How to deal with crappy practices from theme/plugin authors

(Miroslav Glavić) #1

So you know those notifications many plugins give you after you activate them? Right on the top of the plugins list. WPSmush asks you to give them your e-mail address. Others will show something like To view what’s new click here. I click the X on both situations. Sometimes I subscribe to the plugin’s e-mailing list.

I had 87 sites open because I was adding a accessibility plugin. I add x 87, I click activate x 87.
I have infiniteWP but at that time, it didn’t want to install a new plugin to any site. THAT IS NOT THE ISSUE/CONCERN.

I get this notification…from another plugin that’s already activated on the 87 sites, that have NOTHING to do with the accessibility plugin I just activated.

No I don’t rate plugins, I will get to them some time.
Yes, I have paid for pro versions of plugins for my own sites and clients sites (technically speaking the client paid).
Yes I have paid for themes…
Yes I have donated.

I just don’t like it when I get a notification for a plugin I am not activating or whatever. If I deal with YOUR plugin then the notifications are acceptable, If I am working on someone else’s plugin then I don’t want to see YOUR plugin’s notifications. It’s just rude and annoying. It is crappy practice. This specific plugin I clicked the X already. If I click the X it means I am not interested. I know how to find your donate button/tip jar/pay for the pro version/etc…

Yellow parts are there because I censored the photo of the plugin author, his name and the plugin name.

If Leland says it’s ok, I can mention that specific plugin.

(Leland Fiegel) #2

Eh, I’m not sure “naming and shaming” would really add to the discussion. I think we get the point without knowing which plugin it is.

Unlike some, I don’t see has a vessel for commercialization and profit, but many do, and they tend to compromise experience for ratings/upsells/whatever.

I would like to see start cracking down on these practices. It’s just a bad experience for users, and they should be the top priority.

I mean, the authors could argue “well if people don’t rate my plugin, I won’t be motivated to maintain it anymore” …but if that’s the case, maybe the author submitted for the wrong reasons in the first place.

I did think of an idea for a plugin called “Admin Ad Blocker” …which would hide any superfluous admin notifications in specific plugins, exactly like the above-pictured “please rate my plugin” notification.

It would have to be careful about hiding truly necessary ones though, like “database upgrade” notifications. But the vast majority are just pointless, so I wouldn’t be too worried about it.

I’d imagine it would be incredibly popular, but also incredibly divisive and controversial…so I decided against it.

But hey, if someone wants to take that idea and run with it…

(Mark Senff) #3

I’ve thought about that too, but I didn’t think it was fully ethical cause it would basically come down to the fact that my adblocker plugin would influence the functionality of other people’s plugins. And like you said, it might hide the notifications that are actually important.

Technically, if the end user is annoyed at the notifications, they’ll just stop using the plugin. But maybe I’m an idealist… :wink:

(Jason) #4

I feel like this is one of those situations that just has to pan out economically. If users really hate those notifications so much, then they ought to complain to the authors. If the author ignores the users, then the user should move to another, less annoying plugin. If that happens at a trend level, then the author will be motivated to figure out why users are leaving their plugin – which would turn out to be because their notifications are intrusive. Hopefully, at this point, they’ll figure something else out.

It’s the nature of marketing, right? It has to be somewhat in your face, or it just doesn’t work. But if it’s too much so, then it may backfire. All these theme and plugin authors are trying to make a living, so they’re going to gravitate towards what helps them to do just that. Rarely does someone have the luxury of making something awesome without having to have some form of attention-grabbing marketing. And they’ll continue to do what works.

The biggest example of this, for me, is freemium apps on the App Stores. They’re annoying and people write bad reviews all day long on these apps. Yet, at the end of the day, the top grossing apps are always freemium, by a long shot. Someone out there must be biting, so they’re going to continue in this model.

Economics. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. :grin:

(Jay Syder) #5

I agree a lot of these are annoying and usually just quickly just use inspect tool and often they have a unique class to that particular notification so you can just hide further ones from those particular plugins and now become just a habit paticularly with new sites. That seems to work for me but part of that is I don’t have a deep enough php to work out how to block specific ones easily automatically.

(Kakoma) #6

I agree with Jason. In as much as I don’t agree, in principle, with displaying notices when the interaction’s not related to your plugin, I can understand the plugin author’s push to get some form of interaction from the user(especially ratings). Actually, almost all plugins, even the major ones (WooCommerce, EDD, etc.) do this - the difference is the notices they display that prominently probably won’t be about getting a review from you; they’ll usually say something related to getting more out of the plugin.

Actually, I can go out on a limb and say that all plugins display notifications even when you are not dealing with them. They may not ask for ratings but if the issue’s what you say it is(plugins displaying notices even when you aren’t dealing with them), then all plugins are at fault.

Aside from that, (and this is besides the point) it isn’t unreasonable to ask for a rating. What I’d find unreasonable is if the request doesn’t have a ‘No’ button and the reminder keeps coming up. If I can say “I don’t want to rate you” and I don’t have to run into the notification again, I think that’s fine.