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Report confirms dismantling of Apple forum staff

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Apple Computer has decided to do away with its discussion support team, a group of forum hosts that have monitored and moderated its user discussion boards, a new report has confirmed.

According to an article at The Mac Observer, the team was recently dismantled after Apple management began to question the value of the boards.

"The end result, however, has been a marked decrease in the quality of discussions, and an increase in everything from rudeness to instructions on pirating music and software," the report states.

It's believed that Apple started to break down the discussion support team late last month. Specifically, AppleInsider sources indicated that Apple began dismissing the majority of the staff members on June 29th.

The Apple Discussion boards have long been a resource for Apple customers to report problems with the company's products and receive helpful advice on how to solve those problems from other users and forum staff members.

At times, the boards also became a focal point of the online and mainstream media due to questionable moderation practices. To the dismay of customers, it wasn't uncommon for staff members to close or completely remove lengthy discussion threads that brought attention to problems with Apple products that the company had yet to officially recognize.

But Apple's decision to do away with its moderation staff has only added to the complaints users have about the boards.

"The forums have declined to such a state that they are certainly a disgrace to the Apple Corporation," one user wrote. "I don't know if any of the upper echelon from Apple ever visit, but they should. They would get a rude awaking."

Another added, "It is unfortunate that whomever is in charge, and their management, does not recognize what these forums have contributed in the past, and what they've lost by the decision to let go a team of support professionals that were extremely dedicated to improving Apple's customer support."
post #2 of 59
I thought this might happen. Whenever a website is talking about a problem with an Apple product, for example the MB discolouring, they would link to the Apple forums. Then you'd find a few days later that the thread had been closed. The forums put Apple in a bad light, mainly for them always closing threads.
post #3 of 59
The forums are (were?) definitely moderated en masse by Emmanuel Goldstein himself.

If one would be so bold as to imply that something within the Mac/Apple realm was faulty, needed redesign and suggested procedures/methods for improvement, it was a sure way to get that posting removed.

Also, most--if not all--of the solutions simply involved reinstalling the entire OS, even if that problem happened to be, oh, the wrong font was showing up or some other trivial matter.

Reminds me of the time a dealer suggested I replace my engine since my back seat was creaking.
post #4 of 59
It's been a long time since I used them, but it used to be that the discussions were the ONLY way to get support on most issues for me. Answers came from other users as much as moderators and it was all very helpful. I guess things have changed since my last visit?
post #5 of 59
I really don't see a benefit for any large corporation to run an open forum because of the time it takes to deal with random crank posters and the tensions that rise over any disagreement.

If they are going to kill threads regarding problems with their products, then it's not really much of a support forum.
post #6 of 59
In the last several months, I've been an habitué of the Apple Forums. IMHO, the "disappearing thread" phenomenon occurs because, at some point, the "flame" posts become a little out of control. Yet, I've never really seen any threads get that out of hand...With prudent moderating..any -good- thread can be brought back to life.

So, w/the removal of Apple's Support team on their forums..does that mean the support forums are going to disappear as well?

If so, that positions AI and/or MR for some heavy traffic.
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post #7 of 59
I never got anything helpful out of them anyway. I didn't think the people were very friendly either. Also, as pointed out, the most important threads just got locked or deleted. Stupid forum IMO and good riddance.
post #8 of 59
There were/are some very knowledgeable people who frequented the Apple forums, at least the ARD and Server portions. I haven't been there in a while but when I had a problem that I couldn't find a solution for I was almost guaranteed to find it there. To bad.

The best part is that people were there to ask and answer computer related questions. There was no AppleOutsider (PoliticalOutsider) BS that spewed in to the other sub-forums.
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post #9 of 59
It'll be sad if Apple's forums go away. I certainly was able to extract as well as add useful information from/to them. Sure the useful info sometimes was few and far between the "reinstall everything" solutions, but you usually at least got quite a few responses to questions. In other words, there was a critical mass of people there which is hard to get elsewhere.
post #10 of 59
That's too bad. The Discussions are a great and valuable resource.

