Wikipedia:Global, cross-wiki, integrated watchlists

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Latest activities[edit]

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Linking to this page[edit]

Wikipedia:Integrated, interwiki, global watchlists
Wikipedia:Cross-wiki watchlist
Wikipedia:Integrated watchlist
Wikipedia:Global watchlist
Wikipedia:Interwiki watchlists
Wikipedia:Unified watchlists

The above links all redirect to Wikipedia:Global, cross-wiki, integrated watchlists. So feel free to use any of the links in your discussions on any wiki. "WP:" can substitute for "Wikipedia:" and don't forget to put "w:" or ":en:" in front when linking to English Wikipedia from another wiki: en:WP:Cross-wiki watchlists, en:WP:Integrated watchlists, en:WP:Global watchlists, en:WP:Interwiki watchlists.

The problem[edit]

The desire for a cross-wiki watchlist goes back years before this essay article was started in 2010. See Phabricator: Cross-wiki watchlists. It was started in 2005.

There is a lack of participation in Wikimedia projects outside Wikipedia. See meta:User:Stu/comScore data on Wikimedia#Project breakdown for some older numbers of unique visitors worldwide who visit each project monthly.

Integrated watchlists would greatly increase the number of people editing other projects such as Wikibooks, Wikimedia Commons, Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikiquote, Wikinews, Wikiversity, Wikijunior, Wikispecies, and additional projects. Plus there are the meta, strategy, usability and other peripheral wikis, and their watchlists. Many editors dislike checking multiple watchlists for all those projects.

Lack of an integrated, global watchlist is a reason cited by many people as to why they don't edit much on other wikis outside Wikipedia. Most registered editors on Wikipedia are aware of the other projects, and so lack of knowledge is not the reason other wikis have so few editors.

There are many proposed projects that integrated watchlists could help. See: meta:Category:Proposed projects and meta:Proposals for new projects. These projects are not being done because there is not enough participation in (and thus donations for) existing projects. So new projects aren't started.

If people could have some integrated watchlists of their choosing then there would be more participation, growth, and donations. More projects are not being done because there is not enough participation in (and thus donations for) existing projects.


{{User:Timeshifter/Userboxes/Integrated watchlists}}

To get the above userbox on your user pages copy the above wikitext code onto your user page and/or your user talk page.

For more info go here:

Related postings, essays, discussion, bugs, proposals, extensions[edit]

Some ideas from these pages have been copied and edited further in the next section. There have been other discussions. Feel free to add more links, and info. There are many more links here: mw:Watchlist wishlist.[edit]


Search shortcuts for various discussions and info about integrated, unified watchlists:

Features, ideas[edit]

It has been suggested at the Wikiversity Colloquium that there be an integrated Watchlist. Also, possibly an integrated watchlist just for talk pages across the various projects.

The idea is that many users are involved in multiple projects, and often fail to check the watchlists, and talk pages associated with their less used project identities. As a result, interwiki communication is a problem with members of one wiki placing inappropriate materials on another and not responding to the concerns of the project. Administrators can't contact these people because their talk page on the project is never read. Meanwhile, they are active on their original project, and could be contacted if there were an integrated watchlist.

Another reason, is for projects like the strategy wiki, where the interest in the project is a sideline to their main project. A person may never realize that someone has posted a reply to their suggestion, because they are not notified by email.

People could select which watchlists to unify, and which ones to keep separate. People could have more than one integrated watchlist. Many new English-speaking editors (less than 5 edits a month) quit because there is little room for new interesting articles on English Wikipedia. People can't be bothered to open multiple watchlists, especially new editors who barely understand watchlists, signatures, time stamps, etc.. Other Wikimedia projects have a great need for editors (new and old), and a wide range of topics to cover. Plus there are the meta and other peripheral wikis (like this strategy one), and their watchlists.

A proposal is implementation of a watchlist that will check for changes to watched articles on more than one wiki. For instance, if one has an account on Wikisource, Wikipedia, and Meta, then they could configure their watchlist to display changes made to watched articles on all of those wikis simultaneously.

This could help increase participation on other projects besides Wikipedia. Many Wikipedians have posted stuff to Meta, for instance, and then pretty much forgotten about it because responses didn't show up on their watchlist. An objection is also made sometimes to moving essays from Wikipedia to Meta, on the grounds that readership and contribution levels will drop, since changes will no longer appear on Wikipedia watchlists.

