As a long-time Mac troubleshooting researcher and consultant, one of my favorite and perhaps the most valuable Mac knowledge sites online is Apple's own Support Discussions forums. According to an official post on the site, the forums will be receiving a makeover, becoming more socially inclined by adding feature sets like avatars, homepages, and widgets.
The new-look forum will now be called Apple Support Communities, toting the tag line, "Experience the Power of Apple Support Communities." That power is the unique mix of new and old Mac users from around the world who have frequented the old Discussions forums for years, giving suggestions for just about any Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad, or Apple accessory that may come up.
Much of the functionality of the current Discussions pages will remain similar. You can browse or search for issues you may be experiencing or start an entirely new topic altogether. Other users can then comment on those topics as a solutions to your problem are suggested, tested, and found.
The new stuff comes in the form of a redesign, adding customizable avatars and a new, user-designed homepage featuring site-specific widgets, all to make your troubleshooting (or trouble solving) efforts a little more social (and a little easier). Think of the new Apple Support Communities like iGoogle for your Mac problem solving needs. You can also set up email alerts for activity on your posts, allowing you to know when your answers are available.
There are several forum sites around the Web that offer a great array of Mac knowledge and a community of experts that are able to answer many questions regarding Apple products, but none compete with the robustness of Apple's. The move to make the forums more community-oriented should provide new users with a less overwhelming approach to troubleshooting on their own while also providing a better platform for experienced users (and bloggers) to find and give answers to those issues.
I would love to get the impressions of this announcement from new and experienced users. What do you think about the new Apple Support Communities? Let us know in the comments!