I disagree with macinthe408. The solutions provided there are usually right on and address the specific issue you are experiencing. You can get most questions answered just by using the search function. The people there, for the most part, are extremely friendly and willing to help.

Questions are also answered a lot faster and more reliably when compared to other Apple forums.

Many topics are locked or deleted because they stop being useful. Is a thread that has 50 people saying their MacBook stains really useful? No one is offering help and threadjacking occurs. Then people start complaining. The Discussions are meant to help people get questions answered, not house threads with people complaining. You can't get help in a thread where 50 people are complaining.

applerocks
post #11 of 59
I agree with the pro-forum sentiments. Without honest feedback and questions from Apple's most valuable partners (it's customers) they risk further fencing themselves off and shutting good (and bad) opinions off completely.

This sucks, Apple.

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post #12 of 59
NOOOO....

The Apple forums have every problem I've ever experienced. I thought that was one of the best things about Apple's Support system. and it's free no matter how old and out of warranty your stuff is.

I place no blame on the moderators for removing posts that criticized the design of the computer. It's a support forum not a feedback forum!

and so no, Johnny Krz, things haven't changed, in my experience. If this is true it's really bad news at least for me...
post #13 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
I really don't see a benefit for any large corporation to run an open forum because of the time it takes to deal with random crank posters and the tensions that rise over any disagreement.

If they are going to kill threads regarding problems with their products, then it's not really much of a support forum.

A lot of companies do have boards like these. They aren't always official, but are supported by the company Even Sprint has one.
post #14 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by user23
In the last several months, I've been an habitué of the Apple Forums. IMHO, the "disappearing thread" phenomenon occurs because, at some point, the "flame" posts become a little out of control. Yet, I've never really seen any threads get that out of hand...With prudent moderating..any -good- thread can be brought back to life.

So, w/the removal of Apple's Support team on their forums..does that mean the support forums are going to disappear as well?

If so, that positions AI and/or MR for some heavy traffic.

It would seem so.

Unless they are going to revise the boards completely.

I don't see the boards continuing without at least some company participation.
post #15 of 59
If any apple bigwigs read this forum:

Don't Get rid of the forums! Bring back the hosts! Reverse the decision!!

This majorly sucks if true...
post #16 of 59
I have had many good tips and knowledgeable answers from the discussion forums. As well, I have posted answers to less experienced users to help them correct issues & challenges.

For those of us who believe that the Apple Discussion Forums were a good resource, please :

Forward your comment to Keep Apple Discussions moderated and supported to Apple corporation.

I do not think that they read Apple Insider comments, so we should act directly on this one. I plan on doing so today.
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post #17 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by Bruce Young
I have had many good tips and knowledgeable answers from the discussion forums. As well, I have posted answers to less experienced users to help them correct issues & challenges.

For those of us who believe that the Apple Discussion Forums were a good resource, please :

Forward your comment to Keep Apple Discussions moderated and supported to Apple corporation.

I do not think that they read Apple Insider comments, so we should act directly on this one. I plan on doing so today.

Definitely will. Anyone got a good email address...?
post #18 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
It would seem so.

Unless they are going to revise the boards completely.

I don't see the boards continuing without at least some company participation.


Ditching their forums is just lame. Can't be accurate.
I'm with you in that it makes more sense to just revise them.

and, for those who believe threads are often locked/deleted to "cover Apple's ass" about defective products...Well, after giving it more thought, it seems to me that duplicate, pointless threads are often binned.

this thread has been going strong for some time.
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post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by meelash
Definitely will. Anyone got a good email address...?

steve@mac.com

post #20 of 59
I don't think that email works, TednDi or if you send an email you wont get a response.

Apple just needs to pull the discussion forums from their site and get it over with. This will put a stop to everything.
post #21 of 59
They are not ditching the discussions only the moderation of them.

