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The WordPress Community Summit is currently going on in Tybee Island, Georgia in the USA – one of the things being discussed is the WordPress.org website itself. A new blog has been launched to discuss the site called Make WordPress.org. One of the announcements regarding the site is the new inclusion of user reviews on plugin and theme pages.

If you visit a theme in the directory you will see a new tab has been added for “reviews”, this is the review page for the new default Twenty Twelve theme :

If you are logged in and visit the reviews page you will see a new form for writing your review and giving it a star rating – you can no longer just give it a star rating on its own :

Plugins also get the same treatment and you can leave reviews for those also, this is a quick review I left for the brillant Theme-Check plugin:

Otto introduced this feature on the Make Meta blog as follows :

In order to keep things straight, reviews are tied to ratings. In order to rate a plugin, you must write a review as well. All the old ratings are still there and won’t be going away (we use those, after all), but if you want to change your rating in the future, well, explain it. Tell your side of the story. What’s broken? What works? What’s the best and the worst of the code? How can the plugin or theme author improve it? Communication is important, and “support” is only half of the equation. Feedback is critical, and hopefully, the new Reviews system will go a long way to improving communication between the many millions of users of code we host on WordPress.org and the many thousands of contributors who write the themes and plugins that we all use every day. And all reviews go into our forums and can be commented on by everybody, just in case somebody needs some extra help.

I think this is a great idea – it will prevent people leaving anonymous 1 star ratings which dont help the developer, with a review to go with the developer will get some feedback to help them improve the plugin / theme. User reviews will also help the person choosing which theme or plugin to use by providing a little more information that the creator might not have added in the description. I can see it might be open to abuse also by competitors / trolls but hopefully this will be kept to a minimum and can be moderated if need be.

What do you think of this new feature? Why not go and review some of your favourites ?


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Author:

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, a small internet company based in the UK. Kooc Media runs several high-profile websites including WPLift, ThemeFurnace and DesignersTalk.

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