Reminder: Make Sure Your Email Is Up To Date

I know the 4.7 ‘please test’ email went out a bit late (WordCamp US, blame Wapuu), but we did send it and just like last time, we’ve taken action the replies.

  • If you reply and ask for a plugin to be closed, we close it.
  • If your email auto-replies, we warn you once. If you were warned previously, we close your plugin(s).
  • If your email bounces we close your plugin or, if there are multiple developers involved, remove your account and notify them.

These actions are taken for security. If we have no way of getting in touch with you, or if your email is invalid, it puts your users at risk. Not to mention getting 2500 auto-replies is pretty frustrating.

Remember, it is a requirement that we be able to contact you. We don’t mind if the email is a group mail, but it should never auto-reply to anything from WordPress.org. Just whitelist us (and yes, you can do that with ZenDesk read this ticket for details) and make sure nothing from .org gets a bounce reply. This will also make our servers faster, which I know you’d like.

If you can’t do that, you’ll need to change your email to something else. Do to that, go to https://wordpress.org/support/users/YOURID/edit/ as the user in question and edit the email. Done.

On a happier note, less than 100 people had to be contacted this time around! It only took me 2 hours to sort it out, versus last time which was much higher. The majority of the issues came from new plugin developers, which is understandable, but a few of the long-standing devs had a rude awakening this morning, I’m sure.

Thank you everyone for understanding.

#notice #policy

Guidelines for Plugins that Include Company and/or Product Names in the Plugin Name

When submitting plugins to the WordPress.org repository, there are a number of guidelines for what is and is not acceptable. One of those guidelines has to do with the name of your plugin, especially when it includes the name of a company, trademark, or product.

If you have submitted a plugin and received a rejection email that started with something like the quote below, it means you need to adjust the name of your plugin.

We’re no longer accepting plugins that include a trademarked product name or term as the name or slug of a plugin. Nor are we accepting plugins that include the name of another plugin at the beginning of the name/slug.

Before you submit your plugin for review, take the name of your plugin into consideration and try and pick a name that will not be rejected. To help you choose a better name, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Your plugin includes the name of a company, trademark, or product

Take WooCommerce as an example.

The following names will be rejected:

  • WooCommerce – Product Add Ons
  • WooCommerce – Better Stats

We will, however, accept the following (if not already taken):

  • Product Add Ons for WooCommerce
  • Better Stats in WooCommerce

One of the key points is that your plugin’s name cannot start with the company/trademark/product name.

Here’s another example. Stripe Payments will be rejected. Payment Form for Stripe will be accepted (if available).

You work for the company whose product’s name you are using

You are permitted to submit plugins that include the company/trademark/product name If you work for the company owns it.

For example, if you work for PayPal, you may submit a plugin named PayPal Payments.

In order to have your plugin approved, you must submit the plugin from an official company account. This usually means the email address on the account is {yourname}@{company}.com If you submit it from a non-company account, your plugin will be rejected.

You do not work for the company but you have permission to use the company/product/trademark in your plugin’s name

In this case, we will ask you for proof of written permission from the company that explicitly states you have permission to use the name.

For example, if you wish to submit a plugin called Gravity Forms – CSV Exporter, you must have proof of written permission from Rocket Genius, Inc. to include Gravity Forms in the name.

Please provide proof with your initial submission, otherwise it will be rejected.

Edit: Sadly, we can no longer accept ‘permission’ for names, as revocation means we have to remove the plugin permanently. Since that’s a disservice to your users, we feel it’s better to have a universally acceptable plugin slug from the start. If you submit “Gravity Forms – CSV Exporter” the slug will be automatically changed to “gf-csv-exporter” for you. In cases where we cannot pick an acceptable slug, we will email you with proposed solutions.

Questions, Feedback, Comments

If any of this is unclear or you have comments or questions, feel free to leave them below.

Update 1

There was some confusion as to some of the guidelines regarding trademarks, company names, and product names.

