Starbuck wrote:Then add a General sub-board to that. The idea is to encourage discussions about all plugin development, not just specific plugins.
I thought about this some while ago, but didn't create a board for it as plugins are just one way of possible Mantis customizations (e.g. sometimes a topic starts with talking about a configuration option, changes to talking about custom functions and finally ends in plugin development).
Yes, plugins are just one way to customize, but we don't have a general board where people can go to discuss that hugely important topic. Details about plugins get lost in the other content. Requests for "how can I do this" simply die with "can't do that" when a better response would be to refer people to the plugin board as the next option.
I still hesitate to create such a board as I see hardly any user trying to help other users concerning plugin development in general. I assume it will not become better just because there is one more board.
I think this is chicken-and-egg: We don't foster a community for plugin developers, so there are no plugin developers, and therefore no reason to foster a community that doesn't exist. Just look at how the concept of plugins is central to so many other platforms. Look at all of the problems expressed in this forum where a plugin is the right solution, but the discussion ends because people don't know what to do next. Now, just because someone manages an issue tracker doesn't mean they're a programmer. But many "end-users" who use Mantis for business may be motivated to ask someone who is a programmer to help them to create a plugin. "Necessity is the mother of invention".
I don't suggest we follow this exact model, no one wants to go overboard, but have a look at the phpBB's forum structure:
- First note that they have an entire board dedicated to a "Customsation Database": https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/
- Under that, they have many sections including Extensions, their equivalent to Plugins: https://www.phpbb.com/customise/db/extensions-36
- Click on any Extension and you'll get a dedicated page with two tabs, Contribution Details, and Discussion/Support. Every one of their plugins has its own board, where we have two boards for two plugins, in this long life history of the MantisBT.
- As with Extensions, they also have a section for Styles, which we could use for questions on styling Mantis. We could also use a separate board for the REST API.
One could rightly say: "Yes, but Mantis doesn't have that many plugins and we can't justify a board for every plugin...."
This is that chicken-and-egg thing. Mantis is popular software, not quite phpBB but it has a place in the issue tracking ecosystem. And yet there is no ecosystem for extensions. I think that's a serious tactical error which has limited the scope of this fine software. I think we should encourage and profile plugins: when they've earned respect under Plugins>General, I think they should get their own board, and when they are no longer maintained or in use they can be retired to make room for new ones.
So, right, we don't have that many plugins. And while there is a reasonable limit of course to how many boards we should have, I also don't see any reason to limit the number of boards too restrictively. They cost nothing to create. There is no extra effort to monitor or maintain them. They aren't unsightly and they don't have an unpleasant odor.
So if we do occasionally create a redundant forum, we can easily retire it and move the content elsewhere.