It's been a while since I posted... I have a couple of problems. First, it's hard enough to bridge the gap between two different viewpoints in normal face-to-face discourse. The loss of non-verbal inflictions, cues, and interpretation makes it even harder. Then, most people aren't interested in actual debate. Again, this is universal, not confined to this board or message boards en masse. People are more concerned with flexing what they perceive to be an intellectual, moral, or generally-superior standpoint, and thus argue past each other, not concerned with interpreting and understanding the other viewpoints. It's just a matter of looking for an element of someone else's argument to latch onto and often tangent from, just to get their voice heard (albeit mostly just by themselves, but that's okay, we are our own favorite audience afterall).
I have had a huge problem with another issue IRL, and it surfaces here, too. Someone I worked with, an informed but altogether somewhat dim older fella, asked me once why I'm so hung up on what words mean, and what he meant by using a certain word. I explained to him how vague and interpretive the English language is and that if we want to say anything meaningful we have to be clear in our choice of words and be ready to clarify. I don't know what you mean when you say something like "almost everyone likes vanilla ice cream" -- unless you are only concerned with making a very weak and malleable statement which I can twist and turn all I want, then that statement is uninteresting. Of course, a statement about ice cream CAN be uninteresting, but our statements about politics, war, and animal rights should not be.
I've asked for elaborations and clarifications on a number of topics from specific members and have been disappointed if not denied. Perhaps the person didn't want to continue debating - perhaps they are reconsidering their position. I have done that on a few occasions, myself. But it seems to me that many people, - here and elsewhere - are too inflexible, and that is a terrible thing to be and can only lead one to a career in professional politics.
Lastly, about the "stay out of the kitchen" thing - I agree. However, I'll add this: If you're cooking in the microwave, don't expect your food to meet acceptance from those with better culinary skills.