Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Persistent proposals

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This page is no longer used or actively monitored. It should be viewed as an archive.

Rationale: The purpose of this page was to provide safe haven to proposals that showed consensus, but that would otherwise have become automatically archived due to inactivity before they could be implemented. It was an effort to ensure that potentially valuable proposals were not forgotten simply because there was currently no time to implement them. Developer intervention is required in order to implement most proposals, so this page was viewed as especially necessary while the developers are particularly busy with long-term projects.

However, in reality, discussions here were mostly forgotten. The page was only active for its first year or so, and then rarely saw comments anymore, and the number of comments placed continually declined.

If a proposal needs to be "persistent", try opening a new discussion on the Village Pump that specifically discusses implementation. If the proposal is potentially complex, create a new page for this purpose. For purely technical implementations, open a bug at one of Mediawiki's bug-tracking systems.

Note: This is not the place to post new proposals that have not been discussed at all yet. Post new proposals at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals). Also, do not confuse this with perennial proposals, which are "persistent" in that they are frequently made, but have all been rejected. Proposals here, conversely, showed some degree of consensus.

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Note: inactive discussions, closed or not, should be archived.


Perennial proposals in discussion[edit]

"Categorised (user defined)" or "split (user defined)" watchlists; an idea previously proposed as "multiple watchlists"[edit]

Note - this was removed from archive 3 and if archived should go there.

Greetings fellow volunteers.

I'd like to propose an innovation to watchlists. This is an idea that has, in fact, been discussed here before (see discussion reproduced below). I want to take up where that left off and expand on the idea a bit.

The idea is to allow users to categorise or split their watchlists. A user will still be able to view their watchlist as a whole, like now, but will also be able to view a sub-set of their list as defined by them.

Instead of a binary choice (choosing either to watch or not watch) users would be able to "add new watchlist tag/category" via a drop down menu then add a an article/page to that tag or category.

Use case #1[edit]

  • User:Janine Bloggs has two primary interests in life; the first is science fiction and the second is psychology.
  • As things stand now, Janine watches pages covering both those topics. When she visits her watchlist both her areas of interest are mingled together.
  • The proposal is to allow Janine not merely just to watch her pages of interest but to add them to sub-categories of her watchlist and view them separately if she wishes. In this way, if she's in a psychology mood she can choose to view changes only to articles she has categorised/tagged as psychology.

Use case #2[edit]

  • User:John Doe knows that some of the articles he watches are controversial in nature. The articles are unstable and there have been edit wars and a great deal of activity and discussion on the talk pages. However, there's many other articles he is interested in monitoring that are much quieter. John knows that, when viewing the controversial articles, he has to be in a certain mindset; things can get pretty ugly with personal attacks and sometimes he recognises that he might lose his cool. As such, he prefers only to view articles in his Controversial topics watchlist when he feels level-headed. If he feels he is grumpy that day he can choose to view his Other topics watchlist and stay out of heated debates. He can still view all his watched articles as one list, as now, if he chooses.

Use case #3[edit]

  • User:Dizzy tends to end up with a lot of pages on his watchlist; he habitually likes to follow up on pages that he has edited recently. However, after a while, he drifts away from them. With the new interface Dizzy sets up a category/tag for himself called "Temporary August" (the current month). As he edits he adds articles to "Temporary August". In September he checks that watchlist from time to time. In October he unwatches all the articles in that category/tag with one click.

Ideas of how the user interface would look[edit]

There's three elements; the first is a change to the user interface when viewing an article; the second is a change to the 'editing' screen; the third is new options available when viewing the watchlist.

When viewing an article[edit]

At the moment the user sees a 'star' icon; this is a binary switch which can be clicked to watch/unwatch an article. The new interface would display a down arrow next to the star. When clicked this would display the user's Watch Categories/Tags and the user can choose a category/tag to add the article to. There would be an additional option to "Create new category/tag". Alternatively the user can click the star, as now, and the watched page will just enter into his 'uncategorised/untagged' pot by default. If the article is already being watched the user can just click the star to unwatch.

