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This may well be a "newbie" question: I am for the most part quite familiar with the SE platform via my participation over the past 9 months at MO. But their meta site is totally different from this one.

I guess I don't understand why reputation is displayed on the meta site at all. It seems to create the impression that you gain or lose reputation based on your posts here. Also, why is it only synchronized hourly with the main site? Would it be problematic to have the updates be instantaneous?

Further, when I go to my user page on this meta site, upvotes show up as "reputation gained" in exactly the same way as on the main site. Can someone explain why this is a feature and not a bug?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes I agree the whole situation with meta is bizarre and new users can't even post comments on here which is absurd. $\endgroup$ – anon Aug 11 '10 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Your meta rep updates from your main rep. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 11 '10 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @muad: The thing you mention is by design. If someone wants to participate in the meta-discussion, they should show they are 'committed' to the site in some sense by participation on the main site. It may be a problem. For example, low-rep users can't ask "why was my bad question closed," and I will discuss other ways to handle this with the stackexchange team. $\endgroup$ – Larry Wang Aug 11 '10 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ @KH: I can see the argument that some minimum reputation on the main site is required to use this meta site. (I'm not sure I would do it that way myself -- possibly I like the more "free for all" attitude of MO's meta site better -- but it is certainly a reasonable position to take.) What I don't understand is why we display reputation from the main site, and do it in such a way that creates the impression that reputation can be earned on this site. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 11 '10 at 20:05
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This may well be a "newbie" question: I am for the most part quite familiar with the SE platform via my participation over the past 9 months at MO. But their meta site is totally different from this one.

MO is using SE 1.0 platform. math.SE is using SE 2.0. So your experience in MO cannot be completely applied here. In particular, there is no default meta site in SE 1.0. MO's meta site is using third-party code (Vanilla 1.1.9 from Lussumo), while here we are using the SO backend.

I guess I don't understand why reputation is displayed on the meta site at all. It seems to create the impression that you gain or lose reputation based on your posts here.

You should ask on https://meta.stackoverflow.com/. I don't know the specific reason. But by definition “Reputation is a rough measurement of how much the community trusts you.”, it should give an impression on how much weight you should put on one's argument how involved the user is on the parent site.

Also, why is it only synchronized hourly with the main site? Would it be problematic to have the updates be instantaneous?

The meta site and the main site do not share database the user info database. Thus to display the reputation they must be synced. And to reduce the server load, the frequency is set to be not so high.

Further, when I go to my user page on this meta site, upvotes show up as "reputation gained" in exactly the same way as on the main site. Can someone explain why this is a feature and not a bug?

Again, questions about the non-site-specific SE 2.0 architecture should better be asked on https://meta.stackoverflow.com/.

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    $\begingroup$ I would like to note that MO's meta is a lot easier to use. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 11 '10 at 17:50
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    $\begingroup$ @978: I disagree, but then you're familiar with meta.MO, and I'm familiar with MSO. $\endgroup$ – kennytm Aug 11 '10 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ @KennyTM: I understand the meaning and purpose of reputation pretty well, I think. To be more precise, my question was: why does this site display a reputation score which is carried over from a different site? This is not how Stack Overflow works, for instance. $\endgroup$ – Pete L. Clark Aug 11 '10 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ @Pete: The current design means the trust you earned on the site is assumed to apply to meta as well. Also, this system is how all meta SE 2.0 sites including meta.SU and meta.SF works. MSO is the only exception. But then MSO is not just a meta site for SO, but also all SE-related issues, unlike all other metas which should deal with site-specific problems. As this is not a site-specific issue, it's better asked on MSO. $\endgroup$ – kennytm Aug 11 '10 at 21:00
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    $\begingroup$ I would not say meta reputation display "give(s) an impression on how much weight you should put on one's argument" -- no, it merely tells you how involved the user is on the parent site. So if a 1 rep user comes in and declares everything is wrong.. well, do they have the experience to really judge that? $\endgroup$ – Jeff Atwood Aug 12 '10 at 3:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Jeff: Certainly the free 100 rep from participation in other SE sites muddies the waters a bit. $\endgroup$ – 97832123 Aug 12 '10 at 4:59

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