Unfortunately, correct as of today, yes.
Encouraged to read the Charter, but where is it? Search got me this link: http://thescienceforum.org/topic2.html
that doesn't work.
Believe it's likely referring to this (which is also pinned at the top of the Introductions subforum): topic3.html
Multiple choice between joining Original Members group or Charter Members group in User Control Panel. Is there a practical difference?
Not really, no, but the first (Original Members) was intended as a way to recognize and thank all those who came with us and joined the community when we originally created it in 2011. It is available by invitation only, and (given that it's now five years later) it's effectively unavailable to new members.