I know a little more about this topic from personal experience. I was in Mensa, 999 and Epimetheus.
At least a half-dozen of these societies were founded by the same man, Ron Hoeflin. The testing procedures usually involve instruments created and normed by Hoeflin and Kevin Langdon in some way. These two names resonate through the high-IQ community.
The list of the societies founded by Hoeflin includes some duplication. I’m not sure of the details, but some kind of in-fighting in the 2000s must have caused him to create Epimetheus and Omega, two groups which seem redundant of the similarly named Prometheus and Mega, which he founded about a quarter of a century earlier. There must be a story there, but I neither know it nor care about it. I gather that a lot of internal warfare goes on in these groups.
The Cracked article is quite perspicacious in noting that these societies can’t seem to come up with a decent website. Their home pages are mostly text, and seem to have been created in 1995 (even in the societies created in 2006). They are seldom updated. In my observations of these societies, I found their websites to be reflective of their general disdain for the internet. There is a strong luddite strain among these brainiacs. You would think that societies dedicated to the accumulation and application of knowledge would completely embrace a technology that basically allows all of mankind’s knowledge to be shared and discussed, but I have never found that to be the case. The last time I looked in on VIDYA, the publication of the 999 Society, it was not available online, and the snail-mail version seemed to be created by a third grader using some freeware for desktop publishing.
Disclaimer: My knowledge is probably out of date. I abandoned these societies years ago, because they failed to provide the two things I was looking for:
1. Smart chicks. Except for MENSA, very few women belong.
2. Resources. Being kind of a geek myself, I thought that these societies and their mailing lists would provide a tremendous way to get a solid overview of any new topic of interest, plus perhaps a list of the ten best books on the subject. It’s always difficult to approach a new topic because you never know which books are truly accurate and well researched, so I always seem to waste time wading through the swamp of pseudo-experts before I find the people who really know what they are talking about. Take, for example, the Black Sox. There are exactly two guys in the world who know what they are talking about because they have been through all the books, all the newspaper articles, all the interviews and all the trial transcripts. They also have the brainpower to sort the wheat from the chaff. But, damn, it took me a year of research and the consumption of scads of superficial books and articles before I found those two guys.
Baseball is probably a poor example, but I figured that the high-IQ societies would be a great place to ask questions like “What are the best books on Russian cinema, what are ten movies I should start with, and what are the best resources to obtain those movies at the lowest possible cost?” I found the societies to be no help at all on this or any other subject that interested me. Either nobody shared my interests or they wouldn’t take the time to weigh in.
I suppose if I had asked them to name all of the wizards in Tolkien, detailing their powers and their back-stories, I would have been inundated with replies. Or maybe that’s just my stereotype of my fellow geeks. I do know that I was considered to have committed sacrilege when I said I read Lord of the Rings, enjoyed it, then moved on, but that was not nearly so bad as when I said that I would rather play beach volleyball than go to a museum on a warm, sunny day.