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In 2.0 there are the site_type and site_state fields. On Meta sites these fields give the same information, site_type = meta_site and site_state = linked_meta

Instead it would be more useful if linked_meta was removed, and instead site_state shows whether the site is in closed or open beta or normal.

I can't see any reason for this duplication?

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Just a guess: Maybe linked_meta means that the meta site is linked to a main site as it is normal for SE sites, i.e. no independent user accounts and reputation. While Meta.SO is a meta site but is independent in these regards from SO. – Martin Scharrer May 9 '12 at 7:04
Meta.SO is not listed as a meta site at all in the API, not in site_type or site_state. the two fields are duplicates concerning meta sites. – Jonathan. May 9 '12 at 7:19

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