Increasing participation in Wikipedia's various reviewing processes, such as peer reviews, Good article nominations, and Articles for deletion, has always been a concern for the Wikipedia community. This is especially true when it comes to processes such as Proposed deletions, where low-traffic articles can be deleted simply because no one is aware that they have been proposed. Valuable time is spent monitoring process pages, when it could instead be spent on improving and reviewing articles. This situation inspired three editors, Headbomb, B. Wolterding, and Legoktm, to develop a tool designed to increase awareness of what is going on in the various reviewing processes of Wikipedia: Article Alerts.
Article Alerts is a fully automated subscription-based news delivery system designed to notify WikiProjects and Taskforces when articles tagged by their banner enter a workflow such as Articles for deletion, Requests for comment, and Peer review (full list). The reports are updated on a daily basis, and provide brief summaries of what happened, with relevant links to discussion or results when possible. A certain degree of customization is available; WikiProjects and Taskforces can choose which workflows to include, have individual reports generated for each workflow, have deletion discussion transcluded on the reports, and so on. An example of a customized report is given at the end of this article (from WikiProject Physics).
The alert system was originally suggested in mid-July 2008 and ArticleAlertbot was subsequently coded by B. Wolterding. Since the bot runs on the tool server, and that B. Wolterding did not wish to disclose personal information required to operate a bot on the tool server,Legoktm volunteered himself to be the bot operator. The bot has been fully-operational since late-October 2008. At the time of writing, about 65 WikiProjects and Taskforces, out of more than a thousand,[note 1] were subscribed to Article Alerts (list of current subscribers), generating very positive feedback. Although the original idea was to help WikiProjects keep track of their articles in the wikijungle, it will be interesting to see if this tool increases the participation in the various reviewing processes.[note 2]
It is the hope of the maintainers of Article Alerts that all active WikiProjects be subscribed to Article Alerts by the end of 2009.[note 3] Those interested in setting up Article Alerts for their WikiProject or Taskforce can visit Wikipedia:Article alerts#Subscribing for instructions.