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  • Emil Uzelac 9:52 pm on February 7, 2015 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    New TRT Admin: Ulrich Pogson 

    Welcome Ulrich Pogson (@grapplerulrich ) to Team Review Admins!

    Ulrich started with WordPress back in 2011. He is a student, sportsman and WordPress developer with interests in responsive design and internationalization and that is not all: he is also Meetup Bern organizer and WordCamp Switzerland co-organizer.

    Thank you for your dedication Ulrich.

     
  • Emil Uzelac 5:22 pm on December 26, 2014 Permalink |  

    Preliminary Theme Review Process 

    Note: This post is not an official guideline, best practice or advice.


     

    Licensing:

    Always pay extra attention and make sure that the entire theme is GPL, or GPL-Compatible. This will include, fonts, scripts, images etc.

    Links:

    Once upon a time, we were slammed with spammers and even though that is no longer the case, we still need to verify the link accuracy and that would be Author URI and Theme URI.

    Trademarks:

    The trademark issues are usually found within the theme name. Most obvious names are easy to find: “WordPress”, “Google”, “Twitter” etc.

    Screenshot:

    Screenshot should be as accurate as possible.

    header.php:

    Usually I would look for any errors, such as hardcoded scripts or extra stylesheets (including Google Fonts).

    Also, plugin-territory codes and data validation issues.

    Now that we checked the header.php we would dive all the way down into the footer.php area.

    footer.php:

    Here we are going to repeat what we just did in header and for the logical reasons. In most cases if there are issues in header area, we will find them in footer too.

    The next stop is the brain of the theme and yes you guess it, functionality.

    functions.php:

    What to look for:

    If you are working with additional libraries and frameworks the process will be longer of course.

    • Proper theme setup function
    • Proper scripts and stylesheets inclusion
    • Proper content directory inclusion
    • Everything is prefixed and have unique text-domains
    • Everything is hooked properly
    • Potential security and privacy issues
    • Core features are not restricted or removed

    When the basics are covered, the next step is to follow everything that’s loaded in the functions.php i.e.

     


     

    And this was the very basic (not complete)  theme review process.

     

    If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below.

    Hope that this helps :)

    Happy Holidays!

     
  • Emil Uzelac 8:02 pm on November 11, 2014 Permalink |  

    New TRT Admin: Jose Castaneda 

    Welcome Jose Castaneda (@jcastaneda) to TRT Admins!

    Team Review Team is growing fast with over 180 members and we are always in great need of help. Jose has been a reviewer for quite a long time, our current TRT rep, key reviewer and also a review mentor. That’s not all folks! You can also find him at WordPress Support Forums too.

    We are glad to have you and thank you so much for your help!

     
  • Emil Uzelac 7:48 pm on October 31, 2014 Permalink |  

    When not to Slack? 

    Few days ago we introduced Slack and it seems like many people are not clear what can Slack be used for. I will try to clarify.

    As majority of us already know that mailing list was archived and IRC is retired.

    Slack replaces short-message systems such as IRC or Skype and things we would like to do in real-time. Slack is not an alternative to mailing list, this very blog is.

    Please bear in mind that all* ticket-related questions should be posted and asked in trac directly.

    If you need mentors assistance please ping your mentor in trac too, same applies if help is needed from one of us.

    Some of you mentioned that trainee’s couldn’t Cc anyone, true however person that has assigned ticket to you can.

    Also note that Slack should not be used as a tool for speeding up the process, the place where we ask what happened to your reviewer, or that you have a bug and need someone to take a look and approve it in right away.

    Faster reviews will fall into preferential treatment. (This does not apply if you have security, privacy or license issues and some case-by-case situations.)

    Last but not least. We are still using our blog for ticket requests as well.

    We are in transition phase and would like to say thanks to all for being so patient with us :)

     
    • Andrew Nacin 8:35 pm on October 31, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’ll also add that:

      • there’s a concerted, ongoing effort to add more people to make/themes
      • the make/meta team is working on some solutions so others can post to make blogs in a moderated capacity
      • conversations brought up by anyone that start in Slack but deserve a thread on make/themes can and should be turned into a thread here

      As Emil notes, Slack doesn’t replace a mailing list. What it does do is fill a void that moving to P2s gave much of the project: it allows for those who do wish to speak to have a for-sure place to be heard. And thus it can allow the last holdouts to abandon their mailing lists.

      You can look at retiring the mailing list as merely dispatching bad technology, and that’s fine. But when shutting it down, I also noticed how many people it had been necessary over the years to ban from it. And I myself stopped reading it years ago because it was too easy for anyone with enough time to be a total pain in the ass and use their motivation and time to suck the life energy and the will to contribute out of everyone else.

      To paraphrase Matt over the years, mailing lists seem to be designed to reward the conversation of those who have the most time to spend on the mailing list, not necessarily who have the best ideas. This is why almost every other facet of the WordPress project abandoned them years ago, in some cases even the better part of a decade ago. They quickly devolve into chaos and flame wars; they become cesspools; they encourage rather than discourage poisonous behavior; they do far more harm to those who contribute outside of the mailing list than help those who find the mailing list to be their primary way of “helping”.

      It’s easy to think “oh, it’s not the mailing list that’s doing this,” and yet.

  • Emil Uzelac 12:01 am on September 6, 2014 Permalink |  

    New TRT Admin: Tammie Lister 

    Welcome Tammie Lister (@karmatosed) to TRT Admins!

    Quick 411:

    Tammie is a theme reviewer since 2011 and Automattician since December of last year and has volunteered to help TRT by devoting 2-3 days a week, allowed by Automattic.

    She is also very active in other areas such as BuddyPress and WordCamps.

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tammie for helping and also to @Automattic for donating time.

    Our community is over 100+ strong and to keep up with new submission rates this is a Godsend to entire team.

     
  • Emil Uzelac 4:39 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink |
    Tags:   

    GPL-Compatible Images 

    We are moving a very healthy discussion from our list. If you need to catch up, archives are available here.


    RE: GPL-Compatibility

    Hey guys,

    I was thinking to write a post about it, but I chose the list instead.

    As I was going over some license *issues* with my very own work, it turns
    out that sites like http://unsplash.com/ are completely unreliable and
    probably not the best choice to use images from.

    The site itself does not have an explicit license, other than a line where
    it says “All photos CC0″, which is definitely not enough.

    Should we “police” this? You bet!

    All right, so I took few extra steps and came to conclusion that the
    original license and the license http://unsplash.com/ advertise are
    different.

    In most cases the license are either not CC0, or they require a special
    permission by the owner and in some other cases released under CC and we
    all know that CC alone is not GPL-Compatible. Not to mention that sites
    lists images from people that don’t even exist.

    When that special permission is granted the source needs to have that in
    writing, otherwise “All photos CC0″ means nothing to us.

    Best example:

    http://500px.com/photo/69737425/hoi-an-vietnam-by-rafael-chiti?from=user

    Thanks,
    Emil


     
    • Towfiq I. 4:55 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      unsplash has lots of images that have cc2 license..
      are there any websites that provide *beautiful* gpl compatible images? not the ones that you find on public domain image websites..

