I participate in another forum which has an "off topic" thread also. There, you have to sign up and ask the moderator for access, before you can even read. Doing so, you are being given notice that you enter and participate at "your own risk". Posts there cannot be seen by the public and there is no issue about debates going over the sidelines.
Ever so often, the moderator moves a thread in there, so the hotheads can continue their banter, provided they sign up for participation.
What I have seen here in a couple of threads lately, is not only posters disagree with someones opinion and voice this disagreement in amanne that sounds like a personal attack, but also posters take other's voicing a different opinion as a personal attack.