I think there are probably a few discussions here that are jumbled together, and that is probably my fault because I kinda tried to hijack the thread with this stuff about how it shouldn’t just look like a feed, which is what the OP is after, but there should be a way for a user to actually manually curate a real feed.
So for my part, am not talking solely or even primarily about any sort information density issue. Sure, there are ways I’d like a feed to look, but I’m speaking more specifically to organization and ease of curation and to the existence of a curated feed itself. I want to be able to curate a feed and have people follow it. That’s different than saying “I want the topics list to look this other way… more like a social site” which is where this thread started. I want to curate a feed, and I also want that feed to look more information-dense (like most social feeds) than the current topics list, and this latter point is where my interest intersect with the OP’s.
Note that I’m of the clearly opinion that Discourse should move in a more social- or feed-centric direction, but of course I just got here and started using it and am not really a part of the dev community yet so I offer it more as an outsider’s take that seems to jive with some demand that I’ve seen here on and off via Googling for plugins. Regardless of what happens with Discourse itself, though, it’s extensible enough that any of us who want to see it do more feed-like things can just make it do that.
As for the distinction @angus raised between author-centric and discussion-centric… maybe, but I’m not entirely sure I follow because I don’t know that that’s a real dichotomy that I’d sign on to, or what the two terms would mean here.