It looks like there are going to be a lot of rules for this year's Presidential debates, and that's fine with me. Does it decrease the spontaneity? Sure. Does it decrease the chance of that the candidates will whip it out? Yeah -- that provision was specifically requested by the Democrats. So the debates won't be as exciting as they could be, but I guess that doesn't really bother me. In undirected debates there are innumerable opportunities for the participants to play games and manipulate the process, and adding rules to prevent abuses seems like a good idea.
What I would like to see, however, is a format that allows the candidates to speak directly to each other rather than just to the audience. I'd like the debates to be more confrontational on the issues, and I'd like the rules to prevent games with the process.