If you're referring to the "user groups" they are groups of users with common interest. Most are open but you have to apply to get in. Some are limited to certain appraisers, such as the Florida User group is limited to appraisers that are licensed in Florida.
If you see a user group that appeals to you and it is open, you may join. To do so first click the "user group" icon. Then view the information about the user group you are interested in. If it is an open group (accepting new members) then click the "join group" button. The group moderator will let you in.
The 'special access' groups are set up as Wayne explained. I don't know of any heated arguments or locked threads in any of them.
:roll: :lol: Issues discussed within are usually kept very issue specific so they are easy to locate if one want's to read again or post more.