Wikipedia talk:Protection policy/Archive 1

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I don't agree with the policy of "Do not edit a protected page" as applied to pages temporarily protected to stop an edit war.

  1. Sometimes it's possible for a sysop to improve the text in a way that all parties can agree on; there should be an exception for this, at least
  2. Freezing a page implies endorsement with that version. What if there's a better, more neutral version?
  3. What if there's a typo?

--Uncle Ed 16:55, 9 Dec 2003 (UTC)

1) Perhaps this is something that needs to be built into the official mediation system when it starts?
2) The problem here is that if I am in an edit war, my version will seem to me to be the "better, more neutral version". Freezing a page should not imply any endorsement of any version.
3) The issue is that non-sysops can't fix typos in protected pages, so why should sysops be able to? Angela. 05:28, 31 Dec 2003 (UTC)
1)Then they should unprotect the page after reaching a consensus, then edit it.
3)Angela, the reason that sysops are sysops is because they are well-trusted by the rest of the community. I accidentally made a rather major edit to USA PATRIOT Act while it was protected, and I corrected a typo or two on User:Kingturtle's page... but my opinion is that as long as the edit does not have anything to do with the reason of protection (vandalism of the Main Page, for example), sysops should be able to edit protected pages. What if there was an edit war on the Patriot Act (which has happened before), and during its protection, it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court? Can we not edit it to show that? ugen64 02:25, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)
Regarding point 3 - if it's felt that it's ok for sysops to do that, perhaps it should be written into the policy. Angela. 19:55, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)

Automatic page protection

On Meta:Edit wars, I suggested a software feature that would automatically protect any page that has been reverted to the same version three times. Such automatic page protection would be subject to the intervention of any sysop and would automatically time out in 48 hours. As far as I can tell, automatic page protection would have no real impact on the current page protection policy. -- NetEsq 22:16, 18 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Seems a good idea. Perhaps it should be discussed at m:MediaWiki feature request and bug report discussion. Angela. 05:28, 31 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Protecting pages

In addition, admins should try to avoid favoring one version of the article over another, unless of course, one version is trolling or vandalism in which case you don't want to protect that version. However, it is best to let someone else do the reversion to maintain some distance.

now. This policy is still there. So, what happen to an admin if he does favor one page over another ? What if one of the user scream for sysop abuse ? And what of a sysop protecting a page, while a request for mediation is under way ? How will it perceive if the version favored is from the one requesting mediation ? Isn't that gonna be seen as a sign of non-neutrality from a mediator ? fr0069 20:11, 1 Feb 2004 (UTC)
No matter what you do people will complain that you protected The Wrong Version. There's not a lot you can do. If you try to revert to stable version, someone will say that wasn't the stable version. If you protect a random version, you'll be accused of selecting that one on purpose. I don't know what the solution is. Angela. 06:57, Feb 2, 2004 (UTC)
You just grow a backbone and let people complain, knowing that you did the right thing. Anthony DiPierro 06:15, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Or knowing you did the wrong thing ;) Angela

Requests regarding protected pages

Currently, the policy states:

The protection of a page on any particular version is not meant to express support for that version and requests should therefore not be made that the protected version be reverted to a different one.

In my opinion, this is very bad policy. Yes, a good case can be made that a party to the dispute that resulted in the page being protected should not make such a request, but if it is indeed the case that the sysop who protected the page did so without regard to the merits, then it may well happen that the protected version is deeply flawed (e.g. the object of "subvandalism"). Think about it: a subvandal can mess around with a page, and 50% of the time, gets the page frozen at the subvandalized version! Thus I would propose that the wording be revised accordingly. Peak 06:46, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

I disagree. Sysops should not be the ones to decide which version is the "right" one. If it's an obvious case of vandalism, the user can be banned. Angela. 22:00, Feb 14, 2004 (UTC)

