The absolute best resource for Burning Man preparation is Eplaya. It is a very active forum with the combined wisdom from the experience of many thousands of burners all in one place.
It is completely populated and moderated by burners. We go there because we enjoy talking about BM and helping each other out - and we all do it for free.
- This means that it is radically inclusive.
- This means that you can expect some snark.
- This means that you can expect some assholery.
- This means that you may be taught some lessons in radical self reliance.
- This means that no one will spoon feed you information.
- This means that some folks will not be sweet and polite to you.
- This means that nobody is gonna be a care bear for you there.
- This means that you shouldn't get easily butt hurt.
- Some folks will say mean things - get over it and learn from it (if you can't deal with it on a message board how will you cope at the burn?).
The number one faux pas to avoid is asking a common question that has been answered repeatedly on the boards. Before asking anything there search for the answer! That is where radical self reliance starts so you can avoid a snarky lecture about it.
Next, don't discuss drugs or where to find sex camps on Eplaya. Some things just make you come off like a complete asshole.
The Eplaya search function sucks - there simply is no better word to describe it.
For the best results use Google with the format of:
site:http://eplaya.burningman.com search term
Notice there are no spaces until right before the search term. Examples below (I borrowed these from moderator Eric):
site:http://eplaya.burningman.com Figjam cooler
site:http://eplaya.burningman.com food AND "no cooler"
site:http://eplaya.burningman.com best things for a bar
Using Google in this format will only bring up results on Eplaya and will easily cut your search time in half.
Eplaya, and for that matter the actual event are loaded with snark, assholery, and assorted other prank type stuff. Contrary to what the media would have you believe, this is no lovey dovey hippie festival - if you want that kind of stuff go to a Rainbow Gathering.
Burning Man in part had its roots in the Cacophony Society and a lot of it is still part of burn culture. Admittedly a lot of this comes off as just plain mean over the internet, but take it in jest and get over it. It is subtly preparing you for the playa which will be a full scale assault on all your senses.
Most of the finest people I know, I met on Eplaya. I now look forward to seeing them every year at the burn and keep in touch with many of them year round. That person who you thought was mean and made you a little butt hurt on Eplaya would probably give you the shirt off their back on the actual playa. Things just translate differently over the internet without facial expressions.