Trusted Authors Program

We have an excitement announcement to make, we’ve decided to make things easier for you, the authors, by putting together a Trusted Authors Program. Eventually, it will lower the burden on reviewers/leads and we will have more time for other interesting programs. After a few days of brainstorming, here is what we have.

The Trusted Authors Program is an attempt to streamline the review process for authors who are consistently able to show they can to produce high quality code and themes that are in line with the current guidelines.

You should know from the start that applications for the Trusted Authors program and its queue will be handled only by team leads.

To apply to this program, you will need to select the ticket you want us to take into consideration:

  • It can be your latest approved (live) theme (not an update ticket)
  • Ticket in the New or Final Queue.

After that you can post your application in the comments, using this format (make sure you read the entire article carefully before you apply):

User: greenshady Ticket:

The leads will make sure to take a note and contact you if your application is accepted or not.

The ticket you’re applying with must have the following characteristics:  

  1. Escaping/Sanitization – maximum of 3 issues.
  2. Licensing – maximum of 3 issues and you need to be 100% GPL, all your products, either on your website or 3rd party sites.
  3. Content creation – none spotted, this also includes correct use of demo content.
  4. Malicious or egregious stuff – no PHP/JS or any types of errors, no plugin territory functionality. Correct use of prefixing, enqueue, translations, advertising.

As an author, you also need to know that:

  • You can submit a theme once a week (1 week). Please consider that authors in the New queue have to wait for a review and they are also limited to 1 theme/30 days.
  • You must have at least 1 live theme in the directory to be considered.
  • You can’t apply with a child theme, just parent themes.
  • This privilege is not transferable,
  • Themes approved through this program cannot be transferred to other accounts for a minimum of 6 months.
  • Accessibility ready themes are filtered out of the TA queue. They’ll need a11y reviews.

Consequences of not following the rules:

  1. Content creation, licensing issues result in 1 week suspensions without warning and removal from the program. You’ll need to fix the theme, suspension won’t be lifted until you do so.  You’ll be able to re-apply for the program after 3 months from the date when the theme is reinstated.
  2. Any type of hacks, malware, attract a permanent ban and removal of all your themes. (unless you were hacked and can provide hard proof for that).
  3. The other rules result in a warning, a period of 7 days to fix those issues, otherwise point 1’s consequences apply.
  4. We’ll not take into consideration active installs counts, how old a theme is or your financial distress. Suspensions will be applied without hesitation.
  5. Two strikes will result in removal from the program. You will not be allowed to re-apply to the program for a minimum of 4 months. Timescales may be decided on a case by case basis deepening on severity.

We would like to keep things civilized. All complaints are addressed in ticket, don’t call out people on Slack. You can ping any of the team leads if you have any concerns.

Please do not take advantage of being a trusted author. Post reviews will be done at random to ensure the program is not being abused. If we find the program is being abused, any abusive authors will be removed without notice.


Rough draft: Upsell/Affiliate/Sponsorship guidelines

After talking with the team leads, I was asked to publish an outline of ideas to consider for guidelines. These are being posted here for feedback from the entire community.

Nothing is set in stone. The below and any comments will be discussed in the next team meeting. Now is the time to share your thoughts.

The following is in response to the recent uptick in discussion as well as usage of affiliate and sponsored links within themes. These need to be addressed in a meaningful way that’s both fair to users and theme authors without allowing themes to be displaying things that are akin to spam.

The general rule of thumb should be: Any link, advertisement, etc. should benefit the user in using this specific theme. It should not be upsells of unrelated products.

Affiliate links in general:

Affiliate links in and of themselves are OK. They’re not inherently bad.


Themes may only upsell products and services that are directly related to the theme. It’s probably best to go with a whitelist of things that are OK just so that it’s clear. I think the following covers most things, but I may have missed something.

  • Child themes for this specific theme.
  • A pro version of the theme, whether in theme or plugin form.
  • An add-on plugin for this theme.
  • Design/Development services.
  • Theme support.

Plugin recommendations:

Themes may not include third-party plugin recommendations either via link or TGMPA solely as part of a paid sponsorship. Any plugin recommended by a plugin (affiliate link or otherwise) must have some sort of theme integration. The following is a list of some things that I consider theme integration.

  • Theme uses plugin hooks to make template HTML match.
  • Theme adds CSS to directly style components of the plugin.
  • Theme adds custom templates to handle the front-end output.

Paid sponsorship:

Any sort of paid sponsorship for backlinks should be prohibited. For example, hosting companies shouldn’t have their links on a theme admin page, which are not relevant to the theme itself.

Agenda for 2018 September 11

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

Channel: #themereview | Time: Tuesday, 11 September 2018, 19:00 CEST 17:00 UTC

The following will be discussed during the meeting:

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.

#agenda, #meeting

Updated Screenshot requirements

Slight change of plans, the previous rule was not sustainable and we had to change it as follows:

Screenshots are allowed to display only dummy text that doesn’t suggest/describe theme features, functionality, or statistics. If it looks like an AD, then it’s not allowed.

  • Dummy text examples: Lorem ipsum (or similar generators), text that doesn’t describe your theme, company, service, or products.

Please change your screenshot if it’s breaking this requirement. Not doing so can lead to your theme being suspended.

Deadline: 2 weeks (August 27, 2018).

EDIT: Nice screenshot examples to follow

EDIT: Removed the banned words.

Thank you!