Nothing stirs controversy in our comments more than the rumored iPad mini. Big media is throwing its credence behind it, pundits and analysts are calling for it, watchers offer their pros and cons as purported schematics, case molds, blurry photos and production rumors continue to leak all over the web, seemingly pointing to a fall launch.

And with Google’s Nexus 7 off to a brisk start and garnering media attention, the iPad mini seems all but given at this point. We ask you to forget for a second everything you’ve read and take a long hard look at the prospect of a smaller, cheaper, really thin iPad sitting between $249 and $299, perhaps even as low as $199.

Is there a reason for it to exist? Should Apple do it or pass on smaller slates Steve Jobs famously ridiculed as tweener tablets. Cast your vote below…

Should Apple do the darn thing, the consensus out there appears to be that it’ll retain the iPad 2’s 1024-by-768 resolution for backwards compatibility with existing apps (screen size comparison with other tablets here).

Technicalities aside (because Apple probably will find a way to engineer a smaller iPad without introducing a new screen resolution), Apple’s long been rumored to expand the iPad with a smaller model in order to cover a wider range of price points, just as it had successfully done in the past with the iPod music player.

Increased competition from Amazon and Google (and let’s not forget Microsoft) might have hastened Apple’s plans, as I recently opined.

Here, cast your vote now.

Feel free to explain your vote reasoning down in the comments.

And please, no sandpaper humor, these jokes are getting old.