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Wikipedia:Protection policy

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The Five Pillars
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Vandalism
  • Fully protected
Fully protected
  • Semi-protected
Semi-protected
  • Pending changes protected (level 1) [Trial]
Pending changes protected (level 1)
  • Pending changes protected (level 2) [Trial]
Pending changes protected (level 2)
  • Create protected
Create protected
  • Move protected
Move protected
  • Upload protected
Upload protected
  • Permanently protected
Permanently protected
  • Protected by Office
Protected by Office

Administrators are able to protect a page to restrict editing or moving of that page, and remove such protection. Protection can be indefinite, or expire after a specified time.

Any type of protection or unprotection may be requested at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection. Changes to a fully protected page should be proposed on the corresponding talk page, and carried out if they are uncontroversial or if there is consensus for them.

Except in the case of office actions (see below), administrators may unprotect a page if the reason for its protection no longer applies, a reasonable period has elapsed, and there is no consensus that continued protection is necessary. Contacting the administrator who originally protected the page is advised in unclear circumstances. A log of protections and unprotections is available at Special:Log/protect.

Contents


Types of protection

Full protection

Padlock.svg
Policy shortcuts:
WP:FULL
WP:GOLDLOCK

A fully protected page can be edited only by administrators. The protection may be for a specified time, such as 7 or 14 days, or may be indefinite. The edit tab for a protected page is replaced by a "view source" tab, where users can view and copy, but not edit, the wikitext of that page. Administrators still have an edit tab, but the edit box is shaded red with a warning above it.

Any modification to a fully protected page should be proposed on its talk page (or in another appropriate forum). After consensus has been established for the change, or if the change is uncontroversial, any administrator may make the necessary edits to the protected page. To draw administrators' attention to a request for an edit to a protected page, place the {{editprotected}} template on the talk page.

All requests are submitted at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection.

Content disputes

On pages that are experiencing edit warring, temporary full protection can force the parties to discuss their edits on the talk page, where they can reach consensus. Isolated incidents of edit warring, and persistent edit warring by particular users, may be better addressed by blocking, so as not to prevent normal editing of the page by others.

Policy shortcut:
WP:PREFER

When protecting a page because of a content dispute, administrators normally protect the current version, except where the current version contains content that clearly violates content policies, such as vandalism, copyright violations, or defamation of living persons. Since protecting the most current version sometimes rewards edit warring by establishing a contentious revision, administrators may also revert to an old version of the page predating the edit war if such a clear point exists. Pages that are protected because of content disputes should not be edited except to make changes which are uncontroversial or for which there is clear consensus (see above).

Administrators should not protect or unprotect a page to further their own position in a content dispute.

Vandalism

Policy shortcut:
WP:NO-PREEMPT

Pre-emptive full protection of articles is contrary to the open nature of Wikipedia. Brief periods of full protection are used in rare cases when a large number of autoconfirmed accounts are used to make a sustained vandalism attack on an article. Persistent vandalism, or the possibility of future vandalism for highly trafficked articles, rarely provides a basis for full-protection. Semi-protection is used for articles, such as Jesus, that have a pattern of heavy sustained vandalism.

"History only" review

If a deleted page is undergoing deletion review, only administrators are normally capable of viewing the former content of the page. If they feel it would benefit the discussion to allow other users to view the page content, administrators may restore the page, blank it or replace the contents with {{TempUndelete}} or a similar notice, and fully protect the page to prevent further editing. The previous contents of the page are then accessible to non-admins via the page history.

Semi-protection

Padlock-silver.svg
Policy shortcut:
WP:SILVERLOCK

Semi-protection prevents edits from anonymous users (IP addresses), as well as edits from any account that is not autoconfirmed (is at least four days old and has ten or more edits to Wikipedia) or confirmed. Such users can request edits to a semi-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{Edit semi-protected}} template if necessary to gain attention. They may also request the confirmed userright by visiting Requests for permissions.

Administrators may apply indefinite semi-protection to pages which are subject to heavy and persistent vandalism or violations of content policy (such as biographies of living persons, neutral point of view). Semi-protection should not be used as a pre-emptive measure against vandalism that has not yet occurred, nor should it be used solely to prevent editing by anonymous and newly registered users.

