CodeinWP's most popular theme got suspended from the repo

(Kobe Ben Itamar) #1

Ionut Neagu, with CodeinWP tells the story of how their most popular theme got banned, and how it is going to affect their business. Spoiler: it is a serious kick in the butt.
A very interesting read.

(Leland Fiegel) #2

I’ve been intently following this for the past couple weeks, and it is just a crappy situation all around.

I really appreciate and respect @ineagu’s user-focused viewpoint on theme development. We have to remember that many WordPress users are not experienced web developers. They just want something that’s simple and works. The idea of installing a bunch of plugins just to build out different sections of a homepage, for example, may not be the most user-friendly experience in the world.

At the same time, I understand the reasoning behind’s theme guidelines, the limitations of the website, and the need for themes to work within that.

We can talk about user experience and theme guidelines all day long, but this situation ultimately boils down to this (quoted from the transparency report linked above):

  • On the one hand, if you don’t make the changes, you’ll be banned from the repo.
  • If you do make the changes, you stay in the repo, but you’re messing up the sites of your current users.

Even though Zerif Lite comprised a sizeable part of their business, you have to ask if it’s really worth the intense support burden (and bad review burden, for that matter) of potentially hundreds of thousands of broken sites.

When you look at it like that, it’s not much of a choice at all. In the same situation, I would’ve done the same thing as Ionut.

(Ionut Neagu) #3

Hey @leland,

I am really glad to hear that there is someone else who consider that our decision made sense, for lots of people looks like it doesn’t :slight_smile:

(Jason) #4

I don’t quite understand the sentiment that it would mess up sites for existing users. I don’t mean to be snarky, but wouldn’t a simple update script fix that issue?

(Leland Fiegel) #5

I don’t think ThemeIsle was opposed to an update script, but rather an unavoidable subpar user experience.

I suppose an update script could stash all the “faux custom post type” data in the options table somewhere, for some all encompassing “Zerif Plugin” to utilize later.

If a user updated, they would:

  1. Appear to lose that content without warning.
  2. Have the “Zerif Plugin” recommended to them.
  3. Install the plugin, and hopefully have their site restored to what it was before.

While this may seem pretty straightforward for us, this could be quite a jarring and confusing experience for a basic user.

Even before this, they were getting support threads that literally asked them to stop changing the theme.

If only a fraction of a percent of the 200,000+ active websites using Zerif Lite that somehow failed the update process, I can’t even begin to imagine what the support burden would be.

(Miroslav Glavić) #8

They had 16 months. They could of pushed an update and do the recommended plugins. You know how when you install some themes, they give you a notification of “recommended” plugins? They could of gone that route.

CPTs should be plugins, not into themes.

So many themes have options that should be left to plugins.

Like putting your instas/tweets/facebooking/etc… that should be done by a plugin.


There are rules, Zerif was given so much leeway. Let’s start enforcing the rules finally.

Again, you had 16 months to come up with an idea, you did not, this is what happens.

Feel free to leave, and sell things from places like themeforest, or even your own website.

Look at the comments on WPTavern and other sites, most of them will agree with me. Zerif is in wrong. Instead of crying and blaming, you could start fixing the issue that got you suspended.

Crying in WPTaver, WPChat, Facebook and other places will not resolve the issue.

(Edward Caissie) #9

I agreed with your choice as well … it’s unfortunate that taking your current user base’s best interest first and foremost caused your theme to be suspended but it also took courage to stand your ground on this. Well done!