• This is a great summary of everything that is wrong with stack overflow.

    I've noticed the same about stack overflow, in particular go questions. They are regularly downvoted, often quite innocuous questions - it seems certain people spend their days downvoting most of the questions which are posted, which is just discouraging if you're a newcomer. The tools and the culture are to blame in my opinion - there is too much emphasis on gardening and blocking requests, which leads to encourages personality types more inclined to nitpick and disagree with others than try to help them. Downvoting should carry a far higher cost IMO, and be restricted to getting spam and other undesirable content off the site (perhaps flagging is more useful than downvoting).

    Building communities is hard, and what's required at the beginning (driving engagement at all costs) can lead to a toxic community in time, if the culture develops into a negative one where every nail that stands out is hammered down. This particular question has since been voted very high by well-meaning people, but the culture will remain after those day-visitors are gone. The meta section in particular breeds a certain culture of insiders who adhere to esoteric rules, which are long-divorced from their original intention (for example rules against asking about products, or asking for general advice).

    Instead of the UI encouraging beginners to post questions with more hints (for example it could prompt if there is no code in the question, or no links), they are left to post what they think is a reasonable question and then be haranged by a small core of regulars who spend their time downvoting and closing questions.
    Every time these kind of topics get brought up on Meta people get very defensive and shout “quality!” As if you need to be a dick to maintain “quality”. It’s a false dichotomy: you can have quality and be nice, but there is a complete unwillingness to even discus it.