"...tolerance of the unwary beginner is what sets this place apart" Seems to me that's neither desirable nor factually true. c.f. StackOverflow...
Not sure what you mean here, that Perlmonks should not be tolerant and, in fact, is not tolerant? StackOverflow is like a fairground attraction where newbies are set up like ducks to be shot down by the local bullies.
giving them a precis or a reference has to be better than a deafening silence
Yes, but that is not the comparison I was making - silence is better than abuse.