The idea has been batted around before, but now it looks like Google is ready to throw some effort in the direction of creating a Google Wave powered forum.

According to a post on the Google Wave Developer Blog, the Google Wave team already open-sourced Forum Botty, a Google Wave extension that creates a forum-like experience inside Wave, and now it wants to "continue developing this code base into a powerful and generic extension for running forums in wave, and we're hoping that other developers like you will join us in this project."

Google Wave is a real-time, collaborative environment that Google made available to the public at the end of May. Despite much hype and anti-hype (where detractors rush to call it dead), it looks like Wave is still very much alive and kicking and looking at some interesting new uses.

The post on the developer blog is written by David Crane, an external Wave developer who is involved in the development of the Debatewise extension. With his work on Debatewise, Crane has already used Wave in holding mass discussions, so he already has some experience in the realm of creating a Wave-based forum. Crane writes that Wave is better than a standard forum right from the get-go:

Google Wave offers a number of benefits over traditional forum software, with just its native functionality. However, by incorporating some of the tried-and-tested features from forums into a robot, we could turn Google Wave into the ultimate platform for forum-based discussion. A forum could be a killer app for Wave. It's a tool that people already use in huge numbers for specific purposes, are used to keeping separate to their email, and will dip in and out of as required. Wave is similar enough for them to jump in quickly and different enough for them to get, and be hooked by, the benefits. A forum removes the need for people to find things to use Wave for and means they could use it even if none of their friends did. Wave could enhance and improve upon some of the most important features of a forum and through acclimatisation, will encourage them to use it for a world of other purposes.

Crane says that there are three areas in need of developing: a way of organizing waves around subject matter, a method of encouraging participation with rewards and the development of "trust mechanisms so people can determine who to rely upon or ignore".

To this end, he says that they are looking for "Python, Java and Javascript developers, QA testers and anyone with an interest in forum software, community building and online discussion". The resulting Wave-based forum will be licensed under the same open-source license used for Google Wave, meaning it will be open for others to implement and modify.