Theme Review Team

Welcome to the Theme Review team.

We are a group of volunteers who review and approve themes submitted to be included in the official WordPress Theme directory.

The Theme Review team maintains the official Theme Review Requirements, the Theme Unit Test Data, and the Theme Check Plugin.

We also engage and educate the WordPress Theme community regarding best practices for themes.

Interested in joining the Theme Reviewers team?

Great! The team is open to anyone who wants to help out, and the process is simple. To find out more just visit the Join The Team page.

Want to know more? There is a more information in the Theme Review Team’s Handbook and the Review itself.

Once you get a theme to review, you will also get a mentor to help you on the road to becoming a theme reviewer.

Weekly meetings

We use Slack for real-time communication. As contributors live all over the world, there are discussions happening at all hours of the day.

We have a project meeting every Tuesday at 18:00 UTC in the #themereview channel on Slack. The next one will be at Tuesday at 18:00 UTC.

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  • Justin Tadlock 7:00 pm on May 3, 2016 Permalink |  

    May 3rd Meeting Notes 

    As always, meetings about upselling gets a little interesting, but we made a good discussion of it in today’s team meeting. Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

    Themes with fatal errors

    It was decided that themes with fatal errors that make it into the repository will be removed from “live” status and set as a “draft” until the theme is updated. This would keep the support channel open for current users but keep the theme from being downloaded by new users.


    We continued our discussion of what methods for upselling are currently allowed. The following items were discussed and voted upon. Note that some minor changes were made to the proposals from the previous discussion.

    Numbers listed are vote counts in favor of adding the guideline. No unfavorable votes were added.

    • No global nags at top of admin pages. +12
    • One top-level link in the customizer (other unobtrusive links in sections allowed). +8
    • Allow one Appearance sub-page. +11
    • No options or panels/sections behind a paywall. +11

    Note that we might change some of the wording for clarity if/when these become guidelines. The admins will review these items for inclusion as guidelines and have further discussion if need be. Overall, there was a majority who voted for these items to be added.

    Addition of a “pro” tag

    It looks like the plugin team might be considering a “pro” tag or similar. See discussion. We should follow up on that discussion and make sure we’re in line with what they’re doing.

    We will also discuss this again in the next meeting because we ran out of time.

    • Shaped Pixels 3:26 am on May 4, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Quick follow up to Ulrich’s post and my comment…with regards to the “One top-level link in the customizer”, my customizer has two links to my site, one for the upsell, but the other is a direct link to the setup tutorials for the theme. Will this be considered as allowable?

      • Justin Tadlock 5:01 am on May 4, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Let me give you an assignment for the next few days. Take some time and think about what’s best in terms of user experience for your free theme. Pretend you don’t have anything to sell. Give it some serious thought. Read some UX blogs in the meantime. Look around for UX studies and reports. Go get some unbiased feedback on your theme.

        Focus on the user experience. Everything else will fall in line from there.

        I’d rather you come to your own conclusion for what’s best for your free theme users, but I can give you a simple yes/no answer if that’s really what you want.

  • Jose Castaneda 4:37 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    Recognizing success 

    Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. Henry Ford

    Take the time to thank the following people for their hard work in reviewing themes:

    @AbdulWahab610, @Blair-jersyer, @HannibalBector, @Kenshino, @Litonice13, @ThemeZee, @WPDevHQ, @acmethemes, @akhlesh-nagar, @andrescifuentesr, @andtrev, @benlumia007, @catchthemes, @codeger, @cristian.raiber, @cristiano.zanca, @cstan, @davide_entratici, @ecommercethemes, @elschnuppero, @emhr, @enricchi, @fashblogger, @galaxytheme, @george.grigorita, @gottaloveit, @hardeepasrani, @harvinder007, @holger1411, @imon-Hasan, @imranaliweb, @ishulev, @jimmitchell, @juhise, @k_mehdei, @kafleg, @khaerulamin, @limestreet, @lyrathemes, @m.usama.masood, @mebishalnapit, @mercime, @mh212, @mikeselander, @nicola.bavaro, @octavianus, @oleksandr87, @peter999, @phillip.nunes, @priyanshu.mittal, @protravelblogs, @psdtohtmlguru, @ptasker, @rabmalin, @rajanit2000, @ranjanrakesh, @rinkuyadav999, @rmdiaconu, @robciucioan, @robertacausin, @rodicaelena, @sebd86, @smartcat, @softer, @spanchoo, @stevekamn, @sushil-adhikari, @suvanno, @swetashrestha, @tadaimushi, @tskk, @vladff, @zulfiker

