When someone comes in and says 'would you guys like bean dip?' (or that forum's equivalent 'so, read any good books lately?') it comes across as snarky and rude.
I agree with this. IMO, I have rarely seen the "bean dip" line used in which the line did not come across as disingenuously snarky, patronizing, and/or condescending. It strikes me as a passive aggressive dig at the other posters [who are getting themselves worked up over the topic in question]. If the topic in question is really getting out of hand, I would prefer the mods just stepping in and saying the equivalent of, "Cool it," and handing out bans/warnings as necessary (most other forums I go on adopt this latter practice, which I like because it's so straightforward and no-nonsense).
If you really do want to divert the thread from getting out of control, I think it would be a lot better if we didn't just resort to this preplanned line. It doesn't come across as snarky (IMO) if you divert the subject subtly enough that it's still semi-related to the subject at hand, but takes the heat out of the argument. I have read threads that have done this and it works rather well -- at least a lot better than the bean dip line! For example, say that the following exchange occurs:
Poster A: I can't believe you think that all snarfles are floofies! It's so obvious that no snarfles fit the rigorous standards required to be considered a floofie. It's like saying that a snarfle is a dog. I have a dog, and it is in no way a snarfle!
Poster B (who is getting wary of the vitriol): Oh, what kind of dog do you have?
Poster A: Oh, he's a doberman. Named Mr. Cuddles. And he is in no way a snarfle!
Poster B: Wow, a doberman, that sounds cool…Mr. Cuddles is such a funny name, haha!
Poster A: Yeah, my mom named him that as a joke…lol.
Basically, Poster B focuses on the non-controversial aspects of Poster A's comments and manages to calm A down a little. It doesn't come across as snarky because Poster B's remarks are still related to whatever Poster A says.
This is just my opinion of course. YMMV, and I realize that Ehell is a private forum that can implement whatever tools it wants to use. Just saying that I am not a particular fan of this one line.