All these posts are variables in an exchange process, a dynamic of social interaction and exchange of ideas. It is hard to predict how it will play out, how these posts will influence beliefs, statements, and actions in the future but it is likely to do so. Without a time machine we can never know for sure what the effect of debate.Org posts actually is.
Many people on this site are under the age of 18, or near that age. What that means is that we have many people whose opinions are being formed and solidified before they take them out in the real world. Whether this means this site produces people who are more certain of their beliefs, or whether this means that this site produces future politicians or activists who are ready to use what they gained on this site to enact change in the world. Obviously, not everybody on this site is in a position to do that, and even for those who are, not all will take advantage of it. But some will, so I rest for 'Yes', as the question is if it changes 'anything', therefore the amount of change doesn't matter.
As much as I would like to believe the congressmen my most recent debate challenge are reading it and shivering in their seats, I know this is sadly no the truth. The people who`s opinions do matter aren't busy on this site. They are off giving TED talks, debating in the government and being interviewed. And I know there are hundreds of intelligent, passionate people on this site, I am aware that they are most likely unable to change anything.
...This website is only in the growing stages. More than half the time I click on a new debate question, either there's just one response or no responses at all. And, let's face it, spouting out our issues isn't going to solve anything overnight. It does help to get your voice heard, but only when more people can hear it. Don't get me wrong... I like coming on here and debating, but there's room for growth.