Continuing the discussion from User based plugins:
I would like to see Discourse.org, the mothership, the corporation (what are we going to refer to it as anyway?) take control of the situation from the get-go.
Much like Apple performs some minimal testing of apps before they enter the app store, I’d like to see Discourse take the most popular plugins that it isn’t going to integrate into the core, and keep and maintain a known good working repository of plugins, allowing the authors to update them, and possibly even monetizing them for both discourse and the plugin authors. Like Wordpress, the forum will keep track of updates and allow the forum owner to update them to the latest version with a few simple clicks.
This way forum admins can have a list to select from that they know won’t break the forum, and could even allow very trusted users and moderators to install plugins and make them available for users who want them.
It could also solve a problem plugin developers currently have with the GPL nature of the forum - there’s no incentive to release an awesome plugin. If there’s a clear need, someone will likely bang something out that barely crosses the finish line, but we’re not going to see a bevy of plugins that wow, astound, and make people want to get out their credit card.
I’ve yet to see even a good plugin that hit all the high notes. The stock market plugin and flash games plugins on some forums have terrible bugs which don’t break the forum, but make the games or function less enjoyable, to the point where few people participate.
I don’t necessarily want to turn discourse into “land of a thousand zynga clones” but I believe there’s an opportunity there for Discourse to really take the lead in making plugins a first class feature so that we can have tradewars, superbowl squares, stock market apps, host secret santas, and so forth without causing forum administrators so much anguish with bad plugins and forum administration nightmares.