About being made feel unwelcome; I've never seen anyone being treated as such, save for those who, in some manner, brought it on themselves.
"n00bs" (hateful term as it is) have always been, imho, treated fairly and with respect, as opposed to other forums I've had the misfortune of frequenting.
But if you never post or say anything, to make your presence known, you're bound to feel that people are ignoring you.
Regarding elitist members: Who are these people? I've been a regular, contributing member for almost four years, and I've yet to receive my Elitest Membership Card and Secret Decoder Ring.
Sure, there are those members who have been here from the "beginning", but they don't, or rather shouldn't, command any more respect, beyond common courtesy, than regular law-abiding members. They certainly don't get it from me (buncha lousy crumb-bums), and I doubt they have the overwhelming desire to be treated as forum royalty.
If they wish to engage in such behaviour amongst themselves (secret handshakes, genital tattoos, etc) then they are free to do so. But I rarely see them flaunt such behaviour in public, or "pull rank" on us plebs.
EDIT: These forums still seem fairly liberal to me.