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Dear lost soul that you stumbled over this post. ;)

Meta participation is more or less down to zero. - Unless it is just the tag discussions that nobody is interested in. ;)

Do you have an idea how we can promote meta? Should we offer some bounties? Free t-shirts? Cookies?

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    I don't think the Bitcoin SE is large enough to accommodate an active meta yet. But it looks like participation is growing. – John T Mar 14 '14 at 5:20
  • We have about 1.5 times the users as rpg.SE, yet they have 3x as many questions in meta, while they have only about the same amount questions on the main page. I don't think it is related to size. – Murch May 7 '14 at 11:51
  • @Jacob I agree with Murch. Compared to my experiences with the other SE sites, the meta here is a very quite place. – 4276 May 22 '14 at 20:58
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I'm going to continue to monitor meta activity, and it is improving. Remember, you have the 'featured' tag you can apply which causes questions to appear in the community bulletin, and that does attract a bit of attention.

When we get close to a tipping point where discussions here typically get at least two or three answers, I'll throw a fun mini-contest for some swag (or a short series of them). Also, 'bike shed' questions tend to attract a lot of attention and serve as a great on-board to get folks participating here. Questions where every opinion would be equally correct and interesting do a great job of this.

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I would say often times people are scared to participate in Meta discussion, or really any sort of discussion on SE, especially beta sites. I'll explain why.

I made an account awhile ago, but even before that I lurked on the site for quite a bit before I decided to create an account. Why? Because SE in general can seem a little pretentious at times. I personally don't feel that this site is, but I can sense why individuals used to a more "forum-like" environment would.

I totally understand the strict moderation though. I love it. That's what makes SE so outstanding from forums. People shouldn't be scared to participate, but they are. As a noobie I can attest that to this: Seeing all of these people with 2,000+ rep is frightening! Now, obviously the point is to learn, and answer questions but the rep is like--SUPER COOL! There is a sort of intimidation factor there. That's why (I think) the people that participate in discussions, or in Meta, usually have more rep. A guy with more rep can get away with making witty, less-than-on-topic comments.

Don't get me wrong. He isn't getting away with things because he has high reputation! In fact it's quite the opposite. It's because of the high reputation that you know he's just an active member whose giving you a hard time right now. The rep is working! It does what it is supposed to do, and does it well! But it can be a little scary to us new guys. Because we "can't get away" with as much. Which is great. We shouldn't be able to.

I'm sure this is the case on every SE though. But I feel like it's especially applicable on sites like Bitcoin.SE, Math.SE, Physics.SE, etc, because they are "mysterious." People are coming to the gods of these subjects to seek help. Where as (as you mention) RPG.SE is inherently a little more laid back.

Maybe this is all just in my head ;) I don't know.

Basically, I don't think it's anything the community can do, or the moderators. I think it's just a simple fact of having a lot, in fact of majority, of traffic from less-than-experts, talking to "experts." :)

  • Thanks for your answer, I think you have a point there. Though, I hope you are wrong about the part where there is nothing that we can do. ;) To be honest, I don't feel much like an expert either, I gained all my knowledge from reading and posting on Bitcoin.SE – a year ago I had no clue about Bitcoin. I still haven't done a lot of things other users on Bitcoin.SE have done. For example I have never mined. – Murch May 19 '14 at 13:52
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Participation in meta is always difficult to encourage when it is low.

Typically, I find that the more controversial sites, the ones where people get religious about the topic (that includes the religious sites) have very active metas, and naturally so.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is not terribly controversial. Actually, it is closer to intriguing for the average user, than anything else. People just don't have an opinion about it. They don't know enough about it, thus, their compulsion to define terms, retag questions, debate points, lay down site guidelines, etc. is lackluster.

This, combined with the high volume of new, noobie questions, combines to make the low voting problem (if we should call it that).

Participation in meta is difficult to encourage when it is low because it is low for reasons that you simply can't affect.

I'm not saying this won't change and I am also not saying that you/we can't do anything about it. The fastest, easiest way to encourage meta participation is to post controversial questions that challenge the current site policies. Maybe not the best thing to do though ... but it's the best I currently have. The option is wait. Maybe years even, when the average knowledge about Bitcoin has increased to a level where there will be differences of opinion.

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