Prologue: the word might as well be "election" or "religion" for all the controversy it raises.
I've read almost every article I've encountered that even contains the word. I'm continually amazed at not only the extremes of opinions it generates, but also the intensity of those opinions. Seeing as how you'll not see me take stances on politics or religion in this blog, I'll just divulge my opinion on prologues. Maybe it'll be less divisive.
Short answer to the question of whether or not I like prologues is...it depends.
You see, I read a prologue differently than I read a chapter one. I'm not sure that everyone does.
We step back from reality when we read a work of fiction. We suspend our disbelief and temporarily accept everything an author tells us. When I read a prologue, I step back even further. I step back from the story itself. I consider that what I'm reading has been set apart from the actual story for a reason.
Some reasons make sense. A good example would be instances where I'll never again see a prologue's characters (alive) in the rest of the book. Another good example might be that it takes place many years before chapter one begins. There are, of course, many other valid reasons as well.
I expect a little world building, a little setting to be laid out for me, but most of all, I take a prologue as a promise. The prologue should promise me things like the story's scope, the depth of the plot(s) I can expect, the style of writing, a foretaste of imagery to follow, an inkling of theme(s) and many other things.
Some genres lend themselves to prologues; others don't. I almost expect to see a prologue in an epic fantasy--especially a series, but would be surprised to find one at the beginning of a romance, for example. (Granted, I've not read much in the way of romance.)
Personally, I don't want a "chapter one" that's called a prologue. I also don't want a prologue that's called "chapter one" either. The prologue's contents, in my opinion, should be my pre-launch, my orientation. And it should entice me to continue. That's part of the "promise" I referred to earlier.
I think many frown upon prologues because they're often boring, have nothing to do with the actual story or are thinly-veiled info-dumps. Frequently, the info can be omitted or presented just as effectively within the chapters. But I believe there are times a prologue is warranted. And when done well they can be wonderful.
Like anything else contained within the book, the prologue should serve a purpose. That purpose should engage, entertain, promise, foreshadow, lay a foundation, set the stage, etc.
As for those who refuse to read a prologue simply because it's called a prologue, well, I consider it their loss. I'm somewhat of a cheapskate. If I spend money on a book, I'm going to read the whole book. Leaving sections unread is like not finishing my plate at a restaurant or skipping an appetizer even though I spent good money for it.
What about you? Weigh in!