TRME: Polemics, Diatribes & Apologia in use?

The amount by which a Polemic affects an upcoming Debate (this is Capitalized because it refers to the Debate rules from HoH:Soc) is equal to Quality of book - Prevailing Wisdom. This is the Argument Total, from which any bonus of penalty is derived. So only a really good Polemic has an impact on grander issues. This makes sense.

But the opposition may publish a Diatribe, and unless I'm missing something this affects the Argument Total by subtracting the full Quality of the text? Am I getting this right?
Wow, so it's hard to be a proponent of change, but easy to be a nay-sayer. Harsh, but not illogical. But even horribly inept authors can affect things.

Again, the Argument can be modified by someone - either the original author or sympathizers - who writes an Apologia. Argument Total is modified by adding the full Quality of the Apologia. So once again even poor writers have an impact. Am I still right?

At first it seemed harsh to me that the Polemic was so enormously hard to achieve a positive modifier with, while the Diatribe was easier. But then, so is the Apologia, and the original writer can write one as well. It may make sense regarding writing and affecting opinions - I don't know much about that. But it's beginning to make sense to me concerning balance in the game.
Because the Polemic is so hard only skilled and dedicated people are likely to do this. Seems fair, great change is unlikely to be brought on by an uninspirational nobody. And if the Diatribe was also very hard, not very many could voice their opinions, and the issue was more or less concluded to begin with. But when every Tom, Dick, and Harry can oppose or support the case they too can play a part in the grand scheme, even if it could only have been initiated by a remarkable person.
As ArM games go this makes sense. If Player magi are young and unimportant, serious matters are brought forth by important seniors, likely as ongoing plotlines in the saga, and they can still participate. A player magus who is remarkable and dedicated to a matter can be the agent of change, and the other Player magi can participate to a certain degree as well.

I really think I'm going to try this in use.

Has anyone else delved into this in their sagas?

You are correct on all counts. Page 31 has the Winning An Argument Outline, and that summarizes the points nicely.

It does make sense. Think of any major philosophical works. I'll use the example I know, Beyond Good and Evil - Friedrich Nietzsche. A grand work over a topic that attempts to change the way of thinking of a people, your Polemic, if you please.
It's easy to shoot his arguments down by saying that willingly excluding yourself from society is counter-productive and therefore the entire premise is flawed, but you'd be missing part of the point of that work then. Here we have your Diatribe.
Now, Nietzsche, or one of his students or followers could write a response, explaining that exclusion isn't the point of his work, but that exclusion is usually necessary to invoke change, as common society will shun you for trying to change things. Here is the Apologia.
In that real-world example, it seems the rules hold up. It's hard to coalesce an entire stance into a concise work, but it's easy(er) to criticise and to offer correction and debate.

As for actually using them, I've simulated a few of these, as the magi in the campaign I'm running are going to Grand Tribunal soon. And while they won't be major players there, they will see unfolding issues based on their actions, and arguments presented by both sides (The topic is incoming Mongol Horde, and whether the Order should go into full DEFCON 3 War Mode). After the Tribunal, Novgorod is probably going to mobilise and petition Verditius for arms and enchantments, but the other Tribunals probably won't be decided, so writers will starting putting out their opinions. Since I have a player who wants their magus to become a political figure, I think giving him a chance to Attack or Defend a point of view is a good way to do this. As for the "upcoming" Debate, that will be the next local Tribunal,which will be about a year before the Horde arrives (I'm running this slightly ahistorically, with the Mongols being held up by the Sufi mystics and the Sahirs, and the Grand Tribunal being run as from the C&tC book.

In terms of what I've actually found, it seems the rules are quite elegant in their function. Well circulated works are pervasive and gain support (and opposition) quickly. Convincing a senior to provide Apologia in support (As in the matter of Pralix and the Order Miscellanea, where Hariste petitioned, and got the aid of Trianoma herself) can be incredibly effective, as a strong debater can provide extremely good works in support of the argument, often overpowering a larger number of less effective, or less circulated works.
The rules are good, and combined with the Debate rules, make politicking amazing fun, even in this early simulation stage of mine.

Don't think of it as the polemic is having more trouble affecting change. Think of the prevailing wisdom as the existing amount, and the polemic modifying based off that.

I find it easier to deal with when I remember that neither Diatribes or Apologia can be written without a Polemic being read first. As if the Polemic opens up the debate and the Diatribes & Apologia are the arguments themselves.