>>Wonder if it'd be wrong to refer Catters to this thread in the heat of discussions on other threads?<<
But keep in mind that those rules apply to formal debate where there is an agreed upon premise and outcome. A discussion that is akin to a game of chess.
A lot of people come to the internet to play dodgeball rather than chess.
Another problem, as someone else has pointed out is the quality of "information" that the other person is armed with. If they get their information from Fox "News" or Rush Limbaugh, and their premise is for instance "liberals are bad" then they are working form a circular argument where the "liberal" is whoever is being demonized today and the bad behavior is the combination of all the bad things all of the people being called liberals have done in the past year. To counter this type of arguments, one must say that Limbaugh is wrong. Is that not ad hominem? To counter these arguments one must question the sources and also the reasoning of the presenter. Can one apply one set of rules to someone who is playing by another?
It is prudent to keep in mind that people are all different and that they don't always want to play by the same rules.