Ideally, a watchlist could be developed that is also capable of displaying changes to watched articles on non-Wikimedia projects (e.g. Memory Alpha, Homestarrunner Wiki, etc.) which could greatly enhance interwiki collaboration. There are probably some hacky methods that could be developed for implementing this by parsing the text of individual watchlists, for instance, combining the data, and time- and date-sorting it. Or we might create some code that will allow rapid downloading of one's watchlist, perhaps in a CSV or other database format, which can then be more reliably parsed.

But we could also start just by having an integrated watchlist for Wikimedia projects.

A way to integrate the watchlist on Commons to a watchlist on another wiki. Or a list of any watchlists.

  • Via RSS feeds entered manually by the user
  • Via special page with checkboxes (include a select/unselect all).
  • Reasons: A fair number of Wikimedia users don't want to upload files to Commons because it requires them to have a separate watchlist. Another fair number of users complain that they aren't properly notified when they get messages about their files on their talk page on Commons.

A big complaint about the commons is the lack of a unified watchlist. Wikipedia has lots of editors and they would be more inclined to do a lot of the grunt work (categories, etc.) if there were a unified system.

People who participate in multiple Wikipedia editions or multiple projects such as Wikipedia and Wikinews typically spend a decent amount of time on each project, and the projects are quite independent of one another. Commons is in a somewhat different situation. A lot of people who participate here do it primarily as a means to the end of serving another project, because that project depends on Commons for media resources. Maybe that's not what we'd wish, but we can't expect to gain more active participants by being insular. Increasing the visibility of Commons edits might make irregular visitors more active, though.

Concerning strategy wiki discussions. There may not be broad, sustained input into those discussions as long as they are on the Strategy Wiki. Unified watchlists could help. The ability to combine all the Wikimedia watchlists (or at least all the ones outside Wikipedia and the Commons) would greatly facilitate the expansion of the other Wikimedia projects such as the strategy wiki. Most people only regularly check Wikipedia and Commons watchlists.

Until there are integrated watchlists it may be better to move all the strategy wiki discussions to the Commons. Far more people watchlist the Commons than the Strategy or Meta wikis. The Commons has a broad worldwide user base, and for now it would provide wider input, including more people outside English-speaking countries.

Project or interest watchlists[edit]

Some want a separate watchlist section for pages along a particular topic or interest, or for pages of higher priority to them. See Wikipedia:Organised Watchlists, and Bug 33888 - Requesting a user-centred rethink of how watchlists work which was started by Sue Gardner. A show/hide box for a particular topic might work. Some work with show/hide boxes in watchlists has been done. See User talk:Yair rand/interwikiwatchlist.js and the description at the top of that page: "You will then see the added watchlist above the Wikipedia watchlist. The added watchlist can be expanded, collaped, or removed". That work might be adapted here.

Many small wikis would benefit from being moved to one central wiki. For example; if small wikis were moved to the Wikimedia Commons, then templates would no longer have to be duplicated on all those wikis, since they could all use the templates on the Commons. These projects would also benefit from the eventual synergy of being on a wiki, the Commons, with a much larger base of active editors.

But there would then be a need to have the option for a subsection of the Commons watchlist just for a particular project. For example; these small wikis or projects: Meta, Strategy, Usability, Outreach, etc. would still exist if they were moved to the Commons. They would be independent projects on the Commons. All the documents would still exist. For Meta, everything would continue on: board elections, steward elections, chapter documentation, translations, Wikimania bidding, policy drafting, committee work, GAC/FDC, etc.. The only difference would be that they occur on the Commons where there are many more active editors from around the world.

One way is to do it with folders. As on at mw:Technical communications/Mobile documentation consolidation where there is a folder for Technical communications subdivided by sub-project. There are many such folders for various projects on It would be easy to do this via meta:Special:Export on Meta, and commons:Special:Import on the Commons. One uses "Destination root page" in the Special:Import form on the Commons, and enters "Meta". So all pages moved from Meta to the Commons would start with

There could be an option for a separate show/hide section of the Commons watchlist just for Meta pages being watched. Meta would benefit from the synergy of the huge number of active editors on the Commons. Active editors being defined by Special:Statistics as registered users who have performed an action in the last 30 days. Here are some numbers for the Commons and English Wikipedia as of June 2013:

  • commons:Special:Statistics - over 30,000 active registered users on the Commons in the last month. 272 administrators.
  • en:Special:Statistics - over 124,000 active registered users on English Wikipedia in the last month. 1,446 administrators.

Former tools[edit]

Smart watchlists[edit]