I am trying to install some plugins, but the dashboard doesn't provide access to the plugin folder. So how does one install those cool plugins? Thanks.
This is the forum for the open source version of Vanilla that you host yourself, and doesn't provide support.
You're looking for the official Vanilla Support forum here: http://vanillaforums.com/help (note the .com, not .org).
The hosted product doesn't allow you to upload your own addons because of stability and security concerns. However, the hosted version also has many addons not available to open source. You can ask support if you need specific functionality and they can advise you what your options are.