I find it interesting in debates on CN forums that we know there are two types of: ingame fighting and the PR battle that one fights on CN. Because an alliance can't get anywhere without PR. They may win a war because of strength but if they lose the PR battle, it is unlikely people will back them up. Words do count in this game because part of it is diplomacy and part of diplomacy is the world image of your alliance.
I find it interesting that some announcements get trolled to death and others just have mild meaningless troll or snarks that really don't amount to anything. I think part of it depends on the alliance posting it, such as any NPO announcement generally ends up locked and 10 pages at minimum. However a controversial thread if posted right and stated correctly can result in almost no snarks. There is almost always going to be one person who trolls because face it, no one likes every alliance.
I find it interesting though how much of it relies on the the original OP. You have to state very clearly and with the right tone of voice. No one is going to read it if it is boring but at the same time, people aren't going to remember the exact words but the content and how it was approached. A lot of times reputation are built off how we present things to people and this relies heavily on the person posting it because not everyone is going to read 5 pages and search for information later presented. It is key to have everything stated in the first post.
And my own personal opinion is that honesty is the best way to go. If you show the truth and are honest and open, it is hard to say there are behind the door reasons when you've shown everything. There are going to be those who claim they have insider information but they don't usually if you're showing everything there is to it. Though of course the reaction also majorly depends on your alliance's political position as well general reputation.
Debates though, sometimes you mess up. It is better to admit that you messed up and just walk away or either admit the mistake and continue arguing from your stand point. If you admit you made a mistake and continue arguing and the person continues to harp on your mistake, then it flip flops on them because you've moved on and they have not. At the same time, some places you just should not argue. It makes it look worse and if you don't respond, you don't feed the trolls and the thread is more likely to sink to the bottom.
Other times, it is key to argue back because then they start to gloat... and may have points you need to counteract. It really depends on the situation but I think the biggest thing is knowing when to walk away when the points you've already disproven have been repeated is usually the case.