A watchlist is a set of pages a user has selected to monitor for changes. Watchlists are available to all logged-in users, and cause specific additional behaviour in changes lists, such as recent changes. More broadly speaking, a user's watchlist allows identification of changes that interest them. A title does not need to exist to be watched.
A user's watchlist is not available to other users except when included in aggregation, such as the unwatched pages report available to privileged users. Users are considered free to keep their watchlists private, or to share them with others to assist in monitoring for vandalism or undesirable changes on specific pages, for example.
Users can add pages to their watchlists via the "watch" link present on each page. In the default skin, this can be found as an action tab at the top of the page. When AJAX watching is enabled, an AJAX request is used to add the watch and update the interface, if possible.
Pages can also be added to the watchlist during editing, and when performing certain operations, including moving and deletion. In these cases, a check box is made available when confirming the operation to allow toggling this. This behaviour can also be customised further via the Watchlist tab on Special:Preferences.
It is also possible to bulk-add pages to the watchlist using the watchlist editor in raw mode, described below.
Removing a page from the watchlist can be done in a near-identical fashion to adding it; when viewing a page being watched, the "watch" link is replaced with an "unwatch" link which, when clicked, removes the page from the watchlist. As with watching, this uses an AJAX request if possible.
Editing the watchlist
The watchlist editor provides several modes for managing the contents of the watchlist. Users can remove several items from their watchlist at once, can clear their entire watchlist, and can edit a raw list of watched pages.
The standard watchlist editor is accessible at Special:Watchlist/edit and provides a list of watched titles; users select titles to be removed from the watchlist, and upon confirming the operation, this is done.
A convenient means of editing the watchlist is to use the raw editing mode, accessible via Special:Watchlist/raw. This presents the entire contents of the watchlist in a plain text list, with one title per line, which can then be edited as desired.
This provides a convenient method to bulk-add or bulk-remove items from the watchlist, and to access the watchlist in order to copy it to other wikis or to share with other users.
The presence of a page on the watchlist will cause it to become emphasised when it appears on change lists, such as Special:Recentchanges and Special:Recentchangeslinked.
The Special:Watchlist page provides users with a complete list of the most recent changes to the pages on their watchlist, which can be further filtered to pinpoint specific classes of edit.
Certain behaviours of this page can be customised through user preferences, accessible via the Watchlist tab in Special:Preferences, including:
- length of time to represent in the watchlist, or the maximum number of edits
- whether to limit to the most recent edit to a page, or expand to show all relevant changes
- default filtering preferences for bot, minor or one's own edits
See also Help:Tracking changes.