Very constructive discussion!
The BJCP style guidelines offer an important coordination between most brewers and drinkers as to the major features of a particular style. Where the history and perceptions of the style are broad, the guidelines often have latitude in the characteristics. However, there is a deficiency that seems counterproductive to me. We rely on the "Specialty" category (23) to give those beers that don't quite fit well into the major categories. That does segregate beers that are generally similar to the major category, but has a unique feature or character that sets it apart. I have mentioned this in the past and it has been discussed in some circles that each major category should have its own 'specialty' subcategory so that these beers that may stretch the bounds of the category can be better compared to similar beers.
A case in point are beers that seem to straddle subcategories. They tend to get marked down because they are perceived with a little too much of a neighboring subcategory's character, all the while, it is a really great beer...maybe even better than the more subcategory aligned beers. It would be great to update the guidelines to include a better mechanism for including these somewhat unique beers with their brethren.
Clearly, there will be beers that venture well outside the character of some categories and the need for Category 23 - Specialty is still needed. But let's put this idea to the test.
I do appreciate the strong opinions expressed here, but I am dismayed that we don't have names and reputations to accompany all of them. Please consider including a little more self identification if you intend to be taken seriously. Slackers like myself, denny, mdixon, etc
that stand behind their words with a level of name recognition are much more likely to be civil. I understand a reluctance to use your full name to reduce the chance of being searched via the web, but you can make it possible to show who you are. I have found that great friendships and appreciation can come of it.