In addition, administrators may apply temporary semi-protection on pages that are:

Today's featured article may be semi-protected just like any other article. But since this article is subject to sudden spurts of vandalism during certain times of day, administrators should semi-protect it for brief periods in most instances. For the former guideline, see Wikipedia:Main Page featured article protection.

Creation protection

Padlock-skyblue.svg
Policy shortcuts:
WP:SALT
WP:PDP
WP:BLUELOCK

Administrators can prevent the creation of a page through the protection interface. This is useful for articles that have been deleted but repeatedly recreated by an editor. Such protection is case-sensitive. A list of protected titles may be found at Special:Protectedtitles (see also historical lists).

Pre-emptive restrictions on new article titles are instituted through the title blacklist system, which allows for more flexible protection with support for substrings and regular expressions.

Pages that have been creation-protected are sometimes referred to as "salted". Contributors wishing to re-create a salted title with more appropriate content should contact an administrator or use the deletion review process.

Move protection

Padlock-olive.svg
Policy shortcuts:
WP:MOVP
WP:GREENLOCK

Move-protected pages cannot be moved to a new title except by an administrator. Move protection is commonly applied to:

Fully protected pages are also move-protected.

As with full protection, administrators should avoid favoring one name over another, and protection should not be considered an endorsement of the current name. An obvious exception to this rule is when pages are protected due to page-move vandalism.

Upload protection

Padlock-purple.svg
Policy shortcut:
WP:PURPLELOCK

Upload protected files cannot be replaced with new versions except by an administrator. Upload protection does not protect file pages from editing. Upload protection may be applied by an administrator to:

As with full protection, administrators should avoid favoring one file version over another, and protection should not be considered an endorsement of the current file version. An obvious exception to this rule is when files are protected due to upload vandalism.

Pending-changes protection (Trial)

Pending changes protection (level 1)
Pending changes protection (level 2)
Policy shortcuts:
WP:PCPP
WP:WHITELOCK
WP:ORANGELOCK

For a trial period that began on June 15, 2010 articles could be protected by pending-changes protection. The trial is now over and the Wikipedia community is currently seeking to gain consensus on where to go with the pending changes idea.

The protection policy that was applied during the trial can be seen in this revision.

During the current Interim period, a poll determined that "It can be removed from pages where it is causing problems, and added sparingly to pages where it has clear benefits (in its current incarnation) over semi-protection. ... Any new use of PC during this interim period should be sparing and focus primarily on BLPs." As before, please avoid doing anything drastic.

Permanent protection

Padlock-red.svg
Policy shortcuts:
WP:PPINDEF
WP:REDLOCK

Some areas of Wikipedia are permanently protected by the MediaWiki software. The MediaWiki namespace, which defines parts of the site interface, is fully protected; it is impossible for administrators to remove this protection. In addition, user CSS and JavaScript pages, such as User:Example/monobook.css and User:Example/cologneblue.js, are automatically fully protected. Only accounts that are associated with these pages or administrators are able to edit them. This protection applies to any user subpage with a ".css" or ".js" extension, whether an equivalent MediaWiki skin exists or not. Administrators may modify these pages, for example, to remove a user script that has been used in an inappropriate way.

In addition to the hard-coded protection, the following are usually permanently protected:

Office actions

Padlock-black.svg
Policy shortcut:
WP:BLACKLOCK

As outlined at Wikipedia:Office actions, pages may be protected by Wikimedia Foundation staff in response to issues such as copyright or libel. Such actions override community consensus. Administrators should not edit or unprotect such pages without permission from Wikimedia Foundation staff. A list of pages under the scrutiny of the Wikimedia Foundation can be found here.

Cascading protection

Shortcuts:
WP:CASCADE
WP:CASCADING

Cascading protection fully protects a page, and extends that full protection automatically to any page that is transcluded onto the protected page, whether directly or indirectly. This includes templates, images and other media that are hosted on English Wikipedia. Files stored on Commons will not be protected by cascading protection, and need to be temporarily uploaded to English Wikipedia or protected at Commons.

