Making WordPress.org

Opened 5 months ago

Last modified 5 months ago

#7406 new feature request

How might we allow larger theme authors to submit multiple themes for review at a time?

Reported by: iamtakashi's profile iamtakashi Owned by:
Milestone: Priority: normal
Component: Theme Review Keywords:
Cc:

Description

One of the frustrating things about theme submission is that a theme author is only allowed to submit one theme at a time. The review time is relatively quick (4 to 5 days per theme), but with the cap, it takes a long time for large theme authors who produce many block themes. In some cases, they can't submit their latest themes as they develop more than they can submit to the review. We want to raise the block theme adoption rate in the community, and the cap doesn't seem to work well for the objective.

I had brief conversations with @dd32 @dufresnesteven about this, and we thought it'd be good to start sourcing opinions and discussing possible solutions here. Thanks in advance!

Change History (12)

#1 @iamtakashi
5 months ago

cc @mikachan

#2 @greenshady
5 months ago

I think this is more about talking to the Themes Team reps (CC: @kafleg and @acosmin) about loosening the rules in some instances.

IIRC, this was a guideline put in place to stop the influx of authors submitting themes that were essentially just repeat themes with minor changes. And it was also done at time when there was a huge backlog in the queue.

#3 @acosmin
5 months ago

@iamtakashi @greenshady is right. We still face the issue of authors submitting themes that are essentially the same.

I'm not sure if Automattic can keep up with the number of themes these authors upload; it's probably 4-5 times more :-) The queue and review time will only increase if we remove this rule.

#4 @dd32
5 months ago

My personal opinion is that authors who consistently upload themes which have zero issues (ie. that get approved immediately, or with very little review, and do not consistently repeat the same mistakes) should quite possibly be allowed to have more than 1 theme in the queue.

There are a number of companies in the WordPress space which have multiple theme authors creating themes for their customers, and as we require they get submitted through a singular company account, that's going to create a bottle neck.
(Disclosure, Obviously I work for Automattic, and I know the above is true for us, I assume it's similar for other larger theme companies)

I would probably suggest that the 2nd (and possibly 3rd?) submission should be at a lower-priority in the review queue than a new author though, out of fairness. This is about unblocking the bottleneck, not giving highly preferential treatment.

this was a guideline put in place to stop the influx of authors submitting themes that were essentially just repeat themes with minor changes

I'm not up to speed with this segment of theme authors, but would those themes be accepted/approved? As long as it meets the above requirements of consistently-good, I'm not sure if that's something that's a real issue.

#5 @dufresnesteven
5 months ago

An author-related barrier doesn't benefit the end-user, it benefits the review process. Of course, theme review efforts maintain a higher standard across the directory, and we need to find a balance.

Reading through the [termination post]https://make.wordpress.org/themes/2019/08/14/trusted-author-program-a-year-of-its-journey/ of the Trusted Author program, it's clear that we do need a mechanism to slow down theme spamming.

Instead of making the queue the arbiter, I think we can give the authors themselves the responsibility.

What if authors can upload however many themes they would like but if a theme is flagged for "minor edits" or "excessive errors" we hide or remove their subsequent uploads until issues are resolved?

#6 follow-up: @acosmin
5 months ago

There are a few issues I must point out:

  1. Regarding the Latest Themes page on wp.org, if we were to feature and set live five themes from a single author, it might take up almost half of the page. Some authors really appreciate having visibility on that page, even if it's just for a few hours or a day.
  1. Child themes. It seems like they might not be adding much value. Authors often submit these themes with just a few lines of CSS and some minor layout changes that could easily be added as options in the parent theme. Honestly, finding a decent child theme in the directory is like searching for a needle in a haystack – maybe 1 in 1000. In my honest opinion, maybe we should consider putting a hold on new uploads for such themes.
  1. Regarding flagging "minor edits" or "excessive errors," it could lead to some complications. First off, we'd need to define what qualifies as minor or excessive in this context. Secondly, I can already imagine the potential drama from some authors claiming we're not being objective enough in our reviews of their themes.

