One of the oldest virtual communities in continuous operation is the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, or The WELL.
The WELL was started in 1985 by Stewart Brand and Larry Brilliant as a dial-up bulletin board system (BBS).
This community boasts "Artisanal conversation. Real people. Real names." There are no anonymous members, and the focus is on real community with real connections between people.
The WELL slogan is "You Own Your Own Words" or YOYOW. The double-meaning is intentional. Members have both the rights to their posted words and responsibility for those words.