|Keep It Simple, Stupid|
To get more top level nodes, just invite the maintainers of some modules to move their support forums from mailing lists to perlmonks.
I personally believe that this is not a bad idea in and of itself. But if implemented plainly like thus, it would be a real mess: PM currently is not an infrastructure apt at that kind of service. You know, for example, the Monastery's opinion on the creation of new sections. Said this, something that would work better in practice and I somehow long for, but with a desire most probably deemed to stay unsatisfied, is a series of alternative interfaces to the Monastery, beyond the web one.
Since you mentioned mailing lists, indeed the kind of alternative interfaces I was thinking of would be by mail and through nntp. In fact this has come out quite recently in clpmisc -in a thread (link @ GG) in which I manually "syndicated" a post from here- and quite expectedly there have been disagreeing opionons: Uri Guttman, for example wrote:
i am not there because of the web api (why no news/email gateway?)
implicitly implying that he would welcome such a gateway. But when I replied that "I would dream of such a beast," Tad McLellan commented:
Your dream is my nightmare. :-(
Several others agreed.
(Sad?) truth is that that newsgroup and this web forum are actually different media, with quite differing philosophies: they serve complementary purposes for people with different tastes. But as a general rule they're not in competition. And at least one clpmisc regular has recently become a monk too, thanks to that much controversial thread of mine!
So, at least in principle a dedicated newsgroup, mailing list and web-based forum even of the complexity of PerlMonks could be made to integrate nicely each other. But that would have been better planned in advance, rather than as an aferthought. Granted, there would be some obstacles requiring careful thought anyway. For example, the voting system: which may be implemented in the text-based gateway by means of a custom header or an especially formatted line in the body of the message -e.g. a '++' all on its own line-. More complex, even: of course on the web we have rich formatting, and some simple import routine may automatically put <p> tags around paragraphs from pure text and <code> tags around indented text which generally people uses for code. But there are potential problems, and more complex still: how to render the html formatted posts in the pure text environments? Well, many people use html-capable mail clients, but many don't and don't want to, and in usenet it's "no way" anyway. (Did somebody ever think of "nnhttp"?) One may adopt some translations that ought to work in most cases. In the long run such a circumstance may even have positive effects: it would put pressure on people using the web interface to use regular enough markup that it be translated easily to the pure text media, and on people using the latter, to conveniently break the text into paragraphs and indent the code by, say, two spaces.
End of brainstorming, for now...