I recently came across the discussion about the fate of the homework tag.
Now, before I start, let me make it clear that I agree that the homework tag should be removed.
I'm a regular user on the main site and have been for the last two year. Despite this, I had no idea that this discussion was taking place.
(It turns out that this discussion was in the featured column on the right of the main site. I hadn't seen this column until someone pointed it out to me; I usually focus all of my attention on the large, bright blue question titles on the left.)
To be honest, I found it a little scary that there were a total of 211 votes cast, and from that vote, it looks like the homework tag could be removed. The number 211 seemed really very small to me. On the main site, there are over 100,000 registered users. Now, of course, many of these have only used the site once or twice. There are 2019 editors on the main site. There are users that are able to edit people's posts. It seems that all of these users have at least 1,000 reputation; these are experienced users.
It follows that only 210 out of 2019, i.e. only 10% of the editor population voted on a featured meta discussion. Out of these 210 votes, 156 voted to remove the homework tag. That means that 156 out of 2019, i.e. 7.7% of the editor population supported the removal of the tag.
It is clear that discussions with a voter turnout of 10%, and a support of 7.7% have no popular mandate whatsoever. If a politician were elected on such figures there would be serious questions asked.
It can be argued that many of the users on the main site have no interest in what happens on meta. I would say that the reality is that many of the users on the main site have no idea that meta exists, nor what it does. It can be argued that those that don't vote shouldn't complain about the results of an election. I would say that the majority of those that don't vote, don't know that there is anything to vote about.
All modern democracies around the World strive to increase voter turnout and voter engagement. This site owes it to itself, and to the users of the main site, to increase involvement.
What can we do to improve involvement?
I have two ideas. I would like to hear yours. We could incorporate the meta site in to the main site. For example, just as we have a "questions" tab, we could have, e.g. a "policy" tab.
When Wikipedia want to raise money, they have started including drop-down banner headers. We could include drop-down banners that say something like "Want a say in the way your site's run? Well get yourself over to meta."
Anything that can be done to increase involvement in the decision making process has to be a good thing.
What ideas do you have to increase involvement in the decision making process?