Since MacFixIt started its "Pro" bullshit, Apple Discussions has been the best place to go. The problem with the moderators is that a thread will start about a legitimate technical problem, some good discussion will begin, things will start to get personal or nasty, and POOF, all gone!

I generally go there for specific problems, not to whine at Apple (I do that at MacCentral).
post #22 of 59
NeXTAnswers was always a superior solution to answering the most commonly fielded support questions in which the general masses benefited for free. It also taught everyone working inside the castle how to form better relationships with clients and consumers.
post #23 of 59
jobs@apple.com

This address is monitored and forwarded to the appropriate people at apple.
Keep it brief and on target.
post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by macinthe408
Also, most--if not all--of the solutions simply involved reinstalling the entire OS, even if that problem happened to be, oh, the wrong font was showing up or some other trivial matter.

Sorry macinthe408, I disagree completely!!

I have been a participant in Apple Discussions for quite a while and would challenge anyone that suggests what you have stated.

1. RARELY (<1%) are solutions given to ANY problem that involve reinstalling the OS.

2. Many of the participants in the different forums (myself excluded) are of "experts" in that topic, and spend hours selflessly trying to help the newbies and the old timers alike.

3. Apple Discussions was created to allow Mac users an all inclusive place to post questions, find answers, and get solutions to mundane and technical problems, not only from (on occasion) moderators, but primarily, other more experienced users who are "in the trenches"

4. If you want to see threads that VERY OFTEN serve no purpose except to flame and vent, look no further than HERE!! I can hardly think of a circumstance when a thread at Apple Discussions has been shut down prior to it becoming a bitch session.

5. It will truly be a shame if Apple allows its' Discussion Forum to disintegrate into an uncontrolled free-for-all as many help sites/blogs have become. Then, possibly tossing the idea altogether.

Regards,

BuzDots
OMG here we go again...
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OMG here we go again...
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post #25 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by macFanDave
They are not ditching the discussions only the moderation of them.

If that were to be true, it would not be a good idea at all. It would also serve no purpose anymore. It would be best to shut them down.
post #26 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
If that were to be true, it would not be a good idea at all. It would also serve no purpose anymore. It would be best to shut them down.

I hate to disagree, but perhaps Apple would think that self-policing would be better for the community. I would agree to that.

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post #27 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by BuzDots
Sorry macinthe408, I disagree completely!!


I second that...

I have frequented the boards a bit myself while having problems. Most notable was when my dual 2.0 g5 rev b was kernel panicing like mad. People would dump their log files, users would parse them and let others know what exactly was the problem. It was rare even in that discussion saying to reinstall the OS. It's rare you have to re-install the whole OS. If there are people saying to reinstall the OS as their first statement, then they are noob.

I have always found those boards to be full of wonderful information on OS X and hardware problems. I will be sad to see it go.

 

 

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post #28 of 59
In regards to apple shutting down the boards along with dismembering the team...

I believe there are many frequenters of those boards that would LOVE to volunteer to moderate / monitor those boards. Just like most other forums. It's free, and people are helping to support apple.

Personally I think the management is nuts for thinking it doesn't help... but what do I know... I'm just a dumb dev.

 

 

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post #29 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by SpamSandwich
I hate to disagree, but perhaps Apple would think that self-policing would be better for the community. I would agree to that.

Self policing doesn't work. It doesn't always here, why should it work there? Without the threat that they will be removed, some people feel they must vent with insults, which brings down the quality for everyone.
post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by emig647
In regards to apple shutting down the boards along with dismembering the team...

I believe there are many frequenters of those boards that would LOVE to volunteer to moderate / monitor those boards. Just like most other forums. It's free, and people are helping to support apple.

Personally I think the management is nuts for thinking it doesn't help... but what do I know... I'm just a dumb dev.

That would be Apple taking over the mods again. Even if it was done by non Apple employees, with Apple giving them the ability to moderate them, it would still be Apple in charge.

