Team meeting: Guidelines chat

Again to make sure it’s understood. Any term everyone or we is used in the context of the meeting. These are the notes and to get them out fast so everyone is updated they are very notelike. We are sharing all notes from every meeting so keep that in mind when you comment on these. Please respect again no names are attached and these are in note format.

We should control our documentation
We have to be careful when linking to other resources.
We all have different work flows.
Recommendations are a chance for education.
Our guidelines have language that is hard and not clear.
It’s really hard as a new reviewer.
Things are easily open to interpretation which is bad.

In light of this, we went through every guideline and have grouped them into required, recommended. We also have refined and clarified some guidelines. This was a very long process as you can imagine, but worthwhile. We methodically went through to create this new proposed list.

REQUIRED proposed are:

  • [ New guideline ] 1 Unique slug – text domain. Before this wasn’t just 1.
  • [ New guideline ] Files: Index.php and style.css is all that a theme needs. This removes comments.php from that list.
  • [ New guideline ] Theme names must not use: WordPress, Theme. This has everything else removed as a must.
  • Themes are to use WordPress functionality and features and first. [ wording needs refinement ] [ Link to make themes handbook on how to make a theme ]
  • No analytics or tracking
  • No hard coding of scripts, styles and favicons
  • Themes are required to save options in a single array
  • Themes are required to use sane defaults and must not write default setting values to the database [ wording needs refinement ]
  • Everything must be sanitised. [ link to what that means ]
  • Themes are required to be 100% GPLGPL GPL is an acronym for GNU Public License. It is the standard license WordPress uses for Open Source licensing The GPL is a ‘copyleft’ license This means that derivative work can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD license and the MIT License are widely used examples. licensed or use a GPL compatible license. [ link to expanded information – entire section about license, copyright ]
  • If the theme adds a footer credit link, it can only have one singular use.
  • If you are a themeshop you should be selling under GPL to be in the 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. repo.
  • No theme should have a pay wall restricting any WordPress feature.
  • Screenshot.png should be a real image not a logo or mockup.

REQUIRED that can be automated will be – automation through theme check pluginPlugin 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 Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party:

  • No shortcodes, no custom post types and no custom taxonomies [automated]
  • No removing or modifying non-presentational hooksHooks In WordPress theme and development, hooks are functions that can be applied to an action or a Filter in WordPress. Actions are functions performed when a certain event occurs in WordPress. Filters allow you to modify certain functions. Arguments used to hook both filters and actions look the same. [ rewording ] [automated]
  • Disabling the admin tool bar [ automated ]
  • Don’t mention in guidelines but automate to not have Timthumb [automated]
  • Theme settings page under appearance [ automated]
  • Themes required to use edit theme options [ automated ] – coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress. functionality correctly.
  • Themes are required to declare their license explicitly using the license and license uri headerHeader The header of your site is typically the first thing people will experience. The masthead or header art located across the top of your page is part of the look and feel of your website. It can influence a visitor’s opinion about your content and you/ your organization’s brand. It may also look different on different screen sizes. slugs to style.css [automated]

— The above guidelines are the only required now.


  • Backwards compatibility
  • Theme documentation
  • AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). (
  • Documentation put all in recommended and have it’s own page
  • Each recommended will have it’s own page and be expanded on there. Language needs to be simplified too.


  • Run through theme check
  • Front facing in English
  • Presentation versus functionality: plugin territory
  • WP generated CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. files
  • Licensing, theme name and upsell
  • Obsolesce
  • Themes must have a screenshot.png
  • Remove comments.php as a requirement
  • Content sharing buttons and links
  • No compression of scripts or files

CASE BY CASE – the case by case review will become more important as we reduce the guidelines:

  • Theme name
  • Presentation versus functionality: plugin territory
  • Security and privacy
  • Licensing, theme name and upsell
  • Custom widgets
  • Theme credit links have to be appropriate – SEO, spam

WORKFLOW PAGE – new addition:

  • Theme unit test
  • Theme check plugin

Being a good theme citizen page – new addition:

  • A section that has about support and dos and donts

Here are the actionables:

  • Remove the use of guidelines and use the term review. When you land the first page is required then recommended will be linked in sections.
  • After feedback here the documentation will be adjusted to reflect what is outlined.
  • Create all the extra pages and refine the language of the other pages.