[theme-reviewers] Grandfather Themes?

Chip Bennett chip at chipbennett.net
Tue Jun 25 17:43:45 UTC 2013

There has never been a "grandfather" provision. All Themes have always been
required to conform to all guidelines as current at the time the Theme is
submitted for review.
On Jun 25, 2013 12:16 PM, "Bruce Wampler" <weavertheme at gmail.com> wrote:

> I just submitted a revision for my theme, Weaver II. This theme has been
> in the repository for several years, and met all the theme recommendations
> when it was first submitted. It has since become one of the more popular
> themes available from the repository and has, as far as I can track, many
> thousands of users.
> I am certain there are many other themes that are in the same category -
> originally approved long ago, but containing features or other aspects that
> would not meet the current theme standards. In my case, the theme contains
> very minimal SEO support, as well as a number of shortcodes to support the
> presentation of content in various ways. At the time my theme was
> developed, it was not uncommon for themes to have integrated shortcodes.
> Now, I think I am being asked to remove the shortcode/SEO support, and I
> think it was by Chip.
> "Pushing this version live. Please look to remove Plugin territory features
> (SEO, post-content shortcodes, etc. as applicable) in the next revision."
> This seems to me a radical change in how existing themes have been
> treated, and is extremely disturbing. While I understand and even agree
> with the new "plugin" territory guidelines, I am quite taken aback at the
> consequences of such a new requirement on what I had understood to be a
> grandfathered theme.
> Here are the issues:
> 1. It is important to keep up with new WP features (e.g., 3.6 post types),
> fix bugs, and even add new features to keep the theme up to date and modern.
> 2. It is essential to keep these grandfather themes backward compatible.
> Imagine the total disaster it would be for the user base (and it just as
> important to a small user base or a user base in the thousands or more) if
> they update their site's theme only to have the site totally break because
> all the plugin territory features of the theme had been removed?
> 3. The alternative is to allow the existing theme to become static and out
> of date. Not reasonable, either.
> I just don't understand how it is reasonable, fair, or even good for the
> reputation of WordPress to force thousands and thousands of end users to
> suffer a radical disturbance to their site, or go through some conversion
> process to keep their site from breaking. (And yes, I know it is that exact
> issue that removing all plugin territory stuff from a theme prevents - but
> that was not a requirement or even a recommendation 2 years ago.)
> So, if it is going to be the new official policy to force previously
> grandfathered themes to undergo possibly radical surgery to meet current
> guidelines, then this needs to be done is a more formal and well planned
> out way. Time frames for conversion. Possible exceptions to some rules to
> ease transition (e.g., allowing auto load and inclusion of a theme
> accessory plugin at least for a significant transition period).
> But personally, I just can't see how one can reasonably avoid
> grandfathering themes. Certainly there are some standards that don't really
> affect how a theme works that could be required to be updated (e.g.,
> security issues), but there are also many (and plugin territory is
> certainly an obvious example) that would create major theme breakage for
> the end user.
> But whatever, being told to totally change a theme's operation before
> being allowed to submit a new revision is not the way to handle
> grandfathered themes.
> Bruce Wampler
> Weaver II theme
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