I've been on Mumsnet for many years with many name changes. I'm sure it used to be acceptable to start a discussion on a subject just because it was an interesting subject to discuss. This now seems to be considered 'trolling'.
What is wrong with wanting to provoke a debate about a topical issue? My dh works away throughout the week and in the evening I am sometimes bored. Can't one of the functions of Mumsnet be to entertain by taking part in a debate?
I have had a very traumatic week and it would be nice to start a thread about faith schools or cyclists for example, but it would just be for the sake of it, and to take my mind off things so I would probably be accused of being a 'troll'.
I think it would be trolling to start off on a topic you know for sure will get posters going, especially in subjects that always kick off.
But there are so many subjects in the world, it doesn't have to be the bf/ff, cyclists, faith schools, which tbf have all been thoroughly discussed, there must be other interesting things you can explore?
I didn't see your thread so can't comment - I've not noticed debate for debate's sake being a problem though. I don't see what you could 'debate' about cyclists though - 'This house believes all cyclists are annoying tosspots/all drivers should be banned'? Sounds like a bunfight not 'intelligent' debate to me too.
What would another thread about cycists or faith schools achieve though? The subject has been talked about so often that people have very entrenched views and are likely to post them. It is 100% guaranteed to become an argument rather than a debate, simply because the topic is recognisably controversial (on MN at least).
If you want to have a sensible debate about something, be a bit more inventive in your choice of topic - pick one which has not been done lots of times, always ending in a punch-up.
If you genuinely want a debate, I'd say avoid AIBU or Chat - go for a topic area which is actually relevant to what you want to discuss. And read through your title and OP very carefully to make it clear you genuinely want to know other people's views, rather than validation of your own opinion.
It doesn't guarantee avoiding a bunfight, but it gives you a better chance of it!