There does seem to be quite a heated debate within the community trying to define what polyamory _is_. I'm part of live-in triad and both of my primaries have outside connections with other partners, as do I. Still, there are those within the poly community that nitpick about minutiae, like use of hierarchical language, as being "not in keeping with the spirit of poly". I'll call these people the "Poly-er than Thou" crowd, and I can find myself a bit frustrated with the air of moral superiority they tend to exude, which feels no different than conservative religious "One true path" thinking to me.
One thing I've noticed as a tendency in this group is that they are less connected to mainstream responsibilities and more able to live in their own world than most of us. For example, most of the Poly-er than Thou's don't seem to have standard 8-5 corporate jobs (they are self-employed, artists, musicians etc.) and often they don't have minor children in residence.
It's a lot easier to create a world that mirrors your ideal version of polyamory when you aren't also trying to co-exist with "normal" society, and to be judgemental or lack understanding towards those who are choosing to remain connected to a larger societal reality and still have an authentic space within it that reflects their vision of poly.
The other thing that seems to be a tendency within the Poly-er than Thou's is that they don't seem to be _living_ their vision on an on-going basis. They talk a good game, but when the chips are on the table, they aren't manifesting their concept in reality. It's an easy out to blame that on the unwillingness of others to fit within their version of poly. They start something idyllic and idealistic, it flames out largely because it doesn't work in reality. The people they're dating, must not be poly enough to make it happen.
Well, I might not be "true poly", but I'm living and loving my vision every day! Me and my primaries, our secondaries, and those tertiary connections too. ;)