Indicate number of users watching an article
Closed, ResolvedPublic


Author: chris.mckenna

It should be possible to see how many users are watching a certain page.

Such a feature would be good for spotting vanadlism quickly, as ideally every
page will be watched by a large number of people and thus malicious edits can be
spotted quickly. If a page is not watched by (m)any users, then users can add it
to their own watchlist and keep an eye on it.

To prevent vandals hijacking this feature, it should be viewable only by trusted
users - i.e. administrators in the current scheme. Perhaps a colour scheme could
be used so that on articles with fewer than x users (20 perhaps?) watching, the
number is highlighted.

To avoid privacy concerns, only the number of users who are watching an article
should be viewable not a list of which users.

See also [[en:Village pump (proposals)#Who's watching]] for discussion.

Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement


bzimport set Reference to bz3128.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).
bzimport created this task.Aug 12 2005, 4:02 PM

This _is_ implemented in my EnotifWiki (users can opt-in or opt-out), see
documentation, download links, helpdesk hotpage and live implementation.

as far as I know from Brion and Tim, this is _not_ foreseen to be implemented on
Wikipedia due to database and server load caused by extra queries needed for its

The meta page has a screenshot of my implementation; the number in [ ] shows the
number of watching users

While I can see the usefullness in the primary purpose of your mod, I'm not
certain that the server-load required for just the watching would be as taxing
as all that.

[[en:Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Articles that are not being watched by
anyone]] contains a similar proposal and more comments. I've copied the comments
below for convenience:

There should be a function to list articles that are not being watched, or being
watched by less than x number of people. - Omegatron 00:07, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

  • Excellent suggestion! -- Samuel Wantman 00:23, 15 August 2005 (UTC) o see bugzilla:3128 - don't forget to vote for it if you want it

implemented. Thryduulf 01:16, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

  • What is the use for the list? The list can also be called "Best pages to

vandalize". (SEWilco 02:31, 15 August 2005 (UTC))

Voted. I was thinking more of a "this article is not being watched by

anyone. Would you like to take it?" notice when a logged-in user visits such a
page. - Omegatron 03:36, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

Perfect. And administrators should be able to see the whole list. ~~ N

(t/c) 03:48, 15 August 2005 (UTC)

Anyone should be able to see the whole list. Superm401 | Talk 03:59,

August 15, 2005 (UTC)

plugwash wrote:

just a thought tough it may be too expensive to implement. imo people should
only be counted as watching if they have actually checked thier watchlist in the
past few days.

mediazilla wrote:

I was going to mention the following.

I think it is generally lacking that there is not a way you can see how many
people are actually watching an article AND out of those have some kind of
weighted value rating about their participation. For example, how long ago they
editted, how many edits, etc ... This same rating could be used to see what
votes are actually credible when voting on an article is happening.

For implementation, I was thinking temporary tables maybe with triggers that
update periodically or with certain events.

Just my two cents.

rowan.collins wrote:

Well, I will predict with a fairly high degree of certainty that the following
will *not* happen (at least on the large Wikimedia projects):

  • a full list be made available to all users; it would be an invitation to

vandals and spammers

  • similarly, the label suggested, if shown to all users (or all logged-in ones,

which is much the same), might as well be "this article is not being watched by
anyone. Would you like to vandalise it?" - it's pot luck whether a vandal or a
helper passes by first

  • any kind of complex metric attempting to quantify user participation, for use

in this or any other feature; it just wouldn't be worth the server time needed
to calculate it

  • any public list of *who* is watching a page, even if available only to admins;

if we're sticking to the policy that the watchlist is private (which is the
reason for delaying bug 471) then where's the sense in allowing its
investigation in reverse?

What might be possible:

  • a list, or an *approximate* label ("less than 20 people are watching", or

whatever), visible to *sysops*; remember that this is still quite an inclusive
group, but they're pretty sure not to be out to vandalise. Making it a list on a
Special: page could also reduce the server-load worries, as the usual caching
and query-killing could be implemented, and normal page views would be unaffected.

Of course, this is all only my opinion, so I may be proved wrong yet...

chris.mckenna wrote:

If we want to keep it really simple, how about just adding a
"Special:Underwatched-pages" page that lists all articles watched by fewer than
X people. The value of X should be set per project, 20 or even 30 might be an
apropriate figure for the English Wikipedia, but for a smaller langauge like
Welsh (cy) or Interlingua (ie) it might end up displaying >90% of the articles
and thus be of no value.

To save becomming a partial duplicate of Special:Newpages perhaps it should only
list articles more than 24 hours old otherwise it will just be cluttered with
all the speedy-deletes.

If it would help the servers, it need only be updated say once a week.

Ideally I'd like this in conjunction with a facility to give a number, or (less
preferably) range (e.g. "less than 20", "between 20 and 50", "between 50 and
100", "between 100 and 250", "between 250 and 500", "more than 500". With the
ranges again being setable per project) for an individual article.

All of these should only be viewable by sysops. Even ignoring privacy concerns,
I don't see any benefit in knowing who is watching what - if you want to know
whether somebody is watching something or not, ask them. If they don't mind you
knowing they'll tell you.

mediazilla wrote:

Two thoughts:

  • I think for the all round users that it might be nice to know if an article is

overly watched. I wouldn't want to be editor number 101, if there are 100 active
people on that article. "Fighting" for a revert is pointless.

  • I was thinking if it was not possible to show dummy users as watchers of an

article, but I don't know what use that would be. As for my second brain fart,
how about assigning each article that is not being watched to at least 3 admins.
I know I wouldn't care having some extra articles on my watch list if all I had
to do was watch for vandalism, even if I didn't know diddly about the subject.
Could be made part of the obligations of an Admin. With that each article would
have some watchers, would probably even be an improvement compared to now since
there are probably pages that are neglected.


I think all users should be able to see the range, but no one should be able to
see the actual user names.


Closing because:

  1. DefaultSettings.php

/ Show watching users in recent changes, watchlist and page history views */
$wgRCShowWatchingUsers = false; # UPO
Show watching users in Page views */
$wgPageShowWatchingUsers = false;

  1. SpecialUnwatchedpages

  1. Component is MediaWiki > General/Unknown
  1. New bugs can be opened for more specific requests

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