I often find the same thing as the OP - there are plenty of gear snobs to go around. In truth, knowledge of mechanics and good team play goes much further than the 5% (if that) difference between being in full Rakata vs Columi. Hell, I'd rather run an Op with someone in recruit gear who is a good team player than someone in full BH who has no idea what they're doing.
agree with you, the other night we took a couple new members on a gearing night in EV/KP HM, one of them didn't even have recruit gear, but orange modded with lvl 49 mods, that player even didn't have any operation/raid experience whatsoever, maybe there was a bit lower damage output, but they did better then some of our geared members. skill/teamplay > gear