If you run your own WordPress website or blog, there are bound to be plugins that you use all of the time because they work and you are comfortable with them. However, there may come a time when the plugin you use is suddenly no longer be available as well. Since an abandoned plugin could be troublesome, it is important to learn about orphaning and adopting plugins and what you can do.
Orphaning a Plugin
There are times when authors just want to move on from their plugins. In some instances, an author may simply delete all the code related to the plugin and be done with it. However, this is not a good practice since other people can take the code to create their own similar plugins and claim the credit.
If you have a plugin that you no longer want to maintain, it is best that you send an email with your request to email@example.com. In addition, you should include a warning in the change log or readme file that the plugin will no longer be updated. By including the information, users will have the chance to find alternative plugins to continue maintaining their WordPress websites and blogs.
Adopting a Plugin
In some cases, authors may want to adopt one of the abandoned plugins to expand upon and create something new. Officially, there is currently no way for authors to adopt another author’s plugin. While previous discussions about implementing a program for orphaned plugins have been held, it has not followed through. The reason why the program likely never went ahead is because very few people actually want to adopt plugins.
If you are one of the very few that want to adopt a plugin, it is recommended to get in touch with the author. If you cannot get in touch, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to put in a request. However, you will need to have the code with its changes already made to present to the plugins team. By showing them the code, they will know that you will not just make a couple of superficial changes just to get your name on the plugin. Once the plugins team has your request, they will need to verify the code, contact the author, and so on.
Determining Plugin Abandonment
It is difficult to determine exactly what constitutes as plugin abandonment. For example, a plugin with a working code that does not require regular updates may be seen as being abandoned even though it actually is not. Such a scenario is one of the many that the core team has to face when managing plugins.
Many people wonder if orphaned plugins is a growing concern that should be promptly handled. For example, if there are 40,000 plugins in the repository and 20,000 of them are abandoned, should it be considered a major problem? Although there would be 20,000 plugins abandoned, there would also be 20,000 still active.
As you can see, there is much to consider when abandoning and adopting plugins that can affect your WordPress experience.