  • Ulrich 4:20 am on May 2, 2016 Permalink |  

    Agenda for 2016 May 3 

    The Theme Review Team holds a meeting weekly and we encourage all members to attend.

    Channel: #themereview | Time: Tuesday at 18:00 UTC 18:00 UTC

    Topic : Upselling

    • Last week we started to discuss what to do when a live themes has a fatal error. This week we can finish of discussing it.
    • Finalize what type of upselling is allowed. The following items were discussed at a previous meeting.
      • No global nags at top of admin pages. +9
      • One link in the customizer. +6
      • Allow one Appearance sub-page. +6
      • No options or panels/sections behind a paywall. +5
    • @emiluzelac would like to propose a new theme tag for themes that have a pro version.

    The meetings typically last 30 minutes. If time permits, additional topics may be discussed.

    If you have any topics, then please reply to this post and include the topic, along with a brief description of what you would like to discuss.

    • Carolina Nymark 5:11 am on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      If we add such a tag then donation links on the theme info page should also be allowed and possible. I don’t like how themes and plugins are treated differently in that aspect.

    • CharlieLivingston 1:20 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’d like to talk about the new theme tags and I’d like to propose that ‘business’ should be included as a tag.

      • Justin Tadlock 3:43 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        As per the previous meeting, we will be doing a yearly tags review every January. That will give us time to evaluate them every year and make changes as necessary.

        • CharlieLivingston 11:11 am on May 3, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          It’s not too late to add business. You’re going to have a tag for ‘Holiday’ but not ‘Business’, one of the most (if not the most) popular categories?

          Also, not having a tag for ‘business’ gives the impression that WordPress doesn’t have any business themes, which 1) isn’t the case at all, and 2) damages the WordPress brand (suggests it hasn’t moved on from blogging).

          • Ulrich 6:47 pm on May 5, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Holiday was part of the original tags so that is why we left in. We discussed the tags some time ago and have just gotten the go ahead from core to add them. We just added `custom-logo` at the last minute as it was just added in WP 4.5. We will not be waiting as long as last time to refresh the tags. So look out for the next time we discuss the tags and you can bring your proposals then 🙂

    • Shaped Pixels 4:43 am on May 3, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I wasn’t around to check out the meeting last time, but with regards to “One link in the customizer”, is this for “any” links? In the customizer, I have a few buttons at the top, one links to the pro version on my site, but I also have one that links to my site for the theme’s setup tutorials…which means I have two links..

  • Justin Tadlock 7:22 pm on April 26, 2016 Permalink |  

    April 26th Meeting Notes 

    We had another great meeting today Read the meeting transcript in the Slack archives. (A Slack account is required)

    Theme Check updates

    There are many open issues in need of patches. Please get involved if you’re a theme author, reviewer, or just like to write code.

    Theme Check is our automated tool for handling theme submissions. The better we make it, the more automated the process becomes, which helps speed up the review process. Please help. There are plenty of open tickets.

    Proposal of custom-logo tag

    Because the new tags were discussed months ago, core WP didn’t yet have the custom logo feature. We decided today to make a Trac Ticket to propose the custom-logo tag.

    Ongoing process for updating tags

    We need a process that will allow us to continually improve and refine the tags available to themes. We’ve decided to do a “tags review” every January. This way, maybe we won’t have to wait for years between updates to the tags.

    Note: More info on upcoming tag changes will be posted soon.

