I am constantly having difficulty staying on top of pages I care about on our wikis; the watchlist functionality just isn't really meeting my needs. In this bug report, I'll lay out some of the difficulties I'm having. But my real purpose here isn't to say "please make these changes for me," since my use case may be unusual. Really, I'm hoping to provide input for a general rethink of watchlist functionality. I think it'd be worth undertaking a user-centred investigation of how people track pages they're interested in, and how the watchlist functionality could be revamped to better support various use cases. My use case might or might not be unusual; I don't know.
Personally, my goal is to keep on top of multiple pages on multiple wikis. I want to follow what's happening on those pages, but I also want to prompt myself to contribute, regardless of whether other people are contributing. There are two main types of pages I'm interested in: 1) Wikipedia articles and Wikipedia article discussion pages, where I want to either track other people's article edits, or remind myself to edit in future, and 2) "other." Other is everything except articles and discussions about articles -- it might include policy pages, user pages, and so forth.
Some issues I have:
i) I am interested in the pages themselves, not necessarily whether they're been edited by anyone else lately. So the default view, which shows recent changes, isn't really what I'm looking for. For my personal use, I'd prefer "My watchlist" to show Special:EditWatchlist, rathen than Special:Watchlist.
ii) I am active on multiple wikis, but I can only view the watchlist for the wiki I am currently in. I would rather be able to see my watchlist as a single list including all wikis. (Or at least, all public wikis.)
iii) Currently my watchlist is split into main, user and template pages. This is okay, but ideally I would want to be able to create and maintain my own categories.
iv) There is obviously lots that could be done to better support users with notifications, beyond what exists today.
This is just a super-fast note off the top of my head. My purpose here isn't to recommend specific changes that I want to get implemented -- it's more to raise the bigger question of 'how could watchlists be revamped to better support what users are actually trying to accomplish." I'd be interested in knowing about ways to support my use case with the existing functionality, but I am more interested in the general revamp discussion.
(Also, probably this is obvious, but: I am not requesting this in my role as ED -- I do not want to derail the WMF tech roadmap, and I am sure aspects of this are on the roadmap. I'm just flagging a pain point for me as a user.)