I wouldn't recommend starting with foundationless, or even starter strips, based on my past experiences. Robo, I don't think I'm missing the point in whole or even partly. The disclaimer is attached to the small cell add, but not the other (LC) foundation. That would imply "experienced large cell beekeepers", would it not? I have looked around the forums, and see the issues facing newbees. Spacing frames too far apart will cause problems regardless of foundation type used. Mishandling queens is just that, it can easily be done despite large or smallcell. From what I understand of Tillie's posts, she used starter strips and bees drew out a mess. I do not recommend strips because that was also my experience. I do believe "these people" are ready to regress bees if that is what they want to do. Small foundation is more expensive, I chaulk that up to marketing. It is still "new, special, different" and can sound enticing because of claims that it reduces varroa loads. I have, and am not, making any of those claims as I cannot say I've seen it myself. My bees survived on largecell foundation without treatment, and they are now surviving on smallcell. Of course dealers are interested in making (more) money and want repeat business. What I'm saying is that the "experienced beekeepers" disclaimer is easily eliminated from the equation once someone learns rule #1, bees do what THEY want. What that means is that (yes, I agree with you) this is not an ideal world and plans don't always work. Is that something that must be learned on one's own, or can it be shared on beemaster forums? If Shakerbeeman gets that, understanding that he may not get "pretty combs", I see no reason why I should not be willing to share my experiences. And yes, changing over to smallcell takes time and effort.
Glad to hear you don't believe in magic Robo, I don't either. But I don't think a transition from large to smallcell requires it either. I do think newbees do not have to learn all experiences on their own. How is a beekeeper to get experience with smallcell unless they 1.) try it, or 2.) ask questions of beekeepers who have? I just read Jerrymacs post, yes it depends on the person. If someone knows how to use their resources, I think they can work through just about anything. If someone can't identify or use those resources, it could turn out to be a very rough road. Asking questions on this forum is an indication of someone using a resource.
I keep making the mistake that people have a bit of intelligence. I keep thinking they are able to read and figure the stuff out. After all I did it. And I ain't all that smart.
Nice post Jerrymac, I can relate. I don't like approaching people as if they were lacking in intelligence