Commentary and discussion about the project take place there. It also serves as a kind of storage area for material relevant to point of view, ethics and etiquette, history, project governance, software, or user interface design that people want to keep but is not itself encyclopedic. Various "alternative" theories and convoluted essays are ruthlessly pruned off from the encyclopedia and grafted onto the meta. Many of the essays posted there are collecting dust; they might be more useful on other wikis devoted to different topics. Some are quite insightful. Visit and judge for yourself.
During 2002, Meta was falling out of use for its primary purpose, as most discussion about Wikipedia was taking place on their mailing list, or on the namespace page of the Wikipedia wiki itself. The major activities focused on software improvements, the launch of the Wiktionary, proposing other such projects, and discussing how to recruit a board for the Wikipedia project.
Meta is being cleaned up to act as a multi-lingual hub between all the different language wikipedias - and the wiktionaries. Recently French material has been more prevalent on the meta, and alternate Main Page perspectives on Wikipedia have been proposed.
Discussion about the nature of WikiPedia and WikiPediaPolicy? have been largely banned from the site, and are to only be conducted on the associated mailing list, WikiPediaL? and (though possibly temporarily) at MetaWikiPedia. --AnonymousDonor
The comment about discussion being "largely banned" is misleading; it sounds as if the PowersThatBe? are trying to quell dissension. The problem is that our RecentChanges page was becoming clogged with meta-discussion about WikiPedia, instead of encyclopedia articles. Our project doesn't exist to discuss building an encyclopedia, we exist to actually build one. The former is, of course, part of the process of encyclopedia building, but it was getting very distracting to people trying to work on the articles. Thus, the move, which is most likely only a temporary fix. When we get out new software up and running, the plan seems to be to put such meta-discussion in a separate namespace, with a separate RecentChanges listing. It should also be noted that discussion and debate about our articles continues as it always as, directly on WikiPedia. -- StephenGilbert
It serves for TheCabal? to isolate ideas and arguments that they find displeasing by removing them from WikiPedia proper, starving them of the oxygen of publicity, and ensuring that they are rapidly stillborn. It was created to deal with one specific malcontent - fighting the ForestFire by concentrating it on a separate wiki. The technology problems - destruction of BackLinks, etc - strengthen this use. Ideas and arguments that TheCabal? approve of remain on WikiPedia proper, and attempts to apply the same criteria to such pages as those created by so-called "trolls" forcefully resisted. -- DevilsAdvocate
"DevilsAdvocate" should DefendAgainstParanoia and AssumeGoodFaith. MetaWikiPedia was not created to deal with trolls or to hide ideas, but to develop essays about Wikipedia. At the time the Meta was created, Wikipedia's RecentChanges was filled with more meta-discussion than encyclopedia edits, and conflicts were arising between the people who wanted to plan and those who simply wanted to work on articles and not involve themselves in meta discussion. Meta-Wikipedia was an attempt to EnlargeSpace. Later, as Wikipedias in languages other than English developed, the need to a space that could be used by all Wikipedians was recognized; it was completely inappropriate to plan the direction and development of the entire multi-lingual project in a space designed for an English encyclopedia. Thus, Meta-Wikipedia evolved into a project-wide, multi-lingual resource.
The criteria to whether text is placed on Meta-Wikipedia or in the "Wikipedia:" namespace on "Wikipedia Proper" (I assume you mean the English Wikipedia) is simple: if it is documentation (FAQs, navigation aids, etc) specific to the English Wikipedia, it goes in the Wikipedia: namespace. Otherwise, Meta-Wikipedia is the place for it. It also should be noted that if the goal is to hide away "undesirable" ideas, there is a much simpler solution: delete them. -- StephenGilbert
Personally, I'd rather have meta discussions on Wikipedia on Meatball than on MetaWikiPedia. The restrictions of writing for all audiences in a timeless manner, and always searching for the pattern that Wikipedia incidents are cases of, are great for "out of the box" thinking and for rising above our petty personality clashes. Still, I wouldn't want to have Meatball invaded by Wikipedians - that would just ruin it. --MartinHarper