[theme-reviewers] Theme Review Feedback at WPTavern Forum

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Wed Aug 25 15:49:25 UTC 2010

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 7:27 AM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
> Disagree, 100%. The Theme repository is linked directly into the back-end of
> WordPress, and represents and reflects WordPress.
> Also, poor code quality and failure to keep Themes from becoming obsolete
> through function deprecation and failure to include new/improved core
> functions and features is *bad* for end users.

Hey, no, don't get me wrong. We want good code. But that doesn't mean
we have to punch people in the face until we get it.

My main problem is with the "rejection" here. Nobody should ever be
"rejected" by our community. That's an extremely bad way to deal with
authors, especially when they need our help in learning how to improve
their code.

Here's my suggestions for how to adjust our process:

Step 1: No rejections. Period. When you send a rejection to an author,
well, that's a "final" state, isn't it? Where's the authors incentive
to come back to us when we've told him that he's not welcome here?

Step 2: No closing tickets until they're really done. You can't have a
dialog when the ticket is closed, because nobody is listening at that
point. Authors that have issues need to have a chance to respond to
them and to be educated. Ideally, they'd be able to upload the changes
directly using the ticket system somehow, instead of resubmitting the
whole theme again. If we need tech improvements to fix this, so be it.

Step 3: Improve the way we respond to problems. I understand that
reviewing is difficult, but these cursory and short reviews I'm seeing
in trac with a list of problems (many of which I do not consider to be
"problems") is hard to parse, especially for a new author. Maybe we
need a tool to help reviewers build a more verbose list, with links to
the codex and longer explanations of why we think certain things
should be included in themes. But simply saying "=> body_class is
required" doesn't really seem to be particularly useful to a theme
author who may not grasp this process.

Basically, I want there to be a dialog between the reviewers and the
authors, and to give the authors a chance and the tools necessary to
improve. As it stands now, they really are not being given that
chance. The numbers really do speak for themselves.

But in order for this to happen, I think we also need to use a little
more common sense in some of these items. Yes, every theme should have
body_class, but if a theme doesn't, well, it doesn't really hurt
anything. So that should be a case where we tell the author "Hey, you
should add body_class. Here's an explanation why." and then let them
do that instead of simply saying "Oh ho, you failed our test! You're

This is what I'm really trying to get at here. The system as I've just
experienced it is difficult, confusing, and leaves a bad taste in my
mouth. I don't want to go through it again, to the point where I won't
be submitting any more themes to the system but just releasing them
myself instead. How does that help anybody, anywhere? How does that
improve my skills as a theme author? How does that benefit the users
of my theme, if they are having to upgrade manually instead of using
the automatic upgrader? This poor review process I experienced has
driven me away and seriously hurts everybody involved.

Can't we consider that and consider ways to fix it? Let's build a
community here.

> Go audit the 545 Themes that were rejected. You tell us what percentage of
> those should have been approved, in your opinion, and why.

All of them (maybe 98%) should have *eventually* been approved,
instead of being outright rejected and the theme developers told that
they were unwanted here. Instead, most of those people probably won't
be coming back or fixing those themes. Because rejection didn't stop
them from getting released, it just stopped them from getting released
through WordPress.org and stopped them from having discussions with
the people in our community about it.


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