(Shrug...) David, in making these statements, I think you pretty much sum-up the status quo of every programming-related forum out there. :-) Homework is very easy to spot, as are questions from the hapless of far-far-away companies who “got the lowest bid.” It has always seemed to me that the responses given to such things are ... ahh... very appropriate.
Nevertheless, I do think that this site remains heads-above sites like StackOverflow for Perl because it is “quite unabashedly focused on Perl.” SO is loosely-focused, by design, whereas we by design are not. I have often referred wanderers on SO over here to get better answers faster about Perl, and they almost-invariably do. So, I think that we always should strive to keep that “tight subject-matter focus.” We can’t prevent the non-Perl answers from showing up. (There is noise on every communication channel.) But we can continue to be the “
go-to site save time come here first site” for truly Perl-related questions. Filter out the irrelevant, yes. But, beyond that, be wide. If they’re using Perl and they’re stuck in the mud (whatever sort of mud it is ...), [try to] pull them out. (Be “patient, gracious, blunt, and curt” with all the rest.) We have all been in this quicksand, and most of us stop by frequently.