My first experience with exJWs, after I met Ray Franz, Peter Gregerson and others in the Atlanta area, was the BRCI organization (Biblical Research and Commentary International). That group formed shortly after Ray was DF'd and was joined by numerous former Bethelites and other well-known names at the time (early 80s). A thread of that organization, which sponsors the 800-WHY-1914 Helpline (Marilyn Zweifel) still meets in Chicago to this day. (Check out BRCI.org).
Upon discovering the Internet in the mid 90s, the first forum I found was an e-mail list sponsored by exJW Joey Staggnito. Names like Jim Penton, Alan Feuerbacher (AlanF), Norwegians Kent Steinhaug and Jon Haugland who both had elaborate websites (Watchtower Observer and All Along the Watchtower) that were among the first to expose the Watchtower to the whole world, uniquely because JWs could read the information without fear of being discovered as if they bought a book. I began posting on that list as Ros. It was on that forum that an active JW elder posted as Praotes, and the little known Internet world of exJWs watched as he was drawn away from the organization. At that time, less than 2% Americans were on the Internet and the US was the biggest user of the WWW.
But the grand daddy of all forums in my experience was the Hourglass2Outpost forum (H2O) that was sponsored by a professed JW called "Rick" and his Australian friends who wanted Watchtower Reform. Like none before it nor after, that forum posed such a threat to the Watchtower Organization that even some of their leaders sneaked in occasionally. It was so monitored by the Watchtower organization that once, I posted to it that I heard the Bethel in Spain was being investigated by the organization. That post resulted in several people being disfellowshipped at Spain Bethel and I was chastized by my friends here and there for having been so indiscreet on that forum. That forum had JWs and exJWs the world over posting feverishly on a daily basis. Then, the forum promoter for technical reasons had to shut down H2O, and it attempted to migrate to this forum, which has come down to what it is today. Several other forums tried also to replace the original H2O without success.
Names are too numerous to remember now, but AlanF, Doug (Farkel), Kent and JanH, Jan Grenvold (Aussie), Randy, Liberal Elder (AJWRB site) and Rational Witness (two JW elders who came out), and many, many others. I also posted on that site as Ros. Carl Olof sometimes posted there. It was a truly international forum and nothing, imo, has ever equaled that forum for bringing worldwide attention to exposing the Watchtower and publicising the books by the well-known authors. When the UN controversy was discovered, they were on it immediately. When the WTS made a blood deal with the European civil liberties union (something like that), they were exposed immediately. When the Elders manual was made available for reading and download on the Internet, it was publicized for the world to see (for which the WTS tried to sue).
The names that were prominent then have all but faded into the exJW past, but they were quite enormous at the time.
~Binadub (aka Ros)