it doesn't have any reload, refresh or restart command line options
has a --restart switch, but it just causes the crash to occur more quickly. once the crash occurs you can run xfce4-panel --restart to get it back, but with limited functionality. xfce will still need to be completely restarted to get it back to normal. i also tried the --add switch. same results. i don't know why the crash is occurring. i think it may have something to do with the google-chrome.desktop file
edit: i don't think that it's just the panel that's crashing, i think it's the whole xfce session. thing is, when i try to run xfce4-session after the crash, it tells me there is already a session manager running. but when i try to run xfdesktop, it tells me there is no session manager. i'm lost. i also commented out the entire google-chrome.desktop portion of the script and still get the same behavior. so it's not the overly bloated (with international language support and support for 3 different desktops) .desktop file that's crashing xfce. maybe it's the exit code. i don't know.
edit2: well i triggered the crash again so i could look at the log files.
dmesg tail gives me this:
xfdesktop: segfault at 0 ip b7647e25 sp bfd3c7e8 error 4 in libglib-2.0.so.0.1600.3[b75f1000+cc000]
xfce4-menu-plug: segfault at 0 ip b7815e25 sp bfcd34b8 error 4 in libglib-2.0.so.0.1600.3[b77bf000+cc000]
xfce4-panel: segfault at 0 ip 08053118 sp bfb36a50 error 4 in xfce4-panel[8048000+17000]