answers in any way.)
I would especially appreciate an answer that provides a way to measure the influence of meta numerically, although I accept that there is unlikely to be a single meaningful number. The statistics of the platform are open, so we have a vast archive of data at our disposal.