The EVE Online forums are one of the most useful tools for players both new and old. The forums are helpful with buying, selling, corporate recruitment, and essential for staying aware of current events in EVE Online's explosive political scene.
EVE Online has recently upgraded their forums in a major way. They are now a part of EVE Gate, CCP's EVE-based social networking site. This is generally a positive thing since the forums have modern features such as searching, blocking, and the all-important 'like' button. The one thing that some have found to be a drawback is that the moderators have become a great deal more effective. I suppose that is a valid point if you are the lamentable sort of person that is into trolling internet forums (though such an activity is far beneath me).
There are 35 sub-forums, each focusing on a separate aspect of EVE. Let's talk about each of them:
EVE Information Center
EVE Information Portal: Easily the most important EVE forum. It is here that EVE's creators post about new expansions or upcoming game changes. It is also where important announcements appear, such as CCP CEO Hilmar's recent letter to the EVE community. Anything out of game that appears in the news feed when logging in is likely to be here. Every dedicated EVE player should check in here, weekly.
Missions & Complexes: Though not the comprehensive mission guide that EVE Survival is, this forum is good if you have very specific questions about PvE activities (including Incursions and wormhole complexes). Someone will usually know the answer or at least tell you where you can find it. Just be sure to google your question before starting a thread.
Warfare & Tactics: If you have a specific question along the lines of "where can I find PvP in low-sec?" or "how do I keep my Hulk from being suicide ganked?" this is the place to ask. Otherwise, you are probably better off looking on the EVE wiki. Occasionally there will be a meatier guide posted about something interesting, though.
Science & Industry: A genuinely handy forum for learning about how to make ISK in EVE, especially when read with another window on the official EVE wiki. This is especially handy to newer players that are not ready for more complicated stuff, and just want to get the hang of mining or the more lucrative planetary interaction area of expertise. Intelligently worded questions here tend to elicit helpful, intelligent answers.
Ships & Modules: A nuts and bolts forum for dealing with setting up your ship. it is largely superseded by BattleClinic, though it is still helpful for newer players that have questions about particular ships or setups and want real feedback. Like several other EVE forums, it is largely superseded by the EVElopedia.
Crime & Punishment: This is an unfortunate sub-forum in the sense that the questions asked tend to be bad, and the answers tend to be full of unhelpful space-machismo. If you enjoy watching dozens of people take the piss out of each other or complain about being scammed, this is the forum for you.
Market Discussions: A personal favorite of mine, this is for public market analysis, business proposals (like loans and IPO offers), and general market-related kibbitzing. The forum is about 50% good advice and interesting threads, 50% incredibly transparent attempts to spike a particular commodity.
Skill Discussions: An incredibly handy sub-forum for new players that do not know what to train. This forum tends to be very positive and helpful, perhaps because it is so rudimentary that the Crime & Punishment crowd does not stray here.
Events & Gatherings: A somewhat disused forum where players theoretically organize in-game events or out-of-game meet ups. EVE players can be a lot of fun and tend to be heavy drinkers, so if that's your scene go ahead and check for a meet near you.
EVE Communication Center
EVE Trial Citizens Q&A: If you are just trying out EVE Online, this is the forum for you. This forum is for really, really basic questions. The plus side of this is that the GMs work overtime to be helpful to you, because they want you to like EVE Online and keep playing it.
EVE New Citizens Q&A: A bit wilder than the Trial Citizens forum, this is actually a really good place to read if you don't know much about EVE Online, but want to get a feel for what is out there. People here are totally starry-eyed and excited about EVE, and ask all the right questions to get you excited, too. Oh, and I guess they'll answer your silly EVE questions, too.
EVE Fiction: This is so completely not my cup of tea, but it might be yours. If you want to try your hand at writing short stories, first-person battle reports, or whatever other EVE-related fiction is sizzling off your keyboard, this is the place.
Intergalactic Summit: An in-character roleplaying forum that is rarely that interesting. Occasionally a CCP employee will drop hints about an upcoming in-game event here, though, or let you role-play with a big shot in-game character like Sansha.
Out Of Pod Experience: Anything work-safe that you want to post and is not more suited to another forum, this is the place to do it. It is identical in most respects to every other forum out there on the internet.
My EVE: A forum for linking and discussing things about EVE, including blogs, web comics, podcasts, and guide sites. I prefer using google, but you might find something interesting if you poke around.
