Wasn’t quite sure where to put this, apologies if it belongs elsewhere.
First off, I hope this doesn’t just come off as complaining. That’s not my intention at all. I love and use Discourse and I have implemented multiple Discourse instances for myself, clients, and friends over the past 6 months. Overall satisfaction is high, especially with functionality and customization in that respect (theme components, plugins, etc.).
That said, in the process I have definitely noticed a relative lack of theme options in general, and especially compared to say Wordpress, or even many other forum systems. I have yet to find a 3rd party marketplace for themes, for example, which many other systems have. Here in Meta, many themes seem to be quite old, although fortunately they are often kept up to date as well. A majority of them also seem to be created by a very small number of people. As a counter-example here is the ~150 theme directory of myBB (not even one of the most popular Discourse competitors):
NodeBB appears to have a similarly lower number of themes.
Another thing is that even among the available themes there does not seem to be that much variation. I appreciate that most of them stick to a fairly “clean” design, and I definitely don’t personally want e.g. a traditional (SMF, vB, PHPbb, etc.) look, but I can’t help but wondering if there is just fundamental limitation in what can be done with the theming system. If so, maybe it’s not prioritized in the dev process, and I can understand that if there is not much demand or it’s a tough problem to solve, but it would be good to know at least.
So why these disparities? Discourse is pretty popular, isn’t it? Is theme adjustment just not something most Discourse admins care very much about? Or are they generally more capable of creating their own so there is not much market for it? And if so, is that a chicken and egg situation (i.e. lack of easy, available customizing resources turns off more novice potential admins looking for forum options)?
To be clear, I am not saying myBB or Wordpress are better, I certainly prefer Discourse. But I do want some things to improve here over time, so I’m raising this more as an open question and area of potential discussion. It also ties in with a topic I contributed to (and need to get back into and follow-up on!) discussing some things that the Circle platform might be doing “right” (for a certain class of users). I continue to see things like a “simplified” interface to be potentially beneficial for attracting new users, and I’m hopeful such things can at least be partially achieved using the theme system.
I am also absolutely willing to pay for themes to be developed where warranted, and I know there are at least a few people here in #marketplace that can do that. I’m really just wanting to know what the reasons might be for the seeming lack of existing theme options and variety, and whether there are resources for themes that I’m missing.