Apple has given its online support forum a face lift of sorts. In the preparatory stages for close to a year, the revamped Apple Support Communities has been imbued with a new social networking aspect that effectively replaces the antiquated Apple Discussions board.
"Apple Support Communities brings together thousands of Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, and iPad users from around the world to discuss Apple products and topics," Apple says. "Apple Support communities provides a wealth of information about your favorite 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."
Joining ASC is fairly straightforward. Once you sign in with your Apple ID, simply create a username for the Community and, when prompted, agree to the new ASC terms and conditions. Once you're in, you'll find a host of "communities" through which you can sift in hopes of finding one that's pertinent to your inquiry, product, or service. You can even use widgets to bring you the content you're interested in, from within or even outside the community. And making the experience a personalized one, users can spruce up their profiles with pics and avatars.
Given the greater social emphasis of the online forums, Apple has even gone so far as to present standards of "Community Etiquette" that ASC members must abide by. The policy mandates include:
- Post only technical support questions and answers, unless otherwise noted.
- Be polite, constructive and stay on topic.
- Search for questions similar to your own before submitting them to the community.
- Reward helpful community members by marking answers to your questions helpful and correct.
- Avoid speculation and rumors.