In my humble opinion, Programmers is not "elitist" (At least yet), but it is also not welcoming. At all.
StackExchange has a clear policy. First rule. Most important thing to consider, I believe:
Not complex, not detailed, not specific. Kinda "bad" in a programming sense. Still, meaningful.
My suggestion is: People with power should use it for good. Much like JSON License states that "The Software shall be used for Good, not Evil.", I think the intent of that rule is: "Before anything, try to help. Only of not possible, do something else."
Many rules reinforce that notion. Vote to close only if there's no way to salvage the question etc.
Career advice, best and lists are usually not helpful. Still, programmers is all about conceptual questions. To me that means:
- We have to deal with SOME of this "evil stuff" as there are true and tested ways that may be described by some users as best or better, as there are questions with multiple valid answers that are of interest to the community.
To go with @MichaelT suggestion, I provided an answer to the JSTree question, the "not so bad", because I think it is REALLY interesting for MANY people. I built code to generate folder trees a lot of times. Ok, it probably should be on SO, but still, to think the concept of generating trees based on folder structures are of no interest to anyone else...?
What about carrer advice? Starting to learn programming, thinking about the implications of changing languages... Would those indagations not be meaningful to other programmers, beginners or not? And are they not conceptual questions about programming, in the broader sense of the word, considering not only the machine interpretation but also the act of creating programs itself?
Why not heling and suggesting edits? Why not letting some other rules slide for the sake of helping people? I usually ask my questions in the most "generic" manner I can find. That is not good. That is not good for SEO and that is not good for clarity or brevity. Heck, I'm walking on eggs right now so that my answer doesn't sound like a rant.
I believe "best", "better" and "lists" MAY be evil. I also believe they may be the best way to talk about some stuff we can't avoid. Conceptually speaking, starting to study programming (Among lots of other stuff), is hard and requires a LOT of knowledge. Piles of it. Maybe lists. Let's suggest edits, let's help people fit the rules, or overlook when the question is relevant enough to others. Let's salvage as many questions as we can instead of simply kicking people out.
And if you ever actually find a question that will never help someone else or fit in the website subject, no matter how many edits, only then you should downvote or vote to close. Preferably just comment it's in the wrong place though, as downvoting scares people a lot, esecially when you have less than 100 rep. But I doubt we would have any of those questions around here.
Also, for the community leaders (Or anyone with a reputation in the hundreds and above):
If we downvote newcomers instead of helping, because we have too many rep to spare, we will end up in a locked community, aging together, only to isolate ourselves, limit our knowledge and lose many amazing people that could bring a lot to this community. And I don't think anyone here wants that.