>>if one is to use this medium to any extent there are some very basic and easy tools one can (should?) learn, for answering questions such as "what is the meaning of the word x" or "who was person y", and in the process avoid importuning others -- you don't even have to crack a book very often to Look It Up!<<
>>I feel sure that a fair number of these questions come from people who have not found the original post that explains things<<
I have to say I asked someone privately what YCLIU meant, because I didn't know and I felt that in the context I came across it (on this board), I 'ought' to.
My behaviour here is exactly equivalent to my behaviour in the 'real' world. If someone uses a term I don't know and I feel comfortable, I ask. If someone uses a term I don't know and I don't feel comfortable asking, I ask someone I trust privately, or look it up - whichever is easier / faster.
I know more about words than about web resources to help me with words. I wouldn't know where to start looking up acronyms on the web, so it was easier to ask a person.
One option might be a links page to reference resources, so that anyone could check before posting a question. But reference resources aren't interactive and don't put a human spin on things the way a discussion board (or a private email) does. And one of the things I get out of this board is 'conversation'.
I think it's a shame that I felt unable to ask publicly what YCLIU meant. (I'm over it now I'm a journey(wo)man!
Also, tsuwm, I reacted badly to your suggestion that asking a question like this was 'importuning'. I looked up 'importune' - 'unfit, troublesome, grievous; inopportune, untimely, unfit; persistent in solicitation; irksome through importunity.' I don't think asking about the meaning of a word or acronym on a board which serves to facilitate discussion about words and language fits any of those definitions!