[theme-reviewers] So many themes are still not live

Justin Tadlock justin at justintadlock.com
Sun Oct 12 19:51:42 UTC 2014

Personally, I'd love to make things a little more consistent and fair.
But, I want to make something clear to everyone.  We're not here to promote
your theme or to make sure your theme gets its time in the spotlight.  What
we do here is for the benefit of WordPress users.  Your reasons for
submitting a theme don't necessarily need to be altruistic, but we have to
treat it as such.

With that said, there are ways of making things more consistent.  This all
starts with reviews.  The reason we (the admins) get backed up is because
we're still having to perform full reviews on themes that are already
approved.  In a more ideal scenario, we'd do a check to make sure things
look pretty good and mark the theme live.

But, we don't have an ideal scenario at the moment.  I can't remember the
last time I didn't reopen an approved ticket.  Our initial reviews are
overlooking major things, even just outright broken code.  I rarely have to
activate a theme to see these problems.  I just open up the theme files,
and they're right there in my face.

If we want to talk about "fairness" and so on, let's talk about the real
problems first.  What can we do to improve our review process?  Any
improvements here will trickle down and improve the entire system.

A few of the areas I see that both theme authors and our reviewers could
improve in are:

1) Security.  This is particularly relevant with theme options and custom
widgets.  Is there something we can be doing to improve this area?  It's a
major blocker for themes.  If it were up to me, we'd ban anything that
didn't use the theme customizer (except in special cases).  I believe that
would cut back on so many problems because it'd limit a lot of custom code
used to build settings pages.

2) Understanding the difference between "content generation" (plugin
territory) and "content presentation" (theme territory).  Basically, don't
use custom post types, taxonomies, or metadata to allow the theme's users
to create content.

3) License/copyright.  We've improved leaps and bounds in this area, but
there shouldn't be any reason one of the admins should be reopening a
ticket for a license/copyright issue.  This is probably the first thing
reviewers need to look at.

And, these are just some of the major things.  I'd love for us to be at a
point where we're pushing for better things like proper translation
support, accessibility, and so on.

Let's focus on continuing to improve the overall process.  Are there
tutorials that y'all would like to see to help improve things?  I'd be more
than happy to write those or dig an existing one up.  Can we make things
clearer in the guidelines?

Maybe our focus should be on building tools for theme authors to submit
better themes.  Any plugin ideas to help with this?  Or, are we simply not
putting the existing tools into theme authors' hands?

Other things I think we need to improve is the theme guidelines
themselves.  The content of the guidelines are fine, but finding a specific
guideline kind of sucks.  I don't even know what page each guideline is
on.  I just happen to know most of them by memory and rarely need to look
them up.
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