Well, I'm a newbie so I don't know how things have operated in the past., but I do think that a section like this is good to have.
I do inhabit a few other forums and see a healthy level of debate there sometimes, but the polarisation between posters and namecalling can get boring after a bit. Good debates need good and regular posters, sometimes they are too busy to keep things going or prefer more frivolous threads. Head to head is the most compact forum I've ever come across which is nice but may limit how dynamic it is, for instance it isn't obvious who is online should you want to debate "live" with someone who made a post four hours ago.
[As an aside does anyone moderate this place? It seems to me that there are similar threads on some subjects but they never get linked together]