We (the Open University) are considering - this isn't definite yet - doing a rewrite of the forum system to:
- Optimise performance and clean up the back-end code (and database structures if necessary).
- Simplify options e.g. make tracking always-on unless disabled at site level.
- Improve the discussion interface with full AJAX implementation so you can reply on the same page etc., and replace current view modes with one AJAX-based view mode that combines the best features of flat and nested view.
- Add in a few of the custom features we already have (or which our users require) in OU forums which would be of general benefit to other users. For example we have a feature which shows teachers which students have looked at a particular discussion/post.
Since we will need it for 1.9, we might release a version for 1.9 (as an optional plugin), however it would obviously be for 2.x that we might try to get it into the core Moodle system.
Proposal PDF (written for internal use so may seem a bit irrelevant in places)
Note that this proposal is not a design document, it's sort of more like an idea document. Also, I have some more ideas that aren't in there like pluggable forum types... this is really early stuff that I put together in a hurry, an actual design will come later.
There is a link to an experimental forum system in the PDF. This is not the proposed system or anything and isn't within Moodle, so don't worry that it looks totally different to Moodle (also don't worry if it crashes . It's a totally separate forum I wrote some time ago that demonstrates some of the AJAX behaviour and the proposed view mode. Oh and it's running on my home DSL so be gentle and don't try to load-test it please
Anyhow - the point of all this post is - if you have any comments on the proposed 'discuss' system, please read (or at least skim) the PDF and then post here. Just to be clear, at this point I don't have any agreement with Moodle HQ to include this in standard Moodle, so if you hate the very idea with a burning fury, there is no need to panic just yet.
PS for those waiting for conditional activities development I'm supposed to be doing - no I haven't forgotten, that will happen soon, before any code is done for this new forum system