Just a suggestion regarding the forum. How do people feel about expanding it so that we can discuss other topics outside of atheism. In order to thrive as a community it makes sense that we open up the avenues for people to find other issues people feel passionate about whether that be cinema, TV, sport, literature or anything else. By doing so we can form a stronger community. Just my two cents.

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Fine by me. Of course, cinema, etc. are all the things I *can* talk to people IRL with, and atheism isn't, hence my intense interest in discussing it online with ya'll. But adding more to the site won't make it less "pure" or anything - people still self-select which groups they want to belong to.
There's the Watercooler section. What's wrong with that existing place for these diverse other discussion topics?

Also, atheists who really wanna discuss sports should be parachuted into the tundra of northern Canada with only a pair of snowshoes, a pocket knife and a metal cup, and if they can make it back to civilization alive only then should they be allowed to discuss sports.
What if we (or I) already live in Canada, is that an automatic pass for sports discussion.
(Mumbles something nasty-sounding about socialized medicine)
As someone who enjoys sports about as much as the paint drying channel. I second the motion. I have never in all my life understood the obsession people have with sports. I've just never been able to get into any of them, especially cricket. What I find even more bizzare though, is when people prefer watching sport over participating.
Watching sports is a spectator thing, nothing wrong with it. Setting up a modern internet forum in order to discuss them---especially on an atheist site---lol, well that's psycho.
Yes diversification would be cool. This is a recurring topic. There are lots of models on which it could be based, but the tried and tested Usenet model (30 years old !) is probably the best. It is a typical container based heirarchical model not all that different in theory to DNS, LDAP, Lotus Notes, Netware, Active directory etc., though much simpler. In essence, it flows top down and as a loose example can be described as -

Organisation (A|N) => Organisation Unit => Office => Department.* => User

Translated to A|N to would look something like this -

AtheistNexus.org => Groups => Science=> Pharyngula => you

This model has the great advantage of being infinitely scaleable, yet very simple for locating what you want logically. The other great advantage would be to allow single objects to be accessible from multiple containers, thus allowing a single comment thread for all (Yes I know cross-posting generally sucks, but often it can be approriate), single point of file access etc.

BUT, and at the risk of upsetting Brother Richard again, the greatest limitation we have is the Ning (our hosting provider) codebase. For want of a better analogy, Ning is a MySpace+ wannabe. It aims to please everyone, and as a result doesn't please very many. There is no capability in Ning to nest forum topics or groups without a serious code re-write.
This is only one of a shopping list of features that look like only half done betas as far as functionality goes.

Like I said, Ning is a type of free, lowest common denominator social platform ideal for single interest groups that are undemanding of function. The problem is, we are a herd of cats scattering in all directions at 100 mph. Ning simply is not capable of catering to all our needs. But its a low cost service and its a case of take it or leave it.
Hey, I'm all for changing. Anyone who is capable, PLEASE HELP! The difficulty is making everything backwards compatible and the money to do it all. What we have now cost a few hundred bucks a month, and we are getting half that in donations and ads. With our traffic, we should be able to do MUCH better. I am more than willing.
backwards compatible

Those words put a shudder of nausea and terror through anyone that works with this kind of stuff.

This is the problem with proprietary (as opposed to open atandard) services - it means they're incompatible with anything else and are a nightmare to relocate. Unless anyone knows any better, I would expect that the only way to relocate would be to start from scratch altogether. Not a pleasant thought.
Here's a thought - what about starting a separate Ning group for propellor heads and admins to discuss options ? I don't want to underestimate the enormity of the technical issues that would arise from re-tooling or relocating without user impact. Something with a proper directory services backbone.
Agreed! I would like to hear less talk of theism or scripture quotes. They haven't been part of my life and sometimes it feels like I'm walking into an a-church here.

Although I would fail trying to present, we could also have something like an open mic night live. If Ning can't support this type of scheduled event a site like http://www.blogtv.com/ could be linked. Something that connects real people in real time.
It seems like other non-atheist issues come up regardless...I doubt anyone would have a problem if someone just started a new thread with something else...




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