So, I'm finding that this idea that skill challenges are this bizarre thing that no one could ever understand to be rather overblown. DM says something along the lines of "Here's the situation, what are you going to do to help resolve that problem?" Players make their cases, and roll their dice, and the situation is resolved. No gaming the system to any large extent, very engaged players, and a ton of fun around the table.
I understood it perfectly well. Its function and design were very clear. It just felt unusually disconnected and abstract. But I won't claim that's anything but a perceptual issue--but I'm not sure its was a rare perceptual issue.