Partly in reply, and also partly to Masem's suggestion earlier, I think one of the greatest things about this community is its tolerance of people who ask questions that have been asked before.
To compare, although such comparisons are obviously going to be flawed, I ask myself these questions..
I consider myself to be a neophyte (with no reference to the monk of the same name :o) in terms of Perl, yet, I can ask questions, and I've never gotten flames here...
So, I think web based forums such as these *will* work, so long as there is sufficient incentive for people to be nice (XP is one such reason, and its not even the largest or only one).. newgroups and IRC won't, because there is no incentive for someone to behave properly, since the great majority are silent or uncaring in the face of non-perl related idiocy...
phew, does this sound like a rant to you ? it does to me :o).. but what I would like to conclude is that even if someone asks a complete newbie question, I'd throw the person a link to get started if I can.. if for no other reason than the fact that when I didn't know something, others in this community helped me out in a similar way...
so, yes to web based forums... only occasional lurking in newsgroups is fine with me.. :o), but ultimately, any community can only help you get started down the road to "excellent hacker".. you need to do the work yourself.. but its going to be a much much easier journey when you can share notes, thoughts, opinions with your peers... just as you have now...
So, finally, one of my fave quotes from Francis Bacon goes...