[Peak to Angela:] It's all very well to say "should", but what if a sysop makes a mistake, or abuses his or her privileges? According to the stated policy, it is not even permissible to make a request that the mistake (or abuse) be undone! Peak 05:21, 15 Feb 2004 (UTC)
If a page has to be protected, it should be on a stable pre-edit war version. Otherwise the side whose version is protected will be satisfied and not interested in discussion. --Wik 22:03, Feb 14, 2004 (UTC)
Often, though not always, a stable pre-edit war version is one that one party is satisfied with. Martin 22:16, 14 Feb 2004 (UTC)
Maybe, but it's also usually the better version. Edit wars happen more often when someone tries to introduce some POV to an established NPOV article than the opposite (i.e. when someone tries to correct a long-standing POV). --Wik 22:24, Feb 14, 2004 (UTC)
The problem is less than an "obvious case of vandalism." It seems the threshold for obvious vandalism is extremely high. I agree with wik completely on this one. Anthony DiPierro
One side is always going to say you protected The Wrong Version. Having a policy which makes it clear that protection does not imply support for that version makes things a lot easier than having to defend why you protected a particular version. It is often not clear when a dispute started. Some people claim something is a stable version, but then the other side will say it wasn't and it had only stayed that way for some time because they didn't notice it or whatever. I don't want to get into those sorts of disputes. That's not what protecting pages is about. Angela. 03:06, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
[Peak to Angela:] You seem stuck on the idea that every protected page has been protected in accordance with Wikipedia policy. (What if the protector abused sysop powers to protect his or her own preferred version? What if a page was vandalized in a clever way, such that everyone, including the protector, agrees that the wrong version was protected?) Also, as pointed out by Ed Poor, every involved in an edit war might still be in agreement that something needs to be changed.Peak 03:55, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
What if someone did abuse their powers? That should be dealt with by the arbitration committee, not by changing the protection policy. I don't see how that is relevant. The only point to protecting a page is to stop an edit war. It is not about the person protecting choosing the best version. Angela. 04:03, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
[Peak to Angela:] There are several reasons why the current censorship policy is very bad:
  1. If there has been sysop abuse of power, then the current policy serves to censor both the aggrieved party and those who may not have been involved in the edit conflict at all, while rewarding the guilty with the delay required by arbitration.
  2. If the sysop made an honest mistake, or if there are changes that everyone involved in the editing of the article agrees to, then the current policy (interpreted literally) is simply assinine.
  3. The current policy supports, and perhaps encourages, subvandalism. I have seen this in action. Let's call the subvandal in question L. L messes around with several articles - let's say three. All three end up being protected, but in an attempt to be "neutral", an innocent sysop decides to freeze one page at L's latest edit.
  4. The current policy also encourages vandalism. Sometimes pages have to be protected for weeks on end, and during this time, they are frozen, thus achieving the vandal's aim. (See [[1]].)
I refuse to pick a version to protect on. If that's going to be the policy, I won't protect any more pages. It is not worth the hassle of defending the version chosen and the attacks I will receive for making that decision. Vandalism and potential sysop abuse need to be dealt with in other ways, not by making this protection policy completely unworkable. Angela. 06:10, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)
Is that supposed to be a threat? The world can do without you protecting pages, Angela. Wikipedia will survive. Anthony DiPierro 06:18, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I blocked Wik for his reversion of your edits, Anthony, but Wikipedia can do without you much better than they can do without Angela doing the great work she does. RickK 06:23, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
What does this have to do with me? Absolutely nothing. Anthony DiPierro 06:25, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
[Peak to Angela:] - Whenever a sysop protects a page, he or she is making a choice about which version to protect. I can't really believe that your decision procedure is rigidly: "freeze it the way it is"; perhaps it's something like, "freeze it to the most recent unvandalized version." If so, then why not so indicate on the Talk page, with an indication that you personally will not further edit the page under any circumstance? That way, your position is clear, other sysops can take it from there if they wish, everyone wins, and there is no censorship.Peak 06:34, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)
What? 1) Protecting pages is not about "censorship". 2) I am not threatening anyone. 3) I think that a proposal which allows sysops to edit a protected page and then protect their favoured version is a very bad idea. Angela. 07:03, Feb 16, 2004 (UTC)

[Peak to Angela:] - Responding to your three points:

  1. The censorship is right there in the policy: "requests should therefore not be made ...". There is actually double censorship here: firstly of requests; and secondly of changes that have no relationship to the dispute. Since pages are sometimes being protected for very long periods of time, many users would effectively be censored.
  2. Someone else wrote about your "threat" to cease protecting pages. I then explained that if sysops who refuse to entertain requests to make changes to a page they protected make their position clear, then there would be no need for the blanket rule that is at issue here.
  3. No-one is proposing that sysops should protect their personal favorites. The proposal is that there be no censorship of requests; and that, under certain very restricted circumstances (e.g. complete absence of disagreement about the proposed change), edits be permitted.