    Themes with fatal errors

    On occasion, a theme might get set live with a fatal error. At the moment, we’ll deal with these on a case-by-case basis. This is something we should discuss further in next week’s meeting.

    Review videos

    If you’re interested in doing review videos, post in the comments below or on the Slack channel. @thinkupthemes has some ideas.

  • Jose Castaneda 10:00 am on April 25, 2016 Permalink |  

    Review videos 

    We all learn in different ways. Learning to do a proper theme review can go a long way – not only for you but for others as well. I know this was the case when I first began reviewing themes. I learned a lot by reading previous theme reviews and whatever documentation was available. Often it was the codex but now we have our handbook.

    Over the last two years we began a small project. The doing_it_wrong theme in order to help out some new reviewers and perhaps in a workshop. We put out a call for things and some of you answered with great things to include in our theme. We made some changes and progress along the way and yes, we are always looking for more things to include. This can be something as a random action that isn’t hooked properly.

    I will throw this out there as well, if you haven’t already, give your input on our most recent poll. This will give not only me but us more information as to how we can truly improve our resources for current and future theme reviewers. The reason I bring this up is because to many of us are seeing a lot of common things being missed. This wouldn’t be the first time it has been mentioned. We are always happy to learn more and share that with you all.

    The last couple of weeks I have been trying to record some helpful videos in hopes that many of you will learn a little more about conducting a theme review. We urge you all to please take your time and do the best you can with one full review at a time. Yes, I know it is not an easy thing to do but the key here is making sure that the communication between author and reviewers is not lost. Keep all conversation in ticket and making sure you communicate as much as possible. This does mean even posting some thing like, “Hey, sorry got a little busy but was able to look over the includes folder. I will try to get to it once I get home.”

    The list can be found here.

    • Maria Antonietta Perna 12:39 pm on April 25, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looking forward to the videos, it’s a fantastic idea. Thank you!

    • @mercime 4:29 pm on April 26, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @jcastaneda Thanks for taking the time to make videos of your theme review process! +1 for Brackets 🙂

      re: many of us are seeing a lot of common things being missed

      I would recommend a one-page “Quick Start” or “Theme Review Cheat Sheet” with links to the different pages within the handbook/blog posts here as a guide for first-time reviewers and even theme developers. It would be similar to the old Codex pages which helped me get through my first theme review years ago and where I learned a lot during the process. Otherwise, new reviewers would have to go through each page of the theme review handbookand all the blog posts here – quite time-consuming tasks already – in order to conduct a full and thorough review. Just my two cents 🙂

      • Jose Castaneda 8:31 pm on April 26, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        I like that idea of a “cheat sheet.”

        the old Codex pages which helped me get through my first theme review years ago and where I learned a lot during the process

        I know that feeling as well! I still remember looking up a lot of the things on the Codex. Oh, memories!

    • ThinkUpThemes 8:17 pm on April 26, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hello Jose,

      I am a big fan of videos but must admit the one major downside is the time it takes to record a video and update it. Do you have a list of videos your planning to record? If not I can put together a list and send over my thoughts.

      What I find particularly useful are instructions with screenshot images. These are usually so much faster to produce than videos and easier to update. What are your thoughts on mixing and matching between videos and articles with images?

      • Jose Castaneda 8:27 pm on April 26, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Don’t have a list yet. I did mention it in Slack as well because it was brought up.

        I do agree it can take time to update but they are more about the process of reviewing a theme and not about the requirements themselves as they can change over time. 🙂

    • ThinkUpThemes 12:16 pm on April 28, 2016 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      That makes sense. It would a nightmare to redo videos on requirements, given that requirements can change. But the actual process remains the change. A constant in the ever changing world of theme reviews. 🙂

      Are you imagining that there would a different video for setting up the review environment. For instance, setting up in a live site, local with wamp, etc… I notice you’ve done a video on VVV. Is there a video you’re keen on getting done? Maybe I could have a go at recording it. If it’s an area I’m comfortable with I’ll be happy to give it a go.

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