I was going to add this as a comment on @mindcorrosive's post, but it got too long.
You can also respond to comments people have made on new users' questions if you feel they're too harsh. Sometimes there are second-language people who don't realise their tone sounds terse, or an English speaker who doesn't realise their joking tone didn't come across. I've probably written the "Welcome to Travel.SE. Unfortunately your question doesn't quite meet the guidelines in our [faq]..." speech a couple of hundred times, and sometimes if you're in a hurry, one needs to be cautious not to come off as too terse.
Join the [chat]. It's sometimes controversial, but on the whole people in there often discuss questions under debate as to whether it's off topic, or needs editing etc, and it can help to improve the help if others are there to weigh in.
Something I've done a bit more of lately is to edit a newbie's question to improve it, and then just leave a comment welcoming them and saying 'I tweaked your question to bring it in line with our [faq] - hope the meaning is still there, and welcome' or something along those lines. I figure that helps prevent them getting closed or downvoted, but it is important not to change their question. If it's really off-topic or just wrong or whatever, we shouldn't turn it into a different question just to make it on topic.
I think the new close votes reasons coming in look a lot more friendly. "Not constructive" or "not a real question" always felt a bit harsh, and it'll be nice to see ones like "I didn't really understand your meaning" - it's kinder :)
 as for the rep thing, I've got the most on the site, and for anyone wondering - nothing special comes of it, it's just a number :) That's why I'm always happy to throw bounties on unanswered questions - I don't need the rep (one you've passed the levels for privileges it really doesn't matter any more) , and if it helps get a valid question answered, that's awesome. Saying that I am competitive, and in the early days when VMAtm was the highest, I was trying to get ahead, I'll admit. But that's a good reason to have rep - if it encourages people to go for more, or to get a badge by helping out on something (editing, voting etc) then all the better.
As for offensive stuff, it's difficult when what's fine in one culture isn't in another. Firstly, there are rules on the site - the whole network in fact, about what questions can contain, and so posts that violate that - be it spam, swearing, offensive imagery, racism, or worse will often get voted to oblivion (and yes, we've had all of those). And the joy is that even if you meet all those rules, there's still stuff that will upset - there've been questions about travelling to Israel which have upset people who refuse to accept Israel as a country, or who consider someone's questions on prostitutes / sex / co-ed facilities to be crude or offensive, when to them it's a valid reason for travel (and the fact is, there are people who travel for these things). As a result, they might not want a discussion but want to vote it down / close vote as a protest, I guess.
Compare this with say, sqa.stackexchange - every single questions is either on topic (software quality assurance) or at worst is not constructive ("I want to learn to test, how should I?"). There's very little to get offended over, aside from maybe a geek argument over the best tool to use :)