I rarely use usenet or browse through newsgroups these days for the same reason you mentioned - too much junk.
I prefer the forum-style communication such as here at perlmonks and at DevShed forums, where there's a Perl Programming forum and some members here actively contribute.
Not to say that Usenet is not worth it in general. But for technical discussion, IMHO, forums are better and easier to use/find information you are after.
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