I'm not opposed to having a noticeably different 'ask question' page here on MSE and the rest of the child meta sites. Take a look at the current UI, can you guess what I think is wrong with it?
If you guessed:
- The only text really saying what you can ask here is a little ambiguous, light gray, and kind of hidden there in the title box and,
- The box to the right asks a question, but gives no guidance if someone reads it and decides the answer is 'no' :)
... then you're correct!
To be clear, I want this page to be optimized for the use case of folks being in the right place to ask their question.
I don't want to put a bunch of signs that read like a flowchart to help someone decide if they should go away. But it can look much more like something that makes a programming question seem really out of place.
The page also doesn't do a good job of setting people's expectations, or things like letting folks know how important it is to include the browser / OS if reporting a bug. It doesn't do a lot of things that a major channel for engagement should be doing.
I'd like to look at fixing the off-topic question issue as a bonus to making the ask page more inclusive and helpful to the group that we're actually selecting for; the folks that are at the correct place to ask their question. If we're able to make it very clear how to succeed here at that entry point, then we're much closer to being able to just treat cases of people ignoring it as deliberate noise.
Right now we simply can't do that, the UI is just way too similar to every other site.
We're in the process of examining some changes to the ask question page that new users would see on Stack Overflow and possibly some of the other larger sites depending on how that goes. Including MSE and child metas in that effort is not at all out of the question - and if you've got ideas on how we could make it better here on MSE, I'm totally open to them.
So, this is getting a status-review for now, and it's going to be a few months before we're in a position to move much on it, but it is something that's been biting at me for quite a while and I do care about fixing it (even though what I want to fix is a bit broader than the symptom you've stated).