As someone who has made the journey from slashdot to reddit to hacker news starting from 90s, I have strong believe that right now, somewhere, a new community site for programmers is rising. I only need to find it.
Personally, I've been trying to focus more on coding than on reading about coding. After 5 years bouncing between different programming sites, I think I've learned most of what can be learned in 15-minute blogpost soundbites. The really interesting stuff requires that I buckle down for an afternoon with a textbook or editor window.
If there is a strong desire for an "exclusive" community, how about requiring people to pay to use it?
Charging to get access to a community is not really a viable option until you have the community built to charge access to.
I've seen this so many times before, though. It's one of the basic rules of the internet; every community will converge to 4chan. Hell, even 4chan couldn't get rid of their 'cancer'.
I would like to see a HN-style board which does not have a public client, but rather only a public protocol specification. Only people who can actually implement the protocol would be allowed to join. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to stop people from publishing open source clients - I'm thinking angry nerd death squads.
Forget about that - someone will create a web interface for the protocol and you're back to square one.