Thank you ach
. I should really have found that myself, so thank you for the patient response.
I acquired a list of all plugins and their reported raw popularity
. I found reference to plugin-specific data in ./lib/plugins/extension/helper/extension.php but haven't managed to get e.g. 'last updated' values yet; do you know if those are available via the API?
Looking at results plugin Search and Install tab, I wonder if too much weight is given to whole-word matching, and not enough to popularity and recency. To show what I mean, type 'list' into the tab. I would expect three popular list-related plugins to appear at the top: pagelist, filelist, and catlist. Instead, the top hit is a plugin called deflist. Its reported popularity score is 64 out of a possible ~100,000, and it was last updated in August 2007. On that basis, it surely does not deserve the top spot in the search results.
Please note that I have nothing against deflist! deflist is still available for download from the author's site - despite predating the 2008 foundation of GitHub - and looks as though it will still work. It has rich documentation, and I am considering installing it on my own wiki :-)
I don't have a well-formed proposal yet for what could be improved, but I hope that the example above shows what I am thinking.
: searching for "changes" doesn't seem to return the Changes plugin at all! I found it using the word "recent". Can anyone else without Changes plugin installed see the same behaviour?