A few hours ago, a year after the discussion on this list about editor retention and communication,[1] email notification[2] of edits to watchlisted pages has been enabled on all Wikimedia projects — at last! Until yesterday, only 16 lucky content projects, including Commons (plus a bunch of small backstage wikis), benefited from this feature.
There are still a few steps left, to monitor performance impact.[3]

The only inconvenience is that both new and old users still have to manually enable the feature on their preferences, while it would make more sense to make it opt-out, as for user talk: users want to disable it only on the very few wikis they monitor very closely, when/if the watchlist gets crowded and would generate too much spam. Some thought is needed to address this pat of the problem because of course we don't want to suddenly send thousands of emails to the super-users with (tens of?) thousands of pages in their watchlist before they opt-out.

Nemo

[1] http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2011-April/thread.html#65294
[2] https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Watching_pages#E-mail_notification
[3] https://bugzilla.wikimedia.org/show_bug.cgi?id=28026#c53

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