@dd32

"I would probably suggest that the 2nd (and possibly 3rd?) submission should be at a lower-priority in the review queue than a new author though, out of fairness."

If this can be implemented on trac, I'm all for it.

#7 in reply to: ↑ 6 @dd32
5 months ago

Replying to acosmin:

  1. Regarding the Latest Themes page on wp.org,

I personally feel that this is for WordPress users benefit, not authors benefits, to the end-user it doesn't matter who the author is, only that it's a newer theme that might not be seen elsewhere.

Some authors really appreciate having visibility on that page, even if it's just for a few hours or a day.

This is a real point, however, WordPress.org is not an advertisement platform nor Marketplace. Authors shouldn't be reliant upon this, and yes, I get it, the theme might get little view but I would argue that this is a bigger problem of discovery and filtering rather than anything else.

if we were to feature and set live five themes from a single author

I was thinking there'd be a max of 2-3 per company in the queue, and that they'd naturally be approved not all at once (as they're not given preference) but rather as their time in the queue came up.

  1. Child themes. It seems like they might not be adding much value.

This is a bigger problem around child themes and variations. For Block Themes I think variations work better than with the classic themes that kind of require child themes for the same functionality.

Unfortunately simply saying something like "Why not just add a required minimum level of changes for a child theme" doesn't work, as those who would be affected would simply end up bulking out the child theme.

One different suggestion would be that we consider a child theme of a theme by the same author not to be a "theme" but rather show it as a variation of the parent theme instead. That works for "simple" child themes, but not for larger child themes that take "Marketplace" and convert it to "Ticketing Office" (this is just an example, not a real situation that a theme would be suited for).

"I would probably suggest that the 2nd (and possibly 3rd?) submission should be at a lower-priority in the review queue than a new author though, out of fairness."

If this can be implemented on trac, I'm all for it.

The general way to do this is the Priority field, but we've used that for new theme / theme update (as that used to be the "priority for review" field).. Ideally we should've used a new field called Type for that I guess. But yeah, we could add a Review Priority field.

#8 follow-up: @kafleg
5 months ago

Thank you for creating the ticket. And the thing is we never get any message or someone raise this concern during the meeting too. These days themes can go live within an hour or in a few days. In the case of block themes, it's even shorter and we tried hard to make them live ASAP.

If a larger company can submit many themes(block themes) in a short period, we appreciate it and we'll give priority to set them live. I don't think the current queue is super long, but if any company wants more themes live and if they have a backlog of the themes let us know we'll find a way.

Currently, we do not plan to allow multiple themes from a theme author and flood the queue.

This ticket was mentioned in Slack in #themereview by kafleg. View the logs.


5 months ago

#10 in reply to: ↑ 8 @uxl
5 months ago

Replying to kafleg:

If a larger company can submit many themes(block themes) in a short period, we appreciate it and we'll give priority to set them live. I don't think the current queue is super long, but if any company wants more themes live and if they have a backlog of the themes let us know we'll find a way.

Currently, we do not plan to allow multiple themes from a theme author and flood the queue.

This sounds like a good common sense approach. Thank you.

#11 @dd32
5 months ago

Currently, we do not plan to allow multiple themes from a theme author and flood the queue.

@kafleg I mean, that's what this ticket is discussing; Asking whether it's possible. Simply saying "No, it's not an issue encountered" isn't exactly helpful when feedback has said it is an issue.

I don't think the current queue is super long, but if any company wants more themes live and if they have a backlog of the themes let us know we'll find a way.

Well, again that's what this ticket is.. there isn't a way for a company to submit more themes that isn't a reviewer pairing up with an author and doing the submit-review-approve-repeat process in real-time.

#12 @iamtakashi
5 months ago

From Themes Team Meeting Notes – January 23, 2024

After the discussion, we concluded that the best action is to message the team reps about multiple submissions. Then, themes team reps will handle those on a case-by-case basis.

It wasn't exactly what I was initially hoping for, but I can try this to see if I can reduce the backlog.

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