I don't see the rules as ambiguous on this matter. Every site on the SE network has a corresponding meta, and this is the only one where I've ever seen this come up. Meta has a clearly defined purpose, and it isn't this.
Tips are not meta
The argument you give for main (from What's Meta?) tells you why they're not meta, but can be elaborated a bit from further reading of that same page:
Meta is for:
- asking questions about how the websites work
- asking questions of the community
- posting bugs
- suggesting improvements
- proposing new features
Tips don't fall into any of those categories. The closest one would be "asking questions of the community", but taken at its broadest meaning, that encompasses every question on main or meta at all.
Further, there are required tags on meta. Every meta. Those are support, bug, feature-request, discussion. Combined, these four define the entire point of meta. Again, tips don't fall into any of these. The case for [discussion] is weak at best. Tips questions are asking for objective answers: ones that save characters. They are not discussions. There isn't anything I can come up with for the other three tags, so what would tips be tagged with on meta?
Are tips good for main?
Tips are distinguished from regular questions because they are looking specifically for a long list of answers. Each answer should be objective, but it's still a list-type where there's not one correct answer. Most SE sites have banned list questions, due to their open-ended nature.
When they are banned, the popular ones tend to get historically locked, and the rest are killed with fire. They are not moved to meta because of this. Why? Because they're still on-topic at main. If they belong anywhere, they belong on main.
Wait, do they belong anywhere?
That's ultimately up to the community to decide. Some SE sites allow lists in limited number or scope, while most have been harsh in dealing with them. Personally, I think there's a better way forward than what's currently happening:
The main problem I see with tips is not just that they are lists. Lists can be managed by the community, as long as there are clearly defined rules as to what makes a good one. The problem is that they take the place of specific, answerable questions.
If I'm trying to golf a particular piece of code and I'd like some help, I should be able to ask here (in the spirit of Doorknob's post). I can get one or two good solutions, upvote the ones that work, and accept the one I end up using (or that gets me closest to a solution).
I don't expect votes/rep for the question itself, any more than I do on SO, EL&U, or any other SE site. If the question was useful to others, I don't see the harm in giving someone fake internet points for it. Reputation as a whole is supposed to measure your usefulness to the community.
The answers, though, are most likely useful. At least to the asker, but possibly to others. Those deserve rep. Period. Many of the answers I see in [tips] are creative, clever, or otherwise useful.
Useful = Reputation. That's the way it should be.
Listy tips questions ruin this model, or at least dampen it. If all the tips are placed in one big CW post, then nobody gains. There is no incentive to write good tips, and they only serve as a big-ass dupe target for many useful questions. Nobody wins. Nobody is rewarded for their useful contributions, which is the entire SE model.
But we're different here at PPCG!
I see this thrown about sometimes, and while it is true that there are some specific differences, we're still an SE site. We should act like one. Just because we happen to post challenges doesn't mean we should ban every single other question that relates to golfing or puzzling. Why can't we be a community that asks questions about golfing and also does golfing? In that way we can be more like a typical SE site and less of an outlier. That's a good thing in my opinion, if we're going to reside under their roof.