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> I'd wager political topics lead to emotionally charged, intellectually devoid arguments (much) more commonly than others.

There's a severe danger that you would lose. For a commentary on emotionally charged and intellectually devoid arguments about a technical subject, I give you http://uselessd.darknedgy.net/ProSystemdAntiSystemd/ (discussed at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8488235).

But that's not the whole of it, by a long chalk. There have been "the OS Wars", "the editor wars", "the archiver wars", and others. One particularly extreme example that I personally encountered was a group of people in comp.os.os2.advocacy . They did all of the petty and stupid Usenet tricks such as rudely and impatiently splitting paragraphs and sentences to reply to all of the individual words. Much of the level of "argument" was the sort of thing that I'd expect from six-year-olds in a playground: parroting, insults, and general childishness.

I didn't read the newsgroup for the better part of a decade. When I went back to look at it I was astounded to see that the group was still at it, in (as far as I could tell) the same threads with exactly the same content-free taunting and rubbish.

Going back to that newsgroup again today, and picking stuff at random, here's an example of this sort of discourse. From 2011!

* https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.os2.advocacy...

Here's a comparison thread randomly selected from the 1990s.

* https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.os2.advocacy...

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