Dear Homo Sapien who Does Not Like to be Labeled and Feels that Labels are Restrictive and Result in Stereotypes and Boxed-In Self-Images,
I think your stance is faulty, for reasons that will become obvious in this post. Short words or phrases that are descriptive of persons, groups, intellectual movements, so on and so forth, have their benefits. These benefits are apparent to most people, but they seem to elude you. As we could go on forever and ever again arguing these points, I will try to illustrate them here.
This website is a community for persons who lack the belief in a deity, who are unsure about the existence/nonexistence of a deity, who are open to different views/opinions about the existence/nonexistence of a deity, and/or who have a worldview that focuses on human values and concerns without regard to the existence/nonexistence of a deity. The need for such a community is quite a shame; for many members of this community, this is their only escape from a world dominated by persons who possess the belief in a particular deity, namely the deities as described in the Bible and the Koran, and who insist upon the literal interpretations of these books be an all-compassing aspect of everyone's lives as the books themselves prescribe. We all can agree that the world should be a place where our daily lives are free from such restraints and crazed expectations, and where beliefs are kept out of objective legislature, keeping everyone's laws free of bias. But until the rest of the world sees this, we can all meet here and discuss these topics.
However, these topics are not the only topics discussed. Science, art, and literature are also discussed, as are psychology and philosophy. Although I am partial to the variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and rejects the importance of belief in god, many people I've met hold a view that reality exists independently of consciousness, that human beings have direct contact with reality through sense perception, that one can attain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive logic, that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest, that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in laissez faire capitalism, and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally------and I can see where they are coming from in many aspects, though I disagree about most.
Topics are not limited on this website to those of study. Other topics include parenting, personal experience, and even sexual orientation. Today, I was told of an article about parents who are not telling their child what his/her sex is so that he/she will grow up without gender identification and can decide for himself/herself. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/parents-keep-child-gender-under-wraps-170824245.html. I've met many people of different sexual orientations: some are attracted to the same sex, some are attracted to the opposite sex, some are attracted to both sexes, some are attracted to others without regard to sex or gender. I myself am attracted to both sexes, though I wouldn't want an emotional romantic relationship with someone of the same sex as me.
Politics and economics are also huge topics for people who lack the belief of deities on this website. Many people who lack the belief of deities on this website advocate an economic system in which the means of production are either state owned or commonly owned and controlled cooperatively, though many are supportive of an economic system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated for profit, usually in competitive markets. While most people who lack the belief of deities seem to hold the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights, I have met some that think a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society, is the best system.
There is a wide variety of different individuals on Think Atheist; knowing the labels they relate to or closest to helps others know, at a glance, who they generally are and where they generally stand. Very few people adhere to any set of views to the very definition provided by wikipedia; we all have our own opinions and we all deviate a bit from our stated label. To know how much, you have to value people enough to discover their nuances. But to proclaim that labels are bad and shouldn't exist is a faulty position; we are social creatures and tend to follow. This has been tested and shown to be true numerous times---for example, the famous Milgram study http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment
Labels give people options. Without ever hearing the label "secular humanist", I would've never read of Epicurus, or read the Humanist Manifesto(s), which helped me mold and concrete my own views. Hearing about objectivism and considering what that entails exactly helped me question my own views. Knowing the difference between sexual orientations helps me understand others better. Yes, stereotypes and forced self-images are horrible results of having labels. But the problem is not the label....the problem that needs to be addressed and corrected is the stereotype and/or forced self-image. I think that learning the history and function of specific labels helps us understand them more, and use them better. Unless, of course, you're against education as well....