I like the message board. I like the FORMAT just as much as I like the content. Back in the days when Becky from Tennessee was active, she'd open up a couple of chat sites and even with just 4 or 5 people from the board, they soon became the typical chat room experience -- very little typing, lots of waiting, a bit of reading and most people felt disjointed. I'm not sure conference call voice communication would be significantly different, at least for me. (Not a big fan of conference calls and multi-line conversations I guess.)
From time to time I've had some personal email communication with people from the board. It's been gratifying -- though not terribly long-lived. What binds us, I find, is plantar fasciitis for the most part. Once that is dealt with -- sometimes there isn't much in common left.
What I like best about the PF message board is: 1) It's incredible comprehensiveness -- just about everything relating to PF is covered here or through the main site; 2) I can visit when I want -- silently or not -- and leave when I want, unnoticed by anyone. The sharing and compassion is wonderful; the medium is excellent.
In short -- it's enough for me and I hope it never goes away -- or at least that everyone's PF goes away first.