    • Manoz69 4:57 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      In my last theme review, the developer included pattern images from http://thepatternlibrary.com/ . After few researches, I just found one line about the license: “This on going project compiles patterns shared by the most talented designers out there for you to use freely in your designs”. This is definitely not a license (in my opinion) but I didn’t know what to do (the theme is still in review btw).

      For my themes I usually take my images from http://pixabay.com/ wich is nice and lot of images are free and GPL compatible.

    • imon Hasan 5:10 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Looking at the site’s license terms:
      http://pixabay.com/en/service/terms/

      I don’t think the images are licensed compatibly with GPL. For example:

      • You may not use Images for pornographic, unlawful or other immoral purposes, or in a way that can give a bad name to depicted persons, or to imply endorsement of products and services by identifiable persons, brands, organisations, etc.
      • You are not allowed to mass download Images with an application, or reuse a big part of the Images for redistribution on a similar Website.

      Neither of these terms is GPL-compatible.

      • Manoz69 5:35 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Well for me and for creativecommons.org, images from pixabay (CC0) are GPL Compatible. Further reading: http://creativecommons.org/tag/gpl

        The paragraph is clear: “[…] Both public domain works and the simple license provided by CC0 are compatible with the GNU GPL.”

      • ThemeZee 6:57 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        All images uploaded on Pixabay have stated their license explicit on the image page, for example: http://pixabay.com/en/drop-of-water-drip-blade-of-grass-351778/

        Since the image declares the CC0 license on its page, and CC0 is GPL compatible, I think we should be able to use them. I guess Pixabay just cites these general terms to protect itself.

        Pixabay is one of the very few resources for good GPL compatible images and was so far always okay in theme review. Forbidding images from sites like Pixabay or Unsplash would have the result that 90% of all themes need new screenshots ;)

        As theme author you can only carefully select your images and photographers, but there will never be a platform which can ensure 100% that nobody has upload a copyrighted image.

        • Manoz69 12:32 am on June 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          “[…] but there will never be a platform which can ensure 100% that nobody has upload a copyrighted image.”

          return true; :)

          Pixabay is probably one of the best website with free GPL-compatible images. This is a reviewer who made ​​me discover Pixabay and I use it today in all my projects even outside of WordPress. In fact Pixabay should be recommended in the Theme Guidelines.

      • ThemeZee 7:01 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

    • Sovit 5:14 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Selecting an images for screenshot are head-pain. If we cannot use the screenshot from http://unsplash.com/ and http://pixabay.com/ than where we can :(? If I am not wrong Twenty Fourteen A Default WordPress Theme also used an images from http://unsplash.com/
      I think WordPress should start a free GPL photo blog like Genericons?

      • Jose Castaneda 9:05 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Some of us actually have a few:

        Christine: flickr.com/photos/crondeau/sets/72157636563358724/

        Carolina: flickr.com/photos/layout_nu/

        Personal: blog.josemcastaneda.com/downloads

        I know esmi shared: publicphoto.org quite some time ago and from what I can recall Matt’s ( ma.tt/gallery ) his are GPL compatible as well.

    • imon Hasan 5:44 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @sovit this is a good idea

      • Sami Keijonen 8:05 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        That’s really good idea. We need a source we can trust. For now I can only trust my own photos to be GPL compatible and it has been several years I’ve been playing with a camera.

        • Manoz69 10:12 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          And if the author decides to change the license one day? I think we can never really believe in a particular source. We’ll unfortunately continue to search unless you have friends photographers or you’re yourself.

          It’s a very good idea but I don’t think we “need” a source. We can find GPL images everywhere. I don’t really understand the problem. If you have doubts, just search on Google: “license name + GPL compatible” :)

          • Sovit 5:48 am on June 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            I don’t think that author will decide to change the license one day. We some are also the author of some themes here in wordpress.org. Can we change the license of that theme one day? “NO” we can’t because theme must be a GPL licensed. If we clearly write about the license before uploading a images. I don’t think that author one day decide to change the license if so we can remove those images permanently too.

            And also you said that we can never believe in particular source if so than how it comes to trust images that are search on Google under key word “GPL compatible images” are 100% GPL compatible and from original authors.

            • Manoz69 10:25 am on June 6, 2014 Permalink

              I should have been clearer. I didn’t want to talk about Google image search but the search for information about licenses. The 1st time I’ve heard about CC0 I typed “CC0 + GPL compatible” on Google for more informations about the compatibility.

            • Chip Bennett 3:06 pm on June 6, 2014 Permalink

              I can give an actual, real-world example of a license being changed: IconSweets, which is an icon set. Some (long) time ago, when looking for GPL-compatible icons, I found IconSweets, which had a “free for use in personal or commercial projects” statement. Under that license statement, I used the icons. Later, the terms were changed to an explicit license (CC of some form or another, if I recall correctly). Now, because I was using icons that were distributed under different terms, I would have been fine to continue using them. But if anyone were to go back to the source, the change in license would have been confusing. So, I switched to a different resource. (Actually, I switched to an Icon Font – Genericons – which was a better implementation all-around, and eliminated all license ambiguity/confusion.)

              So, yes: it is possible that licenses can change.

    • mindctrl 7:22 pm on June 5, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Ideally themes wouldn’t be bundling images such as the ones you find on the aforementioned sites. Background and pattern images are one thing, but “content” images such as the ones you see on Unsplash really shouldn’t be bundled with a theme. Just as themes shouldn’t include functionality that belongs in plugins, they shouldn’t be bundling content that should generally fall under the purview of the theme consumers and content creators. Huge image assets that either end up being deleted or otherwise not used really don’t have any place in a theme. Twenty Eleven set a poor example, in my opinion, by bundling all the header images with the theme. This is distinctly different from using these types of images on a theme demo site.

      Would someone mind explaining exactly why the CC0 license isn’t GPL compatible? Thanks.

    • Andrey "Rarst" Savchenko 5:27 pm on June 6, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Note that copyright holder (original author) can release the work under different licenses. There is nothing preventing author from submitting photo to unsplash under CC0 and having it hosted under different license elsewhere.

      Of course that means author needs to understand implications of CC0 release and preferably be verified by unsplash.

      Essentially it’s about how much do you trust unsplash to handle submissions properly. But there is nothing inherently incompatible or not “sufficient” about them hosting images under CC0.

      • lukechesser 4:53 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is exactly right Andrey. We do take photo submissions on Unsplash very seriously and verify that the submitter is the original owner of the photograph and has the proper rights to release the image.

        In the history of Unsplash’s ~1000 photos, we’ve had 1 case of a photo being submitted and published that wasn’t submitted by the proper author. The photo was immediately caught by the community (we have more than 500k subscribers currently) and removed from the site. The actual author of the photo was very understanding when we notified her.

    • StefanRisticDev 10:40 pm on June 13, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      I’m a bit confused. Can someone please share a link that would explain what is GPL-Compatible image?

      When I go to images.google.com, and choose “free to use, share or modify, even commercially” I’m getting some awesome pictures that I could use.

      Are those images GPL-Compatible?

    • Carolina Nymark 4:17 pm on June 14, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What about model releases?

      ..And what kind of photos are you mainly looking for?

    • Zilli 9:23 am on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Emil. Sorry if I didn’t get your point, but what is the problem with unplash.com? All their photos are in public domain license. Why wouldn’t you accept a theme that has a public domain photo? I hope you can clarify my thoughts.

