How Authors With Plugins in the Official Directory Can Use Tags to Get a Moderator’s Attention

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photo credit: What You Need To Know About Food Poisoning(license)

It’s almost inevitable that as a WordPress plugin gains popularity, it will receive a bad review. How plugin authors handle and respond to bad reviews is crucial, especially in a public forum. Mika Epstein, who helps review plugins before they’re added to the directory and is a dedicated support forum volunteer, gives advice on how to handle and respond to bad reviews.

Bad reviews are classified as those written as spam, trolling, emotional blackmail for support, and those that should have been a support post. Since the plugin review system is powered by bbPress, plugin authors can add tags to reviews in order to draw a moderator’s attention. The tags include:

  • Modlook – This tag notifies moderators that a particular thread needs their attention. If you think a review is spam, don’t respond to it. Instead, add the Modlook and Spam tags and let a moderator decide if the review should be deleted.
  • Sockpuppet – If you suspect a review is part of a spamming campaign where a group of people are marking a plugin as one or five stars, apply the sockpuppet and modlook tags to the review.
  • Wrongplugin – Add the wrongplugin tag to the review if you believe it’s for a different plugin. The team can move the review to the appropriate place.
  • Pluginmod – Add this tag to a review if you need an administrator’s attention. This usually results in the team performing a full review of your plugin. If it’s determined that it breaks any of the guidelines, it will be removed until they’re fixed.

Developers who host plugins in the official directory should make note of these tags and use them when necessary. The tag system is generally unknown to the public but it’s a great way for moderators to keep on top of the forums and reviews.

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7 Comments


  1. Developers who host plugins in the official directory should make note of these tags and use them when necessary.

    Mika, does this mean you are only interested in getting comments from developers ~ my small “d” ~ or are you also able/willing to accept input from A N Other interested party?

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  2. This is excellent to know. There are a lot of “reviews” which shouldn’t be there.

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    1. Ryan, that’s a very tough call, isn’t it?

      We all dislike the a-hole who has no idea of what he’s doing, blames the developer for the kahkah he’s landed his site in, and then gives the plugin a 1-star insult.

      But who’s to decide between the rights and wrongs of doing a little colonic irrigation, and the wholesale censorship of those we don’t want to hear from?

      To me, in the forums its generally something best left to the mods. But in the repo support forums, I am not sure if we can always trust the developers to be so neutral and well balanced.

      And I would have to hold my hand up here and say, I am not sure if I could be as dispassionate as it requires.

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      1. We all dislike the a-hole who has no idea of what he’s doing, blames the developer for the kahkah he’s landed his site in, and then gives the plugin a 1-star insult.

        I challenge that with the following:

        1) Maybe the instructions could be better? So many Plugin Authors make their instructions in their language instead of normal people language. Just like lawyers do legalese and IKEA does whatever the hell IKEA does that no one understands.

        2) Plugin Authors need to stop being butthurt about 1-star reviews. So many Authors get defensive when low stars are given and act like people MUST give a 4 or 5 star reviews.
        I have given 1 star reviews on themes that I have used. Not themes in the WordPress universe. Something similar to PHPBB universe.
        I reduce my stars on the review when I don’t see clear instructions from the author.

        How does an author learn if everyone is kissing his/her rear end? I give honest review and stars.

        For the record, the average I give is 3-4 stars. yes I did the math.

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