Ward Cunningham created WikiWikiWeb with a primary focus on computer programming design patterns. While the scope of WikiWikiWeb was broad and free-wheeling, users who strayed too far from the focus were considered by some to be WikiSquatting, which means developing their own separate community within the WikiWikiWeb. Some users felt that those who wanted to engage in discussions about the wiki itself and how it operated, referred to as WikiOnWiki discussions, were going beyond the scope of WikiWikiWeb. MeatballWiki was therefore created as a place for such discussions. As Sunir Shah stated in the WikiWikiWeb page referring to MeatballWiki: “Community discussions about how to run the community itself should be left here. Abstract discussions, or objective analyses of community are encouraged on MeatballWiki.”
As host to numerous wiki-related project journals, MeatballWiki has in turn influenced much of the design of UseModWiki. For most of 2001, UseModWiki was also used to run all versions of Wikipedia. These interrelationships led to MeatballWiki exercising a major influence on the Wikipedia community, as shown by numerous references to MeatballWiki on the Wikimedia Foundation’s Meta-Wiki site.
What differentiates MeatballWiki from many online meta-communities is that participants spend much of their time talking about sociology rather than technology, and when they do talk about technology, they do so in a social context.
The MeatballWiki members have created a “bus tour” of wikis , which begins at the TourBusStop
One of the key concepts on MeatballWiki is barn raising, which is when a community gathers to take on a specific goal, providing a social event wherein members of a community learn about each other and become knit together.
Sunir Shah created the first internet Barnstars award on MeatballWiki. The concept of "Barnstars" used on MeatballWiki, Wikipedia and many other wikis is a way of recognizing, awarding and celebrating specific individuals within the community who helped with the monumental tasks.