In my newly expanded blog reading, I've come across Tobold's fine site.
In a recent article, he writes about the official Blizzard WoW Forums being a total mess. Immature attitudes, flame wars galore, people vying for attention.
It made me think.
My general impression of forums in general is that they pretty quickly devolve into a tight clique where it basically turns into a small few being the respected opinions who everybody turns to for answers, and anybody who disagrees with those local experts are flamed to death at worst, or at best are just ignored. This might not be true in your experience, but over the years, I've seen this pattern again and again in forums and newsgroups in a variety of genres.
I'd never really considered looking at the official forums at all.
A few months ago, when I was frantically looking for a Savagery enchant, some kind readers of my wonderful blog referred me to the official Blizz forum for my realm. I went there, posted a 2 line message saying what I was looking for. Within a day or two, I got some responses (including Durgan's Horde toon :-P), and was able to get my enchant shortly.
I'd chalk that up as a successful use of the forum.
Other than that, I did find the sticky post that shows guild raid progression for my server. I haven't really done anything with that information, but it is good to know. As my guild progresses, I'll have to find out how to get added to the list.
That's really all I've used the official forums for. With all the other topics and categories they have, I wonder if there's some value out there that I'm missing amongst all the noise?