28 Comments

  1. Lenin Zapata

    everything feels like a conspiracy against the new authors.
    Also once I sent a theme for review and it took months (about 6 to review them) on another occasion it was 9 months. This is very demotivating.

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    • Justin Tadlock

      Having worked directly on the team for several years, I can assure you there is no conspiracy. It’s just that the process is inefficient. This inefficiency is not necessarily the team’s fault, at least not completely. Part of it is the nature of themes and how complex they have grown over the last 10 years. Part of it is having to teach and re-teach basics like how to escape and sanitize unknown data. There are sometimes communication barriers. Suffice it to say, there are a lot of pieces that come together and make for a terribly slow process at times.

      It can definitely be deflating though. Hang in there!

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      • Lenin Zapata

        You don’t plan to improve the speed process? What does the director of the review team say? And how can I be part of reviewers? I know enough to create natural WordPress themes. I would like to participate in the review, maybe I could deflate the process more or support.

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        • Justin Tadlock

          I’m unaware of whether the team is trying any new things to speed up the review process. You can get involved via the theme review team page.

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        • William Patton

          It’s been a rather troublesome effort to attempt to speed up the queue. Nothing much that we have tried has succeeded in speeding things up. It’s an ongoing effort the team has been trying to resolve for a long time.

          The availability of reviewers has always been a problem, there is never enough people to review all the themes thoroughly and themes authors come up with lots of new ways to do things every day. Reviewers always come across things they have never seen before and we try to review every file and function in a theme.

          The more complex a theme is the longer it takes to review. Themes have grow much more complex over time.

          You are absolutely welcome to join the team – new members are very much welcomed. You can find details about the team and how to get started at the link Justin provided above.

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  2. AJ

    I had noticed how quiet it disappeared. As for the curated list, there are just too many variables of concern. I think by the time something could be imagined, WordPress will be a completely different product.

    On a side note, if we can now get rid of the controversial profit-laden “Popular List”, then that just leaves the theme directory without ways of being gamed. The top tier of the popular list is owned by big names and sites with huge traffic resources that seem to live there year-after-year. Big traffic and big sales.

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  3. Matt Mullenweg

    I’d love to have a single person picking them. We can all complain about the person, but at least it’s ownership and accountability over the quality of what’s there.

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    • Francesca

      What about @tofumatt – he managed the Gutenberg accessibility issues pretty well as far as I remember.

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    • William Patton

      Sign me up, I’ll be the bad guy for a good cause :)

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    • Philip Arthur Moore

      This only works with ultra-transparency, with well-documented reasoning about why themes were chosen to be featured. Otherwise, it opens another can of worms regarding favoritism, nepotism, and/or possibly gaming the system. If something is featured it should be considered golden, worthy of attention, and at a minimum, a post about it should go out explaining why it’s been featured. Theme authors, in general, get discouraged building for WordPress when decisions around choosing winners are not transparent.

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    • Jose

      Matt Mullenweg, I think you should have no person picking them, but an algorithm.
      I would calculate a quality index to decide when a theme should be considered as featured.
      The algorithm could take into account some parameters like the number of active installations, reviews, activity on the support forum, automatic tests on PHP and JS warnings, automatic basic test performance and so on.

      The algorithm should take into account parameters based on the user’s satisfaction and objective evaluations.

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      • M

        I second Jose on this, although the number of active installations should be weighed down in order to give a chance to newer themes and have a list somewhat different from the popular themes list.

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    • Ignasio Marck

      https://meta.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/3750

      Should be a simple and fair implementation, why not do it…

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    • Nick Hamze

      Pick me, Pick me.

      I can’t be influenced as I have no friends, lots of money and am safely hidden away in a state that I never leave and no one ever comes to.

      We’ll change the “Featured” tab to “Nick’s Picks” so they know who to blame. I’ll purchase the domain nick.sucks and let people say whatever stuff they want to make themselves feel better.

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    • Álvaro

      Yes, because that has worked really good with Featured Plugins…

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    • Oliver @ WebMatros.com

      To an extent, I agree with Matt. There’s nothing wrong with having a Featured Themes list, curated by a single person. Not everything is handled best “by committee” or “by algo”.

      Could also be a guest slot. With a weekly Featured/Favorite Theme by someone from the WordPress community. New person each week – and a rule that the same theme can’t be repeatedly mentioned. So if last week’s theme was f.e. Astra – then there can’t be another person recommending Astra the following week. Just a matter of juggling the featured guests in a meaningful way.

      But all in all, the Popular and Latest views are quite sufficient, along with the Feature Filter. The latter could be beefed-up / refined a bit, though.

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  4. Nick Halsey

    The featured themes list was deliberately excluded (along with popular themes) from the theme browser in the customizer that shipped with WordPress 4.9 over two years ago. That interface defaults to latest themes and emphasizes filters and search. Only the legacy theme browser in wp-admin still has the featured themes list. It remains part of the wp-admin section that is functionally replaced by the customizer but still exists for political reasons.

    The long-term goal was to improve the theme discovery experience through a refined approach to filtering, and by unifying theme browsing/switching with other site management and customization workflows. That work could pick back up with limited technical challenges if interested parties can agree on an approach.

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  5. Billy

    Why is it gone? What’s happening, did anybody know?

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  6. Andrea

    In my opinion, the featured themes system was not a bad idea, it just needs to be improved :)

    For example, it would be great if random themes were shown (just like now) but with a set of rules:
    1) Themes need to be updated recently (no more than 6 months).
    2) The themes must not have a rating lower than 3 and a half stars.
    3) The author of the theme constantly responds to user requests in the support page.
    4) Other features that reward the effort of the author of the theme.

    This could be an incentive for authors to keep the theme updated and respond to user requests.

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  7. Kristian

    Still unclear to me how these popular themes are being selected

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  8. Álvaro

    Please, focus on search and filtering of themes and plugins. The whole system is rigged and search results are a mess. Featured Themes as Featured Plugins is not transparent. As Search is also not transparent, since you get systematically the same plugins for very different keywords. For a new user, that doesn’t have any idea about the quantity and diversity of plugins, Search is a nightmare.

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  9. Dmitry

    This is a bad news. Because a random list of featured themes sometimes stimulated users interest in missed themes that didn’t become popular as they get live. Can will come up with a random sampling algorithm, maybe by some fair/neutral criterion. And take the tab name is something like a Theme of the day.

    Theme authors that do not have a big marketing budget or SMM popularity and who are beginners to have lost a second chance along with this change.

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  10. Ossie

    Some of the filters seem very outdated now and need a shake up. Having the featured themes at leat meant you could accidentally stumble across a relevant theme.

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  11. Bastian

    Instead of this, you should focus on improving the filtering of themes, which is almost useless as it is now. Nobody searches themes by “Custom Logo”, “Featured Images”, “Microformats”, “Sticky Post” or “Threaded Comments”. People look for themes compatible with WPML, WooCommerce or Elementor. Or having a Masonry layout, or Google Fonts support. Or having a specific number of stars or active installs.

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  12. Fahim Murshed

    I can see the “Featured” tab still on the Theme Installation page

    Screenshot: https://i.imgur.com/4rdOyvF.png

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