Wikipedia:Protection policy

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"WP:PROTECT" redirects here. You may be looking for Wikipedia:Child protection or Wikipedia:WikiProject Protected areas.
Gold padlock
Fully protected

Pink padlock
Template-protected

Silver padlock
Semi-protected

Blue padlock
Create protected

Green padlock
Move protected

Purple padlock
Upload protected

White padlock
Pending changes protected (level 1)

Orange padlock
Pending changes protected (level 2)

Red padlock
Permanently protected

Black padlock
Protected by Office

Wikipedia is built around the principle that anyone can edit it, and it therefore aims to have as many of its pages as possible open for public editing so that anyone can add material and correct errors. However, in some particular circumstances, because of a specifically identified likelihood of damage resulting if editing is left open, some individual pages may need to be subject to technical restrictions (often only temporary but sometimes indefinitely) on who is permitted to modify them. The placing of such restrictions on pages is called protection.

Protection can be applied to or removed from pages by Wikipedia's administrators, although any user may request protection. Protection can be indefinite or expire after a specified time period.

The most commonly encountered types of protection are full protection, which means that a page can be modified only by administrators, and semi-protection, which means that a page can be modified only by users who are logged in and whose accounts have been confirmed (any account is automatically confirmed if it is at least 4 days old and has made at least 10 edits or posts). Other forms of protection are detailed below. Protected pages are normally marked with a small padlock symbol in the top corner; different color padlocks represent different protection types, as shown in the images at the right. Template:Pp-protected is usually used to display the padlock.

Positioning the mouse pointer over the padlock symbol produces an informational tooltip which says "This article is protected." If {{Pp-protected}}'s reason parameter is specified, the tooltip also says why the page is protected. If the expiry parameter is specified, the tooltip says for what duration the page is protected.

This policy explains in detail the protection types and procedures for page protection and unprotection and the reasons for which protection should and should not be applied.

Overview of types of protection

The following technical options are available to administrators for protecting pages:

  • Full protection prevents editing by everyone except administrators. Fully protected media files cannot be overwritten by new uploads.
  • Semi-protection prevents editing by unregistered contributors and contributors with accounts that are not confirmed.
  • Creation protection prevents a page (normally a previously deleted one) from being recreated (also known as "salting").
  • Move protection protects the page solely from renaming/moving.
  • Upload protection prevents new versions of a file from being uploaded except by administrators, but it does not prevent editing the file's description page.
  • Pending-changes protection means edits by unregistered and new contributors are not visible to readers who are not logged in, until the edits are approved by a reviewer or administrator.

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 by an administrator if they are uncontroversial or if there is consensus for them.

Except in the case of office actions (see below) or pages in the MediaWiki namespace (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.

Types of protection

Full protection

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A fully protected page can be edited or moved only by administrators. The protection may be for a specified time or may be indefinite.

Modifications to a fully protected page can be proposed on its talk page (or at another appropriate forum) for discussion. Administrators can make changes to the protected article reflecting consensus. Placing the {{Edit protected}} template on the talk page will draw the attention of administrators for implementing uncontroversial changes.

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:

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 positions in content disputes.

Vandalism

Policy shortcut:

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.

Protected generic image names

Generic image names such as File:map.jpg or File:Photo.jpg are tagged with {{Protected generic image name}} and fully protected to prevent new versions being uploaded.

Template protection

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A template-protected page can be edited only by administrators or users in the Template editors group. This protection level may only be used on high-risk templates and modules and possibly in rarer cases where pages in other namespaces become transcluded to a very high degree.

This is a new protection level[1] that replaces full protection on pages that are merely protected due to high transclusion rates, rather than content disputes. It should only be used on templates whose risk factor would have otherwise warranted full protection. It should not be used on less risky templates on the grounds that the template editor user right exists – the existence of the right should not result in more templates becoming uneditable for the general editing community.

Editors may request edits to a template-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{Edit template-protected}} template if necessary to gain attention.

Semi-protection

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Semi-protection prevents edits from unregistered users (IP addresses), as well as edits from any account that is not autoconfirmed (is at least four days old and has at least ten edits to Wikipedia) or confirmed. This level of protection is useful when there is a significant amount of disruption or vandalism from new or unregistered users, especially when it occurs on biographies of living people who have had a recent high level of media interest. A recent alternative to semi-protection is pending changes, which is sometimes favoured when an article is being vandalised regularly, but otherwise receives a low amount of editing.

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. If the page in question and its talk page are both protected please make your edit request at Wikipedia:Request for edit instead. New users may also request the confirmed user right by visiting Requests for permissions.

Guidance for administrators

Administrators may apply indefinite semi-protection to pages that 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 preemptive measure against vandalism that has not yet occurred, nor should it be used to privilege registered users over unregistered users in (valid) content disputes.

