Help:Watching pages

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Anyone may choose to be notified when a certain page changes using "watch" and "my watchlist". MediaWiki doesn't let people "own" pages, however, this feature and the ability to revert pages, provides the most needed functionality--without the drawbacks of giving somebody absolute control over a page.


When logged in, users should see a link in the sidebar entitled "Watch this page" on non-dynamically-generated pages. By clicking on that link, you add the current page and the corresponding Talk page (or if it is a Talk page, that page and the corresponding article page, etc.) to the collection of articles you "watch". You can access your watchlist by clicking the "My watchlist" link in the sidebar or choosing "My watchlist" from the "Special pages" menu at the top of each page and pressing "Go". Your watchlist approximately functions as a custom recent changes just for articles that you watch. It gives a list of all watched pages, ordered backward according to the time of the last edit of the page, optionally up to some cutoff time.

The default cutoff for the watchlist is currently three days for users with less than 1000 pages in their watchlists and 12 hours for Wikipediholics with more than 1000.

Each line shows details about the last edit: the day, whether minor or major, the time, a link to the article, the difference between the current version and the last but one, the history, the user name and the edit summary. There is currently no way to exclude minor changes from the watchlist.

Note that for every edited page only information about the last edit is shown. For example, if the last edit was minor there is no indication whether there have also been major changes recently. Since one is typically interested in all changes since one last checked, the history of the article needs to be checked.

In Recent Changes and Enhanced Recent Changes, watched articles are bolded. Therefore, even without ever using "My watchlist", specifying articles to watch is useful.

deletion of pages

Oddly, the deletion of a watched page is not shown in the watchlist! However, one can watch the Deletion log.

Watching and unwatching

There's a handy "watch this page" or "stop watching this page" link in the sidebar when viewing any Wikipedia page while logged in.

Users can also specify that a page must be watched while editing that page:

On the editing screen, next to the minor edit checkbox, there is another checkbox with the text "Watch this page". Activating this checkbox and saving the article produces the identical result to clicking the link mentioned above. When viewing a watched page, the "Watch this page" link text changes to "Stop watching". Clicking that link removes the page and its talk page from your watchlist. Deactiving the checkbox "Watch this page" before saving an article has the same result.

Furthermore you can activate the user preference "Add pages you edit to your watchlist".

If you find after a while that you've got a lot more pages watched than you want, there's a handy link at the top of the Watchlist which will display your entire watchlist in alphabetical order. From there you can remove pages en masse by doing a lot of clicking of checkboxes.

Watching a non-existing page

You can also watch a non-existing page. Then you see it on your watchlist when somebody creates it. If a page has a (broken) link to it, press that link and press "Watch" (depending on the skin you may have to press Cancel before getting the link Watch). You can also go to the non-existing page using the URL.

Keeping a number of separate watchlists

Pages with links (possibly specially created for this purpose, e.g. as subpages of one's user page) can be used with Related Changes as a collecting of separate "watchlists".


As an alternative or in addition to using the watchlist feature, one can also define a user style for links to selected pages, putting in one's CSS a list of lines like:

  • a[title ="pagename"] {color: white; background: red; font-size: 150% }

This works in Opera, but not in IE.

On the (Enhanced) Recent Changes page it works like the bolding feature mentioned above, but it is more versatile, e.g. allowing extra emphasis on pages one is very interested in, or different styles for different categories of interesting pages. Furthermore, it also works on user contributions pages, and on regular pages (also for piped links, but not for indirect links through a redirect). It also applies, less usefully, for the section editing links in the page itself.

To highlight links to the given page also from other websites, including interlanguage links, use instead of the above:

  • a[href ="full url "] { .. }

Note that the full url is needed, even to highlight links from the same project, although the html code uses the relative url /wiki/pagename.

See also

Help contents

Reading: Go | Search | URL | Namespace | Page name | Section | Link | Backlinks | Piped link | Interwiki link | Redirect | Variable | Category
Tracking changes: Recent | (enhanced) | Related | Watching pages | Page history | Diff | User contributions | Edit summary | Minor edit
Logging in and preferences: Logging in | Preferences | User style
Editing: Overview | New page | Images/files | Image description page | Special characters | Formula | Table | EasyTimeline | Template | Renaming (moving) a page | Automatic conversion of wikitext | Talk page | Testing
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