    • Emil Uzelac 6:48 pm on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      It was a license mismatch, just double check that’s all. Just confirm with author or the site :)

    • fasterthemes 3:12 am on July 1, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      @Emil I’ve more 10-12 professional photographer friends who are ready to share a few of their photos under GPL license. I’m going to launch a website soon where they will be able to share their images and they will also ask other friends of theirs to share awesome quality photos under GPL3 license.
      Now I need your little help. Please guide me how I can ensure that the OTHERs who will upload the images are owing those images. Because if someone uploads someone else’s photo then I don’t want to be in trouble :)
      The website link will be share to all theme developers here where they will see FOOD, WILD LIFE, Architect, Person, Wedding etc GPL3 or more compatible images :)
      I would really appreciate if you can throw some light to help me developing this website. :)

      • Emil Uzelac 4:25 am on July 1, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        This is slightly outside of the scoop, but no worries, I’ll help!

        Just like anything else out there, work with trusted people and ensure that every submission has some type of submission agreement. Also include the license under which the images are released as well.

        Agreement for your own protection and GPL inclusion before that hit the upload button.

        Nothing is perfect, but you can get close to it :)

        Hope that this helps!

    • lukechesser 4:46 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      Hey guys,

      I’m Luke — one of the co-founders of Unsplash.

      All of the photos published on Unsplash are released to the public domain through the CC0 license (https://unsplash.com/license). All submissions are verified by our internal team (to verify the photos are the property of the submitter). Submitters agree that their work will be distributed for free, regardless of any other licenses they have agreed to on other sites.

      Submitters also agree that they have the proper model releases (to protect the rights of publicity). For commercial uses of the photos, we don’t (currently) guarantee that the photos have the adequate property or copyright releases (example: if a photo features the Empire State building promintently or the Apple logo). We’re currently working on a better solution for this.

      We love seeing WordPress developers and designers featuring Unsplash images and we don’t want that to change. Let me know what I can do to make sure you guys feel comfortable distributing Unsplash images with your themes (and any other work).

      If you also prefer to contact me by email, you can reach me at luke@unsplash.com or on twitter as @lukechesser (https://twitter.com/lukechesser).

      Cheers

      • Samuel Sidler 4:53 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Thanks for the reply Luke.

        Can you explain how “All of the photos published on Unsplash are released to the public domain through the CC0 license.” works with “For commercial uses of the photos, we don’t (currently) guarantee that the photos have the adequate property or copyright releases.”? Those two items seem at odds with each other.

        Cheers!

        • lukechesser 5:09 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          The honest answer is that the majority of photos submitted to Unsplash are taken by amateur or semi-professional photographers, who have never dealt with property or copyright releases. We’re looking into a way to better integrate this into the submission process and/or educate our submitters in the full legal aspects of photography.

          Our recommendation is to not use Unsplash photos that prominently feature copyrighted objects for commercial purposes. So far, there have been no problems reported to us for commercial uses of photos with copyrighted objects, but that obviously doesn’t guarantee that there won’t be in the future.

          Since the majority of Unsplash photos do not feature copyrighted objects prominently, this isn’t a concern for the majority of the photos.

          The majority of the photos ARE safe to use for commercial purposes. If you have any questions about which ones are included in that list, you can always email us directly.

          As far as I know, other sites that offer CC0 licenses like 500px and Flickr also face similar problems with guaranteeing that a work can be used for commercial purposes with the CC0 license.

          • Emil Uzelac 5:42 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Hey Luke,

            Thank you for taking time to reply, we really appreciate that. Anyways, from what I can understand is that you are confirming that photos we found are released under the wrong license?

            • lukechesser 7:35 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink

              Of course.

              What photos are your specifically referring to?

              Unsplash photos are licensed under CC0. It’s the exact same thing as Flickr, Vimeo, 500px — any site that uses the CC0 license for content. Even creative commons makes no guarantee that CC0 content is actually CC0. However, Unsplash guarantees that photos are CC0 if they don’t prominently contain copyrighted objects. If they do, then they’re best used for personal purposes, and hence not fully CC0 — since that’s out of our control.

            • Emil Uzelac 9:11 pm on October 19, 2014 Permalink

              Say no more, that’s all I needed to know. Thanks for extra details :)

              @authors:

              The conclusion is the same as before, please verify all images and make sure that they are indeed GPL-Compatible.

    • tradesouthwest 8:31 pm on December 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      From http://archive09.linux.com/feature/119212:
      Are you a crafter of [….], or even window manager themes? Selecting the right license for your artwork to coexist with free software is no trivial task. Creative Commons (CC) and Free Software Foundation (FSF) licenses each have their advantages, but they are mutually incompatible. The two groups are beginning to move toward simplifying the situation, but in the meantime there are several things you can do to make license compatibility easier.

      The crux of the problem is that non-software artwork [….] occupies a strange niche inside free software applications and operating systems. They are not code, but they are tightly integrated into the system. Artists frequently create them as standalone works, but they are also — by necessity — bundled into software packages and distributions, many of which are under the FSF’s General Public License (GPL).

      So now I must ask: is FSF license compatible with GPL… What IS compatible with GPL? I’m am trying to find an image that stands out for my theme as we all know most themes get downloaded from WordPress [dot org] because they have a great screenshot as well as UI/UX when Previewing ( user expects images they see in preview to be included with downloaded theme).

      I find very few discussions remarking GPL images and am surprised this licensing issue has not been modified from `”GLP required”` to `”GPL preferred but total Author Rights Compatible with Derivative Works is acceptable.”`

      The last refinement is what I give my Creative Commons photographs when I use them on a WP theme. (see https://wordpress.org/themes/ontheside .) I merely re-issue the license usage at my will. I alone am authorized to do such since I own the image. In this case it would be best for me to confer to GPL preferred but total Author Rights Compatible with Derivative Works is acceptable”. I can give that image GPL status because I own it. But an image that is Free Software [license] or other quasi-GPL compatible are not convertible as I need to get the Author’s permission. Why should I bother with the time to do such when the Author has previously licensed the artwork “Free” or FSF or CC or NO license at all, just free[ware].

      • Emil Uzelac 8:37 pm on December 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        Free, Freeware etc doesn’t mean much, unless they are followed by the proper license. In our case GPL or compatible. Take a look here for compatible licenses.

        • tradesouthwest 8:50 pm on December 3, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

          Yes, Emil, I covered this in a thread with a theme review (https://themes.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/21130#comment:40 )
          According to the GNU licensing classifications, CC0 is the only Creative Commons license that is compatible with the GPL:*

          From http://www.gnu.org/licenses/license-list.html
          “…is the latest version of the GNU GPL: a free software license, and a copyleft license. We recommend it for most software packages.”
          They clearly state the license is for software. There is no nomenclature in reference to photography or images in their license model.

          So “Free” means nothing if it has not been defined. Ref., very first line of http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ :
          “Published software should be free software. To make it free software, you need to release it under a free software license. We normally use the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), but occasionally we use other free software licenses. We use only licenses that are compatible with the GNU GPL for GNU software.”

          GPL means nothing for images since it too has not been defined to refer to images. an image is portal and can be removed from a theme at will. A file is portable and can be altered at will but that file has GPL status only while it is inside of the usage directory (parsed by WP engine).

