An AAVSO Online Community
The AAVSO forums have been around for some time now, but with the end of the email discussion lists, they have greatly increased in activity. The forums are organized, accessible to the public, and easy to moderate. But personally, I think the best thing about the forums is that they are a communal resource.
As we all know, the AAVSO is a broad-reaching organization. We have members and observers from around the world. Those people can help each other, and have done so for a long time. The forums not only give AAVSO members and observers another place to discuss their observing programs and ask questions, but they give experienced observers a chance to share their expertise. New ideas can be easily presented, and opinions can be respectfully debated. This is a perfect environment for amateurs and professionals to work together, which is what the AAVSO thrives on, and I can already see many posters making the most of the opportunity to give or receive advice.
One of our expectations for the forums is that they "may help attract newer and younger members". At the centennial meeting last fall, Dr. Stephanie Slater pointed out that there is a steep learning curve to becoming a variable star observer. The forums will hopefully be a resource that makes it easier to progress along this curve, by providing a knowledgeable and diverse community that can scaffold the learning process for new observers. The helpfulness, resourcefulness, and innovation that I have already seen demonstrated on the forums suggest that the AAVSO community, already integral to the organization, has the potential to be the primary draw for new observers.