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Group similar pages in watchlist (aka multiple watchlists)
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Author: hannes

I first posted this as a comment to an old feature request about multiple
watchlists. Afterwards I noticed that it was an old request and that it wasn't
moved up in the list, so I thought it might not be read unless I make a new
request. Please correct me if I was wrong.

This is a detailed proposal of how to implement something I call "watchlist
categories" (should maybe come up with better name so it isn't confused with
normal categories). The idea is to make the MediaWiki watchlist more flexible
and allow users to have more than one watchlist:

  • Per default users only have one watchlist category called "General".
  • A new page is available at Special:Watchlist/categories where users can add,

rename and remove watchlist categories.

  • When adding an article to your watchlist and you only have one watchlist

category defined (default), the watched article will automatically be assigned
to that one category (to the user, the watch proccess will look just like it does

  • When adding an article to your watchlist and you have defined more than one

category, you'll go through an additional step. This step is a simple page of
checkboxes that allows you to choose which of your watchlist categories you want
the article to be assigned to (if none is chosen, the article is not watched).

  • The current watchlist edit page (Special:Watchlist/edit) gets an additional

feature: Next to each article is a "Categories" link, that sends the user back
to the pick-categories page with the checkboxes (see above).

  • At Special:Watchlist, besides the Namespace popup, another popup is added

called "Categories" that allows you to choose which of your watchlist categories
you wish
to view (maybe that HTML form should be changed into GET-style so that users can
bookmark specific category views). The easiest implementation is to only allow
users to view one category at a time.

Version: unspecified
Severity: enhancement
See Also:
T35888: Requesting a user-centred rethink of how watchlists work
T68215: Add option to not add pages I revert to my watchlist
T22444: Watchlist "Grouping"



Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Low.Nov 21 2014, 9:13 PM
bzimport set Reference to bz5875.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

audevivere wrote:

I think this would be extremely useful, not only to be able to view/filter my
Special:Watchlist page by topic, but also to prioritize pages. There are some
pages on my watchlist, such as Living People, that I want to scrutinize every
edit made. Other pages are lower priority for me. The proposal, as described
by Hannes, is good as-is.

Though, ideally, it could go further. For article priority categories, I would
suggest there be a numerical scale (1-5?), being 1 = "I'm closely watching every
single edit to the article" to 5 = "It's on my watchlist, but I'm not/can't
scrutinize all edits to it".

The categories would also help me group articles by topic or be able to pick out
just the living bio (or corporations) articles on my watchlist. That way, if
I'm busy and only have so much time for Wikipedia on a given day, I can at least
look at my highest priority articles.

On the back-end, we could use something like Special:Unwatchedpages (and why can
we only view the first 1,000 of these at present). An enhanced
Special:Watchpages capability could help identify living bios that nobody is
watching or not enough active Wikipedians are watching. The stats page defines
"very active Wikipedian" as 100+ edits in a month -

If I knew what some of those unwatched or inadequately watched articles were, I
might be willing to "adopt" a few more articles.

  • Bug 1492 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Changing component to "Watchlist"

Tweak summary, so we don't think this is about categories, when it's actually about grouping. Also removing dependency, since this has nothing to do with public/private watchlists.

bodnotbod wrote:

A similar proposal to this has gained more recent traction.

I'm new to Bugzilla and am not technical... can someone help me with how I move this idea forwards from here?

I would be *very* grateful if someone would leave a message on my en.wp talk page and let me know.

skupa wrote:

Please, someone adopt this feature, this propblem. With passing time, as one is contributing for Wikipedia for a long time (Years.., with some inactivity in between for example) it is untenable to use just simple watchlist.

To high degree everyone tends to use it also as kind of awareness-list. But when working in hurry or after time delay, such watchlist doesnt work as practical watchlist.

When items are deleted from watchlist - it became practicle - but the item can not be loaded back. They are lost.

If one is willing to have come-backs, the watchlist as it is now is not much helpfull. I believe, that implementation of feature witch would help engage long term editors is quite helpfull for the project. This might be one of the ways to counter the continuing furtive loss of editors from the projects.

sumanah wrote:

Is this a candidate for a Gadget?

javaron wrote:

I am interested in pursuing this project for GSOC - please review my ideas on this bug page:

sumanah wrote:

There are two proposals for Google Summer of Code that have to do with watchlist improvements:

Please comment on them as soon as possible, preferably before April 6th 19:00 UTC! Thanks.