EVE Technology Lab: This forum deals with developing EVE-related software, API-using applications, and character/inventory managers. These may be stand-alone applications or web sites. Note that there are no macros or bots here, as those are strictly against EVE Online's end user license (and are pretty risky to your EVE account to boot).
EVE Alliance Tournement Discussion: Every year, CCP holds an incredible PvP tournament with some of the most intense planning, training, and meta-gaming of any game, ever. The prizes are worth hundreds of billions of ISK, and the big-name alliances pull out all the stops with regard to theorycrafting fleet setups and spying on each other. This is the forum with the rules for the tournament. Since the new forums went live after the last tournament, this is not yet an active place.
EVE Corporations, Alliances, and Organizations Center
Alliance & Corporation Recruitment Center: Not a bad place for a small corporation to find members or a player looking for a corporation to check out the scene. There are always groups looking for new members, whether they be pirates, newbies, carebears, or w-space inhabitants. Be sure to check out the in-game recruitment channel as well.
Corporation, Alliance & Organization Discussions: Frequently abbreviated as 'CAOD', this is arguably the most politically active subforum on EVE Online. In times long since past, this sub-forum's primary purpose was for diplomatic posturing and announcing null-sec wars. Nowadays it is both the worst and best EVE forum. Best, if you enjoy watching people troll each other 24/7. Worst, if you actually want to get reliable information. Still, if you stew in it for a while, one starts to get a general feel for EVE politics. In short, it is the finest venue for forum-based PvP available to EVE Online players.
Council Of Stellar Management
Assembly Hall: An issues-based forum where players vote up issues that are important to them. The player-elected council of stellar management can then see what floats to the top and give it their attention when dealing with CCP. If there is an issue that you want the CSM to advocate, this is the place to post it.
Jita Park Speakers Corner: Sort of the CSM's direct discussion forum, this is a full blown debate and brawl forum where the CSMs wade knee deep into threads and argue out issues with each other and their electorate. A good place to post in if you want to convince the CSM to see things your way.
EVE Technology and Research Center
Features & Ideas Discussion: If you have a half-baked idea for EVE Online, this is the place to post it. CCP's game developers actually do browse this forum to get ideas, and occasionally post in threads. It's worth a shot.
Issues, Workarounds & Localization: Got a problem getting EVE Online to run? This is your place. The GMs are pretty responsive here, at least they are if your post is polite and descriptive. If you are having problems, you might as well give it a shot.
Macintosh: The OS X client for EVE Online tends to get some weird bugs, and this is where you can go to get them fixed. More importantly, here is where you can go to feel better about mac-related EVE problems in the company of other EVE players.
Linux: Though CCP stopped officially supporting their linux client, it is apparently possible to get the client working on a linux-derived operating system called Ubuntu, and so this forum still exists. Active it ain't.
EVE Forum Experiments: If you are new to forums and want to mess around with making posts, this is the the place to do it. For those of us familiar with the general mechanics of internet forums, this is not an important place.
Timecode Bazaar: Timecodes are like PLEX, except that they are just a code. They are sold by game sites like Shattered Crystal, and enjoy a brisk secondary market. Be careful, trading in timecodes can sometimes be a cutthroat business. Unlike other areas of EVE, timecodes (and characters, below) are not fair targets for scams, but that does not stop unscrupulous ISK farmers from occasionally trying to get one over on you. Just be careful.
Character Bazaar: Selling characters for in-game currency is a condoned activity, and is one way that players with low skill points can eclipse players that have been around longer. There is something special about a character that is successful at EVE business leap-frogging into a character with tens of millions of skill points.
Sell Orders: Because the in-game market and contracts system are so centralized and accessible, this forum is used chiefly for sales that have a big price tag. Titan and mothership sales, capital blueprint sets, huge stacks of faction gear, and entire corporations are all here for the buying. Be warned: none of the sales here are guaranteed by CCP, so always use contracts or a trusted third party like Chribba to be the middle-man in the sale.
Want Ads & Trades: Need to buy something? This is your place. Everything from items to mercenary services to null-sec systems change hands right here. Even a casual perusal of thread titles can be inspirational to players looking to start a new business.
Price Checks: Handy for gauging the price of things, especially items or services which are not really available in-game. A few months ago I got my hands on an officer modules that was not already on the contract market. One thread in Price Checks later, I knew I was several hundred million ISK richer.