Talk:Crosswatch

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Feel free to leave comments and feedback for crosswatch here, the current bugs and planned features are listed on the crosswatch workboard in Phabricator.

First impressions[edit]

Suggestions:

  • Make "Show only the latest change per page" the default. Otherwise it is chaos, and many people will instantly never come back.
  • Same format as regular watchlist. 2 columns. 1 for time. 1 for all else. All else on one line, not putting author on second line.
  • New 3rd column on the left for symbols of each wiki: Wikipedia, Commons, etc..
  • Make that new 3rd column sortable. So people can easily separate the edits for the different wikimedia projects.
  • Make the table expand to the full width of the page. Makes it much easier to scan the watchlist when there is only one line per item.
  • Use actual times (UT) since it is for wikis across the globe. Watchlist as close as possible to format of regular watchlists.
  • GUIs work best when they build on previous GUIs. Graphical user interfaces. Old watchlist as model to build on. With as few changes as possible.

--Timeshifter (talk) 06:55, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

@Timeshifter: Thanks very much for the suggestions and sorry for the late reply.
  • The latest change per page only is now the default
  • I started with the current mediawiki watchlist format of having everything in one line but I strayed away from it because of several problems:
  • the columns currently (time and project name) might be longer than expected and might need to overflow (depends on wiki/language) or the page titles might not be on the same horizontal line
  • I've tried it and it didn't looked very good. It looked very crammed, I'll try to experiment some more to get a clean look
  • I want to add the ability to show a diff of the edit when clicking on a watchlist event, this is kind of difficult if everything is in one line with not whitespace area
  • I would like to improve "scannability" very much, but I am not convinced that one-liners are the solution. I've always thought that the current mediawiki watchlist needs an overhaul (e.g. I like the mobile watchlist much better) as it very packed with links.
  • I'll try some things to make the second line less eye-catching.
  • Generally I don't want to be to bound too much to the current mediawiki watchlist GUI, I consider crosswatch to be more a kind of experiment to do things a bit differently
  • I know that deviating from a design that has been used extensively for years is hard, but it is limited and hinders the addition of more features and crosswatch, beeing external, has the luxury to try some things out.
  • I would hope very much that one day MediaWiki supports cross-wiki watchlists natively, but I would like crosswatch to be useful even when this happens.
  • The time shown is relative for now because because it is much easier to do it this way than converting it to the appropriate local time and add separators for daychanges. I'll look into it.
Thanks very much again, --Sitic (talk) 16:03, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
PS: The ability to split the watchlist into the indivitual wikis (similar to Luxo's gWatch) is planed, but I'll look into it when some other features are done. --Sitic (talk) 16:06, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

(unindent). Wikia has an interesting format. See:

Recent changes can be grouped. Arrows drop them down. Have to check the box for "Use advanced recent changes" in the "Under the hood" tab in my preferences in order to group them.

Crosswatch now has 3 lines for some entries. 3 lines in the left column:

 20 minutes 
 ago
 English

Why not allow the table to expand to the full width of the page? It solves most problems. I don't have a mobile device, and so I can't see that format. At least not at the link you left. Wikia tried multiple lines per watchlist entry. Many people, myself for instance, did not like it, and stayed with the standard watchlist. So I guess it is a matter of preference. Maybe put the choice in the preferences. I suggest the default though be what people are currently used to. --Timeshifter (talk) 18:41, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

