Thanks for your stimulating comments. I hope that others will share their responses here.
Yes, I agree we need to think harder about how VMT can build virtual community. What are the potentials that we should be pursuing?
It has gradually become clearer that we should probably be trying to build (or foster or catalyze and nurture) a long-living and growing community, rather than just providing a service for short-lived groups of individuals.
Who are likely participants in an on-going VMT community? How can we reach those people?
What are the potentials of overcoming distance? Should we try harder to attract participants from outside the US?
What are the potentials of overcoming time? Asynchronous discussions seem much less satisfying than chats for serious problem-solving. Should we intersperse synch and asynch phases?