Just a few notes, which may or may not irk some people.
On a development list: It exists. There is a private development list that I basically created initially as a way to archive the conversations between Mike Little and I regarding nascent WordPress development. It is basically comprised of active code contributors, which is a completely subjective judgement call I make. I'm inclined to keep it to just a couple of people on the "list" in the future as the signal to noise ratio is 1:0, and also it has been used in the past to address security issues before they were made public. It's more a tool for communication amoung myself, Mike, Alex, and Dougal, and if it was any higher traffic than it is now I honestly probably wouldn't be able to keep up with it, and would pipe it to a subfolder in my mail or something.
However, I fully understand the benefits of a public, development-oriented list, however I would like to direct that traffic to the forums for several reasons. Here we have completely open (no registration), fast, XHTML-compliant forums with RSS feeds for every thread. It's simple, and I think it's great for discussion. In the past I have directed discussion type traffic no the "dev list" to the forums so everyone could participate, and I'll keep this in mind in the future. However, these forums suck for code....
On code contributions: I have mixed feelings about this. There have been some nice, simple, clean contributions in the past, and I am thankful for that. They have been from people here on the forums, people who understand WordPress, and people who appreciate clean code. However I have gotten many others from people who I doubt have even visited wordpress.org. Integrating them would, in my opinion, dilute WordPress significantly. If the feature itself is useful and it's just a bad implementation in the past we have applied the patch and then cleaned it up, or something similar. Often, however, this takes as long or longer than if I had just gotten a feature request and implemented it from scratch. Sad, but true. I know Michel had this problem in the past with b2, but it was something I did not fully anticipate.
I've always been proud that WP developers are from all over the world, from all different backgrounds, but there's a single philosophy that ties us together: a commitment to clean, succint, useful code. We disagree about a lot of things, sometimes major things, but that user-centered focus of simplicity transcends that. At the bottom of every page it says "Code is poetry." and that's really how I feel. Every word should be chosen deliberately. Eliminate redundant redundancy. If you want code in the WP core, then make sure it's as simple as possible, is XHTML 1.1 compliant, and follows the coding standards. It's a leap for some people, but once you take it you won't want to go back. These forums aren't any good for posting code, but there's nothing from stopping you from submitting it to our Sourceforge project, posting it on your own site and linking to it, or emailing it to me personally. If you want to influence the broader direction of WP, I would recommend these forums or the IRC channel. Both have changed my mind several times.
A valid criticism may be that the project is "Matt-centric" or something like that. I would counter that we have 4 Mikes and only 1 Matt. Really, though, I have done my very best to make everything as open and transparent as possible, raise the bus factor to at least 4, and consider every serious viewpoint presented. If you think I could improve on this please drop me a private email.
Another important point was brought up is there's not a clear list of what needs to be done, or who's working on what. Honestly at this very moment I'm doing most of the work simply because everyone else is busy with the holidays. However I am feeling a little overwhelmed, and it looks like one major feature I wanted in 1.0 isn't going to happen. This is an easy problem to solve and I'll post my personal 1.0 todo list in another thread and if anyone can help out, please speak up.
I think that's all, but I got here late in this thread so please excuse me if Imissed anything. Reading back over the earlier part of this post it seems a little harsh, so let me iterate one important point: no one has ever been turned away. If you want to contribute to the project, there's someplace for you. I apologize if anyone has felt turned away in the past.