I really hope this story is an example of internet gossip gone off the deep end.
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.
Personally, the Apple Support Forums have been the only effective support effort that Apple has, especially for iTunes and iPods, since their phone service is non-existent, and email is marginal at best.
What really boggles the mind is what the ROI must have been. I didn’t see Apple moderators posting very often, and while I’m sure they had big work in front of them to keep out the trash, I still can’t see pushing support issues to phone and email being more cost effective. If the simple garbage check moderation was a problem, they could have simply outsourced that function to someone like our friends at eModeration. This would have then allowed the moderators to focus simply on qualty of discussion issues, thus improving the usefulness of the boards overall.
More info here, but the recurring theme seems to be that Apple questioned the value of the moderators. I wonder with the decreased quality of discussion if they’re still wondering about that. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees..
UPDATE: Seems that users who are asking about this issue on the Apple Forums are having their threads deleted. Nice way to handle this. Wow.