The title says it all.
Don't get me wrong. I have actually enjoyed my first few weeks on MO. I am not writing out of personal vendetta. That is, I have not had any of my own questions closed and I usually get positive feedback. I have probably not asked any closable questions (well, until now, where I am in jeopardy of having this one closed).
From a relative newcomer's vantage, it's clear that discrimination is applied when deciding whether to downvote or close such questions. I have seen similar-style questions survive (and thrive) when asked by a hot-shot yet closed when asked by a newbie.
For example, consider the "journals" category.
This question seems quite articulate to me, but it is the lowest score in the category and was closed (rightly) because it is too broad. Its topic is not specific to mathematics.
This question is also not math-specific, but generated a lot of interest and 155 upvotes. It was eventually closed as no longer relevant after a good ride.
It is easy to find more examples. Pick a softish category or search term and sort by votes.
I fully admit that those on MO with high reputation have earned it by being good (sometimes really good) at asking and answering. And many of the newcomers can't even form a sentence. There are examples (like the one above, though) where I can't explain the discrepancy in attitude. The reputation breaks as expected.
Does anyone take the view that MO is neutral in its treatment of off-topic questions?
edit: I think I am backpedalling a bit from my initial view (which, by the way, was never intended to be aggressive... more tongue-in-cheek, in fact). I can honestly say I see a correlation (a good word, Gil) between reputation-backed questions and forgiveness, but I now admit it's not a strong one. Just today, I noticed a high rep user getting trashed on metaMO because his question (which was fair) had a resounding and obvious answer (with which I agree).
(This is off-topic, but I suspect most of the downvotes he got were from people saying "NO!" to his question, rather than "YUCK!" to the quality of the question. I wish people would learn the difference.)
Anyway, maybe the issue is simply that a question cannot be separated from its asker. If most people on MO need to look at who's asking in order to make a judgement, then that's their right. I admit I do it. Our time is precious.