          My image is integral to no part of the GPL inside of WP until it is used inside of a WP theme and I “re-issue” it as such.

          I am simply asking this community if “Free Software” or ‘free software’ (notice I can define it any way I want, formal or informal, as you have questioned if Free means “anything”) Is GPL compatible. Where do we get instructions on how to refine GPL or where do we find GPL images?????

          *even this statement gets retracted several times in GNU’s own site as well as Linux.org OS GPL definitions.

          I am not trying to be a heel, just trying to find out how to make my theme look good without all the hassle of licenses definitions….

          • Emil Uzelac 12:04 am on December 4, 2014 Permalink | Log in to Reply

            Not at all and I understand completely.

            “Hassle” is unfortunate, mostly because image vendors either don’t know the correct license, or publishing them under the incorrect one.

            That is why I brought this topic up.

            Taking PixaBay as one of the examples: (for the record I love the site, the owner did an excellent job collecting all in one place)

            From the site

            All images on Pixabay are released into the Public Domain under Creative Commons CC0.

            Cool, they are properly licensed and good to go, until you read the following:

            Exceptions, wait what? No, there are no Exceptions in CC0 license: (see)

            Model- and Property Release

            Imagine: would you like to see your face in a TV spot without being asked for permission? No?! Therefore, identifiable people must give their consent for public usage of their images. This is meant by the term “Model Release”.

            Again, just verify your image source and all done. Themes will include hand-full of images anyways, it doesn’t take that long.

  • Emil Uzelac 7:56 pm on February 6, 2014 Permalink
    Tags:   

    New WPTRT Reps: Jose & Srikanth 

    We are welcoming Jose Castaneda ( @jcastaneda ) and Srikanth Koneru (@tskk) they have been chosen by the team as our new Team Reps.

    Jose is primary rep and Srikanth secondary.

    Thank You!

     
  • Emil Uzelac 11:33 am on February 28, 2013 Permalink  

    Things you don’t like or would like to improve or change? 

    This is so called anything goes here discussion

    We would like to know: what is it that you as an author don’t like or really want to change around Theme Review and our entire process?

    (no personal agendas please, we do see quite enough of that around here lately)

     
    • unsalkorkmaz 11:48 am on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      Waiting.. Waiting is too long. I sent a theme for review and waited 3+ weeks. Theme got denied because of 1-2 little things that can easily fix in 1 hour… Even you fix it, you need to wait another 3+ weeks for second review.
      At least there should be a chance to fix quick like in 12 hours ? I mean give theme author 12-24 hours before decline theme?

      • Chip Bennett 6:34 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        Theme got denied because of 1-2 little things that can easily fix in 1 hour…

        But if they were such simple things, why were they not fixed before submission, or during the three-week waiting period?

        One thing that the Admins are adamant about is that Theme Reviewers not be used as “quality control”. The vast majority of the time, simple things that obviously don’t conform to the Guidelines are indicative of a developer not doing due diligence before submission. So, that’s why we no longer require full reviews before closing a ticket.

        Is it possible to overlook things? Sure. But as you’ve seen, the turnaround time for a review is already long enough as it is, and having to weed through the crap submissions just to find the Themes submitted by developers who honestly have made a good-faith effort to conform to the Guidelines is often like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

        At least there should be a chance to fix quick like in 12 hours ? I mean give theme author 12-24 hours before decline theme?

        Allowing a grace period to fix and resubmit is an option entirely at the discretion of the Theme Reviewer. At this point, I don’t think it’s beneficial to *require* Theme Reviewers to provide a grace period, because it would get abused.

        But if you’re able to address issues quickly, and re-submit, it never hurts to comment in the original ticket, indicating that all issues have been addressed, and linking to the new ticket.

        • Paul 7:30 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          yes, I did that when I submitted my last theme. There were only a few minor issues that I was able to fix straight away.

    • Paul 12:10 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      Well, if anything goes, then I don’t like the email list for communication. I’d prefer forums.
      Another thing: when you submit a theme for review, there’s a period of waiting. If you upload a new version in the meantime, there’s no easy way to manage that.
      An idea: how about a multiple choice quiz about the Theme development guidelines that any person submitting a theme should take. Like a test for being able to upload a theme for the first time.

      • Srikanth 12:24 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        I suggested that once, it was shot down :)

      • SriniG 2:12 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        Quiz or no quiz, I think there should be more information in the theme upload page than there currently is. Specifically, information that there could be a waiting time, probably a link to the themes trac and that newer versions of the same theme should be uploaded via the extend/themes/upload/ page rather than as attachments to the ticket to the first version, things like that. I see many new submitters getting confused on these points. Just a little information on the process followed can be helpful. Also emphasize the point that themes that don’t meet up with the requirements in the theme review page are subject to disapproval.

        Another thing: when you submit a theme for review, there’s a period of waiting. If you upload a new version in the meantime, there’s no easy way to manage that.

        I don’t think there is any difficulty in managing that. Simply upload a new version and provide a link to the new ticket in the original ticket. But as I said above, it helps let the new submitters know about these processes and methods.

        • Mahesh 5:11 am on April 9, 2013 Permalink

          I agree with the “more information in the theme upload page”. As of now there isn’t much transparency for them to make an estimate of how much time it would take for the approval.

      • Chip Bennett 6:10 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        Can’t the Trac ticket, with comments, be used for that purpose? Note that any reviewer can comment/provide input/feedback on any ticket.

      • ryanve 6:42 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        @Paul Agreed. A forum would be better searchable in Google and more in the vein of opensource. IMO using Github issues would be ideal. I’d love to see WP ditch the trac and use Github (https://github.com/WordPress/WordPress) to greater effect.

        • Chip Bennett 6:57 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          A mail-list isn’t ideal for everything, but it is useful for some things. For as much as is feasible, we’re doing our best to move toward most of the communication happening here on the Make/Themes site.

          • toscho 9:32 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink

            The mailing list suffers from full quotes. These create many duplicates and make search unnecessary hard.
            The Make-sites are too restricted. Very few people can open a new thread here.

            Something more community-friendly would be nice.

        • Paul 7:32 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          yes, it would be nice to have a pre-screening on Github! I like that idea. then once it’s ready, submit it to trac

    • Greg Priday 12:25 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      Some things I’d really like to see:

      == A Vote Based Review System ==

      I’d like to move over to a system where each theme submission becomes a community discussion. This would allow anyone to point out issues, offer help and ultimately vote for or against inclusion in the directory. P2 would be a great platform for this.

      Benefits:

      Allows anyone to start checking new themes without committing to a full review.
      More public theme review process would help educate reviewers and developers.
      Faster feedback for developers. Waiting 1 month for each round of feedback can be frustrating.

      == More Automated Tests ==

      Theme-Check is great, but we could do with a few more automated tests. I’ve extended theme-check to include a whole bunch of extra tests. They aren’t perfect, but they’re a massive help. I used these tests to review ~60 themes on trac last week.

      I think as a community we could automate 90% of the theme review guidelines. We could even include the unit tests with a little help from PhantomJS.

      • Paul 12:48 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        maybe you should work together with Mario, he has a theme mentor plugin that adds extra checks

        • Chip Bennett 6:28 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          My preference would be for any Theme-Check extension to be pushed back upstream into Theme-Check itself. Theme Mentor is great, but the more we can do with fewer Plugins for Reviewers to install, the better.

