When encouragement just isn’t enough

About two weeks ago I chose to slow down on contributing to reviewing WordPress themes. I have my many reasons for doing so.

  • Burn out
  • Repetition
  • Discouraging
  • Frustrating

I think the biggest one is frustration. That’s not to say I am going to stop. I just won’t do as many. In the last four years, a lot has changed in the reviewing world. Many of those changes good and a few bad. I met a lot of people, helped a lot of new reviewers and some theme authors along the way. Yes, I would do all of that over again in a heartbeat.

What really drove me over the edge was when somebody asked for clarification on one thing. A blatantly obvious and simple question but they chose to try and find a way to go around it. I’m sorry if I start rambling about code but that’s what will happen.

As a theme reviewer I should know about security. When I began, I knew of it. I knew some basic practices because I looked the up and read about them. I tried finding resources, tutorials, videos about WordPress security and best practices. I even looked up basic PHP security practices to get a better understanding.


So that I can not only understand what the theme was doing but also pass on that knowledge to the author if they didn’t know. I say “I should,” only because there are no documents, articles, tutorials, references on what a theme reviewer needs to know in order to actually do a theme review. Could that be an issue? Quite possibly.

Now, over the last four years, I learned a great deal on how WordPress works and even contributed a few patches along the way. I got to see my name in the credits and it was a great feeling knowing I helped more than twenty percent of the web in some manner.

This last year has been rough. I’m not going to lie when I say that I actually dread looking at the current state of the themes being submitted. The biggest reason being repetition. I log on, look at the theme’s code and see the same mistake I saw last month. Or the month before that, or that, or that – you get the idea. A lot of those are from the same author that submits many themes at once or use a the same framework on all their themes but neglect to fix the issues on the other themes. It’s not hard!

The biggest frustration though is in the form of authors “cheating” the system. Okay, bad term, really bad term but that’s the feeling I get a lot of the time when I see those types of submissions or when I see an author asking questions about what is allowed and edge cases. It’s like they are trying to find a way to cheat the system. That was one thing I despised about working at Starbucks a lot of the time. People asking for “cheaper” ways of getting a drink. Those are generally the ones that ruin it for the others down the road. That was part of the reason prices had to be adjusted in certain market areas.

It hurts not only the person working but those that stop by later on as well.

For now, I’m just going to keep on posting on the forums and helping when I can on there and not so much on the theme review. It’s been fun but not so much lately and it makes me sad to see others feel along the same lines as I do.


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