Working with MediaWiki
2nd ed., HTML version

Chapter 10 Monitoring and notifications

Recent changes

Minor edits are shown with an “m”, and newly-created pages are shown with an “N”; and for every edit, the page name, revision time, user, edit summary (if any) and the number of bytes that were added or removed in this revision are shown. The display is similar to the history page (here).
You can make the display of the Recent Changes page slightly more sophisticated, by going to your Preferences page, selecting the “Recent changes” tab, and then checking the option “Group changes by page in recent changes and watchlist” (and saving). This will group together all recent changes to any one page on one line – so that, if there are many edits to a single page, it doesn't end up overwhelming the Recent Changes display.
The Recent Changes page is crucial for monitoring recent activity. Conveniently, it's also available as a feed, using Atom, which means that you can just add the feed to your RSS reader (if you use one, that is – and if you don't, they're highly recommended). Then you will be automatically notified of all new edits at the same time that you check your news, etc. You can just go to the Recent Changes page and get the URL of the “Atom” link from the sidebar.


For larger wikis, monitoring recent changes is unwieldy – if there are more than, say, 10-20 edits a day, it becomes untenable to try to monitor all activity, every day. That's when another page becomes crucial: the Watchlist page, at Special:Watchlist.
Every user has their own watchlist, which others can't see. You can add pages to your watchlist in various ways:
  • There's a “watch” tab at the top every page – although in Vector, this is by default not a tab, but rather a clickable star icon.
  • When you edit a page, you can check the “Watch this page” checkbox, which adds that page to your watchlist. This checkbox is checked by default if you're creating a new page.
  • You can directly edit the set of watched pages at Special:EditWatchlist/raw. You can also use the interface at Special:EditWatchlist, although that one only allows for removing pages, not adding them. Both pages are linked to from the top of Special:Watchlist.

Echo extension

Figure 10.1: The top of the page of a wiki with the Echo extension installed, for a user who has 2 unread alerts (the red square over the bell) and 10 unread notices (the blue square over the paper tray)
For the most part, Echo's notifications cover events that do not generate an email to the user, by default. “Alerts” include events such as one of the user's edits getting reverted, or the user being mentioned by someone else in a talk page. “Notices” include less-user-specific events, like a watched talk page getting a new topic.
Clicking on “All notifications” at the bottom of the dropdown brings you to the page Special:Notifications, which offers a more detailed interface for viewing these notifications, where users can see a longer list, broken down by date and type.
You can read more about Echo here:

Site notice

You can set a message to be displayed at the top of every page; this is useful when you want to make a general announcement, such as that there will be an upcoming site outage, or that the wiki has some new feature, or that volunteers are needed for some task, etc. This can be done in a variety of ways:


Most of the non-editing administrative changes, like the blocking of users, are logged, so that the history of those changes is preserved. (In most cases, these actions also show up in the Recent Changes page.) Each type of action is contained within its own log. You can see all of the logs at the page Special:Log, which is publicly-viewable.
Actions that are logged include creation of user accounts, blocking of users, page moves, page deletions, page protections, page imports, and file uploads. Some extensions also define their own additional logs, including Approved Revs and FlaggedRevs.


Figure 10.3: Special:Statistics page on
Note the distinction between “Content pages” and regular “Pages”. (The text that explains the two here is specific to, though it's fairly similar to the default text.) This is often a cause of confusion, because the number given for “Content pages” tends to undercount the true number of content pages. This number only includes pages within the “content namespaces” (by default, this is only the main namespace, though that's settable via $wgContentNamespaces). And it only counts pages that contain at least one wiki-link. Pages that do not are considered “stubs”, and not counted. It's not a perfect system, and it can end up undercounting severely, depending on the type of content you have.