I've brought this up previously and got an answer like "Well, we've done MantisBT for years and have never heard anyone complain so won't put this on the list."
I get really aggravated with responses like that too. They discourage innovation and user engagement.
HOWEVER, for this specific enhancement I don't think that has been the official response, and we don't see that kind of response here often at all except for very nuanced requests. But this request is indeed reasonable and popular.
It's possible that people are resigned that it will never get nicer to read so they simply don't say anything.
You're touching on two good points.
Resignation implies that someone knows that a request has been made and not processed. But most people don't take it that far, they simply don't make the request. They don't bother to provide feedback. For every one person who adds a +1 to a request there are a lot who do not. But this project doesn't make it easy to +1 changes either. You need to login to the tracker, find the ticket you're interested in, and simply subscribe to notifications or add a +1 comment. So we have a self-fulfulling cycle: People can't vote for a change, so we don't see a lot of demand in the tracker for specific changes. THAT is when the devs say "there isn't enough demand so we won't process it".
OK, now we're onto your second point, that people who DO make a request come back over and over to find that many tickets are left in New status for years, not even given the benefit of an Acknowledged status or Confirmed. To me, that's insulting. It's infuriating when it looks like a lot of people ask for something in tickets and forums, and it's not even given consideration. Reject it. Process it. I don't care. Just don't make me feel like my voice is being ignored.
HOWEVER, while that's the way I sometimes feel, I know that's not how things work here. Devs DO read and consider the requests. They just don't take the time to change the status. And considering all of the time that I sincerely appreciate that they put into this fine software, personally I cut them some slack.
So once again, I recognize the sentiment that drives people to resignation, but I know it's not intended by this team and I think it's unfortunate that there isn't someone doing "social triage" here to ensure people know that their voices are heard.
I'm aware that there was briefly an attempt to change a lot of the code to do exactly this, but ... as far as I know it got dropped.
I know a few attempts at this have been made. I took a shot at this myself. It looks simple to start changing the one file that creates the email. But then it starts getting messy. The thing is, once we try it the easy way and it doesn't work, some respect for the code needs to kick in - we can't assume this is going to be easy and then just drop it when it's not. We need to recognize that this bit of code is as serious as any other. In short, email should be created just like a web page, using a template system which can then be themed. There are two parts to this, content, and presentation. So a site should be able to change what goes into the email using flags, and then change how it looks with themes. That requires an enhancement to the managerment UI. As you see this becomes more than just a simple change.
I think getting this change is a simple matter of priority. I really do not like the emails from this system either, but if I have a choice between something looking pretty and something not working right, I'm going with functionality every time. From what I've seen, the priority in this package is with security first, then bugs, then functionality, and far later we find enhancements to email presentation and other such cosmetics.
<preach mode=on> Note that this is not directed at any person - it's general commentary.
The way we will get this change and pretty much any other change in any FOSS is as follows:
Someone who works at a company needs to get a complaint from someone in management that the emails are ugly and need to be fixed.
I.T. people there need to tell them that the software is free (libre+beer) but they'll only get changes THEY want if they provide to a developer what HE wants. You're free to make your own changes. If you choose not to do so, offer someone some coffee or donuts or pizza or money or a day at DisneyLand - but offer something in exchange for what you value. Business is transactional. A business needs to spend money to earn more money. A company might spend a hundred thousand dollars on some ERP package but then insist on getting their issue tracker for free. That's not equitable and it's not sustainable. Business people understand that. I.T. people need to explain how this works, because when they do not explain it, and management continues to think it's all "free", the process doesn't work and it breaks down.
So now senior company management has issued the executive order to buy a pizza for a developer. The request now shifts from "please do this if you ever find time" to "I will give you this pizza if you do this". That motivation will get a lot more response than a request with no quid pro quo.
Some changes are worth coffee. Others are worth DisneyLand. Others are somewhere in the middle and may only cost a pizza. The point is Equity. The point is Respect for someone else's time. The point is that a developer's time is worth as much as yours when you're using their software to make your life easier.
Developers aren't really concerned about those who only take and do not give back. They don't care about the people who leave with indignation because their demands for free work are not processed. Contribute to documentation. Spend a week copy/pasting forum links into tracker items, and copy pasting tracker links into this forum. Help someone else to use the software. Gather funds for a specific change. Put a note in your forum sig that you're on a campaign to get funding for three pizzas in exchange for pretty emails. Do something to pay-forward or pay-back, and contribute in the spirit of FOSS. Those who do not take that step to even ask what they can do to help must be content with the equally value-less response that they receive on some requests.
And I'm not saying FOSS is a pay-to-play system. Developers and others who contribute to FOSS do it for their own reasons, whether to improve software for their own use, or for joy or profit or as a profile of their skills. Everyone does this for a different reason and to a different degree. I'm just saying that when a request is popular and there is High demand with No equity, there is a significant imbalance that becomes discouraging to those who have to measure how they spend their time. Respect that. Think about ways to balance it out. Talk about it in these forums.
And after all of that, sure, someone might just publish a cool solution to this specific problem entirely for free and for the pure joy of doing so.
If that does not happen, here is my suggestion #1 : You now need 4 pizzas! One for @vboctor, one for @dregad, one for @atrol, and one for whomever actually writes the code. Make the offer. See what happens. I doubt these guys will be bought with a pizza, but seriously, just do something that's more motivating than nothing.
Or better, suggestion #2 : Find someone near you who knows PHP, a colleague, your I.T. department, a student, grandma... and motivate Them with whatever is fair to the two of you to make and submit a new email module.
When you find something that works, repeat it for all projects and requests.