Theme suspension

There are situations when a theme that is already in the theme directory needs to be temporarily or permanently suspended from the directory.

With the help of this document we want to make the resolution process more transparent and predictable, so that theme authors knows what to expect if a theme does not follow the guidelines.

Different resolution processes are used depending on the severity of the problem found, and if it is a problem that has been repeated.

Delisting is the preferred solution over suspension.
But it relies on the delisting option being implemented, and the feature is not complete yet
. Until the feature has been developed, temporary suspensions may be used.
https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/5362

These issues are only examples. Refer to the requirements page.

Low- to moderate-impact issues

  • Screenshot issues
  • Overuse of content creation, for example in the CustomizerCustomizer Tool built into WordPress core that hooks into most modern themes. You can use it to preview and modify many of your site’s appearance settings.
  • 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 functionality type features
  • Demo content import (depending on the type of content)
  • Failing to meet expectations/guidelines which were added more than 6 months ago
  • Recommending plugins without reason or good integration in the theme

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Resolution process:

When a theme reviewer notices that a live theme does not match the theme guidelines, a theme author should expect the following steps:

  1. The theme author will be emailed with an explanation of the issue(s) and a request to resolve them. The email will include a deadline for the requested changes, which will allow the author at least 7 days to submit changes, and a link to a page with information about the resolution process (this page)
  2. If the changes are submitted before the deadline, then
    1. they will be reviewed and approved, or 
    2. the author will be informed of additional changes that must be made. 
  3. If changes that resolve the issue are not submitted on time, then the theme may be delisted* until the issues are resolved. 
  4. Once the theme is delisted*, if the theme author does not submit changes that resolve the problem within 3 months, the theme will be temporarily suspended until the changes have been resolved. 

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High-impact issues

Some examples of high-impact issues are:

  • License issues, case by case depending on severity
  • Security issues
  • User tracking-related issues
  • User Consent Issues 
  • Advertising, promoting or otherwise endorsing any real products and/or services on the front (except the theme credit link)

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Resolution process:

When a theme reviewer notices a high-impact issue in a live theme, a theme author should expect the following steps:

  1. The theme author will be emailed with an explanation of the issue(s) and a request to resolve them. The email will also include:
    1. A deadline for the requested changes, which will allow the author at least 3 days to submit changes. 
    2. An explanation of what will happen if the changes are not submitted in time, or if the changes don’t solve the issue(s).
  2. If the changes are submitted before the deadline, then
    1. they will be reviewed and approved, or 
    2. the author will be informed of additional changes that must be made. 
  3. If changes that resolve the issue are not submitted on time, then the theme will be delisted* or temporarily suspended until the issues are resolved. 
  4. Once the theme is delisted*, if the theme author does not submit changes that resolve the problem within 3 months, the theme will be temporarily suspended until the changes have been resolved. 

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PHP Fatal Errors

If a theme is found to throw fatal errors on activation, it is not compatible with modern 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. ( 7+) or they are not compatible with the most recent versions of WordPress.

If a theme is found to have PHP errors, it will immediately be temporarily suspended until the author solves the problem. This is to prevent that new users run into the issues, prevent the theme previewer from breaking, and theme previewer error logs being cluttered.

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Resolution process:

  1. The theme author will be emailed with an explanation of the issue(s) and a request to resolve them. The email will also include:
    1. Instructions for how to reinstate the theme
    2. An explanation of what will happen if the changes are not submitted or if the changes don’t solve the issue(s).

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Repeated Issues

In the case of a theme author who demonstrates a pattern of failing to meet theme directory expectations when updating themes  — for example, by breaking a certain guideline repeatedly after correcting it in the past, or by breaking different guidelines repeatedly in a period of 3-12 months, then all of the author’s themes may be suspended from the directory, permanently. The author may appeal this decision with the Executive Director (Josepha Haden Chomphosy) or Project Lead (Matt Mullenweg).

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Exceptions

Sometimes special cases will be discovered, which can’t be resolved by the processes described above.
Those should be rare, but might include the following situations:

A theme passed the initial review and was added to the directory but should not have been added because it is a clone, or for other foundational reasons.
In this case, the theme will be permanently suspended immediately and the author will be warned that another attempt to submit a cloned theme to the directory will result in a lifetime ban. 


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Glossary

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Temporary suspension

Temporary suspensions will primarily be used until the delisting option is available.

The theme will not be visible in the theme directory until the issues are solved and the theme is reinstated.

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How to update and reinstate a temporarily suspended theme

Make sure that the theme follows all current theme directory guidelines:
https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/review/required/

Suspended themes can not be uploaded to the theme directory.
Instead, reply to the email that you received about the suspension, and include the following information:

  • A summary of the changes and the steps that you have completed to solve the issues.
  • A link to a repository, for example on GitHubGitHub GitHub is a website that offers online implementation of git repositories that can can easily be shared, copied and modified by other developers. Public repositories are free to host, private repositories require a paid subscription. GitHub introduced the concept of the ‘pull request’ where code changes done in branches by contributors can be reviewed and discussed before being merged be the repository owner. https://github.com/, where we can view the code and download the theme for testing.

Do not send theme zip files directly. The team will reply once your update has been reviewed.

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Delisting

2020-12-09: This option is under development and not yet available.

When a theme is delisted, it can not be found in the theme directory search but the theme author is able to submit updates.

With a delisted theme, end users can receive theme updates that solves the issues.

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How to update a delisted theme:

Make sure that the theme follows all current theme directory guidelines:
https://make.wordpress.org/themes/handbook/review/required/
Submit the updated .zip file via the upload form:
https://wordpress.org/themes/upload/

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Permanent suspension

Permanent suspension means that the theme is not visible in the directory and no updates can be submitted. The theme name is still reserved and can not be re-used for a different theme.

Permanent suspensions are not removed by the themes team.

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