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

Styled Themes social at styledthemes.com
Sun Oct 12 21:41:53 UTC 2014

Hi Tammie,


It sounds like you want me to join the team and become a theme reviewer…I’m guessing it’s the 3 times you asked, haha J


Anyway, I’ve thought about being a reviewer a few times before. If I did jump in, I would want to make sure I have the available time to do it. Just how long does it take on average to do a review anyway?






From: theme-reviewers [mailto:theme-reviewers-bounces at lists.wordpress.org] On Behalf Of Tammie Lister
Sent: October-12-14 2:31 PM
To: Discussion list for WordPress theme reviewers.
Subject: Re: [theme-reviewers] So many themes are still not live


So styled themes, your comment brings up one point right off. You say:


"I’m not a reviewer, so it’s hard for me to say anything about the theme reviewing process and what  gets missed..."


My one question to you is, why are you not a reviewer? Solving things starts with people who submit themes also being reviewers. From there we can start building things. Why aren't you a reviewer? What can we do to get you to be a reviewer? 


Time to do one review can be found by anyone, so let's get you reviewing. Let's start seeing how you can be at the heart of making the review process better for everyone.




On Sunday, October 12, 2014, Styled Themes <social at styledthemes.com> wrote:

I agree Justin, a little more consistency and fairness is part of the experience. I also agree that in a perfect world, theme developers should have the mindset that we’re here to “give back” to the community by providing and improving on FREE themes and SUPPORT for the community.


I know that my own goal is to simply provide quality free themes to the community. For such a long time I’ve seen too many plain and boring themes listed (sorry, but it’s true), and I wanted to see more themes that have more visual impact that competes with premium theme sites. So I decided to submit themes. Of course, there’s always room for improvement, even with my themes, but I’m starting to see other theme developers submit themes that are much better than before (which I am glad to see). The end-user doesn’t care that code is aligned perfectly, or that functions are prefixed with the theme’s name; they download and use themes based on how the theme looks and what features it offers so that it’s going to benefit their website. Yes, code quality is critical, but it should not be the only factor.


I’m not a reviewer, so it’s hard for me to say anything about the theme reviewing process and what  gets missed, or what needs improving on. Perhaps a few things I could say and/or agree on:


1.       Guidelines seem to be spread out across the universe and sometimes contradict each other

2.       Guidelines should be written in a way that “new” inexperienced reviewers/developers can understand terminology and what something means.

3.       Review checklist…make sure there is just “one” list in one location. Again, it’s like guidelines, everything is spread out and hard to find or to confirm that something stated is up to date and accurate

4.       In the past, I’ve found that a reviewer says one thing while another will say something otherwise different, or not even part of the review guidelines. An official review checklist is needed and needs to be followed without straying off. Most times, it’s because the reviewer honestly did not know or was a aware of any changes to the review checklist or guidelines.


What I would like to see is the possibility of a three tier review process:


(1)    Visual review of the overall theme

(2)    Code review of the theme, if it passes the first tier

(3)    Lead (admin) final approval for inclusion


The review process is strictly code based, and it really should be based on both visual and code. People who come to the repository don’t care that code is aligned, or that functions are prefixed with the theme’s slug, they choose themes strictly on how a theme looks and what features it has. They also want to know that they will get support when needed without waiting too long. 


There’s so much potential for the repository, but there is definitely room for improvement everywhere. I’d like to see the repository grow into a source of providing free high quality themes that can compete with commercial sites. I’d even like to see the same kind of page structure for themes as plugins have. I’d like to see the Preview button load an actual demo of the theme…which brings me to the idea that any theme that gets submitted, needs to have an actual demo website to showcase that theme; the current preview is well….pathetic. 

















From: theme-reviewers [mailto:theme-reviewers-bounces at lists.wordpress.org <javascript:_e(%7B%7D,'cvml','theme-reviewers-bounces at lists.wordpress.org');> ] On Behalf Of Justin Tadlock
Sent: October-12-14 12:52 PM
To: Discussion list for WordPress theme reviewers.
Subject: Re: [theme-reviewers] So many themes are still not live


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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