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I was just on the main page of SF&F and looking for a quick link to Meta (yep, right here). I searched the page, and there was no direct link to Meta. There was a link to hot meta questions, but that included other SE sites as well.

Within the SF&F site, we have three main components: Chat, SF&F itself, and Meta. On Chat, there's an easy link to the main site and on the main site, there's an easy link to Chat. Neither of these sites, though, have easily visible links to Meta.

Perhaps, on each of the three components, there should be clear and easy to see links to the other two components?

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    Are you on mobile? The desktop version of the main site has a link to meta in the sites dropdown – Jason Baker Apr 2 '16 at 6:13
  • No, I'm on desktop, but I would say that even dropdown is not as clear and easily available as it should be. It seems to me it should be clear and visible on the page where it'll be easily seen without scrolling down or going through drop-downs or other "devices." – Tango Apr 2 '16 at 6:20
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    Hm, not sure I agree, but fair enough – Jason Baker Apr 2 '16 at 6:26
  • Things like this are most certainly a complete waste here anyway and should rather go to Meta Stack Exchange. – TARS Apr 2 '16 at 13:01
  • Ha! In my day we did have a direct link to meta! And a little envelope. Sigh, the young folk these days... mutter... – Reinstate Monica - Goodbye SE Apr 4 '16 at 15:11
  • @Wikis: Young folk? Please define. – Tango Apr 4 '16 at 17:27
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On the whole, I tend to agree.

Until recently, I thought that you basically couldn't get to meta unless you already knew about it; I would always go there either by manually typing the URL into the address bar or by navigating to a user profile page and clicking on 'meta user'. Now I've discovered the link in the help menu, which is a very useful and quick way of getting to meta - provided you know it's there.

So yes, it would be nice to have a clearer link to meta from the main site (and vice versa). But you're not going to get this implemented by asking on the SFF meta site. If such a change was made, it would be done across the whole of the SE network, so the right place to post such a is main meta (where it'll probably be closed as a duplicate, since I'm sure someone has had this idea before).

On the other hand ...

... people who already know about meta will also know how to get there: in the worst case, by typing in meta. into the front of their address bar manually; or by using a shortcut such as the dropdown menu, if they know about it.

The main advantage of having a clear and direct link would be for people who don't already know about it. So put yourself in the shoes of someone new to SE who doesn't know there's a 'meta' site for discussing the site itself. If they find a bug, or want to ask about some policy or about how something works in the SE system, what are they likely to do? They'll look around the front page and see this button saying "help". Then they'll click on that and most likely discover the meta site. Problem solved.

The existing methods

Here's a nice screenshot (complete with hand-drawn circles) to demonstrate the currently available ways of getting to the meta site from the main front page: you can drop down the "StackExchange" or the "help" menu from the top bar, each of those have a link to Meta, or use the links from the right sidebar to featured articles on Meta.

(explanation of the above with a screenshot of the main site and hand-drawn red circles)

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  • I'm a good example of someone who knows Meta, but that doesn't mean I always know how to get there, which is my concern. I think I have the right to say I'm a contributor who has helped this site (and even got a swag pack for it - so there!). But I can't be here regularly, which means I'm not always going to remember from 3 months ago. I'm sure I'm just an example of what some others deal with, too. People don't always find things in menus because, unless you're a continual user, you don't always remember which menu to use and once you start hunting on menus, it's all a PITA. – Tango Apr 2 '16 at 20:31
  • @Tango That's fair. I did say I agree with you! :-) – Rand al'Thor Apr 2 '16 at 20:34
  • I think I have a unique perspective because I'm here at irregular intervals - which is sad, because I like the people here in chat and like the site. But, like I said, dancing gets in the way. (So does life, but we all have our priorities.) – Tango Apr 2 '16 at 20:38
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I think it's easy enough to get to Meta...

  • In the Sites dropdown menu, there's a link to the Meta of whatever site you're currently on
  • You can also add your favourite sites - including Metas - to the "Your Communities" section (by clicking Edit).
  • In the Help dropdown menu there's a link and a short description of what Meta is for
  • You can get to your Meta user profile by clicking on your profile link on the top bar, then on "Meta User."
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  • Read the comments on the question. My issue is that with a drop-down, it's hidden and has to be sought out. That helps people familiar with the site, but not people new to the site, and not those of us who have long breaks between times when we can get by here and may forget it's there. For something as big as Meta or chat, there should be an obvious and direct link. – Tango Apr 2 '16 at 11:23
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    -1, no hand-drawn circles :-P – Rand al'Thor Apr 2 '16 at 13:31

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