@Timeshifter: it only should be two lines (see e.g. File:Crosswatch.png). I've tried to fix this (I assume it's some font size issue) and also added an experimental oneline option ("traditional watchlist layout") to the settings. Can you try it out? --Sitic (talk) 15:04, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
You fixed the triple line problem. It is now 2 lines.
You don't have to ping me. I have my Meta watchlist set for email notification. I have very few pages on Meta on my Meta watchlist anymore. Due to the lack of a cross-wiki watchlist I really like. So I normally avoid the Meta wiki. You might create a crosswatch page on Wikipedia if you want more discussion, feedback, and ideas.
The "traditional watchlist layout" did not help. Because it is still impossible to quickly scan the list. Since one is alternating between titles and edit summaries, one can not stay focused on just the titles.
I like the Commons watchlist:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Special:Watchlist
The font is small, and so everything fits on one line. Also, bold is used to show what items have changed since my last visit.
The English Wikipedia watchlist does not have any bolding unless one chooses it in gadget preferences: "Display pages on your watchlist that have changed since your last visit in bold".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Watchlist
The text size is small enough on both of those watchlists that there is nothing wrapping to 2 lines in my 20 inch monitor set to 1920 x 1080. I think that is the key to all the problems. The overly large text size, and the fact that the crosswatch table does not extend to the full width of the page.
For some reason the bolding in crosswatch irritates me. Maybe because it distracts from quick scanning of the watchlist. I think that may be why English Wikipedia does not do that by default. Editors did not like it, I believe. I don't remember. I suggest making bolding a preference too.
I have a Firefox extension installed for increasing or decreasing font size instantly. It remembers my last setting. So all new pages I open up to that text size too. Until I change it again. Depends on how my eyes are working at the moment. Most of the time the smaller font size on the other watchlists is fine for me. Especially since I don't stay on that watchlist page much during a session. I use it to get somewhere else. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:32, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Hey, sorry for the late reply (I have spend some time to implement other features, like notifications and a diff when clicking on a edit).
I've revised some issues you have addressed. The font smaller (sorry for the delay, there was a rendering issue) and the container is now wider with the tradional watchlist option. This should make it a lot better for large displays. Can you check if it improves things (especially with the bolding)? --Sitic (talk) 00:45, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Group changes by page[edit]

It would be very useful for the tool to respect the "Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist", or to have a similar setting in the preferences. In areas with many edits per page per day, anything else is almost useless when you want to see what was actually changed. Julian Herzog (talk) 18:06, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

Quick additional note: It would also be pretty cool to be able to exclude the edits one has made, as in the normal watchlist's "Hide my edits". Julian Herzog (talk) 21:08, 13 July 2015 (UTC)
@Julian Herzog: Hey, the group changes by page is indeed very useful, but not very easy to implement. I've created phab:T105978, but it might take some time until I find a solution and have the time to implement it.
I've just added a "Hide my own edits" option to the settings (like mediawiki, not set by default). Thanks for the suggestions. --Sitic (talk) 00:37, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Thank you very much. Hiding my edits works as expected, and I hope you find a relatively simple solution for the grouping implementation. Julian Herzog (talk) 16:37, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Option to hide the sidebar on crosswatch page[edit]

Another way to increase the width available to the list would be to provide a preference to hide the sidebar on the crosswatch page. See discussion here:

The javascript used there might be adapted to use for the crosswatch option to hide the sidebar. --Timeshifter (talk) 13:20, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

It would be no problem to have a option for the line to be 100% (oder any other value) wide if wished, is this still the case? Best wishes and thanks --Sitic (talk) 00:46, 16 July 2015 (UTC)r
Yes, I would like the watchlist to expand to 100% width. Right now all the entries are on 2 to 3 lines, and the text is too large. See screenshot:
http://cannabis.wikia.com/wiki/File:Crosswatch_screenshot.jpg
I uploaded a larger screenshot. It is at 1920 x 1080, the same as my LCD monitor setting. See link above.
I don't think the crosswatch page is obeying the choices of my browser concerning text size. I have text size set to 15 in my Firefox browser. Other pages don't show text at nearly as large a size as on the crosswatch page. Crosswatch text will lessen in size when I choose a smaller text size in Firefox, but not much. So I am guessing that crosswatch, or the underlying wiki software on that page, is basing text size on some percentage larger than the browser choice of text size. I think CSS settings can do strange things like that.
Just noticed the setting for traditional watchlist layout. Layout is a little wider. Thanks. No item takes up 3 lines as happened before. Here is a screenshot:
http://cannabis.wikia.com/wiki/File:Crosswatch_screenshot._Traditional_watchlist_layout.jpg
Here is a screenshot of my Wikipedia watchlist for comparison. Each entry uses no more than one line each. It is very easy to scan:
http://cannabis.wikia.com/wiki/File:Wikipedia_watchlist_screenshot.jpg --Timeshifter (talk) 07:35, 18 July 2015 (UTC)
Contrast the above-linked watchlists with this:
http://cannabis.wikia.com/wiki/Special:WikiActivity --Timeshifter (talk) 07:56, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Filter certain users[edit]

On commons it would be helpful to filter sometimes certain users because they moved by hand 1000 files to another category but the watchlist just can show 1000 entries. So to see what other users were doing it'd be great to filter that one user out. Thx.--Sanandros (talk) 13:10, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Good idea, I've added it to phab:T107836. I would like for crosswatch to have an option to "mute" a certain page, user, or possible talk page section for some custom timeframe. --Sitic (talk) 16:33, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Mark edit as read[edit]