When editing[edit]

At the moment a user can tick a checkbox to add a page they're editing to their watchlist. In the new interface there is an additional drop-down menu next to the checkbox which, when clicked, shows the user's Watchlist Categories/Tags and one can be chosen to assign the currently edited page to. There would be an additional option to "Create new category/tag". By default the page will be left Uncategorised/Untagged.

When viewing the Watchlist[edit]

At the moment a user will see all their watched pages together and this is still what the user will see when they click My watchlist. Currently, the user can choose from a menu and decide to view only changes to a particular namespace such as articles, project pages or books.

In a new interface there would be some mechanism to view pages assigned to the user's Categories/Tags; these could appear as additions to the namespace drop-down. But I would prefer to see them have their own mechanism. A drop-down menu requires two clicks; one to display the menu, another to choose a menu item. I think I may prefer it if the watchlist had tabs which would mean displaying all the user's categories/tags in the watchlist interface and a user can just use one click to display changed pages in that category/tag.

Things to consider[edit]

1. What is the best term to describe these 'subset areas'? Categories? Tags? Both 'category' and 'tag' already have interface meanings on Wikipedia. Perhaps something like "WatchCat" or "WatchTag"?

2. Should there be a limit to how many categories/tags a user can create for themselves?

3. Many users will already have a highly populated watchlist; how could we make it easy for them to categorise/tag their currently watched pages?

That's the end of my proposal - the earlier discussion on a similar idea follows. --bodnotbod (talk) 08:12, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Related discussion that had previously been archived[edit]

Multiple watchlists[edit]

For organizational purposes, it would be nice to be able to maintain more than one watchlist. I've been cleaning up my watchlist every couple months but I usually end up deleting things I actually want to keep, just to get the list cut down to a more manageable size. I'm tempted to maintain an external text file or something so I can move chunks of listings in and out of the raw watchlist editor depending on what I want to look at, but would it really be so difficult for the wiki have that kind of functionality already built-in? I can't see it being an additional resource hog. Equazcion /C 15:23, 12 Mar 2008 (UTC)

