To me, the real winner of an intellectual debate is the person who can state and back up their comments without resorting to contempt, intimidation or profanity.
Joking on hold, you've stated exactly what often happens here, or anywhere else for that matter. That's when it gets creepy.
I don't recall, in my year of living dangerously here, seeing a religious debate get too nasty, ugly, creepy, but national and global politics are another thing. They seem to head there rather quickly. It doesn't help when many opinions funnel down to 2 or 3 and then camps emerge on the cyberic alluvial plain.
(OK, now I'm being obtuse.)
People also get shatty with each other over things audio. I find that amusing. It's like watching people bat each other on the head over the name of a color. Those, too, sometimes get personal, with name calling and insults to one's intellect.
I think everything you said should be the case. All things can be thrown on the table. That's what's sooooooo cool about this place and why I come back, too. It's not like we're all jonesin' for a/v advice on a daily basis. Luckily for those in need, there are pleny of people here jonesin' to share their knowledge and experience. Also uber cool.
Get hot about something, but not hateful. Like the "Good without God," movement, we can strive for "Hot without hate."
Joking not on hold:
Jeez, Murph. Go easy on contempt, intimidation and profanity.
They are the Holy Trinity of what I find funny.
Go in pieces.
GODBob, or, for homogram fanciers, BobDOG