My WordPress.org wishlist

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Love it or hate it, if you make plugins and want any amount of exposure you are going to need to use WordPress.org – the exposure it provides (so your plugin is searchable via the WP dashboard), and the convenience of it’s plugin updates, make it necessary.

I don’t dislike WordPress.org, but there are several aspects I’d love to see improved and made customisable. Here’s my wishlist.

Integration with Github & other repos

WordPress.org forces you to use it’s SVN repository for managing your plugin, but I think other services like Github are growing in popularity forcing you to manage your codebase in multiple locations.

It would be great if you could instead ‘link’ your WordPress.org listing to a Github repository, and have the download link/stats link to a tag there instead. That way we could use Github 100% of the time and not have to mess around with SVN as well.

(more) Responsive

Recently WordPress.org was made ‘partially’ responsive, but to be honest, it is pretty lacklustre, especially when you try to browse plugins and the forums (which are still desktop width!). WordPress.org needs a redesign, mobile first, to make it truly accessible on the go.

Optional forums

The support forums on WordPress.org are mandatory and you also see a little “X answered out of X” shown on your plugin page. If you don’t offer support for a plugin, or offer it externally which is common (think EDD or WooCommerce) this can reflect very badly on the author. I’d like for forums to be optional, rather than having a forum of unanswered posts which help nobody.

Mod powers for your own forum

If you do offer support for your plugin on the WordPress forums, you don’t have mod powers meaning you cannot close your own topics, edit, or move unrelated topics. You even get stopped by flood protection if you are answering tickets at a faster pace. This is very frustrating.

I’d like to see limited moderator capabilities for plugin authors for their own plugin’s topics; move, edit, delete, close, and a more lenient flood protection. This would help authors keep their forums clean, and lesson the load on the volunteers doing moderation now.

A fairer review system

I hate the review system. Users frequently make idiotic ‘reviews’ instead of support requests and can use them as a kind of ransom demand for support, and there is no community power to vote down these ‘bad’ reviews. I’d love to see some improvements like the following:

  • A simple vote up/down system for agreeing or disagreeing with a review, with reviews which are voted down having less ‘weight’.
  • Making users submit a support request, or contribute someway as a prerequisite for leaving a review. Don’t let new users review right away.
  • Separate the review system from the support system more clearly.
  • Make the ‘edit review’ function more visible so users can change their mind if needed.
  • Change the star rating system – like Marmite, users tend to either love or hate a plugin and thus use 5 or 1 stars. Therefore, it might be better to either give meaning to the stars with a textual description, or dump them entirely for a like/dislike kind of system.

What would you change?

That’s my opinion on WordPress.org, but what would you change? Discuss in the comments.

Photo by deltaMike, CC-BY-2.0

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  • http://lifewithamission.com/ Daniel Espinoza

    Moving to or incorporating Github would be tops on the list. More analytics and stat would be great too. Anything that makes it easier to work with the plugins community of users.

  • Shelob9

    Yes to all of this. The other thing I’d like to see as far as plugin/ theme support forums goes is the ability to designate users as support reps for a plugin.

    Github integration would be great, especially for theme developers who can’t even update via SVN. At least plugin developers have SVN and can just run a script to update SVN from Github.
    Every time I update my theme, I have to copy the directory, remove .git and other files that don’t get submitted, like CodeKit settings, since I can’t just ignore them, and then manually zip it.

    • http://www.werdswords.com/ DrewAPicture

      I know it still won’t be super ideal, but you can definitely use Grunt to help package up your theme in this way. Case in point, my “development” directory has far more files than my “release” directory, and this is because I use a Grunt task to push out a packaged release, even a zip file all at once.

      • Shelob9

        Slick.

        Do you have that script shared somewhere?

        Several recent discussions in the AdvancedWP Facebook group have been pushing me to learn Grunt and write a tutorial about using it for theme development.

  • Techvoltz

    I really like the idea of being a mod on your own forum. Looks like you hit the list of things I would also like on wordpress.org.

    -NikV

  • http://www.werdswords.com/ DrewAPicture

    I like the idea of making forums optional, and I think there’s been discussion already about extending moderating powers to plugin authors, but don’t quote me on that.

    I also like your idea about making starred-reviews subject to up and down votes. I think that having 1-5 stars is a better metric for gauging opinion than “yes I like it” or “not I don’t.”

    As for your GitHub argument, I partially agree, but see here’s the rub: Yes, it can be a hassle to “manage” your codebase in more than one place, but if you’re only really developing on GitHub and packaging for release on WordPress.org, I don’t really see that as that much extra work, more so an extension of the development process itself.

    Could it be better streamlined? Sure. I just don’t think completely offloading the link-up process while still expecting WordPress.org to hand over a bunch of free benefits is either fair or reasonable. I think there has to be a certain amount of give and take there for it to be a value proposition for both sides.

    Last, I think one idea that’s been discussed before that I’d like to see is the ability to mark an individual reply as the “answer”, similarly to how Stack Exchange works. I think that would be infinitely helpful — that is, if you’re actually leveraging the support forums for a plugin.

    • mikejolley

      I’d like the ability to mark best answer too – would stop the best replies getting buried.

  • http://341design.com.au Chris Howard

    Great suggestions. I’d also like to see significantly better search in the plugins.

    For starters, you should be able to filter by WP version and date of last update.

    And the search itself… Search on “shop” (probably the first word a person searches for when looking for an ecommerce solution). #2 on the list hasn’t been updated in 18 months – although still claims 3.8 compatibility.

    And next sort by most popular. #1 is WP SEO by Yoast! (Because he used the word “shop” his changelog).

    What I’m getting at is WP needs to make it easier for users to find the right plugin, because it could be yours or mine that’s getting lost.

  • Todd Lahman

    Totally agree 1,000% with everything in this article. WordPress.org is heavily weighted in favor of the community, but hobbles the developer in ways that would prove to be useful to the community.