Mentors Tips - How did my Watchlist get SO big?!?

+11 votes

I am a team player. I try not to step out of line in much of anything I do. Well, unless a piano is zooming towards me while I stand on the sidewalk of life.

Over the past few months I have watched my Watchlist grow well past the 5000 limit suggested (strongly) by WikiTree. Didn't know there was a suggested limit?

Keith Hathaway posted about WikiTree watchlist limits previously here on G2G,

"The current guideline on Watchlist size is that it should not exceed 5,000 (with a few exceptions).  There are reasons for this.  One thing that can go wrong is that too many profiles can suddenly impair the function of some tools including the very ones needed to help you correct the problem. 

There has also been debate about how many profiles someone could effectively manage and what that means.  Even if there was no other justification, showing respect for the guidelines is covered by the Honor Code and is reason enough to abide.

When you see your Watchlist size approach 5,000 or suddenly notice a warning like this pop up:


...It's time to reduce your Watchlist size." Here is the full post.

But how can I just go about lobbing off all these precious profiles? Don't they need my gentle tending?

Well, no.

I have had people inadvertently or vertently add me to their watchlists over the years. Good intentions and hopes that I might clear their limbs from it's mistakes and oops. Oh, they found out quickly enough that I don't really help people at all - I help them to help themselves.

All of this hopefull adding of me has led to the woeful bloating of my watchlist.

Today I worked on severing the first thousand or so and I am below the 5000 mark, once again in the good graces of our great big ole shared tree.

I don't need to be on the trusted list of profiles in my own line, really. Since we all collaborate and the majority of my profiles are open (for me it's only the living who need my watchful eye) I am shedding the extra poundage.

A to C done today PLUS a great big bunch from a trusted list I was added to a few years ago. I do share family with the person who added me, but having one or two connections to her family didn't mean I needed to be added to her WHOLE family.

Back to the gym in the next few weeks and my watchlist will be a faint wisp of what it was. If only one could shed real poundage so easily. :-)

What?! Blueberry pie IS SO NOT fattening!


One suggested improvement - on the My WikiTree drop-down menu we can see how many thank yous we have - right there on the menu. Can we add the number of our watchlist to the My WikiTree dropdown menu Watchlist item as well? This way we can see daily what our watchlist number is. It can be a reminder to head to the Gym.

in The Tree House by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (524k points)
edited by Mags Gaulden

I am so going to be using "vertently" as a word now.

What is a Watchlist?  Where do I find it?   

-Paula Ann
Paula, look under the "My Wikitree" tab for the "Watchlist" item.

2 Answers

+9 votes
Best answer

You are so right! I didn't understand the limit a couple of years back and when my watchlist approached 10,000 it froze!! Chris had to remove all my open profiles because as you said, the tools to remove profiles no longer worked!! There is not a magic number. There are watchlists larger that haven't frozen but I wouldn't take a chance. Nothing worked!!!

I felt like it was a bad thing to orphan profiles. Eowyn explained someone else would pick them up and work on them for awhile. That was very liberating and quite true!  

Thanks for bringing this up!! I like your idea!
by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (244k points)
selected by Anonymous Barnett
+1 vote
The 5000 profile limit doesn't make much sense to mel   I suppose there were good reasons when the software was developed, but it seems kind of arbitrary ... oh, well.
by Bob Jewett G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
edited by Bob Jewett
I can't comment on the 5000 limit from a software developers viewpoint, but a good reason not to have more than 5000 is the responsibility of having that many profiles, particularly if you are the actual profile manager.

Having gradually got over the limit myself, I know that the more profiles you manage, the more merges you get involved in, the more trusted list requests, the more discussions on G2G etc.  Not that I regret that involvement, but it isn't always conducive to working effectively on Wikitree.  Many times plans I have had for working on a particular profile or family group have had to be dropped because suddenly I am faced with a whole pile of merges.

So I will certainly be looking at how I can drop the numbers on my watchlist.
What a great way to frame this John. It's not just about "the limit" it's about being a good steward as well. Nailed it on the head!


It is likely that I will be able to add the best evidence to the profiles most closely related.  Has anyone figured out a simple algorithm to sort your watchlist in this manner?

Good one David...I know of none. I suggest you start a new G2G discussion on this and tag it improvements. Please and Thank you!


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