See m:Help:Watching pages#Related changes feature for "additional watchlists". Although they do have some drawbacks: such a list is not private, you have to explicitly put links to talk pages, there are less options to filter the changes. —AlexSm 15:30, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, that is helpful. However, still, I think multiple watchlists for each user is a good idea. It would offer a lot of convenience and benefit for very little performance cost, if any at all. Equazcion /C 15:38, 12 Mar 2008 (UTC)
I was going to propose something like this! I suggest that each item on a watchlist have a "flag" or parameter which could be a bit, an integer or a short piece of text which the user associates with the item.
Suppose you're going to be really busy for a few weeks. Then you want only the few articles most important to you to show on your watchlist during that time. But then afterwards, when you have some time and want to see what's happening in the general areas you're interested in, currently you have to start from scratch rebuilding your watchlist. Under my proposal, you'd only have to click one setting, "show all items" or "show all items with priority level of 5 or fewer" etc. If it's a text parameter, you could click "show all items that I've tagged with "medicine" etc. depending on what your interests are at the moment. You could also label things as "watchlisted during RC patrol" or "watchlisted when I posted a message there" so you'd know why the heck things are on your watchlist. It might also be useful if the date the item was placed on your watchlist could be (optionally) displayed. --Coppertwig (talk) 01:23, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, similar solution, probably even better since you'd be able to see all "watchlists" at once if you chose to, but also be able to filter based on user-defined tags. I actually like that better. Equazcion /C 01:28, 14 Mar 2008 (UTC)
I like that, too. However, I think I ought to mention an already existing tool: the ability to monitor changes in all the pages that link to a specific page. John Carter gave me the idea, and applied it on SBS's Templates page; all changes made on pages linked to from that page can be seen in a list accessible from a box in SBS's main page. I can tell you, it helped me clear my watchlist a long way. One can create a subpage in one's userspace with all the pages one is interested in watching; one may categorise its contents as one wishes (with headings and sections) and has the ability to hide links (or, indeed, entire groups of links) whenever one wishes by turning them into HTML comments. This tool, which I have only recently learnt about, has many potentials in my opinion. Waltham, The Duke of 20:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Yeah that's the related changes feature, see the first response to the original post above. It's a good temporary solution but the watchlist is so much more functional, easier to use and read. I think it should be expanded to include this functionality. Equazcion /C 12:30, 16 Mar 2008 (UTC)
I guess I missed that. Yes, I quite agree, it is a good provisional solution, but it definitely won't cover all of our needs. Waltham, The Duke of 17:50, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I really like this idea. I have articles on my watchlist that I'm actively editing, but others that I just want to monitor because they've been subject to vandalism before. To have different watchlists for the different reasons you watch an article just makes sense. But in lieu of multiple watchlists, I like Coppertwig's tags idea. Elle (talk) 00:00, 25 March 2008 (UTC)
Add me to the list of people who would find this really useful.Doug Weller (talk) 13:46, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I've been wanting something like this for a while and am glad that others do too. I like the tagged watchlist idea best. Maybe there could be an expandable list of all the different tags that you have with checkboxes between the namespace selector (has that always been there? I just noticed it now) and the most recent changes. We would have to figure out an interface for adding tags, but that should be relatively simple. -- Imperator3733 (talk) 21:52, 19 May 2008 (UTC)
I too would very much like to have them. I would like to be able to separate a/the articles I take a personal interest in as an editor or potential editor, such as my high school, because they deal with things of central interest to me, from b/the articles with problems where I have left talk page messages or otherwise want to make sure the problems are addressed, c/the articles I have tagged for deletion or deleted & want to check that they are not reconstructed, or the articles I have rescued to check if someone nonetheless marks them for deletion, and d/the general pages where I follow discussions on policy or XfDs or clean up & administrative tasks. Of course there are multiple ways around this. Besides related changes, if there are pages I know I want to go to regularly I can simply have a list of links--or keep a list of links on an external document or use bookmarks. If there are pages I want to check whether or not they get deleted I can keep a list of them, and see whether they are red or blue. None of these are as satisfactory as multiple watchlists. I have seen a few editors using a declared additional account for this purpose, but if I did this, I would have to go back to my own account to edit them. I see no reason why it would be impossible to implement multiple watchlists. DGG (talk) 14:15, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

This may or may not relate to this but how about something like this?. I still wanted to add another feature, which probably would be of greater interest to you but if there's too many changes, the whole thing will never pass. The feature would be to have a clean up button next to each change in your watchlist which when clicked, deletes the entry in your watchlist until another change is made to it. That way your watchlists is always clean. -- penubag  (talk) 02:51, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

I too like this Idea. Let each user use each list for for different "levels" of monitoring, eg. "susceptible to EL SpamLinks List" seperate from my "way to often edited talkpages List". Exit2DOS2000TC 05:57, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

