There is this fella named John James Jacoby. He's the lead behind some huge WordPress projects you may have heard of: BuddyPress and bbPress. We use bbPress right here on CSS-Tricks to power the forums.
I had some trouble the other day, where editing posts in the forums started behaving weirdly. Not terribly surprising, as we have some custom code written for that to allow Markdown to be used by all forums users for Topics and Replies. I feel like supporting Markdown is pretty important on a site about coding, as it makes posting code wayyyyy easier. Just put inline code in single ` backticks and blocks of code in "code fences" which are triple ``` backticks line separated by blank lines on either side.
It scares me to death when problems like this happen, because they are well beyond my WordPress development chops. If Markdown just stopped working in the forums, I don't know what the heck we would do. Fortunately, I didn't have to think about it much longer, because I gently pulled on John's sleeve and asked for help.
Like a hero, he came through with a plugin that fixed things up and does the job. It connects what I'd consider the "official" way to use Markdown in WordPress (Jetpack), and with this coming from the lead bbPress Dev, I'd guess we can call this the official way to use Markdown in bbPress.
So huge thanks, John!
All that to say, obviously, John is a hell of a WordPress developer, and you'd do well to use plugins that he creates. Lucky for you, he's got a new project to let you do that: Plugins Loaded.
It's an interesting model in that every single plugin in here is in the official plugins directory and can be used for free. Or, you can support John by buying a copy from here.
There are plugins here that do add incredibly useful things to WordPress like give you an Event Calendar, extend WordPress' abilities like allow users to upload and select their own avatars, or improve UI/UX by making the user profiles screen nicer.