Hm. I feel you’re being a bit unfair here, and that your language is quite unnecessarily incendiary. Babble has improved massively over the past few years, and myself and others have put in quite a bit of work (not only to Babble, but to the core codebase as well) to keep it working with a fast-moving product. This started as a side project hacked out over a few weekends, and turned into something that a lot of people have asked for improvements on (in a lot of different directions), and I quite simply have not had the time or motivation to invest in it. When I have some free time (and/or some monetary motivation), I would be happy to put things in like who’s in the room, like person-to-person messaging, like webhooks for interactions with other engines… I too want it to be better than what it is today.
But Babble doesn’t seem like it’s going to be made an official plugin. It doesn’t bring me monetary compensation. It’s no longer a passion project. And I work for (and partially own) a Discourse competitor, so every hour I spend working on Babble (or other Discourse work), is an hour that I’m not only not spending on my livelihood, but using to improve the experience of the thousands of people who use my competitor’s product.
That being said, I am a strong believer in open source. I think things like this should exist, and be free, and open, and available to anyone. I am committed to keeping Babble working with Discourse going forward. Despite what you say, I know that a lot of people use and like this plugin, not only as a community tool, but as an example of what a quite advanced Discourse plugin can look like, and it’s not my intention to let it die unless Discourse itself does.
I do still occasionally put aside a bit of time to work on Babble. Showing who’s in the room is on the list; recently I’ve been working on private user-to-user chat - and there’s always a host of xbrowser / mobile-related oddities, the elusive invalid date bug, etc to chip away at. Things definitely are still improving. So keep the feedback coming, please; I try to read everything and am (agreed, slowly) working to make this thing better.