This is quite common around Hamilton - a lot of WLUG members are on the MetaNet. Since you get assigned a set of (non-real-world) IP addresses, you can talk to other peoples machines directly, not worrying about NAT and worrying only vaguely about firewalls. The great advantage of this, apart from the potential for scientific experimentation, is that if I'm at your house and we are both on the MetaNet, I can access my network as if I was local to it.
If you don't grasp the concept of the MetaNet at this point, having access to it probably won't help you. If nothing else, all it will do is open your network up to more people being part of it.
As such, there is a bit of trust required and as such MetaNet access is not granted automatically. Plus, the MetaNet is mostly defunct these days so if you're not on it already, chances are you never will be. If you were interested in joining, we would have recommended you spent a wee while hanging out in #wlug on UnderNet.
Note: The MetaNet is sponsored by (and not to be confused with) "MetaNet Hosting", the people who run the WanDaemon server. Go talk to them if you want email or web hosting.