And how can I mark a certain edit as read without going to the article? I thought I once got it, but I couldn't get it anymore.--Sanandros (talk) 17:32, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Crosswatch currently doesn't mark it as read. The problem is that I can't mark a certain diff as read, it would also mark all revisions prior also as read. I also show some diffs automatically, which doesn't mean they are actually read and I don't want to add to many confusing buttons. This is a bit of a disparity between what crosswatch does and how the MediaWiki watchlist works and the API has to offer. I'll think about it a bit more. --Sitic (talk) 18:15, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
Yea I meant if there exitst something like on wp cause actually when u click on the little arrow u see the diff but if I update my croswatch it's still unread.--Sanandros (talk) 18:26, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
I wouldn't mind having to press a button to mark it as read. Akoopal (talk) 22:18, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

Thank you![edit]

First: Thank you! Such a great Tool! But here Are three little remarks:

  1. it is a Little bit slow on the mobile Version.
  2. how often does it reload the page automatically?
  3. is it possible to get a Link on the whole page, not only on the difflink?

That Are my questions, I would be really happy, if you could answer me.
Thanks, and Greetings from Düsseldorf,
--Rogi (talk) 07:29, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Hey, thanks for testing :-)
  1. It's currently not optimized for mobile, see also phab:T108000.
  2. Currently it doesn't update automatically. It would be possible, main challenge here is not to cause inadvertently scrolling (see also phab:T108476)
  3. Hmm, no, currently not. I'll think about it, but I don't see any obvious position where to put it if I want the keep main link pointing to the diff.
Viele Grüße, 18:29, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Ok, Great, I hope it will be possible soon! Face-smile.svg Grüße, --Rogi (talk) 20:13, 2 September 2015 (UTC)

Got 404 for Crosswatch[edit]

Is it under maintenance or is there something wrong?--Sanandros (talk) 16:16, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Hey, sorry for that. Something rescheduled the webserver job on tools and that seems to have caused the issue (it was still running, but maybe listing on the wrong port). I've restarted it. --Sitic (talk) 18:55, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Thx--Sanandros (talk) 21:03, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
@Sitic: crosswatch seems to be offline again. Could you restart it? —Pathoschild 15:42, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

single line view (trad.) excellent[edit]

Wow, Sitic, great! Esp. the traditional single line view is excellent and allow for fast skimming/ reading. --C.Koltzenburg (talk) 16:53, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

I agree. I hadn't checked the crosswatch format in awhile, and the smaller text combined with "Traditional watchlist layout" preference makes this watchlist much more useful. There are still too many entries wrapping to 2 lines though. Getting rid of the right sidebar would almost completely solve that problem on my 20 inch monitor at 1920 x 1080. There is no right sidebar in the traditional English Wikipedia watchlist.
Plus, technically all entries are using 2 lines since there is a blank line between each entry. Can you maybe add a preference to get rid of that? Then I would not have use my mouse scroll wheel, and I could scan even faster. --Timeshifter (talk) 12:56, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Dropdown diffs are really handy[edit]

Normally, I go to the history list to see all the changes since my last visit. For the few pages I take an active interest in editing.

But having the diff for the last edit right there handy to check out instantly is a breakthrough. This will help editors to edit more, and we definitely need to do everything possible to stop losing editors, and make it easier for editors to edit more. If editors edit more, then that makes up for editors leaving (up to a point). --Timeshifter (talk) 13:04, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

I agree, this is really good. Why are some diffs shown expanded by default? Are they special ones in some way? :) Thanks for this brilliant thing! — Sam Wilson ( TalkContribs ) … 10:29, 19 November 2015 (UTC)
@Sam Wilson: some diffs re expanded by default because they have high probability of being reverted. It gets these probabilities from one of ORES models (see WMF blog post for details). Helder 22:07, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

Flags[edit]

I praise You, The Tool Creator! I waited it Face-smile.svg
But seriously, flags instead of language names are really a bad idea. -- Ата (talk) 10:41, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

No They are good. But everybody can choose between flags or text.--Sanandros (talk) 12:52, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Really? Flag of GB for English? And what about Spanish? Ok, Esperanto has its flag, but what about Latin? If the idea is not bad then it is at least ridiculous. -- Ата (talk) 08:52, 31 August 2015 (UTC)
This is ca.wikipedia.org? Please correct or remove it (now it’s Canadian flag for Catalan language). --Tacsipacsi (talk) 17:44, 14 November 2015 (UTC)
They are not. See Why you should not use a flag as a symbol of language. Helder 22:29, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Toggle ORES on and off instantly[edit]

