Plugins should not hijack the admin dashboard

I’m a happy Jetpack Premium subscriber and have it installed on this website, however the latest update to 7.1 added a new suggestion and reminder feature in the Plugins dashboard that I believe violates the best practices documentation provided in’s guidelines.

Jetpack Suggestion Feature
Jetpack Suggestion Feature

I feel that if a user has Jetpack installed they’re well aware of various features and the developer has made it extremely easy to find that information within the menu system of the admin dashboard. This looks and feels like adware and sets a dangerous precedent for an increasingly spammy user experience for users.

I’ve copied the relevant Plugin guidelines text below last updated August 23, 2018. What do you think? Feel free to comment at the end of this post.

#11. Plugins should not hijack the admin dashboard

Users prefer and expect plugins to feel like part of WordPress. Constant nags and overwhelming the admin dashboard with unnecessary alerts detract from this experience.

Upgrade prompts, notices, alerts, and the like must be limited in scope and used sparingly, be that contextually or only on the plugin’s setting page. Site wide notices or embedded dashboard widgets must be dismissible or self-dismiss when resolved. Error messages and alerts must include information on how to resolve the situation, and remove themselves when completed.

Advertising within the WordPress dashboard should be avoided, as it is generally ineffective. Users normally only visit settings pages when they’re trying to solve a problem. Making it harder to use a plugin does not generally encourage a good review, and we recommend limiting any ads placed therein. Remember: tracking referrals via those ads is not permitted (see guideline 7) and most third-party systems do not permit back-end advertisements. Abusing the guidelines of an advertising system will result in developers being reported upstream.

Developers are welcome and encouraged to include links to their own sites or social networks, as well as locally (within the plugin) including images to enhance that experience.

Last Updated August 23, 2018

By Joseph Dickson

Joseph Dickson is a web developer in higher education and an avid proponent of using WordPress’ core features to create flexible and manageable design solutions.

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