          • nofearinc 5:23 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink

            (wrong account switched above by mistake with the reply below)
            Chip, I replied back to your comment in my blog as for the reasons I would keep the Theme Mentor separate. It’s an open discussion, though I still believe these cover two different aspects of the review process.

            • Chip Bennett 7:34 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink

              No problems there; but anything that is developed using Theme-Check’s designed extensibility would be most logical pushed directly upstream to Theme-Check, rather than being ported to a separate Plugin, IMHO.

      • nofearinc 2:02 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        I’m slowly working on the Theme Mentor as Paul mentioned above, it’s purpose is exactly pointing tests based on existing reviews with about 70% success rate (better to have ‘see this’ without guaranty instead of missing details while reviewing code).
        The project is also on GitHub and collaborations are welcome.

      • Chip Bennett 6:25 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        Vote-based system:

        Implementing a vote-based system would bring things to a grinding halt.

        Currently, community discussion is entirely possible – right in the Theme-Trac ticket generated for the submitted Theme. That process is entirely public, because anyone can read the tickets, and anyone with a WPORG username can comment on the tickets.

        More people doing piecemeal reviews would introduce further delays, and would result in more issues falling through the cracks, because there’s no guarantee that they were ever checked.

        More automated checks:

        Patches welcome. :)

        If you have extended Theme-Check, please push those improvements back upstream. It was written the way it was specifically with this purpose in mind.

        Ideas for further automating or otherwise facilitating the Review process are always welcome.

        • Greg Priday 8:07 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          Yeah, I think I have a fairly idealised view of how voting system would work. Alos, getting it right would also probably take a lot more effort than it’d be worth.

          I’ll put some work into my theme checks and try submit a few patches.

    • konradS 1:38 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      It should be possible to have several persons working on themes!

      • christine 5:17 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        That might get a bit confusing.

        Instead, I would love to work on abandoned themes. If the dev hasn’t updated the theme in more than 2 years, then I would love the ability to adopt it and resurrect it.

    • Stephen 2:36 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      As an theme author, I would like to see same and consistent treatment regarding review guidelines. My theme was asked to remove Author URI as it against the policy – personal site or development site. I removed it in the latest release.
      But this is still bother me as why many themes can have the companies as Author URI. Technically their Author URI is the URI for their Premium or PRO themes, not the URI for Lite theme in repo.
      I am not here to question their business model. The key point is same treatment.

      As a theme reviewer, I would like to see repo promotes Open Source not just GPL. I think the repo is slowly (or has ) become a marketplace.

      • christine 5:16 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        I think that Stephen has a point. I’ve been asked to removed things from themes when previous themes were fine. I understand that reviewers are human and make mistake, but perhaps having a thorough list of review items and final score would be a good idea.

        Say, there are 100 things that need checked, when you have your final review, you can see the full list with comments to go along it.

      • Chip Bennett 6:17 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        Your point about consistent reviews is certainly valid. That’s why the Guidelines read as rigidly as they do – so that they can be as objective as possible, in the hopes of ensuring the most consistent and least subjective review possible.

        But reviewers are human, and are all volunteers. If you disagree with a review comment, there are recourses (discuss in-ticket, escalate to theme-reviewers mail-list, etc.).

        As for your specific issue: it was discussed in-ticket, and on the mail-list, and the reviewer made the correct decision. Author URI is reserved for the *personal/development* site of an individual developer who submits a Theme, or the Theme shop landing page for a Theme shop that submits a Theme.

        Author URI should not be used for an up-sell page. Nor should the Theme URI be used for an upsell Theme promotion, for that matter.

        Handling of credit URLs is one of the most difficult aspects of Theme review, both because of the inherently subjective nature of the criteria, and because credit links are the single most-likely aspect of a Theme to be intended for abuse.

        • Stephen 8:01 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

          My case was closed. I believe it is correct according to the guidelines. Can I implement it this way?
          IBM, you are a consulting form, not a theme shop. Therefore, you cannot be the author of GPL-Licensed theme.

    • Satish Gandham 4:14 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      Selection of featured themes should be transparent. It should be based on communities choice rather than one single person making the call.

      Featured themes section should be updated regularly and frequently to give a fair chance to all the themes and developers.

      • christine 5:14 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        I agree with Satish, the featured themes on wordpress.org is pretty poor. In fact much of the theme section on the wp.org site is poor and there was discussion of this at the community summit. WP.com has a great way to feature it’s theme which is way more visual stunning.

        Having said that, this has nothing to do with theme review, so it’s probably best to continue this discussion at another time.

      • Chip Bennett 6:19 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        We’re going to have a discussion on this. It is a lower priority at the moment, but we’ll get to it.

    • ryanve 6:50 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

      The prescreen is too strict. I think that the only required functions should be the hooks: wp_head() and wp_footer(). There are valid reasons that someone would want to avoid direct use of echoing functions like body_class(). These would be better as warnings rather than fails. Related: https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/23537

      • Chip Bennett 6:55 pm on February 28, 2013 Permalink

        What are the “valid reasons” not to require body_class(), post_class(), comment_class() (via comment_form()), etc.?

    • Justin Tadlock 12:16 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink

      Frankly, the nit-picking of every little item and spending days arguing over them is tiring. It feels like we spend more time debating inconsequential things than reviewing. It’s a big turn-off from the review team.

      For example, the theme name guideline we just discussed the other day. That should’ve been resolved by just using a little common sense. I see no reason why it warranted a major discussion in the mailing list.

      • Emil Uzelac 12:54 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink

        Human nature is to agree and disagree and that’s something we need to live with. Once this discussion is over we will gather your thoughts and act upon them accordingly and hopefully few things will change.

        Discussions are good and never a turn-off :)

        So far this is what we hear:

        Wait Time
        Forum -vs List for Communication – (I am in favor of this and something we talked with all Team Reps last month)
        More Consistent Reviews

        Featured Themes should be on the list, but I do agree with Chip that this is not priority. And just to note that one person does not make this call, it’s between all of us here.

        • Justin Tadlock 2:07 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink

          I’ve got nothing against discussions and didn’t claim that they were a turn-off.

          It’s just tiring to see some of the seemingly endless debates about things that are of little consequence when it comes to whether a theme works or does not work.

          Anyway, I’m just answering the question.

      • Daniel 2:47 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink

        Another example is branding/demo content, some common sense should have been used there as well.

    • Daniel 2:45 am on March 1, 2013 Permalink

      One thing that I would like to see if a checklist of things to check before uploading in a format where we can print then out.

      Maybe it just me but I sometime find it easer to have a checklist on paper than trying to have both theme and checklist up on screen at the same time.

    • Jason Hoffmann 7:13 pm on March 1, 2013 Permalink

      I’d just like to echo what christine said. If a theme hasn’t been updated in over 2 years, it would be great if there was a way to update or adopt it. Since it’s all GPL, as long as attribution remains with the new author and the old author that should be something that’s possible right?

      Other then that, improving findability should perhaps be a bigger priority, as well as getting rid of very old themes.

