1. Morten Rand-Hendriksen

    When the previous theme review incentive program was in effect, some theme houses hired contractors to fast-track reviews. I know several of those contractors. They were told by their employees to pass themes through with minimal friction, resulting in a lot of sub-par themes with bad code to be approved. This idea, however well intentioned, opens the door to the same practices re-emerging.


    • Carolina

      Regardless of incentives, people loose their ability to set themes live if they abuse it.
      And broken themes can be suspended until fixed.


    • Ryan Duff

      This is exactly what I was thinking. Well intentioned but a wide door open for potential corruption. It’s almost like “pay to play.”


  2. AJ

    When decisions like this are made, it makes theme authors rethink their support for the repo. In the 8+ years of submitting themes, I’ve seen a lot of insane ideas and rulings take place that makes one frustrated and the head shaking in disbelief.

    One that comes to mind with regards to the TA program is that it used to be a requirement of at least 1 theme submitted, reviewed with less than 3 issues, and live before the author can be approved for the TA program. However, a new author comes along, submits the first theme, passes, goes live, then applies for the TA program, only to get denied because of a sudden (and unknown change) rule change that you now need 2 themes, not 1. The problem is that the TA info posting of requirements did not have this made known.

    Now we see this new requirement that was decided in a private meeting without consulting with “everyone” involved with the review team. That alone is troubling to hear.

    Another possible controversial ruling is this requirement:

    Not-approved tickets don’t count, they can be closed for 3 distinct issues. You’ll need to do a full review, set the ticket live if you have access or approve it.

    If I understand this correctly, if you perform your “1 review” and it does NOT pass and go live, you as a TA, will not have your theme go live either until you have a successful review that goes live.

    There is also the issue of how long it takes to perform a proper and quality review where Cosmin states 15-30 is all that is needed. But goes on to say:

    Any TA author that has time to pump out 3-4 themes a month also has time to do a freaking review.

    To me, that is a whole other problem that relates to TA’s abusing the program, but we can save that topic for another day.

    However, getting back to the review time of 15-30 minutes is not accurate. If you want to do a proper and quality review, it takes a LOT more time. Consider the fact that not all reviewers are Speedy Gonzales and need more time to review, especially if the theme has complicated coding methods or simply a ton of files.

    After your initial auto-scanning is completed, you should really open up every file and do a visual scan of the code–you would be surprised what you find. Then you have to take into account the time you need to properly write up your findings and recommendations in the theme’s ticket. Now you have to wait for the theme author to respond, make changes, resubmit the update, and then you can go back in to continue the review (hopefully everything will be fixed by the author).

    Let’s not forget about the “Final Review” queue as well, which is also growing in size.

    I agree with Justin, this new decision that was made is a pay-for-play.

    I also agree with Justin with this quote:

    What such systems do is provide an unfair advantage to larger theme businesses with multiple employees. They assign one of their employees to handle a review and keep pumping out themes without missing a beat. All the while, solo developers are forced into “volunteering” with time they may not even have. Not that it’s fair to businesses either; it’s just worse on solo devs.

    I know for myself, I work 12-16 hours per day, 7 days/week.

    Ultimately, big decisions like this, or any decision, should really be implemented by a majority vote from “all” those who are involved with the review team. It’s fine when a team lead wants to come up with ideas, anything that helps, but there are some decisions that should not be made by just a select few…or done in private.

    The queue has been a major problem for too many years, and I yet to see a really solid method to tackle it or even ideas where they spend so much time on with discussions, only to see them never implemented or completed. I know it’s not easy, but I remember many years ago, I brought some ideas to the team and a long story short, the response was basically “Whatever, not going to happen”.


  3. Carolina

    I do not agree with the decision.
    The underlying issue is that we cant do this alone.
    Requests for help have been unanswered.

    If you want to pm me on themereview slack (poena) I might be able to help you bring your suggestion forward or explain why it was turned down.

    One of the problems is Trac and that the team can not test every idea for improvements that we have.


    • Albert

      Why do you have to make theme reviews so complicated while the plugin repo does only the security review. What are you achieving, who are you serving apart from your big egos?

      None of the themes on envato will pass your review, yet there are thousands of people happily using them.

      End users will decide if a theme is good or not.

      TRT May feel it is lifting the weight of the world. what it does is not required and a waste of effort.



    The TA programme should be closed down. WordPress is an open source, all user should be treated as same.

    But TA programme provides the most beneficial privileges to the TA authours. The other users are feeling betray of it.

    A normal user should wait for almost 3 months(this happen if no error in theme) to the theme live but TA ticket goes live in 1/4 time.

    I am on WordPress since 2011, If I planned to be a trusted author, I need a hard work of almost 1 year to live 2 themes and 1 ticket under review, even more, condition there.

    Many users disagree with TA author as above comments shows.


  5. Denis

    Basically I agree with everything Carolina said.

    The main issue is that everybody always complains about the length of the review queue but nobody wants to help in any way about this.


  6. John Teague

    I am so glad we’re only creating sites using headless WordPress. 🙂


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