I have sort of three types of responses here.
First, I value a few things in contexts like these, just generally. I teach and these are things that I try to keep in mind when I am directing conversations in class or navigating controversial topics.
- Asking question
Example: Using our Hart vs Khali example, I would be more receptive to conversations that asked questions about each wrestler or what there differences might say about wrestling or wrestling fans
- Making perspective/background clear (not constantly, but when it is necessary - even if it is in one's profile)
Example: Piggybacking off overbooked, knowing what type of fan someone is, what they are into, how they got into wrestling, etc, would help me understand why someone might like Khali more than Hart and I am sure there are people who do prefer the big man.
- Not ignoring negative analysis, but encouraging positive analysis
Example: You probably couldn't have the Khali v Hart debate without talking about negatives, but I would be far more interested in someone willing to engage what both did well or at least what they thought they did well, which would tell me as much about what they thought each was bad at as anything.
- Comparing perspectives rather than arguing points
Example: Why tell someone they are wrong if they think Khali is better? That won't really accomplish much except devolve everything into a series of defensive and offensive statements about what types of fans matter and so on. Im more interested in how someone's perspective is different than mine. What are they seeing that I am not and what can I share to help them like Hart more.
- Attending carefully to headings and framing or opening posts (if that stuff is made for combative conversion it is really hard to get out of that)
Example: I wont lie. I would click on a thread that started with "Khali is better than Hart", but I wouldn't expect much good about it. Rather I would be more interested in a thread that framed it as a comparison. Avoiding overusing value statements and really thinking carefully about WHEN to use them. I am not saying you can't judge value and use those statements, but they are overused and derail conversations quickly.
As for scope, I personally not really against outlandish perspectives, as long as they are nuanced and detailed. I'll listen to just about anything, especially if people are at least trying to be careful and nuanced. To me, talking about wrestling is more about opening up doors and encouraging people to watch and like more wrestling. Sure, I like having spirited debates, but those shouldn't be the rule, especially when talking to people that you don't know really well in a medium that removes nonverabals. There is just so much stuff to block meaning and make combative stuff not work.
Example: If someone said Khali is better than Hart and they framed it well and argued their point I would be happy to hear that out and even engage it. I may not respond becaue I am not sure its something that will be that meaningful to me, but I might, depending on how it is argued. If people are being detailed and taking their time to make such statements what does or does not get traction - what is or is not worthy of our time will be dictated by responses and what is interesting. That is arts of all forms ebb and flow through popular and niche discourses.
Finally, I really think the main thing when talking about art (where standards are not necessarily completely subjective, but are so very flexible and malleable) it often comes down to people taking personal responsibility to not derail conversations. That isn't just not trolling or taking a minute to explain your opinions/analysis; it is also engaging posts in productive way. I just think generally speaking people know the kind of thing that will sink a conversation and often those are the things that suck is in.
Example: Lets say our Khali vs Hart conversation started up and after a few posts someone comes in and says "Hart was boring as watching shit harden. Khali sucked but he was better than Hart" or "Hart was the worst WWE/F Champion of all time" or "Khali was a joke".... well forget those posts. It isn't going to help anything. I am not saying you need to write a novel, but we know when people are trolling or posting something dismissive and not only should they not really do that, but others should be willing to ignore it and engage interesting conversations.
A lot of this is stuff I mostly see here. I think generally speaking this is and has been a place to engage wrestling as an art, but of course there are times things get off the rail. That all has been beat to death elsewhere; I just mean to say I think this has been a space that has privileged much of this. I am not saying everyone needs it together or anything.