Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Admins and patrollers/Watchlist of users

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Random proposal◄ Admins and patrollers  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

Watchlist of users

  • Problem: Vandals are hard to follow, as are new users.
  • Who would benefit: Better control of new users and vandals.
  • Proposed solution: At the very least, for administrators, it would be necessary to have a "user watchlist".
  • More comments: When we are reviewing articles, many times we see a user who has done something wrong, or has entered wrong data. We write a message to him in his discussion, and we watch the edits he makes for a while, to see if he has improved in his attitude. However, when you have written to many users, it is almost impossible to follow them all, so a watchlist of each user's edits would be interesting, at least for administrators.
We could have a star on the users, as we do with the articles, and have a "user watchlist" where a list of issues will appear separated by user, to see what each one has done. When we consider that a user is doing their job well, we can remove the star, just like we do with the articles. Thanks.


  • This was previously declined (5 whole years ago) as it was seen to be a major tool in 'harassment'. Basically, it would be trivial to write a script that does just this (User:MER-C just did that): collect the last ### edits of a set of users, sort them out, and display them in a watchlist-like-manner (that could be a user-script in my on-wiki .js, it could be on my own computer and no-one would see that I would 'script' except maybe CheckUsers). For N00bs: I can do the same things with a folder of bookmarks of user-contributions for these users and just every morning check them (as I do with my watchlist). Yes, having this might be a nice tool to harass users ('what have my favourite victims been up to') but that can be done anyway in undetectable ways.
Having this tool has some big benefits in 'following problematic users' (suspect spammers, socks, COI editors, etc.). To mitigate harassment one could make the user-watchlist-lists visible to users with advanced rights (e.g. that admins can see who others are following, though probably better only CheckUsers/Stewards can see it).
I think it is time that the community re-assesses this, and possibly we have a commmunity discussion on solving possible concerns. --Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 06:29, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Samwilson: and @Beetstra: Thanks a lot for your feedback. Have a nice day ;) --Vanbasten 23 (talk) 09:20, 25 November 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Vanbasten 23 and Beetstra: I've moved this back to its category, so it can be voted on. (I'm using my staff account now, but am the same person as User:Samwilson above.) —SWilson (WMF) (talk) 22:25, 1 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The right to use this feature could be limited to admins (and editors), or it could be withdrawn from users who use it abusively. -- Aspiriniks (talk) 21:24, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This ought only be implemented if for administrators only, and only usable on accounts with under a certain number of edits, as Bilorv suggests. Though I do often think of such a tool for keeping an eye on vandals, it could so easily be turned into a harassment tool. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 03:32, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • @CaptainEek: I strongly doubt whether this is becoming a harassment tool if you give visibility to the watchlist (e.g., admins can plainly see who you are watching, or have access to a Special:WhoWatchesWho which is bidirectional, or even a Special:WhoWatchesMe .. meh, even add a 'approve' for named accounts if someone wants to follow them - then in case of (group-)mentoring they will likely approve, but for regulars that will not happen, or they can later 'unapprove' if they at first did not have a problem with it). I have currently a watchlist of Wikipedia pages of my interest, which contains some filters and user contribs. This tool is literally nothing else than that. Whether I have 3 users that I 'follow around' through three clicks on bookmarks, or that I have one tool where I have all of that in one page is all the same. I really see no difference in harassing an editor through looking at their Special:Contribs every hour or by using this tool every hour. Can someone please explain me how this is (becoming) a harassment tool (pinging oppose !votes, I'd like to hear your reasoning: @MarioSuperstar77, Keepcalmandchill, Putnik, and NMaia:)? --Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 05:47, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I certainly think some checks and balances would be necessary, I like your suggestion of a needing approval, or making the watch watchlists be public/seen to admins. My fears would be that both our vandals and our veterans could use this tool for ill. Vandals could throw together a list of the admins they hate, and then use it to follow them and harass them, or keep an eye on who is active so as to evade them. Much harder to do with 50 contribs pages, but easy if its in one place. For veteran users, I can imagine it worsening feuds and disagreements and encouraging edit stalking. When two users don't quite like each other, and are on the other's watchlist, they would be more likely to follow the other around, and I can see a lot more IBans being handed out. I'm not fully against this, I too would like to be able to put vandals and hooligans on a sort of watchlist, but I do think a lot of preparation/rules are needed to ensure it doesn't become a tool of evil. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 18:57, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Something like that is already working at and is actually helpful. We can track users that seems to be vandals/spammers at the beginning but we are not sure to block. We can track new users we are mentoring to see how their first edits are going.