|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Your theory about skimming it seems to be dependent on the previous developer doing everything right. What if ~> was used by accident? What if it's in the wrong place of the expression?
I do not believe so.
In every accidental mis-usage scenario I can imagine, if the reference is undef, the result of the dereference expression will be undef, and so will trigger an undefined value warning the first time it is used.
Of course, the first usage my be remote from its generation, but tracing undefs back to their source is a common enough procedure in Perl now, and is hardly rocket science. I do not see the shape of the operator being a major factor either way.
I think the only way I can counter your premise, is to respond to example usage in-situ. And producing examples realistic enough to form the basis of serious discussion is very difficult.
You inevitably end up arguing about the validity of the example, rather than the merits of the case being presented.
In the end, I can only express my opinion along with everyone else's and counter what I see as bad arguments, in the hope of influencing those making the decision. Assuming it hasn't already been made.
With the rise and rise of 'Social' network sites: 'Computers are making people easier to use everyday'
Examine what is said, not who speaks -- Silence betokens consent -- Love the truth but pardon error.
"Science is about questioning the status quo. Questioning authority".
In the absence of evidence, opinion is indistinguishable from prejudice.