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.

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    Since this question is about Politics.SE itself, I think it's better off on Meta. – F1Krazy Dec 19 '19 at 11:23
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    @F1Krazy The way a parliament works is not discussed in the parliament, but in a university. – Ignat Insarov Dec 19 '19 at 11:29
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    The correct place for this question is definitely meta. I'm sorry if you disagree, but all questions about the functioning of SE itself are for meta sites – CoedRhyfelwr Dec 19 '19 at 11:37
  • And while I don't have time to find the right one now, I'm fairly sure this is, in essence, a dupe of some kind of "what is meta?" question or page since it essentially seems to be asking what the purpose of meta is (although there might be nowhere that addresses the de facto purpose of meta, only the intended purpose) – CoedRhyfelwr Dec 19 '19 at 11:40
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    @CoedRhyfelwr "The correct place for this question is definitely meta. I'm sorry if you disagree, but all questions about the functioning of SE itself are for meta sites" — What is the source of your firmness? Can you give a quote? I cannot find anything to this end in the Help Center. – Ignat Insarov Dec 19 '19 at 11:53
  • @CoedRhyfelwr If a page that states the purpose of meta would be located, I will be sure to integrate it into the question. But it is by far not enough to answer it. – Ignat Insarov Dec 19 '19 at 11:56
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    I'll be honest, the source of my firmness is experience. I can't remember exactly where it is stated, but all other questions of type get moved to a meta site. To be honest, since you seem to be asking about all the meta sites, the best place for this question is probably big meta. The precedent that we have set is that this site is for real world politics, not SE politics. – CoedRhyfelwr Dec 19 '19 at 12:09
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    "If your question is about the site itself, please don't ask it here. Visit our meta-discussion site, where you can talk about things like what questions are appropriate, what tags should be used, suggest a feature, point out a bug, or generally discuss how this site works." From the help center – RedGrittyBrick Dec 19 '19 at 16:34
  • @RedGrittyBrick Note though that I am not asking about any specific thing that is listed. Nor am I interested in a discussion. Also, while I appreciate your comment, I would rather have this conversation at the other question nearby, where I raise my point in completeness and invite extended answers. – Ignat Insarov Dec 19 '19 at 16:36

If it were me that was interested in this topic, I would start with a milder approach, and I would start by asking in meta where the constraints of on-topic-ness are also bit milder. I might ask

Is politics SE capable of political introspection?

or something similar, and perhaps break it down into two parts;

  1. Does politics (as defined in the main site's help center) exist within the politics SE community?

  2. Is discussion of that on-topic either here or in the main site?

By breaking it down into parts, asking here in meta, and not pushing your own view quite so hard within your question (you can always post an answer to fortify your expression) you might end up generating more productive discussion, and appreciate new aspects of the SE community.

Like my profile says, "Let Stack Exchange be Stack Exchange".

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    I wish I was a more diplomatic person! – Ignat Insarov Jan 12 '20 at 17:52
  • @IgnatInsarov I don't have any naturally occurring diplomatic skills, but SE has given me a lot of experience and opportunities to learn. – uhoh Jan 13 '20 at 1:15

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