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Follow your favorite Wikipedia pages on the mobile web

Screenshot of the mobile watchlist "modified" view on English Wikipedia.

Screenshot of the mobile watchlist “modified” view on English Wikipedia.

Have you ever wondered how millions of Wikipedia articles stay accurate, up to date, and vandalism-free? It all starts with the watchlist, a feature available to everyone who signs up for a free account on any Wikimedia project. This week, the Wikimedia mobile web team is releasing the ability to log in or create an account and view or add pages to your watchlist—all from the comfort of your mobile device. We’re hoping this simple but powerful feature will empower existing users and entice new users to sign up and start contributing.

The watchlist is the backbone of Wikipedia’s quality. Most people don’t realize that the articles they read are constantly being modified, sometimes hundreds of thousands of times, by volunteer contributors from all over the world. Wikipedia users who have an account can keep track of these changes by adding pages they care about to their watchlist; this way, they can monitor their favorite articles for vandalism or spam. It is in part through this process of collaboration that one-sentence article stubs evolve into high quality encyclopedic content and malicious or joke edits disappear as quickly as they were added.

With the steady growth of mobile traffic—three billion mobile page views to our projects last month alone—we want to provide important features like these for users on their Internet-enabled device of choice. Unlike the desktop view, however, on mobile we’re showing the watchlist star to all users, as an incentive for long-time editors and curious newcomers alike to log in.

Visualization of edits to the English Wikipedia article on the 2011 Egyptian revolution, via WikiTrip.

Visualization of edits to the English Wikipedia article on the 2011 Egyptian revolution, via WikiTrip.

We hope that this simple feature will draw in new users, who may not even be aware that Wikipedia can be edited, and educate them about the constantly evolving nature of our content. To make viewing the watchlist more newbie-friendly, we’ve included a full view of all pages you’ve starred, which also functions like a reading list. This can be toggled to show the “modified” view, with pages that have recently been modified, as well as the changes that were made to them.

Enabling account login and creation on the mobile web also opens the door for additional types of mobile contribution. Our next step will be building and releasing features that allow anyone to add photos to articles, make small edits, and more. If you’re interested in staying up to date and giving feedback on new features, subscribe to our mailing list and lend your voice to our current and future work on mobile web and apps.

Maryana Pinchuck, Associate product manager

48 Responses to “Follow your favorite Wikipedia pages on the mobile web”

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  1. Pete Forsyth says:

    This is really fantastic news! I’m not seeing the login button on the mobile site or on my Android app. Is this still going to be a little while before it goes live? Will it be both available in the browser, and in mobile apps?

  2. Ganesh Krishnamurthy says:

    Awesome. Previously I had to switch off the mobile view on my Android to get to the watchlist. Many thanks for adding this. It will be great if you add the watchlist feature to Windows 8 tablet app as well.

  3. Hi Maryana,
    Thanks for the quick reply. Yes of course, I should have thought about it :).
    Cheers

  4. Maryana Pinchuk says:

    Thanks, Davide, glad to hear you’re excited about the watchlist! Wikipedia is written in over 280 languages, and all of them are available on the mobile web, so you can have access to this feature in your language of choice. Enjoy, and thanks again for the support :)

  5. Hello Maryana,
    This is a very nice and useful feature available. To be honest with you I did not know something such as the watchlist existed at all. I am actually thinking to get to be part of it soon. I was wondering, is the web application available in English only? My English is not bad but other people would like to contribute from all around the world, and perhaps they do not speak English very well.
    I was thinking as well I will probably write an article on our website about this if you do not mind. I love wikipedia and I will try my best to help spreading the word.
    Cheers

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