i'd just like to go on record saying that i agree with LMNOs post. I may not agree with RWHN on the drug issues, but i respect him, and feel that the vitriol is unbecoming.
ON a more interesting note....
Is anyone knowledgeable on work done formally mapping common debates?
A quick google of 'debate map' gave a link to debategraph.org which is kinda neat on a cursory examination...
it seems that if there were central debate maps maintained, it would avoid rehashing points ad nauseum that have been put to rest.
Instead of starting each debate with basic premise and following well worn paths (that often lead to cul-de-sacs of stupid), you could start the conversation with a reference to the map and a claim that you offer an undocumented supporting argument to position #3721 (or whatever)
If someone brings up a point that has been covered, you simply have to point out where, and the arguments surrounding it could be seen in full at their disposal. if they have something new to add, they can bring that up legitimately without having to trudge through the intermediate steps that simply make people upset and resistant before getting to new territory.