the sensible, social way to manage wishlists
- The basics
- What's WishSight all about?
- What's a wish? What's a claim?
- How do I make a wish?
- Who gets to see (and claim) my wishes?
- How do I add people to my "whitelist"?
- How do I claim a wish?
- More about making wishes
- How do I cancel a wish?
- Can I "un-cancel" a wish?
- What is a "multi" wish?
- Can I specify how many of a multi-wish I want?
- More about claiming wishes
- Can I retract a claim once I've claimed a wish?
- Can I mark a claim after I've actually bought the gift?
- When, and why, should I leave a comment when I claim a wish?
- Membership information
- Do I have to join groups within WishSight?
- Are wishlists and members separated by event (birthday, Christmas, etc.)?
- Does WishSight have an "Invite friends" feature?
- A few extra features!
- What does "Watch another user's wishes" mean?
- Can I comment on a wish that I've already made?
- Can I include links in my wishes?
- What's the "Surprise me!" feature?
- What's the history of WishSight?
WishSight is a special-purpose social site, where you and your friends and family can maintain wishlists and give each other access to those lists. As a member, you can make wishes and you can also claim wishes. WishSight keeps track of who has claimed what, so that you and your friends don't give duplicate gifts, and everyone gets things they really want.
There are some bells and whistles, but that's the basic idea: a place to keep track of your own wishlist and those of your friends, and keep each other informed of which wishes have been fulfilled and which are still available.
A wish is a description of something you want to be given. A claim is a promise that you will get something for someone else.
As a member of the wish list, you'll play both roles: the wisher and the "shopper" (the person buying presents). You can wear either or both hats, adding wishes to your wish list and/or claiming other people's wishes, whenever you're logged in.
Go to the "Edit your wishlist" link. You'll see an entry form for a new wish. Enter a description of the wish. If it's a "multi" wish (see "What is a multi wish?", below), check the multi checkbox. If you want to include a comment, enter it in the comment box.
When you submit the wish, it will be added to your wishlist.
Selective views of wishes and comments are vital to the way the Wish List works. Here are the basics.
The people on your whitelist can see your wishes. (See "How does the 'whitelist' work, below.) They can all see each other's comments on your wishes. They do not have to be on each other's whitelists.
You can see the wishes of everyone who has put you on their whitelist. You can also see your own existing wishes, and add comments to them. However, you cannot see the other people's comments on your wishes, nor the claimed status.
Your whitelist is simply a list of email addresses. Everyone on the list is allowed to see your wishes. It's basically your "friends and family" list.
You can add any email address to your whitelist at any time. The people you add don't have to be members of the wish list. If and when then do join, they will automatically be able to see your wishes.
If your whitelist contains people who are not members of the site, nothing happens; they're just ignored. They are not solicited to join; you have to talk to them separately, and tell them about the wishlist so that they can sign up.
Once you've logged in, you'll see a drop-down list of all the people whose wishes you have permission to see and claim. (You can get back to this list by clicking the "View a wishlist" link.) Choose a person and hit "Shop!". You'll see the person's wishlist.
You can claim any wish you see on the list. Just click the "Claim" checkbox for one or more wishes, and (optionally) add comments. (Comments are important for multi-wishes; see "What's the point of all these comments?", below.)
When you claim a wish, it's added to your claim list, which you can view and edit through the "View my claims" link.
The way to cancel a wish is to mark it "received", which means that you've received the gift but can also be used as a way to make the wish invisible to other users. Keep in mind, though, that someone may have already bought you that gift!
Yes. You can change the "received" status of a wish in either direction.
A multi wish is a wish that more than one person can fulfill. For example, you might ask for "Novels by Charles Dickens", and mark your wish "Multi". That way, more than one person can get you a Dickens novel.
Your shoppers can avoid duplication by writing comments when they claim your wish (see "What is the point of all the comments?", below).
saying how many of the item you want. The number of claims will be displayed, so people can see whether you have enough.
Yes. Go to "View your claims". You'll see a "Retract claim" link next to each claim.
Keep in mind that retracting claims (like canceling wishes) should be used sparingly. Other people are making claims based on what you've already claimed, so it's best not to undo your claims if at all possible.
Yes. On "View your claims", you can mark a claim as "fulfilled", which means you've actually bought it and/or given it. You can also mark fulfilled wishes as "unfulfilled."
Fulfilled status is purely for your own information; it's just a way of annotating your "claim cart." Unlike retracting claims, marking a claim as fulfilled is visible only to you. It's just there as a convenience.
The main point of the comments is so that people buying you similar things can avoid duplication—especially with "multi" gifts. Say you ask for "Nice scarves". Person One claims the wish, and adds a comment saying, "I'll get a red one." Person Two comments, "I'll get a gray one." Now Person Three has a good idea of what to buy and what not to buy.
Comments are very useful for making sure that gifts are unique. You should almost always leave a comment if you're fulfilling a "multi" wish.
Yes! There's a link for it on the main page. You provide a list of email addresses, and everyone on the list gets invited. It's then up to them whether to join, of course.
You can also contact your friends directly. Remember to put their email addresses on your white list, and ask them to put you on theirs, so you can see each other's wish lists.
If you follow the "Watch another" link, you can choose to receive email when someone else creates a new wish. This feature is scheduled to be expanded in the future, so that you can also be notified about claims, retractions, and so forth.
Yes. Go to "Edit your wishlist" and look at the lower half of the page. There's a list of all your existing wishes, along with comment boxes. You can add new comments here.
Of course, you can't see other people's comments on your wishes, but they can see your comments on your own wishes.
Yes. You have to know how to write HTML link tags, though, or get someone to help you, at least for now. A shortcut system for creating links is under consideration.
In addition to specific wishes, you can optionally provide "Surprise me!" information. (See the "Edit your info" link.) This is for the benefit of people who want to get you a gift, but don't see anything on your list that they want to get you.
Your "Surprise me!" can say things like, "I like books, especially fiction, but I don't like hardcover books"—anything general that you think might help someone get you a gift.
WishSight started out in 2005 as a private site for its creator, David A. Black (me!), and the group of family and friends with whom I exchange Christmas presents. It was an immediate hit. The rate of duplicated presents dropped; people started getting gifts they actually wanted (including some based on the "Surprise me!" feature, not just the exact gifts they'd listed); and we eliminated almost all of the repetitive, hard-to-track phone conversations and email about who wanted what, who had already bought what, and so on.
(Yes, we still talk to each other! WishSight is automated, but it's not automatic: you still have to communicate with people.)
From the very beginning, everyone in the Christmas circle said that this service should be made more widely available. I agreed, but didn't manage to find the time to do it in a way I felt was thorough, until this Christmas season (2008). And now, here it is!