Plugins in the WordPress directory should have higher standards applied

Continuing the discussion from Maintenance plugin by WebFactory Ltd is soliciting email in wp-admin:

I wrote to

Thank you for replying, and for your efforts.

The ad in question is very large, has a large button, and the “dismissable” link is small text beneath the button that says, “I don’t want a free license; don’t show this again”.

I am not expecting this to be resolved or changed in any way, I’m just remarking for the record that I believe this to be a compromise of our project’s values. That is an anti-pattern we are allowing, and that certainly “takes the wind out of my sails”.

And received a reply to which I am grateful:

If by ‘our project’s values’ you mean, it’s part of an
issue we’re struggling to balance right now.

It’s unreasonable to expect developers to built things for free
forever, so from that end some self promotion and advertisement
(provided it is in fact dismisaable) is allowed. But as you’ve
noticed, it can be abused and pushed to the extreme. But who gets to
be the arbitrators of what is or is not ‘too much’? Leaving it to the
hands of manual monitoring and intervention leads to an imbalance of
enforcement and accusations of favoritism.

To that end, we’re currently allowing it, with the caveat that if you
get bad (1-star) reviews from it, we will not remove them. The balance
of social credit destruction is currently working better than any
guideline we might make.

I disagree with the underlying concept that developers should not provide plugins for free in the public directory being operated by the project. It is a choice of the project to allow commercial interests to cause this type of issue.

It does not matter what a developer requires to grow their business, the WordPress public plugin directory that is integrated into the core software should have higher standards than “meeting the commercial needs of developers”.

While I’m quite fond of my opinion, it seems that I’m basing my assessment on the long-term health of a free software project, and the decisions to be made are being colored by short-term capitalist gain; I believe this is why more developers do not share my assessment, at least publicly.

Ultimately, turning the public plugin directory into an adversarial popularity contest will achieve very little while requiring a substantial amount of effort, which I shall characterize as “wasted”.