I feel like it makes the UI more busy and doesn't really add anything.
I can understand that feeling, but busy is very relative and I was aware some might like it, others might not - eye of the beholder, beauty vs function.
You know if you want all this UI stuff, you're more than welcome to take an existing theme and modify it to your hearts desire.
That is a valid point which I accounted for in my comments but not in the context of my agenda and thus my activity I would say it's not even a concern or should be, but - Please let me explain.I'm concentrating on out-of-the-box nodeBB.
I'm looking at nodeBB persona bundle with a critical eye to enhance and evolve it, to engage the world with it's best foot forward - among the broad spectrum of forum platforms out there, historical and new, engage the widest market, users, owners and beyond.
Facebook & Twitter to name but a few have crippled many once great forum communities across the vast stretches of the interwebs often by simply starving them of new active users as the virtual Big Tec Malls sucked people (frankly captured as children) into their big and shiny LIKE driven platforms.
NodeBB IMHO is a great base, to begin to turn that equation on it's head, even fight back, but perhaps I'm foisting too many hopes & dreams on mere refinements and feature requests. So I shall digress no more on that point but it's why I'm offering this here as opposed to any other new platform out there.
I'm banking on nodeBB being a great community who also share similar values or outlooks. I'm not expecting or looking to garner agreement but support for alwasy looking and always thinking about more or better.
Initiating this process, it was recommended to me by @julian to use the forums to engage as I am doing.
I do not know any other constructive way to engage the development of nodeBB as an active contributor, other than this. I am not a coder and get by on basic HTML and CSS, often on a needs must basis while GitHub still looks alphabet soup to me, and scares me a bit.
Maybe if I create an account it will start to knit (and I will eventually).
Tangentially I have slowly begun to understand how to build a theme for bodeBB but if I tried that now it would not be confident it would stand up to rigor.
As I spec and find things and formulate a new insight or suggestion - It's not that I so want these all for me and the dev team to do my bidding - no, but I am thinking what the user needs, what the admin needs, or the broader active but lurking user needs and sometimes a mix of these points of view.
These are not random considerations as I have a lot of experience with historical forums, users bases, trends and various trials of the humble site-admins and mods.
First and foremost it is distilled through the prism of a visual spatial understanding, as a designer who has been pushing pixels for far too long, totally inspired by nodeBB's very existence to reinvigorate the forum as a platform in a forum that is re-invigorating the forum as a viable platform for the future by it's sheer existence - it speaks to me of it's potential, to push the envelope of expectations, in a refined fit and finish or radical reformation that are conventionally reliable in the cut adn thrust of day in day out forum life.
Right now I'm calling it as I see it with as much visual support I can muster in my spare time, for user consideration and attention of the dev's. (thus request for upvotes!)
If someone wants to partner with me to help dev in this direction as a theme, please message me but I can't help feel that my focus is refining then entry core for the widest of applications and then proposing roadmap features like Composer - Right beside you - to go beyond the scope of a mere theme.
Hope this helps. 🙂