It simply had to happen, with more than 6000 plugins on the official Extend site: the WordPress main developers are considering a way to lead the users of the popular blogging platform to the best-in-class plugins.
The plugins would be developed by the community, but there will be a specific category indicating that they are considered best-in-class, and that the compatibility with a new release is guaranteed.
The risk with this type of presentation is that the users will limit themselves to those best-in-class plugins, and that many developers will stop supporting their own plugins. This would lead to a very stale environment, but the current situation was impossible to keep.
The current naming is ‘canonical plugin’, but there’s currently a poll going on to change that name.
The reason behind it is something we’ve discussed also at ImpressCMS, namely that the quality of the plugins has a strong impact on the way your system is perceived by your users. One badly-written plugin can make your system look very bad, or can open it up to security attacks.
Again, I’m amazed again at the fact that we have discussions about ideas that others seem to come up with at roughly the same time. We must be doing to too bad in that case.