To help clarify:

1. If your plugin name includes a trademarked product name or term, you must be the owner of that trademark, work for the company that owns the trademark, or you must have permission from the owner to use it.

2. If your plugin’s name includes the name of a company or the name of a company’s product, you may not use their name at the beginning of the plugin’s slug. “WooCommerce – Product Addons” is not permitted. “Product Addons for WooCommerce” is permitted.

3. These guidelines are specifically at the slug of the plugin (wordpress.org/plugins/this-is-your-slug). The slug is auto generated based on the name you enter when submitting your plugin. After submission, you can still alter the exact name that is displayed on your plugin’s page via the readme.txt file.

Note: these are not 100% hard-fast rules and there are always exceptions. It is up to the reviewer’s discretion how strongly they wish to enforce these guidelines. To best ensure your plugin is approved in a timely manner, however, do your best to follow these guidelines.

#guidelines, #policy, #submissions

Forks and Copies

This has come up recently. What happens when someone submits a plugin that’s a copy of another?

The tl;dr here is this: Please email us at plugins@wordpress.org if you find someone has slipped an uncredited fork or identical copy of another plugin into the repository.

In general, we spot these before they ever get published. We rejected 10s of plugins a month for being identical copies. That said, we also approve double that for being legitimate forks.

While the GPL and it’s compatible licenses allow for forking, we have an ‘above and beyond’ rule for hosting here, that means your plugin must be a substantial change of the original. We do not allow direct copies of other plugins to be re-listed under somebody else’s name, we allow changed forks.

What does that mean? It’s very simple. You have to add new features, remove features, modernize, fix, clean up, or otherwise make a change to the plugin that differentiates it from the original. In rare cases, a simple clean-up will be accepted, but normally we try to get a hold of the original authors and have the fixes folded in to the original plugin. If you have a fork, we require you to retain all credit and/or copyright information.

That’s all well and good. What happens when we miss one?

Contact us. Email us at plugins@wordpress.org and tell us “Plugin A is a copy of Plugin B.” If both plugins are on the WordPress.org repository, provide links — there are 45k plugins in our repository, no links means it takes us an extra email or three to sort out which plugin you were talking about. Anyone can report this, though we ask you be reasonable and not accusatory. We are real humans who will read your emails. Treat us like that 🙂

We’ll open up both plugins, the current versions and the originals, and run a diff between them to see what’s different. If it’s just renaming plugin functions, we’re going to close the copy. If it’s clearly a full rewrite, with moving functions to namespaces etc, we’re likely to keep both versions open. A full modernized rewrite is a legit fork. We will go back and ask them to put credits and copyright info back in, but rarely more.

If the original plugin is NOT hosted on WordPress.org, then it’s more complicated because we need to see them to compare. This means if you, as a user, see a copy of a premium plugin, you need to ask the original developers to contact us. Why? Well, have you ever tried, as a non-paying customer, to contact some of these folks? It’s an uphill battle. It’s worse when they’re hosted on places which protect their email addresses. That’s great, we totally get why you do that, but we have no way to contact them. Many times we’ve reached out and gotten auto-replies that take weeks to get back to us with a real human.

If you’re the original developer, email us a copy of your plugin (we promise not to steal it) and if you can, explain how you know it’s a copy and not a fork.

But whatever you do, please, please, please, don’t take all this to the forums and post complaints that the forked plugin authors are evil or what have you. That doesn’t make for a happy community. Report things properly. Let us know. We’ll take the angry hit from them for you.

If you’ve written a fork or a copy? Please make sure you’re really making a fork! Just slapping on your name and changing function names isn’t enough of a fork for us to host it here. We don’t want to have 100 plugins that are the same, save the credits. We want to have plugins that do different things.

Edit: All questions about the GPL-100% rule and how it applies to WORDCAMPS needs to be asked of the https://make.wordpress.org/community/ team – All those comments are being deleted for derailing the topic here.

#policy