Community Tech/Add a user watchlist/Concerns
This is a draft.
There have been several concerns around the user watchlist tool, both expressed in the survey and mentioned to the Community Tech team privately. Since this is a controversial issue, the team would like to further investigate potential problems and community concerns.
The arguments are as follows:
- It will make it easier to stalk other users.
- If not restricted to admins or special usersgroups, it will be abused.
- It runs counter to the principle of assuming good faith.
- If restricted to admins, it invites the perception of abuse of power and corruption.
- If it's not open who you follow, you can stalk persons without them knowing it.
- If it is open who you follow, it creates an uncomfortable knowledge of being watched.
- Make the tool opt-in. This makes it useless for fighting vandals, but still useful for mentoring newcomers or keeping track of what's happening at an edit-a-thon.
- Make it available only to admins or special user groups.
Arguments against the solutions:
- Opt-in takes away the most important potential use case.
- It will probably be abused even if restricted to admins. There are many admins, and not all of always behave well.
- Stalking is already possible through Special:Contributions.
- Stalking becomes as much easier as keeping track of vandals. The threshold for doing both things are equally lowered.
- It can be used to track hounding of users as well.
- There are other tools for keeping track of users. Anyone can build this.