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I've noticed that often meta questions refer to specific questions and include links to them, asking 'is this question/answer junk?' for one reason or another. Wouldn't it make things easier if the question-asker or answerer was made aware that this conversation was going on about their input so that they have a chance to explain themselves or remove their own question if appropriate? Also, meta users could view the link and check out the ongoing discussion in case ideas they have are already being discussed.

If this already exists, my mistake, but I've tried to track down meta-questions from the original questions that they refer to and can't find a way to do it. Or is it the case that only the person that contributed the question/answer can see those links, or do they exist?

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    Those links don't exist by default, but where people want to ensure the OP sees the meta post they usually post the link as a comment. If people read meta, though, usually they'll spot things like this, as meta has much lower volume. – Rory Alsop Aug 6 '17 at 8:47
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In my personal experience, there are two different situations:

  • The question serves as a concrete example and occasion to ask a general question (for instance about formulation details or SE features). In this case, while the original question author is welcome to participate if he would-like to, the meta question concerns neither him directly nor his issue and does not add anything really useful to his question. Attracting the attention to this side discussion would only bring confusion.

  • The meta question is about how a specific question has been handled (for instance why it has been closed and how it could be reopened). In this case I usually leave a comment so both the OP and other people reading the question may read (and possibly participate) in the background discussion related to it.

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