Meta serves three distinct roles, thir ar aw claiselie sib bit aften involve differant subsets o uisers.
- Tauk n formulation o Wikimedia waurks, in parteecular policie tauk reelevant across waurks, lik apen-content licensin. The central venue fer the tauk is the Wikimedia Forum. Some high-level tauks, held mainlie in 2009, were split til Strategie Wiki.
- Ae steid fer interleidic (cross-wiki) n international coordination aneat the Wikimedia waurks n the Wikimedia muivmant in general, incluidin tauk in leids ither than Ingils. This incluids requests (fer pan-Wikimedia or ither wikis), owersets n news, n the descreeption, documentation, n tauk o real-life acteevities n facts sib til the Wikimedia Foundation n affeeliates. See aes weel reports, events, outreach:, n graunts.
- Ae forum fer personal esseys aneat Wikimedia waurks. Cause thir ar na uissuallie deliverit fae ae neutral point o view, thay shid be ootlined oan neutral issues pages fae monie points o view uisein formats lik TIPAESA or its subset IPA. Thaur's ae degree o freedom in determinin whit's sib til Wikimedia waurks, that maks Meta ae kynd o meatbaw wiki aes weel, taukin aneat sic matters aes wiki cultur n patterns. Documentation o MediaWiki is mainlie excluidit nou (see ablow). This role incluids mair formal research n sib tauks.
The categeries provide ae muckle luik at the representation o Meta's content.
Whit Meta's na
- Ae disposal steid fer oncorrectable airticles fae the differant Wikipædias
- Ae stei tae describe the MediaWiki saffware. The saffware haes its ain wiki at MediaWiki.org. Content n pages lik thir shid be transferred.
It has often been discussed whether Meta has a community. What's sure is that it doesn't have a community of its own, separate from the communities of the Wikimedia projects: as someone said, «a meta-project—existing for and about the other Wikimedia wikis, not as a content project to itself—a community of communities, rather than its own little island community».
This also means that many discussions, processes and other activities happen on Meta, with different participants and people in charge (if any)—for instance, among many, some Wikimedia committees, the stewards, the WMF staff for grants—: none of them, and all of them, is Meta. Meta is the space and the tool for their participants to achieve their objectives, not an actor in them; and even less a power over them.
Strictly speaking, however, there is a community specific to Meta: it's a loose group of people regularly active in some or many such activities (especially as "gardeners"), who care about Meta serving the purpose above, and who are more likely to intervene to ensure it does.
"Metawikian" is a term also sometimes used, to indicate a member of the specific "Meta community", that is the community of Meta regulars who are more often active on Meta, for instance as contributors to its content pages or as facilitators of other discussions and processes.
Meta-Wiki was first created as "Meta-Wikipedia" in November 2001 to make the English Wikipedia less cluttered, by moving all meta-content (content about the Wikipedia website and its users), as opposed to actual content (encyclopedia articles), to a new wiki. Since its upgrade to Wikipedia's custom MediaWiki software, Meta has become a multilingual discussion forum used by all Wikimedia language communities. As the number of Wikimedia projects and translations increased, so too did Meta's scope. Meta comprises 137,423 articles. Many of the older pages here are still worded as being specific to Wikipedia, but arguably many now apply to all Wikimedia projects.
- Meta:Categories – introductory page for browsing
- Meta's Zeitgeist can give a clue about the main activities of any month (only main namespace, although talk could be more indicative)
- Meta:Babel templates – language competence of Meta users
- Meta:Requests for deletion
- Meta:Requests for undeletions
- Project portals – a list of Wikimedia project portals
- Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia projects.