Let the Users Decide

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Let the Users Decide

The subject of content creation came up again the other day at the open slack channel of the WordPress.org Theme Review Team (TRT). As a quick background one of the most testy topics around TRT is the requirement that themes hosted at .org can only create trivial content. Content created in a theme that is not recoverable by the user when they switch themes is considered nasty, dark side stuff. Authors that continue to insist on having this nasty vile gruel in their themes should be wrapped in barbed wire and hung in a vat of vinegar.

They are the most disgusting, ill considerate authors at WordPress.org.

I am proud to say I am one of those authors.

So, a few days later a few comments arose about options. Again many of the WordPress elite (for the lack of a better word) abhor options.

Themes should not have options, or we should limit the options to less than 5


only allow one section of options like they do in WordPress.com


Those authors that include those options just don’t know what they are doing, you should design all your themes for a single purpose.


Don’t design a theme to do everything

I am proud to say I am an Author who loves theme options, and I use so many of them the TRT elite must just turn green and run for the bathroom.

Canuck was recently released and it is doing pretty well if I say so myself. Close to 1000 installs in the first three weeks, many positive comments. The theme creates a shopping bag full of that nasty content, and a second shopping bag full of options.

But that is really not the point, though it does suggest there are users out there that want this kind of theme.

The point is that there are users out there that think differently about content created in themes, or about having lots of options. Are these type of themes for everyone? That answer to that question is a pretty obvious NO. But there are users, and I would hazard a guess that there are many users that do like those type of themes.

There are users out there that want a more integrated approach to themes, that like having home page builders that use simple option entry. I think there are users out there that like to change their layouts, or add a coat of paint to the theme, or change how a button looks.

To suggest otherwise is just ridiculous.

Why should themes be simply a skin, when they can be so much more? TRT continues to struggle with a simple concept : Let The Users Decide.

Don’t get me wrong, there are requirements that are needed,licensing and security come to mind. But there are requirements that really do not need to be there. They suppress the creative ability of the theme author to supply awesome themes to WordPress.org. Examples of these requirements are content creation rules, some plugin territory requirements (such as Contact Forms), social sharing restrictions.

How about a fresh new look at things?

Lets go through all the requirements and ask a few questions:

1) How does this requirement affect the authors ability to provide a great theme?
2) Can we remove the requirement, inform the user in some way and let them decide?
3) Can this requirement be changed in anyway to simplify auditing through automated checking?
4) Is this requirement really necessary, will removing it affect the user experience?

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