They should actually find a way to make the chat come up in a seperate window so you can chat on it while still browsing through other pages within the network. This would help foster live interaction while not discouraging the surfing of the network. But I don't know if Ning makes that an option or not.
maybe some people haven't figured out how to open multiple windows on their computer yet! it is called windowS, plural not window. he he he lol. come on people whats the big deal, Leave Terry alone to think up more cool stuff to put on the site!
I of course know why it was done. There is no way to have a pop-up window. Chat on the front page slows down not only the chat, but the loading of the front page for people with slow internet. So this way, both the site and chat will run faster.