Most peer groups of hyper-intelligent guys teach each other this way. 2+2 is very heavy on the mockery, which is very useful on a public web forum because it makes the dumb people shut up so the posts tend to be high quality. Like if you just tell people "please read the FAQ" they don't do it, but if all the smart guys you admire go "wtf are you retarded? that's so basic it's in the fucking faq" then you shape up. Caltech was similar; not that you would be openly mocked, but you just had the feeling everyone was judging you and laughing inside if you asked a stupid question, so you tried to be very careful.
Of course the bigger issue for me is probably not *how* I try to change people but rather simply the fact that I do try to change people.