I was about to create an enhancement bug called "allow multiple watchlists", but see this was proposed as far back as 2006. As Chad notes, it's a grouping thing rather than categorization - more or less exactly like creating and managing wishlists on Amazon.

Did anything come of Blackjack48's GSOC proposal?

See also
which is quite intriguing. I'm testing it right now.

(Note: It requires "Group changes by page" (Enhanced Recent Changes) to be enabled; and it works best if "Expand watchlist to show all changes" is disabled.)

That is GREAT. It does exactly what I want from this bug. Thank you!

Looks like I forgot to update this - unfortunately, that script doesn't appear to correctly remember your settings between browser restarts, let alone between browsers. So I ended up uninstalling it. It is, nevertheless, an encouraging demonstration.

(In reply to Quiddity from comment #11)

(In reply to comment #10)

Did anything come of Blackjack48's GSOC proposal?

I stumbled upon
which led to
and to

For Bagariavivek's project, see

Could something like this be deployed (after review, of course)?

Qgil subscribed.

This task was mentioned in as a possible candidate for Google Summer of Code or similar programs. Do you think it is a good candidate?

Wikimedia will apply to Google Summer of Code and Outreachy on Tuesday, February 17. If you want this task to become a featured project idea, please follow these instructions.

In T7875#1030598, @Qgil wrote:

This task was mentioned in as a possible candidate for Google Summer of Code or similar programs. Do you think it is a good candidate?

No. There is/was already an unmerged GSOC for this in the past.

There's also a WMF project (Gather) that could develop into this.

But even if it's decided that Gather is not an issue (though it's better to talk to them to coordinate), I don't think it should be a GSOC. This is not huge, but it will take some work on both the backend and UX sides.

I just went to the Wikipedia Help Desk to see if any feature like this exists and am shocked to see that a proposal dates all the way back to 2006. Why hasn't this been acted on yet? I don't have any real technical knowledge myself, but is there anything that I could do to support this idea? We shouldn't have to wait *another* decade for it be implemented.

I'm on it. I'm currently working on doing this inside an extension (so as not to break existing functionality) I agree @Jpcase this really has taken too long. :)

To remember: there was another bug, now T3492, and some other as well, where I asked for the possibility to use a tag for some pages that would be removed from the watch list automatically after a certain time. This could be very useful fpr admins as a temporary watch list.

Thank you @Jdlrobson! I look forward to seeing what you come up with! :)

@Jpcase I will be sure to ping you with any updates and pull you in. Slight disclaimer any first version of a new multiple watchlist feature would live alongside Special:Watchlist and is likely to much less feature complete as the existing Watchlist but I'm sure with your help we can move that along and prioritise the essentials to make it even better. What's the best way to engage you - will you keep an eye on this Phabricator bug or should I write on a talk page when that time comes?

This comment was removed by Jpcase.
This comment was removed by Jpcase.

@Jdlrobson I'm receiving e-mail notifications for this discussion, so I'll see anything that you post here. That being said, I'm not sure how much help I could actually be, since - like I said above - I don't really have any technical knowledge of my own. I'm happy to help in any way that I can though! :)

@Jdlrobson - I have no idea how long these things tend to take and certainly understand if no progress has been made. But I'm curious if you've had a chance to do anything with this yet?

There's a proof of concept running on

It uses collections that you can create via the mobile version of

I'd love to work on this some more but this was as far as I managed to get.

Is this task being worked on? Or is it dead again?

@NeilN see my update. I'm happy to continue working on it, but I need some kind of indication that I have buy in from other developers on the approach. @kaldari is this something you might be interested in?

I looked at the proof of concept and I have to say, the UI is not what I was expecting. Copying this from the March-2015 English Wikipedia help desk thread:

To keep it simple, adding articles to the main watchlist would remain as is. If an editor has the multiple watchlists option enabled, and has the watchlist names defined, these names would appear in a dropdown list beside each page entry on the watchlist page along with a copy and move button. If you want a lighter page, the dropdown list and buttons would only appear once at the top of the watchlist page and checkboxes would appear beside each watchlist entry.

Forgetting the UI, what is the thing you want to achieve here? Is the issue that you are wanting to move/copy articles from the watchlist to separate lists? e.g. creating new watchlists from existing content?

Yes, have multiple watchlists containing lists that I can control.

I've merged this task from 2007 into a task from 2005 that addresses the core topic of multiple watchlists in a general fashion.