—Teles «Talk ˱C L @ S˲» 17:05, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • To further alleviate the concern of harassment: make it a right, ‘canwatchusers’, that is not standard given out to anyone. People who can show a use for it on a wiki can then be given this ability (mentors, spam-fighters), or wikis can decide never to give it out. The right can be temporary for mentors, who can only use it for the time of an event. —Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 04:29, 20 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Needs to be re-thought - for mentors/education/etc, allow users to specify who can "watch" them and for how long. For vandalism, make it a user-right, perhaps one that is NOT bundled into the "admin/sysop" bit. I have no problem with Stewards, Oversighters, ARBCOM, and others at that level being able to watchlist editors and make decisions about who else can watchlist people for vandalism control. On projects with many sysops/admins like en-wiki, I would be reluctant to include this in the "admin" bucket of rights. On projects with fewer admins, this might make more sense. There should also be a "global-watcher" user-right that is included in steward and some other highly trusted global- user-groups. I can also see value in having an "bot" account have this user-right to prepare off-wiki reports for use by highly-trusted abuse-fighting editors. Davidwr/talk 15:29, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Support Support Should not only be possible for registered users but also for IP ranges, which should not be blocked for long-term, but from which vandalism occurs regularly. Aspiriniks (talk) 18:28, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Imetsia (talk) 18:39, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support ValeJappo【〒】 18:42, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Johannnes89 (talk) 19:03, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Kisnaak (talk) 20:28, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support , especially for IP addresses, including the IPv6 /64 ranges who do not receive User_talk: messages due to IP hopping within the /64. Certes (talk) 20:44, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Per comment by Dirk Beetstra. MarioSuperstar77 (talk) 21:03, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support janbery (talk) 21:17, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support With limited access to this tool for sysops or patrollers to mitigate harassment risks. — Jules Talk 22:37, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Jan Myšák (talk) 22:39, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support If harassment is a concern it could be limited to admins or other roles josecurioso ❯❯❯ Tell me! 23:09, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support This is efficient and risky. It can also expose a potential harasser. YFdyh000 (talk) 23:19, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Editor760 (talk) 23:30, 8 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Oesterreicher12 (talk) 00:49, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose As already declined. Keepcalmandchill (talk) 02:26, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support ✍ Janwo Disk./de:wp 02:58, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Conditional Support Support on this only working on accounts with fewer than X edits, and IP addresses and ranges. X should be as low as possible, like 100. I do not support unrestricted use for sysops or users in any group, as there are definitely cases of users with very advanced permissions using those for harassment or at least to BITE. The user should be unwatchlisted if/when they cross X edits. Positives would include mentoring new users and keeping an eye on IP ranges too large to block or people who have been given rope. — Bilorv (talk) 11:45, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Lugnuts (talk) 12:24, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Itz Marlon (talk) 13:42, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I don't think we need this, but if so, only for sysops (only). --Ján Kepler (talk) 14:21, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Em-mustapha User | talk 15:01, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose. — putnik 18:48, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Nehaoua (talk) 22:39, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support dwf² (talk) 22:43, 9 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose would become a harassment tool. NMaia (talk) 01:28, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I believe that this can be useful. Kizule (talk) 05:38, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support JPxG (talk) 06:07, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose harassment risk --Ita140188 (talk) 06:33, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support ויקי4800 (talk) 12:11, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Strong oppose. Too much risk, if created that tool can be abused very easily and I think almost everyone can think of at least one admin on their project who they absolutely can not trust to use a tool like this. Meiræ 14:38, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Strong oppose הארי פוטר 73 (talk) 17:26, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Strong oppose, for privacy reasons Libcub (talk) 17:49, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose This will just lead to more HOUNDING or STALKING, absolutely not. If we want to mentor, there's some other ways to implement and if we want to monitor, we can use something less likely to be abused in the above mentioned manner. Camouflaged Mirage (talk) 18:04, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose --𝐖𝐢𝐤𝐢𝐁𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫 👤💬 19:00, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Nouill (talk) 19:41, 10 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose due to harassment concerns, if given to everyone. If admins only, same concerns to a lower level but at that point it's just a waste of dev time. ProcrastinatingReader (talk) 01:23, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose. BoldLuis (talk) 09:50, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Adamoszkovics (talk) 10:16, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support AinScept (talk) 17:00, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support As an admin.ThiênĐế98 (talk) 17:19, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Although I can see the uses; both from a counter-vandalism standpoint and from a mentoring standpoint, I share in the concerns about the potential for abuse. Moreover, I think this is pretty unnecessary, as the user contribution page exists. ONUnicorn (talk) 17:57, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose User contribution page exists. --Kusurija (talk) 19:46, 11 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Kusurija: but it cannot be followed Golmore (talk) 11:00, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Golmore: ??Could you explain this more clearly? So what?