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Monday, July 31, 2006, 12:00 pm PT (03:00 pm ET)

Report confirms dismantling of Apple forum staff

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."