I've been here, done this, and bought this T-shirt. It's even been through the laundry a few times.
First, we get a spate of bad questions – that leads to a lot of closed questions. And that leads to a question on meta, asking, "Are we closing questions too indiscrimantly?" or, "Are we too getting too snobby?" or, "Are we the rudest community on the Stack Exchange?"
Here's my advice: go hang out at Yahoo! Answers for a few days, and read some of their questions:
What type of hair style should I get? →
I drove 424 mi. using 18 gal. of gas at this rate how many gallons of gas what I need to drive 318 mi.? →
Should I shave my pubic hair? →
Do you support Bra Burning? →
Is Lucifer a good name for the royal couples new baby? or Lucy if it's a girl? →
Then, ask yourself, "Is that the kind of community I'd like ELU to become?"
Near as I can tell, Stack Exchange was designed to ward off inane, vague, or pointless questions by using mechanisms such as peer editing, detailed FAQs, and voting systems.
Sure, I understand that a page chock full o' closed questions can make it look like we're getting trigger happy. And every once in a while, perhaps we do get a little trigger happy, and close a relatively decent question. Sometimes, though, I get even more concerned when I notice some really bad questions getting upvoted!
I've said it before: if someone doesn't want their question closed, make sure it's a good question. I don't see any reason to sacrifice quality.
I looked through most of the eight questions that you linked to, and, for the most part, I saw a list of hastily-asked questions that showed no basic research, and didn't seem to be based on practical, real-world problems. By in large, I don't think they were very good fits for this site, even in retrospect.
I've found that, in general, the more work an O.P. puts into a question, the more patient and helpful the responses will be. Similarly, questions that provide very little background information (about the context of the question, or why it is being asked) can get handled rather gruffly. But that's not always a bad thing, I don't think – not if it prompts others to more carefully craft their questions. Personally, I think this place is hungering for a smattering of thoughtful and interesting questions.
1) Please don't say that we're not welcoming to the non-native speaker. We entertain several questions from non-natives on a daily basis, many of which get patient and helpful responses. Not only that, several folks here have put a lot of work into creating a sister site – not because we want the non-natives to go away, but because we want to be even more helpful than we're already being.
2) Even though my language here may have been a bit blunt, I think my record speaks for itself. I have more than 1,000 more upvotes than downvotes. Out of 1863 votes cast, only 122 of them have been for closure, or 6.5%.
(Answering Jay's comment below)
By [closing these questions] you are shaping the site - its audience, its purpose. What shape of the site are you trying to create? What purpose is this site supposed to serve once you hammer it into the shape you want? Whom is it supposed to serve?
I would like ELU to be a site for serious language enthusiasts, not a place where people ask trivial questions. I don't want this to become like Yahoo! Answers, where people feel like they can ask whatever they want on a whim, without any fear of negative consequences should their question prove to be vague, incomplete, off-topic, and poorly presented.
That said, what is trivial is subjective - what I find "trivial" others may consider profound; what I think is obvious might unlock an enigma that has perplexed someone else for years.
The best way to differentiate between the two, then, is in how the question in framed. This is how I would recommend asking a question:
1) Do your own research first. If you've only spent five minutes trying to find an answer, then you're taking a risk by asking the question. I don't call a cab when my destination is just a three-minute walk down the street, and I don't call the fire department to put out a candle. Similarly, if you've haven't put forth some earnest effort into answering your own question first, then you have a higher chance of being greeted by an unsympathetic community should your question turn out to be trivial. Furthermore, doing research includes checking this site's FAQ, to be sure your question is on-topic, and also checking to see if this question has already been asked and answered. Moreover, users who have been with this community for some time should learn how to use some of the more advanced tools during their own research, such as Google Books, Ngrams, etymonline.com, etc.
2) Share your research with the community when you ask your question. Don't merely say, "I tried to find an answer, but I couldn't." That's weak. This is much better: "I tried to find an answer looking at A, B, C, but the closest I could come up with was X. Yet X doesn't quite fit (or doesn't answer my question, or didn't help me understand), because..." Spend some time summarizing what you did, and how you tried to find it. Not, "Google was no help" but, "When I Googled X, Y, and Z, I couldn't find any answers." Why not help us help you by telling us about your dead ends, so that we don't repeat the same wild goose chases?
3) Make sure you provide enough context to answer the question. If you're puzzled about something that you read, then, please, tell us where you found it. Certain information is essential to interpreting language such as: Did the sentence come from a work of fiction, or non-fiction? Is it from a published work, or an amateur blogger? Was it written by a comedian, a reporter, a poet, or a scientist? (The statement, "The moon is made of blue cheese" could mean something completely different based on who wrote it).
The best questions provide excerpts from the original passage - usually an entire paragraph - along with a link to the entire source, when that's available. If your question doesn't come from a specific context, then share additional details about why it puzzles you. For example, don't ask, "Is this considered impolite?" (almost anything could be considered impolite - even, "Have a nice day!" - if it's uttered with enough dripping sarcasm). Instead, explain the context of how the language would be used, and then ask if it might be considered polite or rude.
4) When possible, look for ways your can turn your specific question into a more general question. For example, say you're having trouble figuring out how to pronounce a word that isn't found in a dictionary, such as the name of a music group. Instead of asking,
How do you pronounce X?
How would I go about figuring out how to pronounce the name of a music group, such as X? After all, that won't be listed in a dictionary, or another source with a pronunication guide. (Most music groups aren't as accomodating as Lynyrd Skynyrd in this matter.)
This makes your question more useful to future visitors, and therefore a better overall fit for our site.
Some questions have seemed very silly to me at first, but then become much more interesting after some additional information was provided (usually in a comment; for example: "My native language doesn't use this part of speech," or, "In my culture, this would be considered insulting.") Don't assume we'll know that - whether or not the community as a whole will find questions interesting or silly often hinges on such details, so include them. Moreover, if they are added late, add them to the question, not in a comment left as a reply to another comment. If one person asked you for clarification, chances are several more people will wonder the same thing.
Does this sound like a lot of work? It is! Then again, that's what I'd like to see this community become, a "varsity team," so to speak. Is that because my compatriots and I are a bunch of high-minded snobs? Arrogant and disrespectful? Unsympathetic to the non-native speaker? Anyone who jumps to that conclusion should pay closer attention to what happens on ELU. Questions that follow these three general principles - do your homework, share your findings, provide sufficient context - are usually greeted quite favorably. Comments that could be construed as being terse, curt, or accusatory (e.g., "What did the dictionary tell you?") are usually reserved for questions that show little prior research and provide woefully inadequate context. In the past, I've seen ELU get overrun with such questions (and, make no mistake about it, a rash of such questions does diminish this site's usefulness, overall quality, and appeal), as a spate of new users seemingly find the board and think, "Now I can ask questions about English! Hooray!" Well, you're more than welcome to ask your questions, but please exercise due diligence as you get underway. If that's too much to ask, well, there are other online communities that won't require or expect you to work so hard, or call you out when you fail to do so.