I have to say that I agree with both sides of the story. I can see that for Newbies, there is nothing more frustrating than having a problem, finding somewhere that could potentially provide some help (these forums), asking your question and then being told to bugger off and do a search through the forum. Unfortunately, if they are inexperienced at forming search questions, or if they are not technically minded and therefore unable to search for specific terms and phrases as they do not know them, they are likely to get back some 3000 results, most of which will not help them. However, if they are that inexperienced, they should really be posting into the beginners group. I do feel that comments more constructive than do a search should be offered, or even better, a link to the information required to help start them off. Being helpful like this could in the long run prove beneficial to us all as they might be someone with a wealth of untapped knowledge that they're willing to offer us. Being unhelpful however will just "scare" them away and we'll never know if they've got anything to offer.
From the side of the regulars here, I can see how frustrating it is to try wading your way through hundreds of posts each day, many of which are simply duplicating questions or information that has already been posted. It get's hard to find the real content and meat of the forum.
From my experience of forums and the like, I find that most people start off in a "lurker" stage where they simply view the forum for a few days/weeks/whatever-they-feel-comfortable-with before posting in order to get to grips with the general look/feel/style of the forum, it's members and what is expected from them and their post.
Maybe we should have another stage added to the "rankings", one of lurker, during which time, people can only start new threads in the "Beginners", "For Sale" and "Off-topic" sections - they should be allowed to view and follow-up to threads in all sections. Then when they've completed a probationary period of a couple of weeks or 5 to 10 posts to the forum, they should then be deemed responsible enough to start new threads where ever they feel fit and suffer the abuse and flaming if they get it wrong as they should have gained enough of an understanding of the forums by this point.
Just my thoughts - and I'll probably get flamed for them - but hey - life's too short to worry about it