Your specific questions were answered nicely by Aristotle and tye above, and I'm glad to see you signed up for an account. There have been many, many, debates about possible changes and documentation improvements to the site to help newcomers. The fact that it's still being debated doesn't so much say the implementers are stubborn, but that it's hard to get a bunch of smart people to agree on a solution to a complicated problem.
<quote voice="emily litella">Never mind.</quote>
To continue your quest (perhaps you've already found these), take a look at the top part of the Tutorials, the one labelled "Welcome to the monastery". There are some great pointers to good documents there, my favorite being Welcome to the Monastery! Make yourself at home.
You're right, there's a lot of stuff here, and it's easy to get lost. But don't worry, monks are very forgiving. ;-)
Just realized the whole second paragraph is pointless....
The explanations below are all on the mark. I only struck out that paragraph because I re-read your note and thought you'd already visited Tutorials. If you haven't, check it out.
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