So I've recently started using Flarum for a gaming community and some other stuff and just want to share my own opinions on it.
Sorry not sorry if I typed too much, but feedback is always helpful and can really help with the development of software, so I hope you enjoy reading!
Also sorry if what I've suggested has already been suggested!
It's a really well laid out and nicely built piece for forum software, it's probably one of the more modern ones that's not only open-source but still being developed on a regular basis and has a decent community behind it. That being said, it is missing a few things that some of the others have that Flarum doesn't.
Looking towards phpBB in the admin dashboard, it's neatly tabbed and all the extensions can be easily managed and found under one section. Flarum does have a section for the extensions but it's a little messier in my own opinion. I think instead of listing each plugin as its own block/menu item in the sidebar, it could have its own dedicated section. Would make it easier and give it an overall cleaner look when in the admin dashboard. Similar things could be done for themes.
And adding in a dedicated setting section for hCaptcha (who likes googles captcha, like really. its just really annoying and really weird to even find the page sometimes) would definitely be a bonus.
Another thing with the admin dashboard is that there's no kind of audit logs (that I've been able to find) but there is an extension for audit logs. It would be a nice feature to have in the core of Flarum in my opinion.
There could also be a dashboard in place for moderators and something like a reports section etc.. just your general moderator tools if anything.
The design and clean look the front end has is nice, but if there were a few options to add a background image to the main forum and give similar options to user profile pages would definitely give it a nice look and feel depending on the use of it.
More on the layout of the main forum page, it would be nice to be able to create custom widgets (without using an extension) and be able to place them on the left or the right side as a whole new sidebar menu kind of thing but purely for widgets? (With the option to switch them to the left or right, same with the navigation sidebar?)
Something I would really like to see too is kind of like a drag and drop builder for the main forum page, so instead of having to use code the building blocks are already there and can be dropped into any part of the page or menu. Now I know this may seem kind of pointless because a lot of people and myself included probably already know how to add extra content like a carousel feed with twitch channels at the top of the main page. But those that don't know how to do this would probably go looking for an extension or give a hand at it themselves and eventually give up because they can't get it to work or they can't get it to look right.
To the user profiles! There's kind of a lack of options when it comes to user profiles, not that's never a bad thing. Too many options and settings tend to get confusing, we've all been there and wondered why there were so many GOD DAMN OPTIONS for a single setting! But I think the user settings could be put into separate menu tabs, the one forum software I found that does this somewhat decently but is just too blocky and clunky is MyBB. I think if there was a more ordered user setting, it could allow for more options and settings like social media links, links to websites and such and could be used to make custom modules.
Now I may have gone on about the profiles but I think things like OAuth logins and LDAP auth should definitely be a core feature, as on my own forum I'm actually looking at disabling normal user logins and creating (eventually) a plugin that allows users to login with discord accounts but also bridge discord and flarum.
So if a user logged in via discord, they'd be joined to the server automatically and gives the user the correct roles. And building on this, you could then add in things like for example you muted someone on the forum for say 2 hours, you'd get the option to time them out on discord, same with banning but it'd remove them from the discord or suspending a forum account, could suspend their forum account but keep them in the discord so you could talk to them for whatever reason.
Thinking on the expandability of Flarum, I'm certain there'll be some form of marketplace/currency extension so with that in mind, it could be a good idea to go ahead and make something a little more permanent and add in some marketplace features? Most communities these days almost always have someone and some people that do commissions or have hosted their own game servers (would also be awesome if there was something added that actually allows us to create integrations for games and such) and having a marketplace with a currency system or the ability to spend money and whatnot could lead to more and more people using Flarum than phpBB, MyBB and even Xenforo.
So features like a marketplace or drag and drop page editor and all that could really make Flarum stand out far more than the rest. Like all the existing forum software are either, outdated, somewhat useful but then no community behind it for development on plugins and such or in the case of some like Xenforo, can set people back a good $160 for a license.
In my opinion, Flarum already is an amazing piece of forum software, it's modern, nice design and has an active and lively community behind it. But it's just missing some key features that could really sell it and have more and more people using it.
Hell, I'll even happily put a "Powered by Flarum" on my forum because out of all the forum software I've seen and used, you're one of the only few that hasn't put any kind of branding tag on it.
I barely even make forum posts on forums that are not run by me or someone I know, let alone type so much for feedback and ideas! 🤣
I hope I've inspired some ideas, still not sorry for the essay!!