Give up, Tom. Some people are just going to be nasty to newbies and learners, and there's nothing we can do about it. I've been banging my head against this wall since I've been on Mudcat (about 4 months) and it hasn't done a bit of good.
The best we can do is to be polite ourselves, and hope that maybe some of it rubs off.
Welcome aboard, mate. Remember that to get along in any online environment, you have to remember the advice given to new souls in hell: "Ignore the flames."