The WordPress Theme Review team has implemented changes that simplify the process and places more responsibility onto theme authors. Theme reviewers now only need to check the following items to pass a theme.
- Malicious or egregious stuff
- Content Creation
Although the bar to pass a theme is significantly lower, theme authors are still expected to follow the required and recommended requirements listed in the theme handbook.
Moderators will check themes after they’ve gone live to make sure the author is following guidelines. If a moderator discovers any issues, a request will be made to the theme author to correct them. Failure to do so could lead to a temporary or permanent suspension.
Justin Tadlock clarified in the comments examples of egregious issues.
- Morally offensive
- PHP Errors
In the past two years, The Theme Review Team has battled the theme review queue with moderate success. In early 2017, the number of themes in the queue dropped below 200. Although there has been some work on automating the process, it’s largely reliant on humans.
Even though it hasn’t been updated in more than a year, theme authors are highly encouraged to use the Theme Check plugin before submitting themes for review.
With a simplified process to get a theme live, reviewers are hoping it will free them up to focus on larger projects.
Smart move. Less red tape means more innovation.