[theme-reviewers] This is becomig a JOKE!!!

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Sat Jun 9 17:01:14 UTC 2012

> True. Dustups such as these are unfortunate: [free] theme developers spend
> time and energy to build their themes, the availability of which, IMHO, was
> a significant factor in the success of WordPress (I remember switching from
> Nucleus and B2Evolution to WordPress almost entirely for: a) availability
> of themes, and b) ease of building a new theme; more on (b) in a minute).
> Theme reviewers, most of whom I assume are volunteers [?], too are going to
> a fair bit of trouble to not just evaluate themes but also provide valuable
> feedback to the authors. Given that, there should be a good deal of
> resonance between these activities.

Indeed. We all have the same objective here: getting great Themes into the
hands of end-users. And yes: the Theme Review Team is comprised entirely of
unpaid volunteers.

> A theme is the personal output of a person (or a small group of them). As
> with any creation there is pride in the work: the design and the code.
> Awareness of this on the part of the reviewer, and of the fact that all
> code or design has its good bits and poor bits, and avoiding the appearance
> of talking-down, would go a long way to assuage any sense of rejection the
> developer might feel.

Insults, rudeness, and ad hominem will never be tolerated, by any party.
That said: Theme developers should try to understand that reviews are
intended to be as *objective* as possible. Sometimes, a little bit thicker
skin is needed. No review comment is ever *intended* to be a personal
affront, regardless of how we, as developers, my infer such comment.

> I would also advocate less pedantry (one theme reviewer took issue with my
> using uppercase for all HTML tags in my CSS. Why? It has no impact on
> security, performance, behaviour, feature compliance, etc). I write all of
> this with great appreciation for the effort that theme reviewers put in.

That is an example of something to question - and to work out -
*in-ticket*. These are the sorts of review inconsistencies that, quite
frankly, are to be expected given the makeup of the Theme Review Team - but
such inconsistencies absolutely shouldn't be a show-stopper. A little
clarification between reviewer and developer should more than suffice to
get past such issues.

> Some thick-skin on the theme author side would help as well — after all,
> having reviewed many themes, the reviewer does indeed have more insight and
> productive thoughts on WP theme code/design.

Agreed. I've learned a ton through participating with the Theme Review
Team. We can all learn from each other, and it would benefit everyone if we
all could take the same approach. The reviewers, through sheer volume, see
many things that an individual Theme developer may not have seen - and
likewise, an individual Theme developer may encounter a use case or
something creative that we reviewers have not yet thought of.'

The reviewer-developer relationship can be destructive, or constructive.
The choice is ours.

> On a larger note, I wonder if theme development has become a much more
> difficult affair today, both in terms of the effort (compliance, feature
> support, etc) and the coding (including knowledge of WordPress internals
> such as architecture), than it was 5-6 years ago. That’s bound to happen
> with all software, but a unique strength of WordPress was the power it put
> at the hands of theme developers at very little cost to them. If I am
> correct, I wonder what that means for WordPress[.org]… effects could be:
> lesser number of themes, greater theme ‘decay’, less feature-rich themes
> (relative to WP core capabilities).
> Honestly, I believe that what we've done with Theme Review will result in
overall *better* Themes, and also provides a framework and educational tool
for aspiring developers. The WordPress Theme development learning curve is
what it is, no matter what we do. WordPress Themes *are* more complex today
than they were 5-6 years ago. WordPress core is more complex, has more
advanced functionality, more APIs, and more people looking for ways to
exploit vulnerabilities.

So, while we have some fairly specific, involved Guidelines, we also
provide resources for implementing/conforming to them. We'll keep working
to put out more tutorials, and keep pushing for establishing best
practices. Also, once 3.4 hits, Child Themes will be allowed in the
repository - which will provide yet another low barrier-to-entry for
aspiring developers.

Looking at the state of the Theme repository today, I truly believe that
the end result of the past two years is that end users have a wider
selection of higher quality Themes that what were available before we
started this "experiment." I also think that we have laid the groundwork
for a community of Theme developers, who now interact considerably more
than we did two years ago. Such a community is yet another resource for
aspiring developers, but it also provides a forum for establishing
consensus regarding best practices and quality standards. Again, both of
these help both developers and end users.

So, I would expect for the Theme Review Team to continue to press on in
this regard: in establishing best practices, in providing educational
resources for developers, and in attempting to build a community of
developers. I would also expect for Themes to continue to become more and
more complex, as WordPress core continues to become more and more complex,
feature-rich, and popular.

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