With the advent of the new directory being on the horizon, which allows us to easily hard-limit the number of plugin A plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress. These can be free in the WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party tags displayed, we have taken the time to change the guidelines.
While minor updates to the guidelines (with regard to spelling, grammar, etc) are common, major changes are rare and we are striving to be more transparent about them. Hence this post 🙂
Guideline 12 (readme links) clarified to cover spam and tags.
The guideline now reads as follows:
12. Public facing pages on WordPress.org The community site where WordPress code is created and shared by the users. This is where you can download the source code for WordPress core, plugins and themes as well as the central location for community conversations and organization. https://wordpress.org/ (readmes) may not spam.
Public facing pages, including readmes and translation files, may not be used to spam. Spammy behavior includes (but is not limited to) unnecessary affiliate links, tags to competitors plugins, use of over 12 tags total, blackhat SEO, and keyword stuffing.
Links to directly required products, such as themes or other plugins required for the plugin’s use, are permitted within moderation. Similarly, related products may be used in tags but not competitors. If a plugin is a WooCommerce extension, it may use the tag ‘woocommerce.’ However if the plugin is an alternative to Akismet, it may not use that term as a tag. Repetitive use of a tag or specific term is considered to be keyword stuffing, and is not permitted.
Write your readmes for people, not bots.
In all cases, affiliate links must be disclosed and must directly link to the affiliate service, not a redirect or cloaked URL A specific web address of a website or web page on the Internet, such as a website’s URL www.wordpress.org.
The previous version had the title of “… may not contain “sponsored” or “affiliate” links or third party advertisements” which was too specific and yet not direct enough as to what the intent was. We sincerely mean “Do not use your readme to spam.” Tag Tag is one of the pre-defined taxonomies in WordPress. Users can add tags to their WordPress posts along with categories. However, while a category may cover a broad range of topics, tags are smaller in scope and focused to specific topics. Think of them as keywords used for topics discussed in a particular post. abuse, keyword stuffing, and blackhat SEO practices are all spamming.
While we still ask you to use no more than 12 tags, once we move to the new directory, we will simply not display the overage. You should clean that up now. The code is such that there will not be a way to grant exceptions. This is by intent. You don’t need 30 tags, folks.
Guideline 13 (formerly number of tags) now references using included libraries
Since we no longer needed a separate guideline for tags, we have completely changed this guideline to address an issue of security.
13. The plugin should make use of WordPress’ default libraries.
WordPress includes a number of useful libraries, such as jQuery, Atom Lib, SimplePie, PHPMailer, PHPass, and more. For security and stability reasons, plugins may not include those libraries in their own code, but instead must use the versions of those libraries packaged with WordPress.
This issue has become incredibly important when you consider that roughly 90 plugins had to be contacted and closed regarding the use of PHPMailer. They had included the entire library and not kept it updated. I’m aware that we use a forked version of that specific library and I have raised core trac ticket #39714 to address this issue.
While we do not (yet) have a public page to list all 3rd party libraries, I’ve raised meta trac ticket #2431 to hopefully get this sanely documented.