Theme Review Team Update March 4th

Stats at a glance


  • 52 new tickets are waiting for review.
    • 0 tickets are older than 2 weeks
    • 15 tickets are older than 1 week
  • 11 tickets are assigned.

In the past 7 days

  • 154 tickets were opened
  • 258 tickets were closed:
    • 85 tickets were approved.
    • 114 tickets were not-approved.
    • 59 tickets were closed-newer-version-uploaded.

What we’ve been up to

  • Improvements to Theme-Trac Front Page Wiki
    • The front page wiki for Theme TracTrac Trac is the place where contributors create issues for bugs or feature requests much like GitHub. now displays more real-time stats (same as listed above), and includes the same about/communication information as found on the Make/Themes site front page.
  • Month-end push to tame the review queue
    • As of this time last week, the review queue stood at about 150 tickets. After a concerted effort between then and now, with contributions from 28 Theme Review Team members, the queue has been reduced by two-thirds, and now stands at approximately 50 tickets. This effort was compounded by an increase in ticket submission rate over the past several months, that has resulted in an overall increase in the team’s workload. Historically, we’ve seen 10 tickets submitted per day on average. Lately, the average has been closer to 15 tickets per day, with peaks well above that.
  • General discussion regarding what should be improved with the review system
    • This is an on-going, open-ended discussion, and an opportunity for reviewers and developers to provide feedback to the team.
  • Discussion regarding clarification of Theme name guidelines
    • This is also an on-going discussion, and an opportunity to clarify current intent regarding the existing Theme name guidelines as well as to consider future changes to those guidelines.
  • Discussion regarding “coming-soon” Themes in the directory
    • The consensus from this discussion seems to be that “coming soon” Themes are not valid as “special-case/niche” Themes, and that “coming-soon” landing pages should be implemented either as custom page templates in general Themes, or else as a stand-alone 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 Plugin Directory or can be cost-based plugin from a third-party.
  • Discussion regarding Guidelines for appropriate Theme branding vs. white-labeling
    • This is an on-going discussion, that will likely yield some changes to the Guidelines in the next formal revision cycle.


One of our biggest concerns currently is keeping the queue under control, especially with the recent increase in ticket submission rate. We currently have almost 100 people with ticket assign/close privileges, which means that we would only need, on average, every person to close 3 tickets every 2 weeks, to keep the queue clear. Even accounting for half of those people not being active, that still means that we only need half of those people to close 3 tickets every week. Theme Review is an intensive, yet all-volunteer activity that by its very nature will see waxing and waning of participation; so it is unrealistic to expect that even half of all reviewers will be active in a given week. That we got participation from almost 1/3 in a concerted effort over the past week probably indicates the realistic upper limit of week-to-week participation.

If average participation is even half of that upper limit, that now means that active reviewers need to average one ticket closed per day, in order to stay on top of the review queue.

On a related note: originally, we attempted to put a more formalized “trainee” program in place; but we found that the overhead for such a system had diminishing returns, at best. So, we scrapped that system, and simply started granting ticket assign/close privileges to anyone who showed enough initiative to request at least a few Themes to review. This has worked to increase participation, but what we gain in participation we potentially lose in review consistency and quality. One of my goals is to get enough consistent participation that the admins can focus on ensuring review quality/consistency, instead of spending most of our effort on clearing the queue. So, solving the former issue of keeping the queue under control will help us address this issue as well.

We are open to ideas.

#themes, #trt, #weekly-updates