Evaluation: Report button usage in 2020

Every theme in the theme directory has an information page that includes a report button:

The report button is placed on the right hand sidebar on the theme information page.

When a user clicks the button, they are presented with a form where they can add additional details. Example report form.

The purpose of the report button is to allow users to report themes that have major problems like installation issues, PHPPHP PHP (recursive acronym for PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a widely-used open source general-purpose scripting language that is especially suited for web development and can be embedded into HTML. http://php.net/manual/en/intro-whatis.php. errors and JavaScriptJavaScript JavaScript or JS is an object-oriented computer programming language commonly used to create interactive effects within web browsers. WordPress makes extensive use of JS for a better user experience. While PHP is executed on the server, JS executes within a user’s browser. https://www.javascript.com/. errors.

The idea behind the feature was that if the themes team could encourage users to report broken themes, the team could reduce the number of requirements and have a more reactionary approach rather than preventive. Original Trac ticket.

This feature was first discussed in 2015 and added in 2018 but has not been evaluated since.

Why we need to evaluate the button usage

The themes team representatives have to manually check each report and are seeing an increase in incorrect support requests.

Theme authors are also using the button to contact the themes team with other types of questions and requests.

For each incorrect use of the button, the support request needs to be replied to and or forwarded to the theme author (with information about the reporter removed).

This is extra work in addition to handling the valid theme reports. In 2020, there was a backlog of reports up to 4 months long, and the most critical reports were prioritized.

Reports submitted in 2020

The data the team has available shows that there were 582 reports in 2020.

  • 80 reports were spam or duplicates (One user submitted 39 spam reports).
  • 40 reports were for the default themes.
  • 30 reports were in Spanish, and other languages included French, Italian, and German.
  • 49 reports mentioned problems occurring after updating the theme to the latest version or updating WordPress to 5.3 – 5.5.
  • 30 reports mentioned CSSCSS CSS is an acronym for cascading style sheets. This is what controls the design or look and feel of a site. problems.
  • 11 reports concerned jQuery or jQuery migrate.
  • 9 reports were used to request that a theme would be removed from the theme directory or updated because it had not been updated in a long time.

The two most reported themes had 14 reports each.

Support requests

315 reports were support requests, that is, invalid use of the report button.
Most of the reports were questions about “How to…”

Common topics of the reports marked as support requests:

  • 33 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 WordPress.org Plugin Directory https://wordpress.org/plugins/ or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party compatibility problems
  • 27 Support requests for paid versions of the theme
  • 19 Difficulty with finding and downloading demo content

Valid reports

187 reports were considered valid reports that needed follow-ups, including collecting more information or testing.

Out of the valid reports, the reporter selected the following reason for filing reports:

  • 108 Other
  • 50 PHP or JavaScript problems
  • 19 Hacks
  • 16 Content creation
  • 13 Plugin territory
  • 12 Obtrusive upselling, advertising
  • 9 Licensing

(A theme can be reported for more than one reason.)


With over 62% of the reports being support requests, we can draw the conclusion that the report button is not being used correctly.

Without a measurable goal for the usage of the report button, it is not possible to determine if the button can live up to its original intended purpose.
With 187 valid reports per year and 8 010 themes in the theme directory, the number of reports is too low for the team to be able to review themes based on user reports.

The valid reports, including a small number of critical theme security issues, still shows that the report functionality is important.

Discussion -How can we best use the report button?

We want your help with answering the following questions before the team meeting on January 26, 2021. Please reply with comments below.

  • How can we reduce the number of support requests through the report button?
  • Are there other formats than a report button with a link to a form that we should consider?

There is also a related TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub.https://core.trac.wordpress.org/. ticket about converting reports to support forum topics.

#report, #themes-team