As distasteful and unwelcome as the recent surge of spam has been, I tend to agree that the downside of new users not having that tool available to ask legitimate “how to” questions would be significant.
A (hopefully) related question (@tiwane?) – when new accounts are created, is the user required to complete some kind of CAPTCHA-like verification as part of the process? And if not, why not? Seems like this could/should cut way down on illegitimate accounts.
Suppose I could answer my own question by setting up a dummy account and then deleting again – just looking for a shortcut here… (I have no memory from setting up my original account 5 years ago.)