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I've been here for quite some time, but I haven't really yet understood the following situation:

  • A few weeks ago, I had ~2000 rep on SU, maybe a bit more
  • When I then visited meta.SU, I received exactly the same rep without even posting or doing anything. Just the badges were missing (obviously).
  • Now, I have ~2.740 rep on SU but only ~2.718 on meta.SU — Update: oh, seconds after posting this, it got increased and is now the same. At least one question answered.

To my further confusion, here's the situation for SO:

  • I have 1.430 rep on SO
  • I have 101 rep on meta.SO

So, why is the situation different for SO?

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Why did I receive my SU rep (apparently) on meta.SU
Why is the situation different for SO?

Per-site meta is different from Meta.SO - Per-site meta have their rep sync'd with the parent site every hour or so.

Why is it different for SO? Initially, there was no concept of per-site metas - Meta.SO was used as the common, global bug-tracker & discussion centre. Once the trilogy sites and Stack Exchange sites grew, it was decided to have per-site meta so that discussions pertinent to specific sites are best on per-site meta.

From the blog:

  • You never have to log in to the per-site meta. It grabs the cookie from the parent site and already “knows” who you are when you visit.
  • Identity is always inherited from the parent site. If you have an account on the parent site, you automatically have an account on the per-site meta. Your profile can only be edited on the parent site. And of course, moderators on the parent are moderators on the per-site meta.
  • Reputation is always inherited from the parent site. You cannot gain or lose reputation* on the per-site meta. This also means that some reputation related functions like the rep graph and bounties are not enabled on the per-site meta.
  • You must have a minimum of 5 rep on the parent site to participate on the per-site meta.
  • Voting up or down does not affect reputation. You are now free to vote purely based on post content, without worrying about how your vote might positively or negatively affect someone’s reputation score.
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Meta.SO is a slightly different beast, because its not just the Meta for Stack Overflow but also for Stack Exchange, the network as a whole.

Because of the legacy, they've decided to keep Meta.SO as a separate site, whereas all the other sites have received a per-site Meta. On these Meta's you rep is that of your account on the main site, which are synced every hour (hence the delay).

However, you only share rep, you'll need to earn Fanatic here all over again :-)

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Meta.SO was the original meta and so doesn't quite follow the same rules as the "second wave" of child meta's that came with all the SE2.0 sites (and were back-ported to SU and SF).

And because it was the first, Meta.SO is also effectively "the network meta" - if something is wrong with the engine, there's a general policy to discuss, etc then that's where it goes.

Obviously it still doubles as the site-meta for SO, which is where the confusion arises.


As a child meta, you haven't got any real reputation on meta.SU (you don't gain or lose for up/down votes, etc), it's just a clone of your SU reputation - it is however cached so you will sometimes see a slight disparity until the meta rep is update.

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