Your exactly right. Not just this section though. Almost every section. Nowadays posting on camera labs is just a waste of time in my opinion. Gone are the days where you could ask a simple question and fellow members would help.
Like you said they are mostly waging the wars of the brands and such niche topics which have no fruitful outcome.
Ive noticed this in the last 5-6 threads i started.
In fact i had a serious problem last week and wanted members to take a look at some sample images i shot with my brand new SIGMA 10-20mm, because i had reason to believe i got a soft focussing faulty lens. And i was under pressure because i had to return the lens to the retailer in a day or two if i had a bad one.
Appalling help here. Except some guy popped up to defend the Sigma brand very fiercely by blaming the user. Many of them assume only they know how to take a good photograph. If every lens could be judged only after using it for 1 year, then why would there be people returning so many faulty lenses a few days after purchase ?
Not one answer, except after 4 days 1 member passed some undecided comments on the pics, thats it. There were some members insisting to post samples as thats the only way they could help. And after i immdeiately went out and shot some images, created a flickr account etc and put them up, Nothing ! The same guy who went on saying post some samples, didnt even bother to take a look or reply. he has 5 posts asking me to post images. Not even one after seeing the images.
Because of this i had to retain the same lens, bad or not. A costly mistake. So this place isnt reliable in making crucial decisions or to assume we have a friendly circle of members that would actually really help.
I just now posted this question on another more popular forum and there were instant answers that had a healthy and useful discussion about which bracket to use.
PS: Your mention of the swivel bracket is the first one or the ball head one ?