People tend to suggest the basics, because there have been countless threads about how newbies have been trying to cast and failing, among other reasons.
Learning meditation helps one understand their personal energy, and connect to it on a deeper level. The idea of using meditation as a basic step comes from many magical practices, spiritual beliefs and other traditions not just wicca. The spiritual practices of india, tibetian monks, even the egyptian book of the dead all recommend meditative practices to enhance personal growth. Considering the ammount of cultures that feel it is a very useful skill, and the results that come with it, it speaks for itself as why its recommended. Plus it helps with learning patience, something a very large number of people have in short supply.
A year and a day before casting is a wiccan and possibly witchcraft tradition, and while a person doesnt Have to wait that long it is nice for people to learn responsibility and how their magic effects others. Too many people are impatient and would cast a spell for short term gratification or to hurt another person, and do not think or care about how they will feel later on in life about their decisions.
The act of contemplation, learning detatchment, learning patience, and being willing to consider connections are also reasons why we recommend "basics" and meditation in particular. I have seen many people come and go since I first came here, and the one thing that seems consistant is that younger people (or people Young to Magic) seem to be easily offended by the community or by people that they interact with on a daily basis.
Meditation is also a skill that can help them cope with the stress of daily life, without them needing to resort to tearing another person down magicly or physicly. It also gives confidence and inner peace, neither quality something small to scoff at.
As Isael has mentioned, spells don't have to be a hugely difficult thing to grasp. But magic is so much more then simple spellwork. To many older traditions and to the practitioners who have made magic their life path or lifes work, it is a method of living as much as it is spiritual growth. They can and do get fustrated when the tide of newbies in chat repeats themselves on the hour, with the same questions over and over. There are hundreds of new people comming online in the summer months alone, and the flood of people and similar questions wear on the knowledgeable and new alike.
It does, because of this, become easier to refer people to forum posts. That being said, I would not say that references given are any less lazy then people who refuse to look before they ask. A forum such as this has an extremely large ammount of posts, and a search function. The same questions have been asked many many times, because newbies often post questions or ask in chat instead of taking the common sense route and looking through the forums first. If people were more willing to do their own research and then ask intelligent questions when they've exausted practical options, I believe there would be less jadedness amongst older members.
Instead, the lacking on their part of inititive to examine the forums tends to create an image of them not being sincere or even simply trying to jump on the bandwagon. Add to that the people that claim infinite power, armies of the dead at their command, pacts with godlike entities, or having thousands of years worth of experiance.. yet ask simple questions on low end energy work and prehaps you can understand better why things become tense.
Ignorence cannot be fully taken away by anyone other then ones self. If a person decides not to accept the serious side of magic (Not to say it Cannot be fun or has to be Always serious) and wishes to live in fantasy, thats fine. Nobody here but they themselves can change that. Does that mean everyone should be forced to put up with the remarks about their omnipotence, which some people would find as offensive as out and out bashing their beliefs or religion?
Its gotten to the point where the majority of older members, or knowledgeable ones, barely post anymore. This is vastly because when they offer their experiance or opinion, its taken as offensive because it counteracts the beliefs of the individual Asking for opinions. I acknowledge that some of the older members can be abrasive, but it goes without saying that this is a two way street. For a long time the newer or younger to magic members have been losing respect for the same members they ask for opinion and advice, and the become derisive when the same members cease to comment. It cannot be both ways. If you want opinion, and it is given, agree to disagree at worst.
It doesn't matter whos beliefs are right, or whose are "wrong" because magic is about individual experiance. Sometimes others attempt to save a person negative experiances, by explaining concequences. Usually thats taken as some sort of censorship, and people begin to argue about it.
As for Keisari.Tony's opinion, he is fully entitled to it. Those that want to study what we here have felt is good practice and work ethic, to learn many things about the self and how energy works Before casting will and those who feel they'd rather hop in the pool running.. well they will too.
It seems to me that people cannot comment anymore without things becomming heated, or arguementative on either side, or even ego trips.
Do as thou Wilt doesn't mean my opinion trumps yours, or that one person has to be argued into the ground for anothers validation.
Prehaps its time to remember that.
All being said, I apologise to Deathdemon on behalf of myself and all others who have (and probally will) hijack this thread.
If you find difficulty in magic, the basic exercises that many suggest will give you a structure to build from and grow on. Prehaps some focus, time, encouragement and structure will allow you to better prosper in your search.
If nothing else, devoting time to meditation and doing some soul searching will help you to find the inner confidence, energy and self faith that you will need to someday become a valuable member of the magical community.
I wish you all the best :)