The contributor day following WordCamp Europe was a tremendous success, bringing approximately 180 people to the SiteGround offices in Sofia. A healthy mixture of veteran contributors were in attendance, as well as many folks who were brand new to contributing.
At the beginning of the day, contributors split off into smaller groups to focus on translations, core, documentation, theme review, support, GlotPress, and Rosetta. When Theme Review Team member Tammie Lister put out a call for theme reviewers, hands shot up all over the room. Automattic donates Lister’s time two or three days per week specifically for helping with WordPress.org theme review.
After the event, she reported that 27 new people were added to the WordPress Theme Review Team. They started by introducing themselves and discussing why one might want to get involved. Those who had some experience shared their individual processes. After this, they dove straight into reviewing and each person was given a theme.
“The current idea is that during the month of October we will be focusing on how we do contribution days now, so we’re having experiments and thinking about ways to improve that,” Lister said. During the last weekly meeting, the Theme Review Team identified the pain points in adding reviewers and brainstormed ideas for onboarding new reviewers during contributor days. This includes the possibility of creating a doing_it_wrong() theme, as a project at WordCamp San Francisco, that can be used for education and testing. Lister said they will be playing with a few ideas at upcoming contribution days in San Francisco and Toronto.
A Room Full of Themers
The best part of getting a record number of new reviewers together was packing a room full of themers who were all buzzing about the craft of WordPress theming. “What was really exciting about today is that it wasn’t just developers,” Lister said. “We had some people who didn’t know much HTML, some who were newer to theming, and some who were doing it the right way.”
The key thing for new reviewers is to take your time, Lister said. “I think the thing is that you just have to take it slowly when you start theme reviewing. You go through the process and you get faster.”
New reviewer Andrew Liyanage decided to jump in and join the Theme Review Team in order to sharpen his professional skills. “I wanted to get into theme design. I thought before designing a theme, I could get into review in order to get to know what the do’s and the don’ts are,” he said. “I’m already reviewing a theme right now, and it’s going better than I thought it would.”
Lister plans to match each new reviewer with someone from the new mentoring program, established last month. Although most of the communication happens on trac, there are more people than ever to help out with the process.
“A lot of it is trac focused, because it has to be, but we now have mentors, more admins, and trusted reviewers. So there’s a lot more people but there’s a lot more people looking after those people,” Lister said.
With a record number of new theme reviewers added in one day, the team now has 27 more people who are familiar with the guidelines. This is bound to make a significant dent in the queue and lighten the load for the rest of the team.