As various teams are now planning 3.3 or whatever comes next, I would like to suggest the addition of a new kind of plan item, the community item.
What would it be: A work item bringing value add to eclipse, but where the effort would be driven by the community instead of the eclipse teams themselves. Such items should be relatively self contained (for example: implement a new refactoring, implement a new code formater, better high level doc on RCP, provide an simple build infrastructure, provide login infrastructure, etc.).
How would they work: Like any work item they would first be proposed. Then interested members of the community would form a working group responsible for designing and implementing a solution in adherence with the component vision, solution that would find its way in the release. To this extent, it would get assistance from appropriate committers, but it would also be submitted to the same criteria of quality with respect to stability, scalability or being done on time.
Who would submit those items: The PMC or the community, but it would likely have to be approved by the PMC to ensure the cohesion of the vision and appropriate resource is available to assist where needed (of course this is just a proposal).
Why do we need those? Current plan items read as "the team will do it for sure (committed)", "the team is investigating (proposed)". Therefore if you are willing to help you are left with the not so sexy HELPWANTED bugs. What this does is create a focal point and fosters discussions around a particular topic, that would not have necessarily emerged alone from the community. Also it is clear for companies or people willing to contribute code what things are of interest and what their energy could best used at.
In order to discuss that, I have opened bug 148149.