Community Wishlist Survey 2023/Notifications, Watchlists and Talk Pages/Change information about the number of watchers on a page

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Change information about the number of watchers on a page

  • Problem: When accessing Wikipedia: Tools > Page information, the "number of page watchers" contains data that represents a large number of inactive users, that is, who no longer edit on Wikipedia. In addition, "Number of watchers who visited recent edits" it does not define the period that these users were active in the project. The idea would be to come up with a solution that reflects the number of watchers that are active on Wikipedia based on two changes.
  • Proposed solution: Change on Page information (Basic information): "Number of page watchers" and "Number of page watchers who visited recent edits" to "Number of watchers who visited recent edits in the last 90 days" and "Number of watchers who visited recent edits in the last 30 days", respectively.
  • Who would benefit: Everyone who edits on Wikipedia would benefit, as the proposed changes would value active watchers on Wikipedia, preventing these pages from being vandalized due to the fact that they do not have inactive watchers. Therefore, when changing the first to last 90 days, we will only have number of watchers who edited Wikipedia in this period, while those who edited in the last 30 days will also be those who edited in this period. Inactive users would be in the number of watched pages (last 90 days or 30 days) when they come back to edit again.
  • More comments: With the approval of this proposal, it will be implemented in all global Wikipedias.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: WikiFer msg 14:19, 2 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]


@KSiebert (WMF): On this proposal, the community would know which articles have active users in the last 90 days and 30 days, which would give the articles more security in the fight against vandalism (if these users are active, they can reverse vandalism, as they will be following your watchlist). WikiFer msg 21:33, 2 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • "Watchers who visited recent edits" is people who have either seen the current revision of the page (whenever) or have visited the page less than $wgWatchersMaxAge time before it was last edited (180 day on Wikimedia wikis). IMO not really useful because 1) 180 days is a long time, 2) if the page was last edited three years ago, knowing that there were people who saw it some time within that three years is useful for assessing how much we should trust the current revision, but not at all useful for telling how much we should expect watchlists to help if the page gets vandalised now. There is also the issue that page information isn't a very useful place for this - you'd want to see which pages are not watched, not to take a specific page and see how many watch it.
So I think there are several feature requests here:
  • Make pageinfo tell clearly what this number means (and specify the time range) - trivial
  • Decrease it to maybe something like 30 days - trivial
  • See if there is a way to produce a number more relevant for vandalism (e.g. limit number to users who have been active in the last N days) - might be tricky because of performance implications
and while that wasn't requested, IMO it would be nice to see if there is a more useful place for surfacing this information (that's T313581, also probably hard because of performance). --Tgr (talk) 07:37, 3 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Tgr As you said, the information about the number of watchers needs to be changed. In 180 days, it is only relevant if the page received editions in this period, but for articles without edition for more than 1 year, for example, it loses its effectiveness. As the proposal is limited to dealing with a statistic related to those who watch a page, we must establish a time range for the community to know the status of each watched page. Technically, decrease to the last 30 days would be a better solution to let the community know what to do with these pages. It would be the best option. Combating vandalism is only possible when the information on a page contains more up-to-date data on watchers. Therefore, the proposal aims, only statistically, to know which pages are still under the control of active users, it will help new active users to monitor this page if they do not have watchers in this period. WikiFer msg 12:15, 3 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Tgr Technically, it should change $wgWatchersMaxAge to the last 30 days. The statistics of who watched the page in this period will help other active users to watch this page. WikiFer msg 12:20, 3 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Constant314 If you saw your watchlist, it's count as a visit already. Just be an active user in the last 90 days or 30 days. WikiFer msg 20:54, 19 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]