Lets see - this is a community of people with a common interest - not the only interest! That is why every forum I have ever been on has a Lounge area (as does APUG) for off-topic discussion. Now, APUG takes it a step further to avoid offending people and provide a place were we can vent or discuss controversial issues. Sean has gone to such lengths to make it as un-intrusive as possible that I hardly think anyone who is not looking for it could be offended by it. There is the new restrictions, there is the ignore feature... and then there is the simple fail safe: you don't like it, don't partake.
I find opinions like "I was considering leaving APUG because of the soap box" to be the most absurd, childish whining imaginable. If you're that self-righteous, you will find fault with something, sooner or later. And people like that won't stop with the deletion of the Soap Box - they need "projects" to validate themselves - if its not the 'Box, it will be something else.
I don't recall ever being dragged into the Soap Box against my will - and if I wanted to, I could not see it at all. I think the simple advice to people who spend way too much time on this issue is: look in the mirror! Your litle crusades make you no better than the people you condemn. Let it go, get a life, do something else, elsewhere - there is a lot to see on APUG, many different forums - go nuts, have fun, learn something, contribute - give your over-developed sense of moral and intellectual superiority a rest.
Or look at it this way, at least with the Soap Box, your dragon is on-line, you ca attempt to slay it from your living room - otherwise, you would have to picket outsideof smoking establishments or stand outside waving your fists at people you percieve to be driving too fast...