Wikipedia:Template editor

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The template editor user right allows trusted coders to edit templates and modules that have been protected with the "protected template" protection level (usually due to a high transclusion rate). It also allows those editors to edit edit notices, all of which are permanently uneditable without template editor, account creator, or administrator rights.

Note: Many high-use templates are still protected via full protection, as few mass changes have been made so far. As a result, template editors cannot yet edit most such pages, but any administrator may change the protection level for individual templates on request. See the list of pages currently under "protected template" protection.

There are currently 91 template editors and 1,386 administrators (1,477 total).

Use[edit]

Editors are permitted to exercise this permission to perform maintenance, answer reasonable edit requests, and make any other simple and generally uncontroversial edits to templates, modules, and edit notices. They are also permitted to enact more complex or controversial edits, after those edits are first made to a test sandbox, and their technical reliability as well as their consensus among other informed editors has been established.

Have a strong password[edit]

If you have the template editor user right, please ensure you have a strong password and follow appropriate personal security practices. Because a single rogue edit on a highly visible template could affect a million pages, a compromised account will be blocked and its privileges removed on grounds of site security.

Wise template editing[edit]

The key to wisely editing templates is to thoroughly test your changes before implementing them. Each template should have a testcases subpage which can be used for this purpose.

  • Remember that template-editor-ship, just like adminship, can never be allowed to become some sort of privileged position within debates among editors. Being a template editor puts you in a complicated position, because any edit you make is at once both a normal edit and a privileged action. Avoid making unilateral decisions if there's reason to think people might object. You can always propose the change on a template's talk page, and make the change if there are no objections after a few days. Use your discretion in determining how potentially controversial your change might be.

    Expect to be held accountable for all changes you make. Be receptive to any concerns or complaints that others raise.

Repeated failure to adhere to these restrictions can result in revocation of permissions. If the failure is particularly egregious, any administrator reserves the right to remove your template-editing access summarily and without warning, even for a first offense.

When to seek discussion for template changes[edit]

This is a rough guide, and is in no way an excuse for not using common sense.

Changes that should ONLY be made after substantial discussion
  • Any breaking changes, no matter how small. If it removes a parameter, or changes expected parameter behavior, do not do it without strong consensus, unless your reason for doing so is absolutely critical.
  • Changes that significantly affect a template or module's visual appearance to the reader. "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if {{infobox}} were in shades of pink?"... bring it up on the talkpage first.

Changes that require at least some discussion, or at least several days passing with no one commenting on your proposal
  • The addition of new parameters, if they'll significantly change the template's usage or display. This includes adding numbered parameters as aliases for named parameters, adding additional numbered parameters to ones already in use, or adding any parameters that allow major, visually noticeable changes (e.g. a {{{color}}} parameter on {{infobox}}).
  • Visual layout changes that are minor but still noticeable, e.g. swapping the order of a few parameters in an infobox, or slightly tweaking something's color.
  • Per RFC consensus, it's best to seek consensus before adding Wikidata functionality to a template or module. Wikidata is still relatively new, so this may change once it has been more integrated. For instance, it's easy to imagine that within a year or so it would be wholly non-controversial to add a fallback Wikidata option in case a certain parameter isn't specified... But more complex stuff will probably remain worth discussing.

Changes that can usually be made unilaterally, but which, depending on the circumstances, you may want to open up for discussion first
  • The addition of new parameters that add minor functionality—for instance, an italic=yes or a noprint=yes.
  • Edits that affect a template's appearance, but only slightly, such as the use of the nowrap class on a template that looks better on one line.

Changes that can almost always be made unilaterally
  • Fixes of obvious markup errors.
  • The addition of code comments where helpful, and any other changes that improve the legibility of the code without altering functionality (within reason; no "{{{parameter|fallback}}}<!-- this looks to see if 'parameter' is called, and, if not, assigns value 'fallback' -->")
  • Changes to anything <noinclude/>'d.
  • Copy-edits of any sort. (Just be sure you're right!)
  • Non-controversial changes to hidden tracking categories.
  • Changes to CSS classes with no visible effect, or where the visible effect will be an unambiguous improvement (e.g. removing excess whitespace in a template's output in certain browsers).
  • The deprecation of other templates used within a given template, provided that said deprecation is based on a prior consensus.

Abuse[edit]

Vandalism[edit]

If you use this right for anything even vaguely resembling vandalism, you will be blocked immediately. Wikipedia maintains an active policy of "shoot first, ask questions later" when it comes to anything involving widely-transcluded templates and/or templates used on the Main Page. If you hold privileged access on any other projects, you may very well find your account locked by the stewards until you can prove you are in control of it. Even if it's all a misunderstanding, you may lose your template-editor privileges nonetheless, if you're found to have behaved recklessly or erratically.

The same goes for vandalism that doesn't involve this right. This is, fundamentally, an administrative-level right, and you are expected to behave with the accountability and stability that entails. Administrators have been desysopped for inappropriate behavior, even when that behavior didn't involve their tools, or never affected a single article. Considering that this right gives you some of the abilities that people are most afraid of falling into the hands of a rogue admin, the same goes for you. Except that desysops take three arbitrators and a bureaucrat, while blocking you only takes one admin.

Don't mess around. Period.

Editing disputes[edit]

This right should never be used to gain an upper hand in editing disputes. You have a privilege that most people do not have. The normal BOLD, revert, discuss cycle does not apply because those without this right are unable to perform the "revert" step. Therefore, if your edit is or may be controversial (see the "When to seek discussion" criteria above), avoid making unilateral decisions, and instead propose the change on the template's talk page, and then make the change if there are no objections after a few days. Do not change the template to your preferred version when consensus has not been achieved yet to resolve the dispute. And never wheel war with other admins or template editors.

Requesting[edit]

If you wish to request template editor rights for yourself, please see Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Template editor. Administrators do not need to request or add this user right for themselves or other administrators as it is automatically granted as part of the administrator tools package.

Guidelines for granting[edit]

The template editor user right is granted by administrators. Administrators use their own discretionary assessment of an editor's template contribution value, as well as the following general guidelines:

1. The editor should be a registered Wikipedia user for at least 1 year.
2. The editor should have made at least 1,000 overall edits.
3. The editor should have made at least 150 total edits to the Template and Module namespaces.
4. The editor should have no behavioral blocks or 3RR violations for a span of 6 months prior to applying.

Additionally, an editor should have demonstrated a need for the right, as well as a familiarity with the care and responsibility required when dealing with high-risk template modification:

5. The editor should have worked on the sandbox version of at least three protected templates.
6. The editor should have requested and had successfully enacted at least five significant edits to protected templates.

Items in this section are merely guidelines. An administrator may choose to substitute other proofs of an editor's competence in handling high-risk template responsibilities.

Criteria for revocation[edit]

The user right can be revoked at any time by an administrator without any process or prior notice in any of the following circumstances:

  1. The editor demonstrated a pattern of performing obviously controversial edits to protected templates without first determining consensus.
  2. The editor demonstrated a pattern of failing to exercise sufficient care when editing protected templates, resulting in serious errors appearing on pages.
  3. The editor used the permission to gain the upper hand in disputes.
  4. The editor performed any blatant vandalism.
  5. The editor has been inactive for 12 months.

Additionally, the right may be removed immediately at the request of the editor.

If your template editor right was revoked and you would like to appeal the decision, first speak to the revoking administrator. If after such an exchange you still feel the matter is unresolved and requires outside input, or if the administrator is unresponsive, use Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Template editor to appeal the decision.

See also[edit]