IMO the fact that you consider context to be a flaw rather than a strength is indicative of the reason why Perl5 has seen a decline in absolute popularity(*) over the past 10 years.
I do not think that context is a flaw in Perl 5. I believe that reverse's context dependence in particular a flaw.
Perl's usual approach is to have different operators for different functionalities. + for numeric additions, . for concatenating strings. lt for string comparisons, < for numeric comparison. But reverse for list reversal and reverse for string reversal clearly breaks that pattern. Instead of coming up with a different name for one of the operations, it abuses context, even though it's perfectly reasonably to want to reverse a string and use it in list context.
Context is well and good, as long as we stick to the principles. reverse doesn't, and that surprises newbies regularly and seasoned perl programmers occasionally.
The same could be said the x operator (which does different operations based on the argument syntax, not based on name or context) or the bitwise operators.
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