I'm not sure I understand the distinction between getting one's feet wet by asking questions of knowledgeable collectors here, or - the way it "used to be done" - going to the local militaria store and shooting the breeze over the proprietor's free (bad) coffee and wasting his time by kicking tires and asking the same (dumb) questions in hopes of learning something and perhaps getting a 5% discount.
Because the last time I checked, those militaria stores were gone. They're all either selling cafe late now, or else making marginal profit by converting to camping supplies and the odd bits of "army surplus" which is actually first-run Chinese-made BDU.
Basically, what I am saying, is that if answering a newcomer's question is a burden for the established collectors, wouldn't it be easier to just ignore the thread and move on, rather than typing a 12 paragraph rant about how the newcomer doesn't "deserve" the information to begin with?
Perhaps someone can clarify.