As a preface, this discussion goes along with this wiki page over at the Drupal Redesign Group: Improve Theme Categorization

I've been pondering a voting and a review system for the themes for a while now. For many reasons really, but here is my quick conclusion: it won't work the way most voting systems work. Here is why...

Simply put the reason a voting and review system won't work easily is because of change.
Lets say there is a really good theme, everybody votes for it and makes good reviews. Well the next version comes along and it is broken in every way possible, then the maintainer leaves. People who are trusting the voting and review system are in a bad place. They install the theme only to find it has problems, then they submit an issue, and get frustrated because there is nobody there to answer it.
That was an extreme example.

Although a voting and review system is a good idea, its only a good idea when things are constant. Themes as well as modules all can change daily.

With all that said, there could be a few ways voting might work.

  1. If you could only vote or give reviews on actual releases, not dev's, alphas, or beta's.
  2. Voting and reviews only follow that version, new version new set of votes and reviews. However, if the previous version had good reviews and good number of votes, it might automatically get some sort of something that would set it apart. Lets say if it reaches a certain amount of votes, they get a star or something, then that star doesn't go away unless they get voted down alot.
  3. The reward system, aka the star, would keep those who do good constantly in the higher ranks, so they don't have to start at the bottom everytime a release comes out.

If you are interested in this discussion please check out both the wiki page and the discussion. I think it could be very beneficial to not only those looking for themes, but it would keep people from just throwing themes together, rewards are good incentives for quality work.