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I want to know if my slender grasp of the latter will help me learn about the former.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can get meta data about a site as well as about all sites and users within the Stack Exchange sites network, see e.g. the following routes:

Api Routes

  • /stats
    • Gets various system statistics.

StackAuth Routes

  • /sites
    • Returns a list of all the sites in the StackExchange network
  • /users/{id}/associated
    • Gets all the associated user accounts across the StackExchange network as identified by the given association_id.

This kind of meta and cross site information is not available via the Stack Exchange Data Explorer.

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You can fetch live data for one. The data explorer uses data that is up to a month old.

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Another feature only available is the /user timed_penalty_date which is the time when a user leaves the penalty box.

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