I think it's time to add some context. What happens is the following:
A new user arrives with a question. The generic user is just interested in receiving answers to their question. They aren't aware of the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which MSE differs from many other sites. They skip FAQ/help centre, let alone meta, and just post their question, generically without work, context or motivation.
Established users view the question. The generic established user with interest in quality assurance is interested in the long-term welfare of MSE as a platform, and has clear ideas on what level of work, context and/or motivation should be present in a question.
Moreover, said user has come across many violators of their propagated policy and probably doesn't stop to recall their own arrival at MSE. A quick judgement is formed, a terse request is posted in the comments. A down- or close vote may be cast.
New user is surprised by the "hostile" response, and may e.g. leave, submit to a defensive reflex, or ask the same question again to circumvent the down- and close votes.
Users signal the problem of the foregoing and post meta-threads or comments, in which they call (in a wide range of tones) to the established users with a sketch of the issue.
Good. Now we're all on the same page. I reiterate to be discussing generic users.
Now it is, as far as I'm concerned, too easy to merely blame/accuse the established users mentioned in point 2. They are human, too. Especially on the internet it is all too easy to do something without properly thinking it through. Their intent is not to insult the new user. It is their attempt to keep MSE a valuable place for discussing maths -- this should not be overlooked.
I take a terse response and/or downvotes over no response at all -- or, formulated differently, an expressed display of care (however tough to decipher for the recipient) over sheer disinterest. E.g. closing a new user's question with this close reason is an effective way of letting them, and anyone else know, that there is resistance against the displayed behaviour. The same holds for downvotes.
On the other hand, the established users (which include me, and probably you, reader) should consider the effect of their response prior to posting. What will be more effective? A nice custom-tailored reply, or a terse "WHYT" and close vote? To ask the question is to answer it.
Yes, a "nice custom-tailored reply" takes more time. Time that could be spent answering/browsing other questions. But it is a more effective way to contribute to achieving a three-fold goal:
- Improving the question at hand;
- Making a new user familiar with the etiquette;
- "Recruiting" the user to give back what they receive and become an established user themselves.
Even if only a tiny fraction of these replies contribute towards 3, I still contend it's worth the effort. For, more people answering means an increased knowledge base, and the gain of a new established user will (at least in the long run) outweigh the small time gain of the community giving them a harsh, standardised welcome.
In conclusion, hard as it may be to suppress those impulses at times, we ought to invest the time to be nice and explain where we're coming from, and where we want to go. Ultimately, this is only in the community's interest.