***Update***: Dawkins has responded to the situation here:
Surely there has to be something wrong with people who can resort to such over-the-top language, over-reacting so spectacularly to something so trivial. Even some of those with more temperate language are responding to the proposed changes in a way that is little short of hysterical. Was there ever such conservatism, such reactionary aversion to change, such vicious language in defence of a comfortable status quo? What is the underlying agenda of these people? How can anybody feel that strongly about something so small? Have we stumbled on some dark, territorial atavism? Have private fiefdoms been unwittingly trampled?
Be that as it may, what this remarkable bile suggests to me is that there is something rotten in the Internet culture that can vent it. If I ever had any doubts that RD.net needs to change, and rid itself of this particular aspect of Internet culture, they are dispelled by this episode.
If you are one of those who have dealt out such ludicrously hyperbolic animosity, you know who should receive your private apology. And if you are one of those who are as disgusted by it as I am, you know where to send your warm letter of support.
***Update 2***: Dawkins has issued a clarification and apology.
I’ll admit I never really used them, but plenty of people visited The Richard Dawkins Foundation forums.
But now it appears the forum is dead.
Peter Harrison explains in quite a bit of detail what happened behind the scenes and why this is a problem.
If you visit the forum at www.richarddawkins.net now, you will find that you can still view threads but no longer post. All explanations seem a little vague and there is talk of misbehaving moderators. If you’ve come to the forum after all the drama, it all seems very confusing. I hope that this blog entry will allow confused forum members to understand what happened behind the scenes. It’s important that the truth is told, since the individuals behind this incident have worked hard to cover up what really happened.
(via Reality is My Religion — Thanks to Nigel for the link)
By the way, the Friendly Atheist Forums are alive and well. Feel free to join in and comment!