It is my understanding that the debate forums were created in order to keep prolonged debate and contentiousness out of the support forum. I can see how they perform a useful function by providing an outlet for debate - and the merits of some topics are certainly worthy of being debated. However, I cannot agree that individual debate forums should be conducted as public trash can forums or worse.
There is simply no need or justification for name calling and personal attacks in debate. And certainly not at a website which, other than noted, I otherwise love and whose stated purpose I believe in wholeheartedly.
Oh, I believe that differences of opinion should be allowed in support forums. Now, once those differences become personal it is time for a moderator to act, and act swiftly in my opinion. And, once the opposing people have had a couple of posts to state their opinion, it begins to be time to cut of the debate to keep it from distracting from a support forum (and I am thinking of debate threads in support forums where one or two or so members just cannot or will not stop until the debate has captured far too much space on the forum page). Often, the best way to handle overly long debates in support forums is to simply move them to the appropriate debate forums. The biggest peeve I have with that is that the system does not allow a moderator to move part of a thread - thus you end up with a choice of removing initial posts which might have been valuable for readers to consider, leaving up the entire thread or else hiding and/or deleting messages. I personally would like the option to cut a thread off at a certain point, move the remaining part to a debate forum and make a note on the support forum that the rest of the thread may be found in the debate forum. Hmm, maybe that would be a worthy suggestion for the WM support forum . . .
Just tellin' the truth . . .