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

  • Subject to significant but temporary vandalism or disruption (for example, due to media attention) when blocking individual users is not a feasible option.
  • Subject to edit-warring where all parties involved are unregistered or new editors (i.e., in cases in which full-protection would otherwise be applied). This does not apply when autoconfirmed users are involved.
  • Subject to vandalism or edit-warring where unregistered editors are engaging in IP-hopping by using different computers, obtaining new addresses by using dynamic IP allocation, or other address changing schemes such as IP address spoofing.
  • Article discussion pages, when they have been subject to persistent disruption. Such protection should be used sparingly because it prevents unregistered and newly registered users from participating in discussions. A page and its talk page should not normally be protected at the same time. If a page and its talk page are both protected, the talk page should direct affected editors to Wikipedia:Request for edit, to ensure that no editor is entirely prevented from contributing.
  • Protection should be used sparingly on the talk pages of blocked users, including IP addresses. Instead the user should be reblocked with talk page editing disallowed. When required, or when reblocking without talk page editing allowed is unsuccessful, protection should be implemented for only a brief period, and not exceeding the duration of the block.

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

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Administrators can prevent the creation of a page through the protection interface. This is useful for articles that have been deleted but repeatedly recreated. 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 (look for one who was previously involved) or use the deletion review process.

There are two levels of creation protection that can be applied to pages. One version is similar to semi-protection which allows autoconfirmed editors to create the page. The other version is similar to full protection which allows only administrators to create the page.

Move protection

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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, protection because of edit warring should not be considered an endorsement of the current name. When move protection is applied during a requested move discussion the page should be protected at the location it was at when the move request was started.

Upload protection

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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:

  • Files subject to persistent upload vandalism.
  • Files subject to a dispute between editors.
  • Files that should not be replaced, such as images used in the interface or transcluded to the main page.

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

Further information: Wikipedia:Pending changes
Policy shortcuts:
White padlock Orange padlock

Pending changes protection is a tool used to suppress vandalism and certain other persistent problems, while allowing all users to continue to submit edits. Pending changes protection can be used as an alternative to semi-protection to allow unregistered and new users to edit pages, while keeping the edits hidden to most readers until they are accepted by a reviewer.

When a page under pending changes protection is edited by an unregistered (IP addresses) editor or a new user, the edit is not directly visible to the majority of Wikipedia readers, until it is reviewed and accepted by an editor with the pending changes reviewer right.

Pending changes are visible in the page history, where they are marked as pending review. The latest accepted revision is displayed to the general public. Logged-in users see the latest revision of the page, with all changes applied. When editors who are not reviewers make changes to an article with unreviewed pending changes, their edits are also marked as pending and are not visible to most readers.

Both logged-in users and anonymous users who click the "edit this page" tab may edit the latest version as usual. If there are pending changes awaiting review, there will be a dropdown box next to the article title, pointing to the pending changes. For more details, see Help:Pending changes.

Reviewing of pending changes should be resolved within reasonable time limits. Backlog management should be coordinated at a community level.

When to apply pending changes protection

Pending changes may be used to protect articles against:

  1. persistent vandalism
  2. violations of the biographies of living persons policy
  3. copyright violations

Pending changes protection should not be used as a preemptive measure against violations that have not yet occurred. Like semi-protection, PC protection should never be used in genuine content disputes, where there is a risk of placing a particular group of editors (unregistered users) at a disadvantage. Pending changes protection should not be used on articles with a very high edit rate, even if they meet the aforementioned criteria. Instead semi-protection should be considered.

In addition, administrators may apply temporary pending changes protection on pages that are subject to significant but temporary vandalism or disruption (for example, due to media attention) when blocking individual users is not a feasible option. As with other forms of protection, the time frame of the protection should be proportional to the problem. Indefinite PC protection should only be used in cases of severe long-term disruption.

Only what is known as "Pending changes level 1" should be used, which is labeled "Require review for revisions from new and unregistered users". Pending changes level 2, or "Require review for revisions from everyone except Reviewers", should not be used at this time per WP:PC2012/RfC 1.

Removal of pending changes protection can be requested of any administrator, or at requests for unprotection.

The reviewing process is described in detail at reviewing.

Permanent protection

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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. 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 hard-coded protection, the following are usually permanently protected:

Office actions

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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.

Superprotect

Superprotect is a level of protection, only allowing editing by Wikimedia Foundation employees who are in the Staff global group. It was implemented on August 10, 2014 and used the same day to stop a wheel war on the German Wikipedia's primary site javascript, common.js. It is currently not used on the English Wikipedia.

Cascading protection

Shortcuts:
"WP:CASCADE" redirects here. You may be also looking for Wikipedia:Cascading style sheets.

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 when placed on particularly visible pages such as the Main Page.
  • 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.
  • 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 of protection on Wikipedia users.

