Theme Review Meeting Summary: June 27, 2017

Slack Link

Meeting Schedules

  • Plan to change to 2 meetings per month – one with a set agenda and one with an open floor
  • Other 2 weeks would be dedicated to projects
  • Proposal to have a meeting topics page where people can leave comments.  Need a plan for how to implement the page.

Review Shindig

  • Next review Shindig is scheduled for Saturday July 8
  • The goal of shindigs is to give reviewers the opportunity to be online together, learn and help each other, and build community
  • Hangout topic is planned to be “tips on reviewing themes faster” at July 8 13:00 UTC

Queue Limit

  • Increasing the limit from 1 to 2 themes in the queue was proposed
  • Decision was to wait until the queue is less than 4 weeks before increasing allowed limit.

Community Summit Recap

Plans were made to simplify the review system and update the directory for both themes and plugins.  Plugins will be done first but theme reviewers should be involved with the plugin changes to help make sure the new system works well for both themes and plugins.  Details are not set but likely changes include:

  • Eliminating trac tickets
  • readme.txt support
  • multiple authors
  • SVN access
  • Reviews will not need to be closed, they can stay open until the author updates
  • Reviews will not need to be assigned to tickets and follow up can optionally be done by a different reviewer when the author updates


For the planned directory changes, themes will need to implement a readme similar to the current plugin requirements.  Reviews can start recommending (not requiring) authors add a properly format readme.

  • It can be readme.txt or with .txt taking precedence
  • The format will need to be the same as the plugin requirements
  • There is also a validator available

Moderators can pick any open ticket

This is in preparation for “not having a queue” in the new system. Please pick reponsibly:

  • Don’t just review for your friends
  • Review from the first page
  • Review difficult themes and leave easier ones for new reviews

GPL disclaimer

  • Authors will need to agree to our GPL licensing requirements on upload.


Due to their change in license we are no longer accepting images from Unsplash as of June 9.

  • Themes can continuing using Unsplash images that were in their theme uploaded before June 9, they do not need to be removed or replaced as they were downloaded under the previous CC0 license and can continue to be used as CC0.
  • Theme updates, whether live or in the queue, should not add new Unsplash images that were not previously bundled with the theme before June 9.
  • While you may have downloaded an Unsplash image under the CC0 license, we have no way to confirm that other than it being included in your upload previous to June 9.

Please note that, our decision not to accept Unsplash’s license as meeting our requirements is not solely about whether it meets legal GPL requirements for compatibility.  Our assessment as the theme review team is that it does not guarantee the four freedoms of the GPL because it restricts usage and distribution.

Thanks everyone for a productive meeting

Our next meeting will be July 11 17:00 UTC.  Since we don’t have a page yet for agenda suggestions, please feel free to post in the comments.

Getting ready for Gutenberg

You may be already aware of Gutenberg editor which is under rapid development and targeting to be merged in WordPress 5.0. The concept “get ready to make your words, pictures, and layout look as good on screen as they do in your imagination, without any code” has been represented with Gutenberg. It has simplified to unlock the power of WordPress without being pro on coding.

Gutenberg is going to be available on core, exact date is not fixed yet. It provides the ability to create own custom blocks for theme and plugin developers and also works great on mobile if you need a quick edit on your phone.

The Gutenberg editor uses blocks to create all types of content, substituting a half-dozen inconsistent ways of customizing WordPress, bringing it in line with modern coding standards and aligning with open web initiatives. These custom blocks change how users, developers, and hosts interact with WordPress for building rich web content easier and more intuitive, democratizing publishing and work for everyone, regardless of technical ability.

Theme review team needs to make a decision about custom blocks that we should allow it or not on the theme? Before the Gutenberg merges into core, Theme Review Team need concrete decision regarding the custom blocks.

So please provide your views and suggestions about the custom block that we should allow it or not in the theme. If you recommend us to allow such blocks, please send us your reasons behind it and share your precious suggestions to clarify your view. If allowed then what types of custom blocks are good to be allowed. Similarly, if you don’t like to allow this, share your views as well, so that we can decide what would be best among them. Feel free to give your views, so that we can make the better environment here in theme review for Gutenberg and custom blocks.

We’re looking forward to hear from you!

Changes in Theme Review Process

We all know that queue time is around 3 months. We have quite a small numbers of active theme reviewers at the moment, and even when a ticket is being reviewed, the review process itself can take pretty long to complete.

The change is based on moving burden from reviewer’s shoulder to theme author’s and making theme authors more responsible. From today, reviewers can check mainly following issues to pass the review.

  • Security
  • Licensing
  • Malicious or egregious stuff
  • Content Creation

Although these are the points to pass the theme review, theme authors are expected to follow the guidelines (required and recommended) like how it is going currently.

Moderators will spot check the themes after it is set live. If theme authors are found intentionally not following the guideline, Moderators will ask theme authors to fix the critical issues. In the case of not abiding the guidelines, theme could be on temporary or permanent suspension.


Agenda for 2018 March 27

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

Channel: #themereview | Time: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at 17:00 UTC 17:00 UTC

The following will be discussed during the meeting:

  • 100% GPL themes (Clarification on licensing)
  • Giving Theme Reviewer badge automatically rather than waiting for 6 months.
  • Method for selection for new Leads

The meetings typically last 30 minutes, however may last up to 60 minutes. If time permits, additional topics may be discussed.

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


Meeting notes for 2018 March 13

Meeting [ link ]. A Slack account is needed to view the archives.

Items discussed:

  • Reducing rules to “essential”: There was intense discussion regarding the change in guidelines. Proposal was to reduce list to 3 essential points: licensing; security and egregious issues. Even though several attendees gave input regarding the agenda, no decision has been made.
  • For:
    • This would reduce queue time drastically.
    • This would move some burden from reviewer to theme author.
    • If theme does something wrong, author will be affected by user’s rating, so author would be more careful.
    • At we can run an experiment, for say 1 months and see how it goes
  • Against:
    • This would let pass themes with some currently critical issues like content creation, prefixing, translation ready, etc.
    • It is hard to trust theme authors as we have seen several examples with breaking of trust.
    • If theme passes with issues and later asked to be fixed by reviewer then user will suffer.
    • Even if we run this experiment for some period, we should first set some target and parameters to check after the experiment to decide whether continue or revert this change.