  • Emil Uzelac 6:45 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: theme support   

    Theme Support Link 

    Going over the support forums lately, we are noticing some changes about how the theme author’s prefer to support their themes and many would rather provide a support on their site -vs doing this from WPORG. In addition of having different members answering the questions whether or not they are the right one.

    The Scoop

    To take the load from WPORG and to help authors maintain a single support site, would it be possible to give them a choice of changing the green button link “View support forum” and also “About this ThemeSupport Threads” to wherever author handles the questions?

    Possible way to “handle” the requests would be something along the lines of:

    Support URI: http://example.com/support/

    Question is for all, but without knowing what needs to be done in the “background” and if it would be possible at all.

    What do you think?

    P.S. Also see

    Thanks!

     
    • Samuel Wood (Otto) 6:51 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      My initial viewpoint: No.

      In my opinion, if they want to provide support on their own site, then they should host their theme there as well.

      Additionally, if they’re not supporting their code on wporg, then we have no metrics by which to gauge them, no data to present to users, and nothing by which users can judge the level of quality of the theme and the support by the theme author.

      Having your theme listed on the directory is not a right.

      Same goes for plugins.

      • Emil Uzelac 7:09 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

        Chip and I had a nice Skype talk earlier this evening and we were thinking that it would be nice to ask if this is doable. Not knowing what you just mentioned and I personally understand where you’re coming from.

        With that being said, how about in addition to what’s currently in, basically WPORG support and an official support, would that not be good too?

        Thanks!

        • Samuel Wood (Otto) 7:22 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

          When we brought the support views to the plugins last May, this same sort of thing was brought up there as well. I tend to agree with Nacin’s response to that notion.

          I’m not against helping the authors do support, but I don’t think that making it easier for them to fragment their support structures is a great idea.

          If more tools are needed, then we can discuss and implement them. If more control is needed, then that’s a doable thing too. But simply allowing them to shove it all off to elsewhere isn’t a particularly great idea for the users, IMO.

          People ask questions about themes and plugins on the support forums, and were doing so before we had easier forms and locations to do it and to thus categorize them properly. Our adding of the support views to plugins/themes is more of a way to help authors by getting the questions being asked to be visible to them. Removing or redirecting those links isn’t going to cause the same questions to be asked elsewhere, it’s mainly going to cause those questions that will already be on our forums to not be as visible.

          • Emil Uzelac 7:24 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

            You know what, this makes perfect sense. It did not even cross my mind about the metrics and the overall engagement. Not such a great idea after all.

            Live and learn I guess :)

            Thanks,
            Emil

          • Chip Bennett 1:54 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink

            One concern with a blanket statement is that we then put upsell Themes in support limbo. Themes from developers who provide commercial support options aren’t supported in the WPORG forums, but upsell Themes are permitted in the directory. So, how do those developers direct users to their support offerings?

            Another concern is developers who have a thriving contributor community of their own. (Off the top of my head, Responsive and Weaver come to mind; and I’m sure there are plenty of others.) What is the point or benefit of trying to force such communities to use one support medium over another? How is the end user better-served?

            I totally get the WPORG-as-hosting-not-as-listing principle, but isn’t encouraging and facilitating developers to support their WPORG-hosted Themes the ultimate objective? Isn’t the fact that developers are providing that support far more important than the medium they use to provide it?

            And the idea of a Support URI actually makes it easier for WPORG support mods to help direct users to the correct support medium, because the Theme developer has helpfully declared where exactly Theme support is provided.

            In the end, Theme developers are going to provide support wherever they want, whether we like it or not – and unless we want to try to require developers to provide support (so that we can enforce providing that support in the WPORG forums), saying that WPORG is a hosting, not a listing, site and threatening not to host Themes for which developers provide support elsewhere other than the WPORG forums is futile. (And any attempt to require developers to provide support – in the WPORG forums or anywhere else – would have the single most-chilling effect on Theme submissions of all the Theme Review guidelines.)

            So, since we cannot force Theme developers to support their Themes (in the WPORG forums or anywhere else) as a condition of hosting on WPORG, the only ones who ultimately get hurt by not facilitating the developer’s ability to indicate their chosen support medium are the Theme’s end users, and the WPORG support volunteers who have to try to deal with/redirect users to the appropriate support medium.

            Thus, we end up with frustrated users and cluttered WPORG support forums with unanswered support questions – both of which reflect poorly on WordPress itself.

    • nofearinc 8:48 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      OK, I just wrote a very large comment, hit ‘Reply’ and it just disappeared, so I have to be quick this time.

      I agree with Emil’s idea s it’s way more convenient for authors to control the support, however Otto’s points make sense for the overall community experience. Regardless, a number of features should be added or improved to these forums so that they could become even remotely useful:

      -better notifications support (specifically email for both parties)
      -add forums for a theme (news, basic info, advanced customizations, etc)
      -better topic status – pins and promoted, closed topics, move to other forums
      -images upload
      -better profiles (with filtering and so)
      -private messages of some point (bbPress had some private discussion plugin or so)

      This looks more like a ‘bbPress multisite’ here, but otherwise the information should be hosted on the author’s site and the forums here won’t make any sense.

    • Ulrich 10:16 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      If you look at the metrics I wonder how much does that tell you about the theme? Here are the top four themes and TwentyTwelve

      https://wordpress.org/extend/themes/twentyten
      2 of 9 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

      https://wordpress.org/extend/themes/twentyeleven
      13 of 43 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

      https://wordpress.org/extend/themes/responsive
      83 of 113 support threads in the last two months have been resolved. – Responsive also has it own separate forum with over 50 replies/posts each day if not more.

      https://wordpress.org/extend/themes/pinboard
      24 of 100 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

      https://wordpress.org/extend/themes/twentytwelve
      38 of 129 support threads in the last two months have been resolved.

      I also have also seen by providing good documentation it is possible to reduce the amount of support tickets and also be able to reply quicker. The only way to provide documentation would be to host on your own site. The question also arises as to how can I search the previous topics of the theme to find answers.

      I think it would be also nice to be able to give developers the option to provide premium support for their free themes.

      I think a additional option to point users to the official forum would allow developer to give their users better support. The current forums would stay but with the possibility of pointing users to the official forums.

      I was just wondering, does this compare with providing support on http://wordpress.stackexchange.com/. Does this not fragment the WordPress.org support structure?

      • Ulrich 10:43 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

        Something else came to mind. How would the WordPress forums handle Support Volunteers. I have been helping Emil with the support of his theme. I have been given privileges to edit and delete posts on his forum. I wrote a post on the translation of Responsive. I have been continually updating it since then. Would this be possible on the WordPress.org forum?
        http://themeid.com/forum/topic/915/translation-responsive-theme/

        I am just trying to show some the limits of supporting users on the WordPress.org forum.

    • Bryan Hadaway 10:39 am on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      I wouldn’t be so quick to drop the idea until we gauge how more people feel about this. I’ve actually wanted the same thing for a long time.

      The truth is that it’s actually the other way around. The theme/plugin forums that are on wordpress.org are the ones causing confusion and fragmentation.

      It’s sort of a what came first, the chicken or the egg question. Well I’m willing to bet that most developers, designers, programmers, whatever, already have websites, blogs and forums for their many scripts, widgets, plugins, themes etc.