--Kusurija (talk) 11:14, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Too Orwellian for me. VaneWimsey (talk) 02:36, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Gce (talk) 17:25, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose if users can't agree on being watched. Which means it could be a nice-to-have feature for mentors watching newcomers they agreed to work with. Trizek from FR 18:49, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose per Kusurija. There's also CentralAuth if the problem is global. --Pandakekok9 (talk) 01:13, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I understand the harassment concerns, but there are ways around that as explained in the discussion. --Dirk Beetstra T C (en: U, T) 06:03, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Wikibenchris (talk) 08:41, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Golmore (talk) 10:59, 13 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support, use restricted to admins and maybe patrollers. Should cover IPs as well. --Achim (talk) 09:06, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support - access to admin only. And must have ability for admins to check who others are watching, for accountability reasons, etc. And based upon the "need" outlined in the discussion above, limit to very recent changes. (If an admin needed more than recent changes, they could just go and manually check a users edit history). Else, I would oppose this. - Jc37 (talk) 16:43, 14 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Already declined before, and too easy to abuse by random doofuses. For more experienced editors, MER-C and others have already built equivalent tools you can research how to find and use. This shouldn't be easy, since every troll and vandal would abuse it to harass legitimate editors.  — SMcCandlish ¢ >ʌⱷ҅ʌ<  04:49, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Rhetos. I don't like the juxtaposition of "new users" and "vandals". As a casual editor, I would be quite put off if I knew there was some electronic ankle tag keeping track of me. Alternatively, I would welcome any electronic tool to notify mentors of my own choice of changes I have made. The difference is between Orwellian Control and Friendly Help. --Rhetos (talk) 08:33, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Joseywales1961 (talk) 21:34, 15 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Dr-Taher (talk) 07:09, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Wolfmartyn (talk) 13:52, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose Far too much potential for abuse. --BDD (talk) 18:51, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose This feature can favor harassment. A.WagnerC (talk) 21:37, 16 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Dgw (talk) 00:45, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support בורה בורה (talk) 02:20, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose This will only end up with harassment for most editors. SunDawn (talk) 03:50, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose opens the door to HOUNDING, not good. - Atsme📞📧 11:49, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose user contributions page is enough to follow and Better control of new users and vandals --Nanour Garabedian (talk) 14:26, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose--Mac9 (talk) 15:58, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose no one should gain access to the watchlist.---Temp3600 (talk) 17:50, 17 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support --Superchilum(talk to me!) 12:21, 18 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Weak oppose the concept is good, yet that will base on an administrators personality and characteristics, and thus may spur harassment and cyberbullying in the internet :( JN Dela Cruz (talk) 05:38, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support I strongly recommend limiting access only to some trusted user Astronommica (talk) 09:05, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose, no matter how promising you make it sound, in essence it's just a hounding tool. Enjoyer of World (talk) 09:19, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support WikiAviator (talk) 15:29, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There's definitely a good-faith way to use this to tackle serious vandalism, but I really really really don't see how this can ever be employed. What a user's watchlist contains is private information, and I don't think we could even imagine providing access to such private information to anyone below the level of an arbcom member. Uanfala (talk) 20:46, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose the potential for abusing this is too high. --Vachovec1 (talk) 21:45, 19 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I think creating a page specifically dedicated for such users won't be much useful as it is just possible to look after them via bookmarking them and watching their Watchlist. Tylertoney Dude perfect (talk) 14:45, 20 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Oppose I understand how this can be useful in dealing with potential spammers, sockpuppets, vandals etc., but, in my opinion, it's too risky if used in bad faith. Ahmadtalk 03:10, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support David1010 (talk) 11:50, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support Support Emha (talk) 12:47, 21 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]