[theme-reviewers] Theme Review for blog and business (CMS) themes

Mario Peshev mario at peshev.net
Mon Mar 19 16:19:23 UTC 2012

Hello everyone,

I'd like to discuss a philosophically-bureaucratic point that has been
stuck in my head for the past 2 or 3 months. It's regarding the themes in
the WPORG repository and their structure and guide list.

I know that guidelines have been polished for a very long time and we keep
discussing new rules on a regular basis. However, I took part in 3
different theme-related projects with working themes (i.e. published for
free on authors' websites and used by users) that keep being rejected on
Trac for some guidelines that I would probably agree with if we would speak
about blog themes but not about ones being used for other reasons.

This one wraps several delicate questions, such as:

- different theme categories in Extend, i.e. 'blog', 'corporate',
'portfolio' with the general purpose of a theme. (or beta/unverified
- easier rules for working themes
- turnaround time for revisions

The three themes I took part in (after reviewing about 70 or more themes on
Trac) ended like that: one of the themes got in after 3 months and 3
revisions, second is still there since December (3 revisions and many
remarks) and the third client gave up the idea of submitting and published
on other free theme markets.

The problem is that theme authors building non-clones of twenty-ten and
twenty-eleven have to spend tens (if not more) hours to keep all the rules
in place, such as defining classes for byauthor and sticky and many many
more irrelevant for themes being used as web site templates. What I want to
stress on is that WP (as everyone here knows undoubtedly) is no more a
blogging tool only but a powerful CMS that keeps millions of sites online.
Still, great theme developers building website themes have to take care of
a serious amount of rules to get into WPORG.

Am I the only one who noticed and got concerned about that? I think that
our rules here would end with blog themes cloning 2010/2011, no fresh and
innovative functional new themes due to the guidelines strict policy. In my
experience no more than 3-5% of the themes get approved from the first
review. 20-30% eventually pass with the second one. Taking into account
that these 3 iterations take about 3 months more or less, this is
demotivational for authors.

I agree we need to care about the overall quality of a theme. The theme
unit test data has different cases to be reviewed, although most of them
are blog-related. I cannot disagree that we need to be precise about
licensing and security and stability (i.e. lack of errors and thrown
notices). This covers about 1/3 of the guidelines. How about the other two

Since I don't want to be destructive only, I'd like to propose a discussion
on the review process for themes that are not specifically blog-related.
This could be done in two ways: adding a new queue in Trac, reviewed
separately (kinda like the BuddyPress themes) or adding to /extend
categories OR beta section, for let's say working themes that don't cover
all guidelines. It could be done for beta testing and many developers would
like to test these themes as being free and working greatly in 98% of the
scenarios. The rest is extension.


Mario Peshev
Training and Consulting Services @ DevriX
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