|Please note – The notifications system went through a major overhaul in July 2016. This page has not yet been completely updated to reflect those changes. Thus, some of what is written here no longer applies to the way that the system works.|
Welcome to the Notifications FAQ page!
The Notifications tool (formerly code-named 'Echo') was released on the English Wikipedia on April 30, 2013. It aims to inform users about new activity on Wikipedia in a unified way and is designed to augment (rather than replace) the watchlist.
To customise which notifications you receive, go to the Notifications tab of your preferences. For tips on how to test this tool, see this testing page. Once you've tested Notifications, please join the discussion on this talk page. For more helpful tips, read below.
The Notifications tool (formerly code-named Echo) gives Wikipedia and MediaWiki users quick updates about actions that affect them. These notifications can help users become more aware of events that relate to them and take quick action if they want to.
This software is being developed by the Wikimedia Foundation's editor engagement team, to encourage people to participate more actively on Wikipedia and MediaWiki sites. Notifications were designed to replace and/or augment existing notification systems on these sites and to provide significantly more control to users.
To learn more about Notifications, visit this portal on the English Wikipedia, as well as the project hub on MediaWiki.org.
When someone takes an action that affects you on a Wikipedia or MediaWiki site, a red badge will appear next to your user name, in the top right corner of any page (see screenshot). This badge will show the number of new notifications you've received. Clicking on the badge will display a flyout listing the most recent notifications. You can then click on the notification of your choice to find out more about it. To see more, click on 'All notifications' to go to the notifications archive.
If only part of the flyout is shown, right-click the badge and open the link in a new window.
Here are the first categories of notifications for this tool:
For the first release of this product, some of these notifications will be turned off by default for both current and new users. If you would like to enable any of these notifications (or disable them), you can do so in your preferences, as described below.
You can control what kinds of notifications you get (and how often) by updating your notifications preferences. To check your settings, click on 'Preferences' in the flyout (shown above) — or in the 'All notifications' archive page. (You can also click on 'Preferences' in the top right of any page, then select the Notifications tab.)
To turn notifications on or off for any category, simply check (or uncheck) the box next to it. You can enable (or disable) notifications on the web or by email for most categories. (Some notifications cannot be disabled, such as changes to your user rights or new talk page messages: these notifications are too important to be dismissed.) You can also control how often to receive email notifications, from single emails for each event to daily or weekly digests, When you're done, be sure to click the 'Save' button at the bottom of the page to update your preferences.
To find all your recent notifications, click on 'All notifications' in the flyout to go to the notifications archive page. Your most recent notifications will be listed first on this archive page. To see older notifications, click on the 'More' button at the bottom of that page. Only the last 200 notifications are kept.
Notifications are for all registered users of Wikipedia and other MediaWiki sites. Special notifications are sent to new users right after they sign up, and to power users when their rights change. Unregistered users cannot get notifications.
At the moment, the only notifications that MediaWiki provides are given through the watchlist. The watchlist is quite helpful, but its format is limited. It works well for changes related to pages, but not so well for changes related to users. At the same time, there's no granularity: if a page is watchlisted, you are informed about every change that happens to it. If a page is not watchlisted, you receive none. Watchlists are useful, and they work well for the job they were designed for, but they don't encompass the whole scope of on-wiki activity. Our hope is that this new notifications feature, in conjunction with watchlists, can provide a better user experience. Users will be able to learn about more events, far more easily, and have greater control over what kind of information they receive.
We'd love to hear what you think of notifications. Please join the discussion on this project talkpage: it is hosted on the English Wikipedia for your convenience, and our Community Liaison regularly monitors the page.
If you find a bug, you are welcome to report it here on Phabricator. However, we appreciate that Phabricator isn't exactly the easiest system to use; you can also drop the report on the project talkpage, or email it to our Community Liaison at nwilsonwikimedia.org with, if possible, a screenshot and information on your browser and operating system :).
Before the release of Notifications, the English Wikipedia had a big orange bar to inform you when your talk page was edited. We refer to it affectionately as the "Orange Bar of Doom" (OBOD):
We're not planning to bring the OBOD back nor to make it available as a preference, though registered users wishing to add back the functionality of the Orange Bar notification may do so through this script. We realize that there's a risk that messaging-related notifications are not sufficiently prominent in the web interface, especially for users who receive a lot of other notifications. Based on community feedback at Wikipedia talk:Notifications, we proposed a number of options on this special discussion page.
Based on these discussions, this new message indicator was released as a replacement to the OBOD, to highlight changes to your talk page:
For an alert similar to the old "Orange Bar of Doom", go to the gadget preferences and turn on the "Display a floating alert when I have new talk page messages" option there.
We are considering more features for future releases, based on community feedback. For example, we plan to develop alternative displays for talk page messages, more visually appealing HTML emails, as well as more notifications for power users and new ways to dismiss notifications you don't want. If you have any suggestions for improving this tool, please let us know :).