What a roller coaster of a ride it's been!
When I first heard about the Atheist Nexus a few days ago, I thought it a brilliant idea. The fact that over 1,000 people signed up in just a few days points out that this was something needed.
Then, this morning, a revelation is posted in the forum that there is a christian site sharing fax and telephone numbers... then the finding of a prayer being submitted by the administrator just a few months ago... shortly before the founding of the Atheist Nexus. Things looked pretty shaky. I know that my trust in the site wavered.
In the chatroom here, several of us commiserated and talked about options. Several people suggested calling the contact numbers given, but it was too early in the day. PZ Myers in his famous (at least in freethought circles) blog, Pharyngula, posted the ongoing story.
By the time that Thor, the AN administrator responded, things had reached a fever pitch. A few people defended him and expressed dismay that so many of us were questioning Thor and raking him over the coals.
Personally, I can understand why the grilling occurred. I think it had to be done.
I feel bad that Thor was questioned harshly, especially since it looks like he was trying to really build atheist communities. But, I think the questioning was reasonable and necessary.
Having read the available evidence and responses from Thor and his wife, Ashley... I am giving them the benefit of the doubt.
He has obviously invested time and thought into this site. A think if it was a sham, Thor would have broken when the evidence first surfaced. He didn't.
I am remaining on the Atheist Nexus.
That said, I do think that there are some areas to be worked on. A message board with threads would be a vast improvement over the Forum. Also, the chat room could be linked to an IRC chat instead of one here. But most importantly, I think it would be wise for Thor to incorporate the site. This would provide some legal protection for him and also allow for delegation of responsibilities.
Finally, if we've had all this drama in just the initial days of the Nexus, then I'm thinking it's going to be a fun and exciting trip for all for a long time.