A few years ago when groups were briefly added, I added ones on most religions--at least Eurasian ones. Now that groups have been back a while, I have joined none (except admin groups.) I see them as taking away from the forum, and I am not sure they are integrated well. Maybe we could talk to Ning about improving them or the site, like giving you notifications on the site (rather than just email.) Is there any reason I or anyone else would want to join a group?
The forum is also more than one page. Perhaps it could be simplified. Many of the forums would be appropriate as topics, and most/all groups would probably be appropriate as forums or topics. It should allow all on a page no matter the size. It only shows 20 per page, but my Usenet newsreader shows almost 60 per page (each have only one line of text.)
"Is there any reason I or anyone else would want to join a group?"
They can be used to discuss items that become inherently contentious. One can separate out a topic for discussion that becomes heated, giving the group more leeway to apply rules for the site. That may be to relax them some or even strengthen them some. A person can be removed without having to suspend them from the entire site. Of course, one can also just suspend them as well.
a good example is Abrahamic religions. Personally, it is hard to form a brotherhood of humanity within the world without including the people who believe them. Actually, I'm only talking about finding some form of peaceful coexistence.
3.5+ billion people.... I doubt most have read their own source literature. (and confusion with the source material is rampant).
I don't want to start a mud-slinging contest here BTW. I know it is sensitive topic for many on this site. Hence - I am avoiding the subject these days..
just BTW - I do not belong to any organized religion or even any general belief system.