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Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Watchlists/Watchlist item expiration

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Watchlist item expiration

  • Problem: My watchlist combines a few pages which I want to watch permanently with thousands of entries which I only wanted to monitor for a few days after a one-off edit. The two types are mixed together with no distinction. Removing pages which were of temporary interest is tedious and error-prone.
  • Who would benefit: Editors who want to monitor revisions to a page in the near future, without it cluttering up the watchlist permanently. This especially benefits "gnomes" who make minor changes to many pages.
  • Proposed solution: Introduce an optional expiry date on watchlist entries. Remove expired entries from watchlists before displaying them. Make the default expiry date "forever", so the change only affects editors who opt in.
  • More comments: The edit dialogue could have a "watch for a day/week/month" option. Allow editors to make this their default on an opt-in basis.
  • Phabricator tickets: T124752, T100508, T8964
  • Proposer: Certes (talk) 13:59, 7 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]


  • This is a variation on the Watchlist Expiry idea, which has been much discussed and debated over the years. See T124752 T100508 T8964. It was a 2016 project of the German wishlist team, and it looks like they made progress in terms of adding required fields to the back-end Watchlist data table. But I'm not sure what the progress was after that, or why the process stalled if it did. I'm pinging Birgit Müller (WMDE) and Lea Voget (WMDE), who should be able to fill us in on where this effort stands and what the level of difficulty going forward would be. —JMatazzoni (WMF) (talk) 19:00, 7 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • So we did take the biggest hurdles, which was refactoring all the necessary code and adding the required fields to the database table. What is left to do is implementing the actual feature. This should not be hard in itself, the complexity comes more from making this work with other ideas for the watchlist (although I am not sure if there are currently any other plans). Currently,no work on this wish is scheduled. The reason why we stopped our work was that it took over a year for the database fields to be added, and we had thus many more things on our TODO-list when they were finally there. --Lea Voget (WMDE) (talk) 12:36, 9 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • When working on this problem for the 2013 German wishlist, an alternative was proposed: we could allow watchlist entries to be listed by the date they were added, and give users a way to remove old entries by selecting them from the filtered view. There is a recent RFC that proposes a similar feature, see phab:T209773. -- DKinzler (WMF) (talk) 21:48, 29 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]