The next generation of Apple Discussions promises to resemble a shotgun wedding of Facebook and Yahoo! Answers. Apple Support Communities — which will supercede the current Apple Discussions forums — is a user forum-slash-social network that will allow users not only to actively participate in support issues, but also be recognized for their contributions. In essense, customer support is being outsourced to Apple device owners, who will have customizable home pages, complete with personal photos, avatars, and widgets. The service is currently in beta testing, with an unspecified launch date other than "real soon."
In semi-related news, the current Discussions forums were forced offline after a hacking attack.