IRC channel #Salesforce seems to be the only place with valid answers and helpful admins/devs.
Two things I always try when I need help:
1) Posting a tweet with a question and the hashtag #askforce can often get good pointers from the larger Salesforce community.
2) I know the Salesforce Dev Evangelists on here will wince, but I have found them to be very helpful in routing my questions to the right people within Salesforce. Pat Patterson and Reid Carlberg are particularly helpful and friendly.
Pardon the rhetorical answer, and I'm surprised it hasn't been provided yet, but have you tried salesforce.stackexchange.com (wink-wink)?
Seriously though, I've had the best luck at Stack Overflow for quite a while now and am seeing the same kind of effort, quality of answers and fast response times right here.
Salesforce support is generally not helpful. The wider salesforce community most definitely is.
The following scenario has happened myself and other devs I work with on a few occasions.
- Log a support case.
- Just about 48 hours later (within the SLA) get a response asking for salesforce login permission to the org. Given the nature of the questions this has not generally been necessary to answer the query.
- We oblige and grant the permission for Salesforce to login for 1 week duration, and notify them of same.
- Again about 48 hours later receive a response saying we don't appear to have granted access, can we confirm we have.
- Reply confirming it was granted originally and there are now 5 days remaining of the 7.
- Wait another 48 hours for a response which has yet to answer the original question, usually stating they'll now start to look at it.
It has now become standard practice for us to grant login permission to salesforce prior to opening any cases, and make it clear we have done that, and explicitly state when it will expire in the case.