The trouble I have with "Ask to Join" is that it feels like going up to a group of people in conversation at a cocktail party and going OHAI :D!
I'm bad enough at that in real life and it's not any easier on the web.
Is "Ask to Join" yet another barrier to entry against introverts? Shouldn't it be easier for people with anxieties about social interaction to jump into online interactions? Or is "Ask to Join" simply a filter for people who might not benefit from this kind of thing anyway?