Wikipedia users, page protections, and page edits
  Unregistered, New Autoconfirmed, Confirmed Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for
No protection can edit;
changes go live* immediately;
no acceptance required
The vast majority of pages
Pending changes
level 1 protection
can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately (if no previous pending changes remain to be accepted)
can edit;
changes go live immediately;**
can accept pending changes
Infrequently edited articles that are experiencing high levels of vandalism or BLP violations from unregistered and new users
Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing high levels of vandalism or edit warring from unregistered and new users, and for some highly visible templates and modules
Pending changes
level 2 protection
can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately;
can accept pending changes
No consensus for use on the English Wikipedia per WP:PC2012/RfC 1
Pending changes level 2 with Semi-protection cannot edit can edit;
changes will go live after being accepted by a reviewer
can edit;
changes go live immediately;
can accept pending changes
No consensus for use on the English Wikipedia per WP:PC2012/RfC 1
  Unregistered, New Auto/Confirmed Template editor Reviewer Administrator Appropriate for
Template protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
High-risk templates and modules
Full protection cannot edit can edit;
changes go live immediately;
no acceptance required
Articles experiencing persistent vandalism or edit warring from (auto)confirmed accounts, and for critically important templates and modules
* "Go live" means the edits will be visible to readers who are not logged in. In all cases, edits are always visible to readers logged into Wikipedia.
** When editing articles with un-reviewed pending changes, Administrators and Reviewers are prompted to review the pending changes before saving their edit.

view · talk · edit

Protection by namespace

Talk pages

Modifications to a protected page can be proposed on its talk page (or at another appropriate forum) for discussion. Administrators can make changes to the protected article reflecting consensus. Placing the {{Edit protected}} template on the talk page will draw the attention of administrators for implementing uncontroversial changes.

Talk pages are not usually protected, and are only semi-protected for a limited duration in the most severe cases of vandalism.

User talk pages

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 pages are semi-protected should have an unprotected user talk subpage linked conspicuously from their main talk page to allow good faith comments from non-autoconfirmed users.

A user's request to have his or her own talk page protected is not a sufficient rationale to protect the page.

Blocked users

Blocked users' user talk pages should not ordinarily be protected, as this interferes with the user's ability to contest their block through the normal process. It also prevents others from being able to use the talk page to communicate with the blocked editor.

In extreme cases of abuse by the blocked user, such as abuse of the {{unblock}} template, re-blocking the user without talk page access should be preferred over protection. If the user has been indefinitely blocked from editing the talk page, they should be informed of off-wiki ways to appeal their block, such as the UTRS tool interface or ban appeals subcommittee of the Arbitration Committee.

When required, protection should be implemented for only a brief period, not exceeding the duration of the block.

Confirmed socks of registered users should be dealt with in accordance with Wikipedia:Sockpuppetry; their pages are not normally protected.

User pages

Policy shortcuts:

User pages and subpages can be protected by simple request from the user; this does not apply to the main user talk page.

Deceased users

In the event of the confirmed death of a user, the user's user page (but not the user talk page), should be fully protected.

Protection of templates

Shortcut:

Highly visible templates which are used on an extremely large number of pages or substituted with great frequency are particularly vulnerable to vandalism, as vandalism to the template may introduce vandalism to hundreds of other pages. Therefore, they are frequently semi- or template-protected based on the degree of visibility, type of use, content, and other factors.

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).

Cascading protection should generally not be applied directly to templates, as it will not protect transclusions inside <includeonly> tags or transclusions that depend on template parameters, but will protect the template's documentation subpage. Instead, consider any of the following:

  • If the set of subtemplates is static (even if large), protect them using normal protection mechanisms.
  • If the set of subtemplates is unbounded, use MediaWiki:Titleblacklist to protect all subtemplates using a particular naming format (as is done for editnotice templates and subtemplates of Template:TFA title).

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

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 are frequently 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
Module:Protection banner Edit Move Pending changes
Generic: {{pp}}
{{pp-protected}} {{pp-move}} {{pp-pc1}} {{pp-pc2}}
WP:BLP: {{pp-blp}} N/A N/A
Dispute: {{pp-dispute}} {{pp-move-dispute}} N/A
Used on the Main Page: {{pp-main-page}} N/A N/A
Scrutiny of the Office: {{pp-office}} {{pp-reset}} {{pp-office-dmca}}
Sockpuppetry: {{pp-sock}} N/A N/A
High-visibility templates and modules: {{pp-template}} N/A N/A
User talk of blocked user: {{pp-usertalk}} N/A N/A
Vandalism: {{pp-vandalism}} {{pp-move-vandalism}} N/A
Long-term: {{pp-semi-indef}} {{pp-move-indef}} N/A
Talk page info: {{permanently protected}}
{{temporarily protected}}
N/A N/A

On redirect pages, add Category:Protected redirects below the redirect line. A protection template may also be added below the redirect line, but it will only serve to categorize the page, as it will not be visible on the page.

See also

Notes