I'm not sure if Apple would like those who are not under their employee contracts to do official moderating, for official is what it would be.
post #31 of 59
i visit those forums.

its too bad.
post #32 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Self policing doesn't work. It doesn't always here, why should it work there? Without the threat that they will be removed, some people feel they must vent with insults, which brings down the quality for everyone.

The way I see it, digg works. Maybe they need to adapt to that model.


Oh, and I just found this... hmmm...

http://news.com.com/.Mac+users+mock+...l?tag=nefd.top

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post #33 of 59
One question here.

Why would Apple do such a thing as dismantle the forum staff? What did they have in mind?

I think Apple's discussions are a great place to go to get your technical questions answered. I myself have helped answer many people's questions over there and ask some questions of my own.

If anyone can answer my question that would be great.

Thanks.
post #34 of 59
Without the Logic Pro forums, Logic would be near unusable sometimes. If apple fuck with that, they better step up with their helpdesk.
post #35 of 59
so, if i am reading this correctly, apple was removing moderators from the forums when they started going off the tracks? did they think this would help matters? i dunno. i'd rather there be a moderated discussion (with proper disavowments if necessary whenever anyone suggested "recalll" or "faulty") from apple than the tower of babel you find anywhere else. plus, we the experienced users know where else to look for help, but does the new apple computer owner know? seems like this is going to jettison more people at the call centers than anything else. hmmm... maybe this is a wacko attempt at getting more people to signup for applecare to get the full two years of phone assistance? yeah, i know. crazy talk, but don't think there isn't at least one exec who think that's a brilliant idea, dilbert pointy-haired-boss style.
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post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by rok
so, if i am reading this correctly, apple was removing moderators from the forums when they started going off the tracks? did they think this would help matters? i dunno. i'd rather there be a moderated discussion (with proper disavowments if necessary whenever anyone suggested "recalll" or "faulty") from apple than the tower of babel you find anywhere else. plus, we the experienced users know where else to look for help, but does the new apple computer owner know? seems like this is going to jettison more people at the call centers than anything else. hmmm... maybe this is a wacko attempt at getting more people to signup for applecare to get the full two years of phone assistance? yeah, i know. crazy talk, but don't think there isn't at least one exec who think that's a brilliant idea, dilbert pointy-haired-boss style.

The question is why, and how far up the chain has this pointy-haired decision gone?

Because, if it was Jobs, I can believe it. He is prickly, to be sure.
post #37 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
The question is why, and how far up the chain has this pointy-haired decision gone?

Because, if it was Jobs, I can believe it. He is prickly, to be sure.

Why would Steve Jobs do such a thing?
post #38 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. X
Why would Steve Jobs do such a thing?

Because if he heard, in a meeting, of something happening in the forums he didn't like, he might pull the whole thing down. Don't forget when the bio of him came out, a bio that was pretty much positive, he found something he didn't like in it, and pulled the entire catalog of books from the company off the shelves.

When someone wrote a chapter about Job's father, and Jobs earlier relationships, and sent it to him for comments, he called the writer " a nutcase", and used pressure to have the magazine recind its contract to publish the piece. I read it, and it wasn't bad, just straightfoward. Too bad it wasn't published.

So, sure, I could see him doing that.
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally posted by meelash
Definitely will. Anyone got a good email address...?

http://www.apple.com/contact/feedback.html
post #40 of 59
The Apple forums are for the most part, duplications of what any of us can get here, at MacNN or Ars. Even MacRumors is good at posting big issues that are getting the most attention. I ask questions all of the time that are answered sometimes within minutes in any of these places. (And there are countless more. Daring Fireball, etc.) I also enjoy answering things when I can or adding my 2 cents.

Mac users are so much more open to helping others that Apple really doesn't need to do it for us. We do it for each other.

As long as they keep the bulletins around everything will be just fine.
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