Help:Tracking categories

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Tracking categories are a feature of MediaWiki that allows pages with certain characteristics to be tracked. It works by adding any such page to a category automatically.

Since MediaWiki 1.23, tracking categories are listed in the $wgTrackingCategories configuration variable, and can be viewed on Special:TrackingCategories.

What category to use is determined by the tracking category's system message, that is, a page in MediaWiki namespace. If the message is a single dash (-), then the tracking category is disabled. Often such categories are marked as hidden (__HIDDENCAT__) as they are meant for maintenance and not general consumption. Some sites use Parser functions to modify which category is used based on namespace, but that doesn't work properly until 1.19.

Default category Message What triggers the categories inclusion Version
Pages with too many expensive parser function calls expensive-parserfunction-category The page uses too many expensive parser functions (like #ifexist). See Manual:$wgExpensiveParserFunctionLimit. 1.13 Before that, Parser Function extension used pfunc_max_ifexist_category
Pages containing omitted template arguments post-expand-template-argument-category The page is bigger than $wgMaxArticleSize after expanding a template argument (something in triple braces, like {{{Foo}}}). 1.13
Pages where template include size is exceeded post-expand-template-inclusion-category The page size is bigger than $wgMaxArticleSize after expanding all the templates, so some templates were not expanded. 1.13
Noindexed pages noindex-category The page is not indexed by robots because it has the magic word __NOINDEX__ on it and is in a namespace where that flag is allowed. 1.15
Indexed pages index-category The page has a __INDEX__ on it (and is in a namespace where that flag is allowed), and hence is indexed by robots where it normally wouldn't be. 1.15
Hidden categories hidden-category-category The category contains __HIDDENCAT__ in its page content, which prevents it from showing up in the category links box on pages by default. 1.13
Pages with broken file links broken-file-category The page contains a broken file link (a link to embed a file when the file does not exist).
This does not include links to files on the bad image list, files that cannot be displayed inline (due to lack of handler support), links directly to a file page (by preceding with a colon, aka Special:Wantedfiles). The category, if enabled, is linked from Special:Wantedfiles since 1.19.

Extensions can also add new tracking categories (via Parser::addTrackingCategory method).

Some wikis add other sort of tracking categories via some hacks, for instance this category, which tracks pages with #expr errors, added through the relevant errors shown on such pages.