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I have come across a few WordPress plugins on http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/ with this warning:

This plugin hasn't been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress.

Is there a way to "adopt" or "verify" a plugin like this? I do have one plugin on wordpress.org so I understand the process. What is the correct process to bring an old or possibly abandoned plugin current?

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5 Answers 5

Send and email to plugins@wordpress.org and they can help you try to get in touch with the original plugin author. If the author is no where to be found and you can show that your able to keep it up to date it is possible that you could be allowed to take it over.

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I disagree with, "will most likely let you take it over". In fact, it is currently very unlikely for an arbitrary person to be given SVN-commit access to someone else's Plugin. –  Chip Bennett Sep 3 '12 at 14:04
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Actually, no, this is the correct answer. We would rather have people taking over old and unmaintained plugins instead of forking them. Forking creates unnecessary new entries in the repo and doesn't help existing users of the old plugin. –  Otto Sep 14 '12 at 12:42
    
And where are the official instructions/guidelines/policy for taking over abandoned Plugins posted on the WPORG site? If that is posted somewhere, I'll agree that this is the correct answer. –  Chip Bennett Sep 14 '12 at 21:20
    
This is something we need to address in the handbooks. I think it's an important issue. This philosophy could also be applied to old abandoned themes. –  Chris_O Sep 14 '12 at 22:48
    
I had no idea that was the case, Otto/Chris. I tried to get in touch with the original author when I did this - wordpress.org/plugins/tpc-memory-usage-updated - but couldn't reach him. I'd be more than happy to merge back into his original though. –  Imperative Ideas Jan 3 at 10:28

One of the main reasons why github support isn't currently offered is so that the development of plugins could be taken over. see:

http://make.wordpress.org/plugins/2012/08/18/93/

I imagine emailing the author (cc'ing plugins@wordpress.org) stating your intention to bring the plugin up to date should be enough, if the author does not respond then the plugin team will likely give you access. They will likely have reservations about giving you access if:

  • You do not have any current plugins (they don't want you to cock it up)
  • The plugin is still working with the latest version of WordPress
  • The plugin is very popular
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I would not take the plugin over, I would do an SVN fork and begin maintenance of the plugin yourself. This way, the plugin is now yours, and you are responsible for everything forward on the initial SVN fork.

Dealing with legacy issues (the developer was not good at support, etc) probably isn't the best solution.

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What is the correct process to bring an old or possibly abandoned plugin current?

While things could always change in the future (and some change is inevitable, now that the community seems to have gained traction toward the effort to clean up/improve the Plugin repository), currently the recommended approach is to fork the abandoned plugin, so that you can update/maintain your fork.

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No, this is incorrect. Emailing plugins@wordpress.org is the correct approach. Forking is a bad idea. –  Otto Sep 14 '12 at 12:43

If you can't take over the plugin and end up deciding to "fork" the plugin, I think that's a good solution too. I think that the way Hikari Category Permalinks forked from sCategory provides a good example (at least, I think so as a plugin user/wordpress webmaster, I am not a plugin developer).

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/hikari-category-permalink/

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