Based on my initial observations and reactions to the Idealist.org site, I feel that it contains many of the necessary requisites of an online community. It brings togther like-minded individuals to a site of commonality. One can be an active or peripheral participant, and it it is relevant to those who use it.
It however does not necessarily act as a Healthy Online Community (FOL, Chapter 4) Participants may or may not post regularly. It is self-monitored and participation is up to the individual. The online community only fits the needs of those who put the time and effort into the site. There is opportunity for collaboration (and teaching) but once again is dependent on ones effort. There also could be venting about the site's technology or lack of outward facilitator, but this site is primarily task-based meaning people connect with what or whomever is necessary, then their participation lagers. Members appear to be interested in the site, but I am not concinced that is anything more than self-promotion of individuals merits and accomplishments. I still have hope.