Cascading protection should be used only to prevent vandalism to particularly visible pages such as the Main Page.

Cascading protection is available only for fully protected pages; it is disabled for semi-protected pages as it represents a security flaw. See Bugzilla:8796 for more information.

Cascading protection is not instantaneous; it may be several hours before it takes effect. See Bugzilla:18483 for more information.

Comparison table

The following table compares the effects on editors, of different protection tools.

Wikipedia users, page protections, and page edits
  Anonymous New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator
No protection can edit;
visible immediately
Pending-changes
level 1 protection
can edit;
visible after accept;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Pending-changes
level 2 protection
can edit;
visible after accept;
cannot accept
can edit;
visible immediately;
can accept
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
visible immediately
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
visible immediately
Note: Under pending-changes protections, "visible immediately" assumes no previous pending changes remain to be accepted.

Protection by namespace

Templates

Highly visible templates which are used on an extremely large number of pages or substituted with great frequency may be semi- or fully protected based on the degree of visibility, type of use, content, and other factors.

Semi and fully protected templates should normally have the {{documentation}} template. It loads the unprotected /doc page, so that non-admins and IP-users can edit the documentation, categories and interwiki links. It also automatically adds {{pp-template}} to protected templates, which displays a small padlock in the top right corner and categorizes the template as a protected template. Only manually add {{pp-template}} to protected templates that don't use {{documentation}} (mostly the stub and flag templates).

Note: All editnotice templates (except those in userspace) are already protected via MediaWiki:Titleblacklist (which can, however, be overridden by account creators)

User pages

Shortcuts:
WP:UPROT
WP:UPPROT

User pages and subpages are protected at the user's request if there is evidence of vandalism or disruption. User talk pages are rarely protected, and are semi-protected for short durations only in the most severe cases of vandalism from IP users.

Users whose talk page is semi-protected for lengthy or indefinite periods of time should have an unprotected user talk subpage linked conspicuously from their main talk page to allow good faith comments from non-autoconfirmed users.

Deceased users

In the event of the confirmed death of a user, his or her user page, but not talk page, should be fully protected.

Retired users

Retired users may have their user pages protected upon request. Talk pages of retired editors are not usually protected except with limited duration to deal with vandalism. A user's request to have his or her own talk page protected due to retirement is not a sufficient rationale to protect the page.

Blocked users

Blocked users' user pages and user talk pages should not ordinarily be protected, as this interferes with the user's ability to contest their block through the normal process. In extreme cases of abuse, such as abuse of the {{unblock}} template, the talk page may be protected for a short time to prevent abusive editing. When required, it should be implemented for a brief period which should not exceed the length of the block or six months, whichever is shorter. Confirmed socks of registered users should be dealt with in accordance with Wikipedia:Sock#Sock_puppets_.28registered_accounts.29; their pages are not normally protected.

Sandboxes

Wikipedia:Sandbox and other sandboxes should also not ordinarily be protected since their purpose is to let new users test and experiment with wiki syntax. These pages are automatically cleaned every 12 hours, although they tend to be overwritten by other testing users much faster than that. Those who do use the sandboxes for malicious purposes, or to violate policies such as no personal attacks, civility, and copyrights, should instead be warned and/or blocked.

Available templates

The following templates may be added at the very top of a page to indicate that it is protected:

Protection templates
{{pp-meta}} Full Semi Move
Dispute: {{pp-dispute}} N/A {{pp-move-dispute}}
Vandalism: {{pp-vandalism}} {{pp-move-vandalism}}
High visibility templates and images: {{pp-template}} N/A
User talk of blocked user: {{pp-usertalk}} {{pp-semi-usertalk}} N/A
Sockpuppetry: N/A {{pp-semi-sock}} N/A
WP:BLP: N/A {{pp-semi-blp}} N/A
Long-term: N/A {{pp-semi-indef}} {{pp-move-indef}}
Generic (other protection): {{pp-protected}} {{pp-move}}
Scrutiny of the Office: {{pp-office}} {{reset}} N/A
Talk page info: {{Permprot}} {{Temprot}} N/A
Create protection: {{pp-create}} N/A

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