We’re happy to announce this week’s release of Notifications on the English Wikipedia.
Notifications inform users about new activity that affects them on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects, such as talk page messages, page reviews or edit reverts. It also lets them take quick action to respond to these events.
This new notifications system (formerly called Echo) was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s editor engagement team, to encourage people to participate more actively on MediaWiki sites (see earlier post). It provides a modern, unified user experience that replaces or augments existing notification systems — and gives significantly more control to users.
Here’s a quick overview of this new engagement tool.
How do notifications work?
When someone takes an action that relates to you on a Wikipedia or MediaWiki site, a red badge shows up next to your user name, with the number of unread notifications. Clicking on that badge displays a flyout listing the most recent notifications (see screenshot). You can then click on the notification of your choice to learn more and take action.
This first release features a variety of notifications:
- Talk page messages: when a message is left on your user talk page;
- Mentions: when your user name is mentioned on a talk page;
- Page reviews: when a page you created is reviewed;
- Page links: when a page you created is linked;
- Edit reverts: when your edits are undone or rolled back;
- Thanks: when someone thanks you for your edit (coming soon);
- User rights: when your user rights change;
- Welcome: when you create a new account;
- Getting started: easy ways for new users to start editing.
These notifications were created to support the needs of both new and experienced users. For example, new users who create an account receive special Welcome and Getting started notifications to guide them in their critical first steps on Wikipedia. A special Thanks notification lets experienced users give positive feedback to new users who made constructive edits, to encourage them to contribute more. And power users will benefit from the User rights notifications (which are sent when your user rights are changed) and Mentions (sent when someone mentions your name) — two features that were found useful by active editors we consulted for this project.
To learn more about notifications, visit this FAQ page. To customize your notifications, check your preferences on the English Wikipedia. Once you’ve received your first notifications, please take this quick survey and join the discussion on this talk page.
During the next few weeks, we plan to fix bugs and tweak Notifications based on community feedback. We are working on a few more features for our next release, such as alternative displays of talk page messages, more visually appealing HTML emails and new ways to dismiss notifications you don’t want. Over time, we would also like to develop more notifications for both new and power users. If you have any suggestions for improving this tool, please let us know :).
Once Notifications have been improved and fully tested on the English Wikipedia, we plan to make this product available in more languages on other Wikipedias and sister projects. In parallel, we will start providing tools and guidelines to allow notifications to be extended by developers.
We’d like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people who made this product possible. They include Ryan Kaldari, Benny Situ, Luke Welling, Vibha Bamba, Oliver Keyes, Brandon Harris, Steven Walling, Matthew Flaschen, Dario Taraborelli, Howie Fung, Terry Chay and Erik Moeller, to name a few of our colleagues. We’d also like to thank all the community members who have guided our development and everyone else who pitched in to help us bring this tool to life!
We look forward to continuing these collaborations in coming months and to helping engage millions of Wikimedia users to share free knowledge more productively.