I found this post on SO's meta site, and since the question was about meta participation on P.SE, I thought I'd post the same question here.
What can we do to improve meta participation on P.SE's meta site?
Link meta in comments more frequently
For example, if you are closing a question, provide a meta link with your comment on why the question was closed, and point them to either an existing meta question which explains why their questions was closed (or better yet, one that tells them how to revise their question to get it re-opened)
Add some kind of description about what Meta actually is on its home page
As it stands now, a user's opinion on meta will be shaped by what questions happen to be on the front page, and if the user doesn't find any of those questions interesting, they're likely to assume the site is uninteresting and not come back
We might need to get the SE team to help us with this, but I was thinking a small banner or box on the sidebar explaining in a single line what the site is and what it's for, like
Q&A site to discuss programmers.stackexchange
I know I first came to meta by clicking the link next to the FAQ at the very top of the page, and the questions all looked way over my head so I just left, satisfied that I had at least seen what the link was and thought it was for people who ran the site, not me.
This could be similar to the "Welcome" notification people see when they visit Meta without having logged in.
I will conclude by telling you that, since very few users are participating here (usually the same group), there is a very high meta bias in the discussions that take place here. Therefore, nothing here can be taken as the voice of the community.
This is problematic.
My 2 cents.
Make the meta link more noticeable and inviting in the FAQ.
The current description tells you to go there if you're looking for "excruciating detail", which doesn't sound fun at all.
What if I need more help?
If you’re looking for excruciating detail, our meta-discussion site hosts a section of constantly evolving frequently asked questions that document everything about the site. Or, maybe you’d just like to learn a little more about us?
Perhaps we can change this to something more inviting, like this:
Have more questions about the site?
Come visit us on our meta discussion site for more Q&A about how Programmers.StackExchange works, or to provide us with feedback about the site. You can even participate in community events such as our blog! View the meta FAQ for more info.
Stop being so aggressive with downvotes on questions
New users don't understand why their questions are getting downvotes. We've trained them to think of downvotes as negative, so when they ask/answer something and it gets downvoted, they think that they are doing something wrong.
The very first meta question I posted was asking about the possibility of implementing some kind of poll-of-the-day option to P.SE. It was downvoted, and even though it was explained to me that downvotes simply mean users disagree, it still made not want to participate in meta for a year or more afterwards because I felt I had somehow done something wrong.
A much more welcoming solution would be to post an answer/comment disagreeing with the question, and let it gather upvotes.
It is far better to have an answer posted disagreeing with the question to gain a lot of upvotes, than the question itself gain a lot of downvotes, because then you are providing positive feedback which actually answers the question instead of negative feedback to the person asking the question.
Basically what I'm saying is, use comments/answers to answer the question, not up/down votes.
In addition, I'd prefer to use votes to see how much support an idea has, not have it show a skewed sum of people who upvote - people who downvote. If I didn't have as much rep as I do now, I would have no idea if a question has 100 upvotes and 100 downvotes, or simply no votes at all.
You may or may not agree with me on this, but I feel that it is too easy to drive away people with different opinions. If someone posts something contrary to what the active meta group believes, the question will get a lot of downvotes and end up driving the user away. This makes the meta community smaller and less diverse, which I feel is worse for the site.