There seems to be a constant debate that goes on within the craft community at large, and definitely within the metalsmithing community. The general themes center around, as Danielle Miller put it:
Art vs. Craft
Academic vs. Production
Metal vs. Alternative Material
Fine Craft vs. Indie Craft
Professional vs. Hobbiest
The latest hot topic in the metalsmithing community comes to us via Orchid Digest. On August 15th, James Binnion, a metalsmith noted for his mokume-gane pieces, posted a scathing review of the lastest Metalsmith Magazine's Exhibition in Print (to continue reading the thread, click on the link "thread next" above the post). His criticisms were regarding the relevance of the pieces juried in the EIP to the metalsmithing community, and the SNAG community specifically. This lies somewhere in the "Academic vs. Production" and "Metal vs. Alternative Material" spectrums, as well as "Wearable vs. Non-Functional".
Gabriel Craig, a well-read and written fellow metalsmith, posted a fantastic reply to Binnion's review, and it can be viewed in the Orchid Forums as well as on his own website, Conceptual Metalsmithing.
The benefit of debates like these is that they open up the floor for discussion, and possibly solutions to problems. The downside, is that these debates never seem to really get us anywhere...there is always a debate, there are always "sides" for people to gather on and throw mud at others. But then again, I guess that's what happens when you gather together many individuals with varying ideals, and throw them into the 'pit' together.
(The image shown above is by April Wood, and appears in the current EIP.)