Just a short note to state for the record that I am fully aware that the hardcore vs. casual debate is full of generalizations. If I say "hardcore raiders are a snotty bunch of elitists", you need to mentally preface this with a "there is a wide-spread perception that ...", not with an "it is scientifically proven that all ...".
And no, I am not apologizing for that. This perception of hardcore raiders as elitist is not something I made up. You can read just about any WoW forum or blog discussing the hardcore vs. casual issue, and you will always find the same perception being repeated everywhere. For example the "closed club" I wrote about yesterday was a quote, not something I invented.
And of course the other side is using exactly the same generalizations. All they say about new players being unwilling to learn, not committed, just wanting easy-mode epics, etc. is also just a generalized perception with no absolute truth to it.
Are perceptions truth? Not absolute truths, that is for certain. But widespread perceptions come from widespread experiences. Can anybody honestly say that a new player trying to get into raiding will encounter only helpful people encouraging him, and will never be called a clueless fucking n00b who should l2play just because he got one enchantment wrong? And most of what the hardcore are saying on forums and blogs also feeds the perception of them being elitist: They will generally always argue for harder, less accessible content which is exclusive to a small minority of players.
Do you want to be perceived as less elitist and not a closed club? Start lobbying Blizzard for raid content which is accessible for everybody.