Self taught is a meaningless term.
The only way to be self taught is to live on another planet with no instruction available from any source, no books, no DVDs, no friends, no mentors, no other photographers work to examine .....nothing.
The minute you receive instruction from any source you are no longer "self taught".
The difference between going to a school for a few years, and doing what I did, is that I controlled the curriculum. I made the decision who to see, who to train with and what instruction I wanted to receive.
I'm not knocking the original posts interest in how the members here learned, but there are many answers to this kind of question. People that attended formal schools still very often have self directed learning after they graduate. People who didn't have formal schooling still can learn a lot more in self directed learning by choosing their own avenues for learning and their own teachers from various workshops. A person "self taught" can still read all the text books that a formal school students learns from. A person can apprentice with a working photographer and learn more that any person in a formal school will learn.