Here's something I'd like to hear all your thoughts on. Glue from Nagrand quotes the fact that "only a small portion of the playerbase read the forums," and he claims that those people are the most important players Blizzard has-- they care enough about the game to visit the forums and voice their opinions. But I'd like to play the devil's advocate on this one. What if (and stay with me here) Blizzard deleted the official forums completely?
Do we really need the official forums? They do help-- besides giving us all kinds of fun reads and, yes, occasional insight, they're the main link between the CMs and the player base-- patch announcements and upcoming changes all are made known mostly through the forums, and day-to-day player feedback and questions are centered there. But they don't have to be-- Mythic's Dark Age of Camelot actually runs a daily blog featuring community news and game updates and changes. And it would be just as easy for Blizzard to announce things on their own website, and get player feedback and questions from sites just like this one.
And getting rid of the forums would wipe out all of the lunacy that appears on there-- all the insensitive comments, the jeering and rickrolling, the flaming, the drama (well, actually I'm down for keeping that one), and all of the other wackiness that goes down there every day. If the CMs didn't have to deal with that stuff, wouldn't they be able to spend more time communicating player ideas to the devs? If Blizzard didn't have to pay Timbal to ban rickrollers, couldn't they use that money to come up with a new 5man, or Heroic Deadmines, or any number of other ideas they've had but couldn't carry out? If we lost the forums, wouldn't we have a better game?
Food for thought. It's highly unlikely (at the very least) that Blizzard would ever shut down the official forums. But, even though they may have been necessary in the beginning, WoW's community survives in many other places now. Are the forums really necessary?