Site scope and question quality expectations seem to be set, stabilized and well understood by majority of regulars long time ago, as discussed eg here: Are you still confused about what Programmers is for?
Per my observations, most troublesome questions are either asked by newcomers or are old ones bumped by answers from newcomers which makes me feel that somehow, site "image" for those newcomers is blurred.
Based on several months of observations on questions that are exposed / promoted to SE network users via collider I firmly believe that to large extent, misguiding newcomers about Programmers is caused by the way how questions are selected for exposure at collider.
The way how I see collider damage to Programmers is described in more details in this answer: What can we do to help users understand our site better?
I think this is likely related to issues with answers quality in hot questions (discussed here in more details):
- "Hot garbage waves" in the answers once or twice a week
- poisonous effect these mis-answers have on questions, making interesting and well presented problems look the same as non-constructive popularity contests
- regular ways to deal with this kind of issues just don't work...
An "outsider" reading low quality answers in hot questions, could naturally think,
hey here I can chit-chat about how git is fantastic and get my portion of cheap upvotes, c00l
Taking into account that these are highly visible posts, with thousands of views, it is pretty possible for them to be a steady source of misguided contributors.
...the way how users can be confused about what Programmers are about is probably best explained in a comment made by Ben Brocka:
Often hot questions have lots of bad or meh answers that are bad enough to drag down quality of the content and general discourse (encouraging similarly bad new answers)...
Side note. For the sake of completeness, I don't think that collider damage is contained within Programmers (and Workplace for that matter).
As discussed eg here, it looks like damage is spread over whole SE network, even though indirectly:
...really, say guys at SO are protected from direct impact. Meaning when they see meh, they can flag no-code and get crap deleted. But thing is, it's SO users who look at collider and who visit "sticky" questions and who pick the crappy attitude and they get back to SO and get posting meh answers there
and, well, there are hundreds and thousands of them. And meh attitude gets spread over multiple questions and SO mods only can delete minor part of crap that has been influenced through collider
they start thinking it's the norm. That's what low quality answers in hot questions teach readers. That's what "educated" readers spread further, to their answers to other questions. That lowers overall quality of answers in multiple other questions, that is the site-wide damage
This makes it look like good questions are those having many meh answers, the effect that is amplified by these questions being highly visible to collider audience - hundreds and thousands of SE users. Misguided users spread acquired attitude further into other questions and answers, posting stuff that follows what they saw at the "cool" ("hot") questions.
nobody is really protected, collider spreads it across all the SE network