      Contributing a theme/plugin to wordpress.org is fun, provides helpful stats and in some cases has monetary gains if you also sell premium themes.

      But, I don’t think most authors are very concerned with losing traffic, that’s not the issue. The problem is that most of us already had forums for handling users/customers long before we ever submitting anything to .org. It’s actually better for everyone, authors and users, to redirect to the official forums instead of having them use a half realized unofficial pseudo-forum (in which authors can’t even get proper notifications about new topics, moderate, organize or really manage to any degree like making stickies for important notes [this may be available to plugin authors, but not for themes]).

      I actually had a customer make a refund request for a pro theme on the free theme forum. I didn’t see that for 2 weeks. I’m sure they were upset, obviously confused because of the redundant forum. I’ve since started trying to manually redirect people to the official and correct forum as well as signing up for undependable 3rd party RSS feed services that actually deliver email alerts so I can try and keep track of the extraneous forums created on .org. But, it’s all very less than ideal.

      There’s a case for both sides, that’s why it should be an option, not every case is the same. It should be either use the .org native support forum or redirect to your official forum. Deleting our own established forums and/or redirecting users/customers to the .org forums doesn’t make any sense and is a much worse, confusing and fragmented method.

      Thanks, Bryan

    • Edward Caissie 6:09 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      Personally I like the idea of being able to provide a “Support URI” for themes for many of the reasons listed by several posters above (no need to repeat all of them here). I also can appreciate the ideals of having “full” support on the dot-org forums (again for the reasons noted above).

      BUT (caps intended) to provide good support on the dot-org forums theme authors (and plugin authors) need more tools and “privileges” to best handle the support requests. Currently what is available is … well … basically not much. Authors for all intent and purpose on dot-org are simply just another poster whereas on their own site they pretty much have carte blanche to do as they see fit. Somewhere in the middle there must be a common ground that allows for all(?) support venues to provide the best support possible.

      As noted above(?), the ideal solutions are the ones keeping the end-users the happiest. To which I’ll add, it is not about keeping the authors happy or about keeping dot-org happy. We should be happy to simply have the end-users choosing and continuing to use our works.

    • Emil Uzelac 10:45 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      Thanks all for the comments.

    • wpweaver 11:05 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink

      I think some way to indicate a preferred support site would be the best.

      Occasionally, I or one of my support community monitors will check out the WordPress.org support forums for my theme (Weaver), but mostly that forum gets ignored. Whenever it is checked, the answer is almost always to tell them to go to the “official” theme support forum.

      As Edward just said, not much support for the .org theme forums. I’d like to see a preferred link, and maybe an auto-reply capability for anyone posting on wp.org to go to the official site instead. (Cause no matter what, if there are two paths, people will sometimes take the wrong one. And it seems that having the wp.org forum option should not go away.)

      But as it stands, posting support questions for my theme (and I expect others with their own support sites) on the WP.org forum is simply an exercise in frustration for everyone involved – users because the answers are infrequent, and then just link to the official site, and the Weaver support community because we really feel bad about letting these people down (but checking out the WP.org forum is just not easy to do automatically.)

      • Emil Uzelac 11:50 pm on January 13, 2013 Permalink

        TRT aside for a moment: I have been pretty lucky as far as the “ghost” topics, moderators are either handling them directly, or users are being forwarded to my dedicated support, which is my preferred method and not just to keep all answers at the one place but also to reduce the load for WPORG too.

        When my Theme was released I did subscribe to RSS feed to get any and all notifications once the questions are posted, at the same time Google alerts are big help as well. When somebody mentions my name, ThemeID or my Theme Google would notify me almost instantaneously and that’s how you can stay on top of it.

        Each day I personally post anywhere between 80 to 100 posts on my forum, about the same comes from Ulrich and 10 to 30 from the rest of the TID community. There’s however only few on WPORG, mostly because mod sticked one of the topics and users are being redirected anyways.

        This is me giving some metrics of my own :)

    • Bryan Hadaway 1:00 am on January 14, 2013 Permalink

      It seems pretty overwhelmingly clear that a Support URI option is well-needed. If one isn’t provided then a fallback .org forum is accessible instead seems to be the most logical solution.

      So now, it’s just a matter of is this programmatically practical?

      @Admins – Just a heads up that notifications for this forum/topic aren’t working.

      There appears to be two plugins/features trying to handle this at once (possibly conflicting):

      “Notify me of follow-up comments by email.

      Notify me of new posts by email.”

      (perhaps those actually apply to two separate things, but it just seems like a difference in phrasing)

      Thanks, Bryan

    • Jane Wells 1:59 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink

      I’m with Otto: no, for all the reasons he said, plus a few extra reasons around confusion for users about what is and isn’t official, consistency, etc.

      But realistically, this is @matt‘s call. This kind of change shouldn’t be made without his okay.

      • Chip Bennett 5:01 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink

        Theme/Plugin developers aren’t required to provide support as a condition of having their code hosted by WPORG. Thus, my concern is that expecting (or implicitly requiring, as Otto has done via his comment) Theme (or Plugin) developers to provide support via the WPORG forums is impractical and unenforceable, and that it isn’t the developers, but rather the users, who get hurt in the end.

        For many of us, providing official Theme support in the WPORG forums works just fine. But for others – especially, the developers of the most-popular/most-used Themes/Plugins – the WPORG forums don’t provide the necessary tools allow those developers to provide sufficient support to their users. If we aren’t going to facilitate developers to provide support via the medium of their own choosing, then we really need to take this discussion over to make/support, find out what tools/resources developers need in order to provide a sufficient level of support to their users, and then implement their suggestions.

        • Chip Bennett 12:53 am on January 17, 2013 Permalink

          @ipstenu would you be willing to lead such a discussion on the Make/Support site?

          • Ipstenu (Mika Epstein) 1:43 am on January 17, 2013 Permalink

            I was holding of on entering this one since I do have a viewpoint.

            My opinion is that if you have your plugin or theme hosted here, users have a reasonable expectation that you provide some level of support on WPORG. Why? It’s the ‘official’ place to go. It’s already a pain to say “Oh sorry, that’s a paywall theme, you have to go there and ask.”

            I’m willing to bring it up on make/support, and ask folks what they think would help them, but if I do, it’s best to limit the scope of that question.

            “What tools in the WPORG forums would make it easier for you to support your plugin/theme that is hosted in the WPORG repositories? By this we mean moderation options, like closing posts, etc.”

            Is that what you’re thinking?

      • Emil Uzelac 8:22 pm on January 14, 2013 Permalink

        Completely understandable and we’re just discussing that’s all. Nothing can be changed from our end anyways, we don’t have the “power” nor ability to do so :)

    • Bryan Hadaway 7:23 am on January 19, 2013 Permalink

      What about revisiting this in a different angle?

      Instead of replacing “View support forum” or otherwise obfuscating or redirecting the .org forums in any manner, what about a Support URI simply offering up a new button above and in addition to “View support forum”, perhaps “Official support available” that links to the official forum?

      That way, it informs the user AND gives them options. Since users are all that this issue concerns, there is simply no downside. I can’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be a perfect compromise.

      Thanks, Bryan

    • Christie123 9:51 am on May 2, 2014 Permalink

      This actually makes perfect sense :) and infact this is what I was looking for… thanks!