~~ end of discussion as previously archived ~~

since 2008, my activity here has increased to such an extent that the watchlist is now useless--it is simply to large to deal with. I now have no regular method except to keep multiple tags open whee I have asked a particularly critical question and go back the following day, and a list of bookmarks for the pages I check daily if I possibly can, such as PRODSUM and AN/I and DELREV. (Like many admins, I check Cat:CSD almost always as the first thing whenever I start a work session.) I do point out one problem: I use automated tools now, which offer or assume I will add the page to my 'watchlist", and it would be a nuisance to modify them so they offered to each person a choice of their various watchlists unless it became routine to have them-so we'd still each need some sort of unlabeled basic watchlist. DGG ( talk ) 09:08, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Could something like the following work for you?
Add * to your particularly critical questions. Find outstanding questions at Special:WhatLinksHere/User:DGG/Particularly_critical_questions_link_here. Remove the link when satisfied. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 12:26, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
Smokey, thanks for the idea of a work-around. But, like Equazcion, I find myself tempted to bookmark some of my more active discussions rather than rely on the Watchlist. Or I leave the tab concerned open in my browser; but that too is unwieldy and uses system resources on one's PC. Setting up a page in one's user space does work, but it is a little time consuming. So I'd still like to see something new happen with Watchlists. If I were able to categorise my Watchlist I could have a category called something like "Urgent" or "Ongoing" (or both!); being able to remove items from a category with one-click would also be key. I'm going to place a link to this discussion on this project's main page to see if it generates any further (hopefully supportive) input. --bodnotbod (talk) 09:20, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Strangely, I came to the VP to ask a very similar question to this. I don't fully understand why it's considered "perennial", given that it's happening for the second time in three years, possibly ever. At WP:FOOTY, an indefinitely banned user (for gross incivility to the point of harrassment, vandalism, bad-faith accusations of racism against others, and pushing the definition of racism himself), is causing a kerfuffle on otherwise stable articles, using a dynamic IP. What I actually want to do is in breach of WP:NLT, but as a solution, what I would like to do is create a watchlist only account, add pages that he is disrupting to a separate watchlist, so that I can keep track and revert at a moment's notice, but as DGG says, have a useful watchlist. The problem is, I don't know how to do that without logging in- having to log out of my account and into another would defeat the entire object. --WFC-- 22:10, 21 August 2010 (UTC)
I also don't understand exactly why this is here under "perennial", and I'm confused as to the function of this page (it's different than say, a list of common CSD reasons that shouldn't be proposed). That being said, I would find user-defined watchlists to be invaluable. Anyone who patrols new pages or vandals or prods could use multiple lists. Sometimes pages are on my watchlist and I have no idea why. User-defined categories of watchlist are the solution. I'm confused: has this idea been declined multiple times? Also, isn't this a MediaWiki request, not a WP request? — Timneu22 · talk 15:11, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Hi, Timneu. Thanks for your contribution. I've done a bit more digging. I've discovered that something along these lines has been a a feature request at Bugzilla going back to 2006! There is a long back log at Bugzilla. So I think the story is that there just isn't anyone willing and able to take this further. I would encourage everyone to go to Bugzilla, sign up and add to the comments for the bug, see if we can gain some attention. --bodnotbod (talk) 18:39, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

This would be extremely useful, and seems to be something that many people are interested in (and I haven't seen anyone who is opposed to it). What would be the best route to get this thing going again? -- Mesoderm (talk) 02:08, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Heey great! I'm happy that I'm not alone. I am searching for something like this for years. I am low intensity contributor acros the span of 6 years and it is pain to remember exactly all important pages I need while editing. So I tended to put them on watchlist. Well, then, it was pain to use watchlist for its intended use. And of course, I would be happy to store in the mean time (by some easy way) some of the most interesting pages I visited, basically for few more future visits (either for reading or some possible edits in future or for inspiration how to approach edit in another unrelated page). In sum - many reasons to put pages fast in some avareness-list. Of course I had to trim that list, after few years. My compromise now is 867 pages in watch list. It is not full list of all important or interesting pages I need to know, I wanted to see again, but it is sometimes still too long, when really working with watch-list, especially after long time of inactivity (well I'am quite bussy in real life).
Two watchlist would be fine - with possibilty to trade items between them, if possible. The possibilty to flag - parameter the items in one's one watchlist would be also fine, maybe even better.
Whatever. Thank you for the request number in bugzilla - I am going to hum there too. --Reo + 00:13, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Archived discussions[edit]

Below is a list of proposals whose discussions have been archived. To revive, continue, or restart discussion, start a new discussion at WP:Village pump (proposals).

See also[edit]