As was recently discussed at Should meta be Q&A?, it's rather strange to have our meta site run on a Q&A basis.
In the past our meta site was a Vanilla forum, and in fact it still exists, renamed to http://mathoverflow.tqft.net/ at the transition to Stack Exchange 2.0. (Interesting trivia --- we had a meta before any other stack exchange sites besides meta.stackoverflow.com!)
Some of us (me, in particular) have always been dissatisfied with the replacement of tea by our current meta. It seems we used to have in depth conversations discussing the community and future of mathoverflow, which are now significantly obstructed by the poor software choice at meta. (But perhaps I'm just being nostalgic; hence this post.)
The folks at Stack Exchange and Discourse have kindly offered to set up a Discourse installation for us, probably to be hosted at http://tea.mathoverflow.org/. Discourse is modern forum software, developed by Jeff Atwood and co, with close links to the Stack Exchange team. There are limits to how far we could integrate it with mathoverflow itself, but here's the rough idea:
- Discourse would support essentially the same set of login methods as mathoverflow, but we would probably not be able to directly link accounts.
- We would add a custom close reason on meta, asking that the conversation be moved to tea, and would try a lot, perhaps even nearly everything (besides bug reports, login problems, and so on, that Stack Exchange staff need to be able to monitor), over to tea.