I will answer because I think this is an interesting question. I've been a member of MDC for about 10 years. I started vaccine doubts when my first was born in an unexpected homebirth transfer. Because I had planned a homebirth, I hadn't yet gotten up to speed about the vaccine questions. I had to fight the hospital to not vaccinate my LO, which kind of got my hackles up. This was before I used the internet so I just had to find information from books and friends. I was in hippie town so there were a good deal of vax questioning folks around.
When I found MDC one of the first posts I made was about herd immunity. I can't remember how I phrased the question but I was fairly naive, I know. I remember being really taken back by the reception my question received and it informed my participation in the forum to this day. I'm a MDC vax searcher and reader but I rarely participate. The threads I have appreciated have been ones that had a vibe of sharing information over the debate vibe. Though for an issue I feel I understand more fully (few in vax, to be honest) I have read some debate threads with interest. I remember following a lot of the Hillary threads back in the day. Any threads that get really snarky, however, wouldn't be something I was willing to wade through for information. In fact, I find them completely off-putting. The only thing I suppose I get from the debate threads lately is some indication of which members seem trustworthy or not.
I voted hindering because I assume you mean these really heated debates. If you mean all the debates over the years, I suppose I would put "somewhat helpful".