Stack Overflow and Programmers have discussions pretty frequently on whether they should change the way they treat new users. (Here's a famous one from SO.) The usual argument runs that new users should read the FAQ, they should familiarize themselves with the help center, and if they can't do those things, then, for the quality of the site, their questions should be deleted. Those guys can be mean as hell, especially to people with subpar English or writing skills.
I've not seen that kind of intolerance on Anime and Manga. By contrast, I've seen our users go out of their way to try and make sense of complete and utter nonsense so it could be edited into a decent question. (I've been that user a few times; as a former tutor of English as a Second Language, I understand that not everyone can have native-level proficiency.) Most downvoted and close voted questions receive a comment explaining why the question is not up to grade. Sometimes the comment may be a little brisk, but I've never seen anyone here heap mean or sarcastic remarks on a new user who wrote a bad question.
By Stack Exchange standards, we're actually quite friendly and lenient. However, we are more elitist and exclusionary than most other anime sites out there. Although many of our users get here from Stack Overflow, Physics, Science Fiction and Fantasy, or other Stack Exchange sites, many more come from the wider Internet, and they're not used to the high standards of Stack Exchange.
I suspect my answer runs counter to the direction many people want for the site, but, to be honest, I like being elitist, exclusionary jerks.
Before you downvote, hear me out. I've been in the anime fandom almost fifteen years. During that time, I was never attracted to any of the available anime fan communities on the Internet. Recently, I spent some time on Reddit and 4chan doing research for an answer here, and I remembered why that was. It's because every discussion they have goes something like this:
Clannad greatest animu evar!! So many feelz
Clannad forced drama bulsh****TTT Y U NOT SEE IT?
NO U XUZZSU
UR MOM SUXXX...ON ME LOL
The discussion on Why is Clannad the best anime? is actually on the better side of what I've seen on 4chan and Reddit, but the second thing someone writes on it is
Too vanilla. Now if Tomoya fucked Ushio, that would be something.
I assume this person is just trying to be shocking by suggesting that the main character having sex with his five-year-old daughter is just what was needed to spice up the show.
Putting aside the puerile nature of the discourse, if you ask a question on one of these sites, it's impossible to ask people to support their answers with evidence because they'll just call you an idiot for not knowing what "everyone" knows, even in cases where the thing that "everyone" knows was concocted out of thin air by some bored forum troll.
Frankly, I don't want to invite these people to Anime and Manga Stack Exchange. I enjoy the fact that we have standards, and that we won't tolerate just any garbage that someone felt like throwing up on their monitor. Nothing we ask about on this site is really that important, in the grand scheme of things. No one is going to get killed or fired if I include some unsourced information in my answer on a show about 24th Century Martian gondoliers. But it is nice to think that people can't just make up whatever they want and start throwing it around as a well-known fact. And it is nice that no one here tries to be Howard Stern and make shocking statements just for the fun of it it, or starts randomly cussing because you don't believe their pet theory about the masturbation scene in End of Eva.
I think we have a good balance right now. We're a fan community; we don't require our users to be working on a Ph.D in pop culture studies. We're not the Math Overflow of anime. We're lenient towards people with subpar English; as long as we can make some kind of sense of a question, we'll edit or let it stand. We point new users towards the relevant parts of the manual, rather than just saying "RTFM or GTFO". We're tolerant towards the fact that people expect to be able to discuss Legend of Korra and Tales of Symphonia on the same site where they discuss Naruto and One Piece. At the same time, we don't tolerate the kind of worthless garbage that floods Reddit and 4chan, and we expect a basic level of politeness from everyone.
I think the kind of users we want to attract are people who are reasonably polite, have reasonable writing skills to express themselves, and are willing to learn and obey the rules. It's fine if they're not great at writing, as long as they can get the basic idea across. It's fine if they don't know a lot about anime; I have no problem answering basic questions like Who's the artist of the Oreimo's Suki Nandamon original edition theme song? or even Who is the creator of the manga Yu Yu Hakusho?. It's fine if they don't spend three weeks studying the help center before asking a question; we have plenty of people willing to take the time to help out a newbie. Not everyone will be this kind of user; some people evidently like how it is on other sites. If someone prefers the atmosphere at some other site, let them stay at that site. Let us remain an island of civility and intelligent discourse in a sea of sophomoric bile.
If this means we stay small, I think that's all right. We don't need to be as large as MAL and ANN. We'll make up for our size with high-quality content. People will come here when they have a tough question that requires a maniac level of fandom to crack. If, after that, they want to go back to that thread with 36,000 posts of people cussing at each other over whether Lelouch was alive at the end of Code Geass, let them go.