I had hesitated to close the first question myself, considering it was essentially just a long rant and not a real question. However, seeing it did came from a newcomer, I considered trying a more gentle approach, but I knew this would take some time (as it required a well-written comment) so I didn't do it immediately, and then the question was closed by someone else. Frankly, I didn't shed a tear on that.
On the principle, I do agree that we should be welcoming to newcomers, so that the community can grow, and that so far we haven't been that gentle.
However, we are not wikipedia. We strive towards good answers as well as good questions. And sometimes, questions are just junk which just isn't salvageable. Maybe we should let the voting system do its job, but then we risk that junk answers are affixed to the junk questions, increasing the total junkiness of the site. We don't want that. So sometimes, it's better to just root it out as fast as possible.
Sure, it'll shun the poor newcomer who asked his question in good faith. But in all honesty, I also feel that if the newcomer is to become a valuable member of the community, he well be able to learn from the experience and understand what good questions are. And if he doesn't, well, that's harsh to say, but do we need him that much? Of course, there we have an important thing to do which is to document the reason for closure properly. A well-written comment is usually the best way to do. Possibly including some basic element of answer as well as the reasoning for closing.
I did close one speculative question recently myself, instead of relying silently on other moderators to do so.
I can't quite shake the feeling that I have been harsh in doing so, but on the other hand maybe that's the best way of working.
Note that when we finally graduate, we will elect proper moderators, and maybe they will have other views on the subject; at the very least it should be a discussion point during the elections, so that the opinion of the community as a whole is better represented.
Edit: to expend on the "we're not wikipedia" part, keep in mind we're part of a network of Q&A sites, and while our focus is very different than, say, the one for Stack Overflow, it makes sense to follow the same guidelines to be consistent across the network. More importantly, if the approach worked on SO and contributed to make it thrive, maybe it'll work for us too.
In that regards, there are of course posts on meta.so which deal with new users, and I found the question On closing new users' questions quite close to this one. The accepted answer goes "If a new user asks a bad question, it should be closed."