ORES looks very helpful since many more people will now be able to watch for vandalism, test edits, mistakes, etc.. Maybe it can be default set to on for now, in order for us testers to see it and comment on it. But I assume it will have a toggle box like the rest of the options? --Timeshifter (talk) 19:39, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Show individual watchlist for each wiki[edit]

This option is very helpful. Sometimes I want to zero in on one particular wiki. --Timeshifter (talk) 19:41, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Option to remove lines between items[edit]

Maybe this can be part of the option for "Traditional watchlist layout". English Wikipedia watchlists do not have lines between entries. The lines are not really helpful when a wide format (no right sidebar) is used for watchlists (as on the English Wikipedia watchlist). Because laddering (line wrapping) is less frequent when there is no right sidebar. No lines means less distance between entries, and so there are more entries per page. Easier to scan for many people. --Timeshifter (talk) 19:46, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Option to use English for language names[edit]

In English Wikipedia gadget preferences one can choose this: "SidebarTranslate, changes the language links in the sidebar so their text is displayed in English". Maybe Crosswatch can provide that option too as a toggle box choice on the top of the page.

I have the occasional edit on other-language wikis, but often don't remember what language it is in. For example; after renaming image files, and making sure the new name is used in various wikis. It would help me to know what language it is. Took me awhile to remember that ukwiki stands for Ukraine wiki. українська did not mean anything to me as the language name. --Timeshifter (talk) 00:08, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

100% width option. No sidebars[edit]

I would like an option for 100% width. That is even wider than the "Traditional watchlist layout" option in Crosswatch. I am talking about an option for no sidebars. That way it would be rare for anything to wrap to 2 lines in your average 1080 x 1920 monitor. I keep my font size at 15, and so several items are wrapping to 2 lines.

I would like this option for other watchlists outside Crosswatch, too. For example, the English Wikipedia watchlist:

Doing without the left sidebar on my English Wikipedia watchlist would stop the wrapping of 2/3rds of the items that are wrapping to 2 lines in today's watchlist for me. As I said I keep my font size at 15. --Timeshifter (talk) 21:40, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

Again 404[edit]

Crosswatch has agin 404. Can we fix that? Thx.--Sanandros (talk) 18:36, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

This is being tracked in phab:T115261. --Glaisher (talk) 11:02, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Scannable lists[edit]

Scannability:

"So, for example, you might try to make all the list items fit on single lines, so that the eye can take in their initial words all at once."

Do so by completely removing the right and left margins, or providing an option for it.

There are some other useful ideas in that article.

"Use a keyword or verb at the start."

  • The Commons wiki icon Commons-icon.svg is not enough. It needs the keyword "Commons" too. That is much more quickly scannable. I don't remember the meaning of most of the icons. --Timeshifter (talk) 13:51, 14 November 2015 (UTC)

Question about # of wikis[edit]

"Currently crosswatch retrieves the watchlist only for projects in which you have made at least one edit." It shows 27 wikis for me. As you could see by looking at my global edits, I edited way more wikis. Is more capacity planned? TY, --Elitre (WMF) (talk) 19:00, 23 December 2015 (UTC)

I don't have as many as Erica but I'm seeing a similar problem - no meta or commons. I am seeing "No watchlist could be retrieved. This is an internal server error, please open a bug report if the problem persists." errors when I load the page - could that be the cause? (And thanks for the tool, looks very nice!) LuisVilla (talk) 18:12, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

Collapsible first pane[edit]

Very nice tool, happy to have found it. What I personally would like is to have the first pane (filter/preferences) collapsible, for more screen real-estate. This should be accompanied with an option to make that default, so you don't need to collapse after each refresh. It might also be nice (in the per wiki view) to have the panes for the wiki's also collapsible, making it easier to search for a certain wiki. Perhaps with buttons for collapse all/expand all as well. Akoopal (talk) 22:29, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

Server failure[edit]

Hi all, is crosswatch working for you? It always gives me an error message « Server failure. No watchlist could be retrieved. This is an internal server error, please open a bug report if the problem persists. » I see that a bug report was filed a few weeks ago, but it looks like it was never addressed. Is the tool still maintained?--LamBoet (talk) 11:43, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

For interested: Phab:T144083. --Stryn (talk) 12:17, 13 October 2016 (UTC)

Community Wishlist Survey. Revive Crosswatch tool[edit]

Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Watchlists/Revive Crosswatch tool. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:06, 9 November 2018 (UTC)