Wikipedia:Administrators' how-to guide

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This page is about carrying out administrative actions. For the guide on becoming an administrator, see Wikipedia:Guide to requests for adminship.

This page is a basic how-to guide explaining how to carry out administrative actions. It does not cover policies and guidelines related to doing so. Please read the pages linked to from administrators' reading list and ensure you are aware of the relevant policies before doing anything described on this page.

Blacklisting persistent spam[edit]

The MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist. exists primarily to control widespread spamming and disruption of Wikimedia Foundation projects, by multiple individuals or IP addresses. Unlike the Meta spam blacklist, this blacklist affects pages on the English Wikipedia only. The MediaWiki:Spam-blacklist is a page in the MediaWiki namespace, which only administrators may edit.

Blocking a user or IP address[edit]

For IPs addresses, you can click the block link that appears next to the IP on recent changes. For logged in users, you must go to Special:Blockip, or follow the "Block user" link displayed in the sidebar on their userpage and talk page. Fill in the username or IP address you want to block in the first field, and the length of the block in the second. This is usually "24 hours", but can also be specific days such as "next Thursday" or a date. Add the reason for the block in the third field. This reason should explain to the user why he or she is blocked. Remember that some innocent users may be affected by the block and will see this message, so do not put anything offensive, confusing, or vague as the reason. Then click the block this user button. This will be logged and the user will appear in the list of blocked IP addresses and usernames until the block expires. See Wikipedia:Blocking policy.

Blocking a range of IP addresses[edit]

Go to Special:Blockip and enter the range in the first field (in CIDR notation [aka slash notation]). Then follow the instructions in the section above. Please do not block ranges if you do not understand the process. Read mw:Range blocks for instructions.

Dealing with abusive editors[edit]

An increasing number of admins have found themselves being threatened or harassed on and off-site, and in some cases in real life. This is usually possible because they have inadvertently left enough information in their contributions or on their user pages for abusive editors to be able to piece together who they are. If you find yourself being expected to deal with an abusive editor, and you're worried that s/he may identify you, there is a list of admins willing to make difficult blocks. You can contact any of these admins, by e-mail if you prefer, and ask them to take on the case. You can also add your own name to the list.

Deleting an image[edit]

To delete all versions of an image, you can select the "delete all revisions" option, or delete the image description page in the same way you would delete an article. To delete individual revisions, click the del link next to that revision.

If there is more than one revision of an image, clicking the "Delete all revisions of this image" will do exactly that. You cannot delete the most recent one without deleting all older copies and the image description page as well.

After clicking Delete all revisions of this image, you will see a confirmation screen similar to that used for page deletion and the deletion will be logged. There is no such confirmation if you are deleting a single old revision, but the deletion will still be logged.

Deleting a page[edit]

Click the delete or delete this page link on the page you want to delete (you can also use a keyboard shortcut such as alt+d depending on your browser and skin). You will be shown a page with a box to type in the reason for deletion, and a confirm box. You should specify why you are deleting it. An example reason is "listed on AfD for 7 days with consensus to delete". This confirmation page will give you a warning if the page has more than one revision in its history. If something looks like a candidate for speedy deletion but has a page history, you must check the history before deleting it. The revision you are looking at could be just a vandalised version of a real article. After you have deleted it, check whether it has a talk page and delete this too; usually a prompt will show up on the action confirmed page. If the page is being deleted because it should not exist, check that nothing links to it to prevent it accidentally or easily being created again. If the page was listed on AFD or a similar page, follow the guidelines at Wikipedia:Deletion process, which may include archiving the deletion discussion. See Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators and Wikipedia:Deletion policy.

Editing the interface[edit]

Following consensus to do so, you can change the wording of the user interface by editing the protected pages in the MediaWiki namespace. You can change the design of the interface at MediaWiki:Vector.css. These pages are editable in the normal way, but some require HTML rather than wikitext.

Editing a protected page[edit]

Click edit this page in the normal way. The only difference is the warning at the top of the page reminding you the page is protected. Read the protection policy before doing this.

