Actually, re the term "newbie", anyone who can formulate a Marpa question is an expert IMHO. Parsing has fallen into such a decline that you can get a PhD from a good school and not have had a course in parsing or compiler writing. That means that if you ask a Marpa question you are using concepts and terms unfamiliar even to many experts.
And, while yes, more people will see questions on IRC, having questions here does make the mailing list more inviting. As the subject line suggests we were getting to the point where people will look at the group and think it is inactive. And some folks are reluctant about IRC. So my thought is that we should not have an official preference, and that it's really up to F. Li.