  • Emil Uzelac 5:38 am on January 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Theme Documentation   

    Changelog: Recommendation or Requirement? 

    Theme Documentation:

    In lieu of a readme.txt file, Themes are recommended to include a changelog, indicating version-to-version Theme changes.

    In past months we noticed that Theme Authors either do not have the changelog or the changelog is very poor.

    Here are some examples:

    Changelog


    • Version 1.1 – Improvements
    • Version 1.1 – Minor Menu Changes
    • Version 1.1 – Font Size Change

    Which does not really say anything at all.

    Or the changelog that was not updated in months.

    Luckily for us we have trac, but it would be easier for us and for users to know what is going on when author releases a Theme.

    Please share your thoughts.

    Thanks!

     
    • Kathy Jensen 1:03 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      I think it should be required.

    • John Gardner 1:09 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      Personally I’d like to see this as a requirement, but only if the changelog is visible from the WordPress update screen (like they it is for plugins), which I don’t believe is currently the case. Short of that, I’d leave it as a recommendation.

    • toscho 1:45 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      SVN discourages atomic commits (slooow), so most authors will commit a bunch of changes in one rush … and forget the details. I don’t say it would be better with a faster version control, but there were fewer excuses. :)

      So, as long as SVN is the default don’t make it a requirement.

      • John Saddington 1:58 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

        this is a good point @toscho.

      • Amy Hendrix (sabreuse) 2:15 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

        For me, the fact that SVN (and our review system) encourages bundling a bunch of changes instead of atomic commits is *more* reason to require a changelog, not less. I can’t tell you how many theme updates I’ve seen that include a handful of bug fixes and several new features under “updates”, if they document it at all.

        • toscho 2:37 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

          I see the need for good changelogs. :)

          My point is: the current system makes it hard to write that automatically. You cannot say to people who are mostly not programmers: Hey, here is a task we made extra difficult, so it is a requirement.

          • Chip Bennett 3:08 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

            In all honestly, SVN is used only as a *repository* for Themes; it clearly isn’t set up to be a proper version control system for WPORG-hosted Themes. (Commits are irrelevant, since Theme developers can’t SVN-commit directly – and given the way the Extend directory is set up, probably will never be able to do so.)

            I strongly recommend using something like GitHub for proper VCS for Theme development. (Or, roll your own SVN/Git locally.)

            All that said: I don’t think that themes.svn should be a determining factor here; we’re only using SVN serve tagged versions of Themes

    • Evan Mullins 2:09 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      I agree with John, This should be required and displayed as it is for plugins on the update screen. Users should really be empowered to know what is included in an update. This would be especially helpful if they done specific work in any area that has been updated or at least alert them as to where to look the closest to make sure nothing is broken post-update.

    • Edward Caissie 2:26 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      I would be more than happy to support a “RECOMMENDED” status for a changelog file, but I would not be willing to make it a “REQUIRED” theme element any time soon.

      What I would recommend is theme authors, once they have successfully submitted a ticket for the latest version of their theme, is write (copy and paste works, too) a changelog as the first comment for the ticket. I see this as a more valuable addition than simply including a changelog file on its own.

      • Chip Bennett 2:57 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

        Well, that provides a useful change log for the Theme *reviewer*, but doesn’t help the Theme *end user*. I think both use-cases are valid with respect to the benefits of having a change log.

    • Chip Bennett 3:00 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      From the perspective of ever-improving standards toward best practices, I support moving toward eventually making change logs *required*.

      I think the first step is clarifying that a change log, whether as a stand-alone file or as part of readme.txt, is *recommended*.

      Also, I think that we should clarify to Theme developers that including a detailed change log is a great way to expedite Theme reviews, because it is a tremendous aid to the reviewer in following/understanding the changes in any given Theme revision.

      • Jack Tarantino 4:08 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

        I agree completely. I think after strongly recommending a changelog, it might be best to have WordPress display changelogs for themes so it becomes a more useful feature. Then later start requiring them.

      • Schwarttzy 5:21 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

        I think stand alone file would be better, no reason to have a file changing all the time when we could just have a specific file for it. Also we could define out some sort of formatting so that data can easily be harvested from the file.

        I would love to have some integration with the WordPress.org page for themes which would give me a bigger reason to document and be more detailed with updates to the theme. Also while we are at it, why not add some information of the updates on the WordPress theme pages (where you pick and choose from the different themes on a WordPress Install)? Reason behind that is because I have people using my themes that have never even browsed to WordPress.org, surprisingly they stay on their website the entire time.

        • Chip Bennett 5:49 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

          For standardization, and hopefully to facilitate integrating into the Themes’ Extend listing page, I strongly recommend using the Plugin Readme Standard.

          If you split the change log into a separate file, I would recommend retaining the Readme Standard markup conventions for the change log itself.

          (Note: I don’t follow this recommendation in my own Theme, because I have an HTML-formatted change log that renders in the contextual help tab for the Theme. I do have a Plugin Readme Standard-conforming readme.txt, but its change log is an overview of the more-detailed changes in the HTML file.)

    • Justin Tadlock 8:18 pm on January 7, 2013 Permalink

      Until themes are treated like plugins with a readme.txt file or a similar system, I’d only go with “recommended”. Outside of that, changelogs are practically useless for a large portion of users. Only those users who are “advanced” enough to look into the theme files will ever see it.

    • Emil Uzelac 4:21 am on January 8, 2013 Permalink

      Is it safe to say that we can add a recommendation after the Theme was submitted? (Theme Check part).

      That might encourage authors, or at least remind them about it.

      And also what’s preventing Themes to be treated like Plugins? I am asking because I don’t really know what’s behind :)

      That would be very helpful when Theme updates are available. Right now the link WordPress includes is leading to the listing in directory and that’s a dead end for users because we can’t include anything but description.

      Thanks everyone,
      Emil

      • Jose Castaneda 11:07 pm on January 9, 2013 Permalink

        I say we make it a recommendation but making it a strong recommendation. Have the reviewer state that for next submission strongly advice a changelog to facilitate the review process.

    • Abhishek Ghosh 11:56 am on January 9, 2013 Permalink

      I would agree with @Emil Uzelac at most points specially with the point “themes to be treated like Plugins”.

      Is not the formula of ‘what’s behind’ for WP plugins landing page is BBPress plus Plugins with function to pull data from separately hosted svn ? We basically can change ‘some data’ through that svn commit with our plugin repo. A plugin developer actually never get access to Plugins webpage directly (that is normal). The probable difference among the Themes and Plugins is the mother template. Themes has some extra and less things compared to that plugin page.

      WPORG Git : Actually a WPORG hosted git would solve the versioning and detailed wiki issue. Usually people knows about git more than svn on average. The problem is not simple to solve. Github’s self hosted software costs a bomb and not under GPL 2.0 or later. Free Git softwares are actually not of same quality like GitHub Enterprise. Known free options are Gitorious and Gitolite.

      So possibly changing that Themes template might work. May be a trial can be run to test.

    • Danielx64 4:15 am on January 24, 2013 Permalink

      Something to add, what would happen if a theme is completly rewritten and only say 20% if left from the last version? How would you put that in the change log?

      • Emil Uzelac 7:49 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink

        most definitely, but maybe not all, link to svn might be good :)

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