Granting and removing permissions[edit]

Go to Special:UserRights, type the name of the editor in question and click "Edit user groups". Click (if adding) or unclick (if removing) the relevant permission(s), add a reason and save. A complete explanation of user-group rights is at Special:ListGroupRights.

Merging page histories[edit]

Merging page histories is a means of fixing cut and paste moves. Basically, it involves deleting a page, moving another page there and undeleting the original over the top of the one you just moved. Pages requiring a page history merge are listed at Wikipedia:Cut-and-paste-move repair holding pen. Administrators can take up pages from this listing or work independently in merging pages. Deletion and undeletion of pages which are part of the repair process do not require another admin's approval. The repair action can be reversed, but doing so takes a long time, so please do not attempt it unless you understand the procedure described at Wikipedia:How to fix cut-and-paste moves.

Performing requested moves[edit]

Page moves that are controversial or require the assistance of administrators are listed at Wikipedia:Requested moves. For the procedure, see Wikipedia:Requested moves/Closing instructions.

Protecting or unprotecting a page[edit]

To protect a page, click the protect or protect this page link. In addition to full protection from edits by non-administrators, it is now possible to apply semi-protection from edits by new or unregistered users. This will lead to a confirmation screen very similar to the one used for deletion. Enter the reason for protection in the box, check the confirm box and press confirm. This will be logged, but you should also note it at Special:Protectedpages. In cases of edit wars, you should add {{protected}} to the top of the article you are protecting. In case of a result of recent vandalism, or to stop banned editors from editing, you should add {{Sprotected}} when applying semi-protection. Unprotect works in exactly the same way. Admins must not protect pages they are actively engaged in editing, except in the case of simple vandalism.

Protecting a non-existent page[edit]

Sometimes, a page is deleted and recreated multiple times. In this case, you may protect the deleted page in the same way you would an existing page to prevent future creation. This is sometimes referred to as "SALTing".

Protecting or unprotecting an image[edit]

Protecting an image is mostly the same as protecting a page (see above). When you click "protect" on an image description page, both the page and the image are protected. The image description page will be protected, and non-sysops will not be able to revert the image to an earlier version, or upload a new version over it.

Unblock a user, IP or range[edit]

Go to Special:Ipblocklist, find the user you want to unblock, and click the unblock link. You will have a confirmation page where you must fill in the reason for the unblock. This will be logged and the user will be immediately unblocked. If a range is blocked, you need to unblock the whole range. It isn't possible to unblock a specific single IP from within that range of blocked IPs.

Undeleting a page[edit]

Pages can be undeleted for as long as they are in the archive. Pages that were deleted prior to June 8, 2004, are not recoverable, as they were lost in a database crash. Images deleted since approximately 04:30 UTC on June 16, 2006 can be undeleted.

If a page has not been recreated since it was deleted, there will be a message on the page telling you how many deleted revisions there are. Clicking on this will take you to a page which displays the deleted revisions. You can look at each revision separately. You undelete a page by clicking the restore button which appears on the confirmation page; this will restore all deleted revisions by default. If you wish, you can choose specific revisions to undelete by selecting the checkboxes that appear next to them. Undeletion occurs as soon as you click restore; there is no further confirmation screen.

For images, Special:Undelete has an additional section called "File history". This is analogous to the same section on ordinary image pages and contains links to view each deleted version of the image. You can restore the image page history separately from the file history by using the appropriate combination of checkboxes.

Undeletions are logged just like deletions; if you do not restore all revisions of a deleted page, the log will record how many you did restore.

If a page already exists but you want to undelete previous revisions of it, go to the page history. There you will see the link to undelete as described above. You can also type the full URL to undelete. For example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Undelete/Foo.

Using rollback[edit]

See Wikipedia:Rollback feature and Wikipedia:New admin/Rollback.

In cases of large scale vandalism that flood recent changes, administrators may use "bot rollback". Add &bot=1 to the end of the URL used to access a user's contributions. For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/?title=Special:Contributions&target=Vandal&bot=1. When the rollback links on the contributions list are clicked, the revert, and the original edit that you are reverting will both be hidden from the default Recentchanges display.

Being useful[edit]

Admin rights can be particularly useful in certain areas of Wikipedia.

See also[edit]