[theme-reviewers] Theme Review Feedback at WPTavern Forum

Otto otto at ottodestruct.com
Wed Aug 25 16:30:27 UTC 2010

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 11:15 AM, Chip Bennett <chip at chipbennett.net> wrote:
> Semantics. We're not "rejecting" a Theme (or its developer); we're
> suggesting that a Theme *as submitted* not be approved for inclusion in the
> repository.

In other words, "go away, we don't want you to be a part of our community".

Not allowing somebody into wordpress.org is rejection in every sense
of the term. It's a rejection of their theme, a rejection of their
code, and a rejection of that person.

> We have a very limited implementation of Trac to work with.

Just tell me what you need the tools to do in order to make this work,
and we'll try to work together towards making the tools do what they
need to do. I'm a programmer, I can do that sort of thing.

> You'll have to ask Cais for exact details, but what you're asking for, I
> believe, would require a LOT of manual intervention in order to make it
> work.

Then let's do that intervention. This process simply does not work as
it stands, and if we need to change it, then that's fine. But before
we change it, let's decide on the right way, then change it to do it
that way.

> If you can have some influence in improving our ability to take advantage of
> Trac, then I think every one of us would be supportive of and grateful for
> that improvement.
> For example:
> 1) Find a way to link new revisions to the already open Ticket for a given
> Theme
> 2) Add new options for ticket resolution, such as "needs further revision"
> or whatever
> Every one of us, I believe, would LOVE such improvements.

Done. I'll put those on the list.

> We have to balance. I like to give very thorough reviews. But, if a Theme
> has been submitted 2,3,4 or more times and *still* fails the review, then
> IMO it is clear that the Theme developer isn't making the effort to ensure
> that the Theme meets the Guidelines. We don't want to incentivize such
> behavior.

Also understand that it might also be an indication that the theme
author is not understanding the purpose or reason for some of the
feedback he's being given. If we are going to be looking at themes for
some set of predefined things to be there, then we should have a well
written and highly verbose explanation of why we think it should be
there that should be given to the author directly, every single time.

More than a sentence. Somebody lacking "body_class" should get three
or four paragraphs on why it's a good idea to use it.

In my experience, most people *can't* educate themselves from mere
documentation. You do have to hold their hand through it. Once they
get over that initial learning curve problem, *then* you can let them
go on their own. But you never get anybody to improve until you guide
them *really* well through those first steps.

> But, again: Trac
> is a mostly foreign concept to a lot of Theme developers. Not only are we
> having to educate them regarding new review Guidelines, but we're also
> having to educate on how to make use of the Trac system, and the tickets
> generated for their Theme submissions.

Okay. Then let's dump trac.

Or let's put a new face on trac to make it easier.

Or *something*. I don't claim to know what would work, and I don't
claim to know all the answers. I just know that it doesn't work now,
and I'm willing to help in changing to make it better. Because it
*has* to get better, somehow.

> As for helping Theme developers understand why certain criteria are
> required: we've been working very hard on improving the Theme Review Codex
> page, to make it more clear, understandable, and concise. We've added Codex
> cross-references for darn-near everything. It is not too much to expect
> Theme developers to keep abreast of the information available in the Codex,
> especially regarding standard WordPress features, functions, tags, and
> hooks. We're doing everything we can to point them in the right direction.

I do appreciate and understand this, and don't want anybody to take it
as criticism of them. I'm being critical of the process here, not the

> Have you actually "experienced" it? Have you reviewed a Theme? Have you
> submitted a Theme for review?

Yes. You reviewed one of them. You may not have known it was me, as it
wasn't under my name. :)

> Agreed, regarding eventual approval. If we can make that process easier for
> both the Theme developers and the review team, then by all means, let's do
> it.
> But just because the *process* has issues, doesn't mean that the Guidelines
> aren't sound.

I think that some of the guidelines are a problem in that they are
being used as cause for rejection when they should not be, however I
also have an issue with the main idea of "rejection" itself. You may
not think of it as actual literal rejection, but it very much seems
that way to the outsider.


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