TL;DR: I agree with Jacob. Yes, downvotes are there, they're totally can be used - it's your privilege if you have it, but lets be a bit more gentle towards the n00bs.
For new users, a first question, welcomed by downvotes isn't exactly the most inviting welcoming message
I agree. As someone who deals with the idea of customer service a lot , I know that it is important to remain calm and respectful. The best analogy for this I can think of is when people come to me and ask "Why does my password doesn't work ?". Good customer service is to explain to the user what they did wrong, and help them fix the issue. This is commenting and voting to close in AskUbuntu world.
You don't just go over to their table and hit that "Caps Lock" key and return to your table. User won't learn and won't remember not to do that again. That's downvote, without comment.
And yes, downvotes are not supposed to be taken be taken personally. But people take everything personally when they're not familiar with the way things work. Consider anybody's first day on a job. Managers and bosses being mad at one for not knowing anything is common. And naturally people will take it as "Wow, this place is horrible and everybody is so mean". Yes, downvotes have their place, and yes - they shouldn't be taken personally. But I see where Jacob's position.
It takes time for new users to get used to properly ask questions. Despite all those fancy welcome tours and all the posts on meta , the truth is that nobody reads meta posts except users who have been on the site for some time. Seriously , how many new users think this : "Well, I have this issue with my desktop right now, everything is broken and I have bills to pay . . . so let's go read some discussions on meta about internal policies and politics of this site. " I'm sorry, but that's just the truth - no new user reads meta or pays attention to the intro stuff. Period. That's why guidance is important, and that guidance should come from us - the other users who have been around for some time.
And I know , things won't change much - there's people on this site who are "just following the rules" , and will carry out the robo-mechanic procedure to the T. . . . except they forget how they used to be n00bs themselves, who got guidance from higher-rep users. . . and probably would be long gone from the site if it was anything as harsh as stackoverflow. So let's be a bit more respectful and follow good customer-service.
To repeat Jacob:
Please don't downvote new user's questions if it serves no other goal than to express to OP did a "bad thing".