Apple has completely overhauled its discussion forums, introducing 'Apple Support Communities'.
Over the weekend, the Apple Discussions site was taken offline to be replaced with the new-look forums, which offer several new features such as tracked responses and customisable widgets.
"Apple Support Communities brings together thousands of Macintosh, iPod, iPhone and iPad users from around the world to discuss Apple products and topics. Apple Support Communities provides a wealth of information about your favourite Apple hardware and software products to help you get the most out of your purchase. And, in the spirit of community, you can also help other Apple Support Communities' users by answering their questions," the introduction to the new-look support forum reads.
You can now enter the Apple Support Communities through the Communities tab on the Apple Support page. You'll also find communities for Apple's hardware and software products listed in a panel on the left-hand side of the page. On the right of the page is a list of recent posts.
A large How It Works button and links to tutorials can be found at the top of the page. Once you are in a community page, you can reply to any post or click on a Like button for individual posts. If you create a post you'll be notified by email if someone replies to it; you can also choose to follow the community.
If you choose to do this, the community will appear on a list in a personalised page that also lists discussions you have contributed to and questions you have asked.
When you receive a useful answer, you can mark those answers as being useful or correct, similar to Yahoo Answers. This earns the person who answered the question reputation points. Earning more points increases your status level, earning you more priviledges. However, Apple doesn't outline what these priviledges are.