If someone tells a newbie to do something, often it's because it's in the team's best interest for the newbie to be doing whatever they're failing to do. It's not because they're only useful for dying: it's because fighting and putting pressure on the enemy is something useful that many newbies are often too timid to do.
Really, JA, come online, and see how things really are. They aren't as bad as you think.
When the pros are giving noobs advice, it's not because they want their noob allies to just die and get bounced out of the game, it's because they want the TEAM to win the game and they need their noob ally to do something to help the TEAM. What many people don't understand is that the online multiplayer team games are TEAM games. It doesn't matter if you personally die. If the team wins, you win even if you no longer have any ships or planets. If you can occupy two opponents for much of the game and then get wiped out while in the meantime your teammates grew strong and wiped out the other opposing players, you've done a good job.
In a 5 on 5 where there is a new player, that guy's only expected job is to just try and survive, be annoying to a neighboring opponent, and buy time to allow the pros on his team to win it. Oftentimes such new players need helpful advice in order to do that better. Also, that sort of advice is often constructive and instructive--new guys need to learn the importance of making repair bays, for example, or of taking their asteroid ASAP at the start of the game.
Ping really isn't a big issue in this game since it's not an FPS twitch shooter. As long as it isn't higher than say the equivalent of 250 on an FPS server you should be fine. However, if you have a ping of say, 1000 and you get lag spikes, then it's a problem.
If you can beat Vicious AI then you're probably ready to advance to online multiplayer PvP. It probably wouldn't take you very long to get up to speed and to be able to hang with the pros. (Of course, even pros lose 50% of the time in games where the other players are all pros.)