The question here is not whether your 'what's your story' meta question is off-topic [it has received 6 close-votes but rather more importantly 5 users think it's on-topic, because it was reopened], but literally
why is a one-off meta looked at with such negativity?
At risk of getting a lot of downvotes may I dare to completely agree with your statement @NVZ that
It is quite clear to me now that there's an air of negativity on ELU compared to other SE sites, and I understood that only when I participated on some other sites for a change.
Like you my Stack Exchange 'home site' was also ELU, but I was uneasy from the first with the overall contentiousness and argumentative atmosphere.
I originally thought ELU users are too passionate about English language and grammar, and that ELU has become a battle ground for the 'grammar wars' but later realised (after following your lead and spending parallel time on some other SE sites while maintaining some regular activity here at ELU) that it is almost in the personality of [not all but] many dedicated users of ELU to be pedantic, opinionated and argumentative, and they are not very particular to 'be nice' with it either, although their comments might not be crude, but might actually be distinguished by the most polished examples of sarcasm and irony.
We also take ourselves and the English language far too seriously here.
I think ELU attracts pedantic persons to become regular users. So naturally they care more about the letter of the rules than the spirit [Notable exception: posting answers as comments.]
Forgive me for pointing out that you are often pedantic, @NVZ.
Also, I can be very pedantic myself over so many matters.
That is how it is. We are like this only.
And that is why your one-off meta Q asking about users and 'their story' is 'looked at with such negativity', as you say. Moreover, close-voting a lot has become so ingrained in our culture, as you should know better than anyone else yourself, and at least 5 members will not tolerate any questions that fall outside the strict definition of a clear, narrow, on-topic, non-opinion-based, well-referenced question that (on meta) is concerned only with the ELU website and its workings, or the Stack Exchange network...
Completely missing the point that the users are the network.
However, 5 members did vote to reopen it; its downvotes are balanced by upvotes leaving a net score of 0 or +1; and at least 3 members have written answers; so the response is not entirely negative.
So why you haven't got more answers, @NVZ?
It's just that ELU members hate talking about themselves, I think. The folks are certainly not similarly shy over on IPS.SE!