"I dislike that so much valuable information gets deleted for the sake of "maintaining a clean site", dislike the way many users are treated (particularly new ones), and dislike the way the overall culture of this site has been changing from a community of programmers out to teach and learn from each other, to an insular group of programming elitists (of course this isn't all of you, or probably even most of you. Its just a large percentage of the more active/vocal users who take part in running the site)."

I happened across an old post that was used by a high rep user once as the reason for leaving Programmers.SE for good. Who, after what occurrences this happened, I don't think it matters, I've only been around here for a year. The thing is, this post really expressed my own frustrations with this site for the year I've been asking questions here. Particularly, I'm talking about this line:

...dislike the way the overall culture of this site has been changing from a community of programmers out to teach and learn from each other, to an insular group of programming elitists.

But from what I understand, this rigid strictness was necessary due to the general structure of Stack Exchange. I'd be interested to read the background discussions which lead to this strict question culture used on P.SE today, at least any meta discussions that anyone can find the link to.

I could look for related stuff in meta, but I'm sure this topic has been talked about for years, and I'm strictly interested in the meta discussions had prior to implementation of the scope changes noted by the quote above.

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  • I've never found any discussions on meta where the community decided to change the site direction. The only discussions found show that the community did not actually want the change that occurred. StackExchange decided to change the site's direction, and that change was poorly communicated to the community, so not enforced in any meaningful way by the users at the time. The result is what you see now - very strict question guidelines, disgruntled ex-users, and a lot of confused new people who don't understand why they can't ask most programmer questions on a site called Programmers.SE.
    – Rachel
    Dec 9, 2015 at 21:08
  • @Rachel starting from about the time your comment was posted, 1200 questions ago (page 25 x 50/page) and then reading the questions going forward, one can see nudges in the scope. Like "book recommendations ok by making canonical ones" or that tax questions are off topic, or that advice on renting for freelance programmers was off topic, and the career cleanup. Some is over on MSE. It remains unfortunate that the community from '12 didn't help turn the ship more.
    – user40980
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:27
  • And one should remember that the community that is moderating here now does have a reasonable and consistent idea of the scope (its the too broad and primarily opinion that are often at issue - not the scope). While trying to understand how we got here from there is useful, attempting to make P.SE into what it was prior to the scope change is unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future... and there are other sites that do the polls, fun, recommendations, "as a programmer" and discussions better than Stack Exchange can.
    – user40980
    Dec 9, 2015 at 23:29
  • @MichaelT I understand the site scope will not go back, and the current group of active users does work very hard to keep the site in line with it's current scope. Its just the original reason this site was created was for something different, and the lack of communication from SE when they decided to change it (against the wishes of most of the community users), and resulting battles, caused a lot of the active users to leave. We participate in these sites because we like to help others, and being told we couldn't help others unless they asked specific questions was not for us.
    – Rachel
    Dec 10, 2015 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


I've heard people complain about elitists on SE before. What few arguments are provided are usually driven by shameless self-interest and frustration at being asked to put down a certain sense of entitlement and actually work for their solution.

At least those people present some arguments, mind you; you didn't even bother with that!

I remember the "incident" you had recently that's presumably led you to come here accusing everyone of "elitism". It really makes no sense. There has been no "transition" to any "strict" expectations, and certainly no "discussion" that we can "link" to where it was decided to do so. But you well know that. You're fishing, and not catching any fish.

I recommend a long walk, a warm beer, and a hug from someone close.

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    This problem was voiced by MODERATORS on this site.
    – J.Todd
    Dec 6, 2015 at 18:53
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    @Viziionary The user you are quoting was never a moderator on the site.
    – yannis
    Dec 6, 2015 at 19:27
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit Interesting. I was intentionally trying to avoid going negative. That's why I used the passive "I don't know that this is..." versus presenting my opinion as a fact. Sorry for hurting your feelings and one more negative drop in the bucket. Dec 7, 2015 at 17:56
  • @CorbinMarch: Rest assured you did not "hurt my feelings". Dec 7, 2015 at 18:07

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