Incidentally, regarding your previous point about "unworkable" rules, please note that the stated policy is currently being ignored (at least occasionally), so the empirical evidence suggests that it is the stated policy which is unworkable, rather than the other way around. Peak 07:37, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a forum for unrestricted free speech. If you want unrestricted free speech, get a geocities website. If you do not want unrestricted free speech, don't complain about censorship.
I fully support Angela's position on this matter, and see no need for further discussion. Martin 19:12, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

[Peak:] In attempting to determine how many articles are currently protected and for how long, I found that the "What links here" feature is not always working. For example, the DNA page has a wikilink to Wikipedia:This_page_is_protected but a "What links here" query from the latter page does not show DNA. Does anyone have any explanation for this? How can one best determine which articles are currently protected and for how long? Thanks. Peak 06:08, 17 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It probably has to do with the links table not being updated yet. It happens from time to time. Protection log is probably the best place for the info. Dori | Talk 06:11, Feb 17, 2004 (UTC)

Temporary protection solves nothing

Is there any evidence that this policy actually accomplishes anything? Anthony DiPierro

An interesting question. Fortunately, all the resources you need to answer it are available: a list of pages that have undergone protection (at Wikipedia:protection log) and the talk pages of protected pages. Have a go. -- Cyan 19:15, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The purpose is to allow wikipedians obsessed with certain pages to cool down and think of other things. Muriel 19:18, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I have my answer, I think the answer is no. In theory people page protection is supposed to calm people down, but I haven't seen any evidence that actually happens. Certainly in some cases, people aren't going to calm down. Some edit wars have gone on for months, through multiple protections of the page, and still continue. Maybe the answer is yes, it works sometimes, but it seems there needs to be an alternate solution for those other times. [this comment is a work in progress and will be edited] Anthony DiPierro 19:32, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, I don't mean to offend anyone, but it seems temporary protections are the stupidest Wikipedia policy. Instead of just hitting the pause button, maybe admins should spend their time actually resolving the dispute! Alternately, the protection could just be enforced against certain users, as bans are. --AaronSw 21:01, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
per-user article protections are a feature request, but the devs have many such, sadly.
Of course, admins have no extra powers or responsibilities with respect to actually resolving the dispute - anyone can do this, and fortunately many people, both admins and non-admins do. Martin 21:13, 17 Mar 2004 (UTC)
Protection, alone, is no solution, but protecition may allow admins to put an edit battle "on hold", allowing tempers to cool off and disputes to be discussed and resolved. --L33tminion | (talk) 06:15, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)

This should be a simple proposal: a "do you really want to protect this page" sort of notice, like the one we have for Deletion. I recently hit protect instead of discuss (I think that was after I switched back to normal skin), and it could get annoying, especially if someone (this could happen) unprotected the Main Page without realizing it... just a thought. ugen64 02:22, Mar 5, 2004 (UTC)

This idea has been submitted to Sourceforge in the past. Angela. 14:12, Mar 14, 2004 (UTC)
This was implemented in MediaWiki 1.3 and is now live. Pcb21| Pete 11:42, 24 Jun 2004 (UTC)

On Wikipedia talk:How to revert a page to an earlier version I propose modifying the protection policy to allow gentle discouragement of revert wars. Comments? Martin 23:20, 8 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Given general support, and supportive comments by Jimbo, I have edited the page appropriately. This does not prevent us additionally choosing to enforce temp-bans, or choosing some other method, but it's one more arrow to our bows. Martin 17:06, 14 Mar 2004 (UTC)

According to current policy, I don't have to protect a version less-favoured by the person reverting more, but I can choose to do that if I want. What if I choose not to; does another sysop then have the right to revert to that version after I have protected it? Angela. 19:55, Mar 23, 2004 (UTC)

According to the page as written, no, but I wonder if this is correct. What do you think? Martin 20:44, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I don't think it should be permitted. I can foresee issues with the people involved appealing to other sysops to revert if the protecting sysop chose not to if such an option is available. Angela.
Good point. Do you want to make that explicit? Martin 23:20, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)
I added "Do not revert a page that has already been protected by another sysop." which should make it clear enough. Angela. 03:58, Apr 2, 2004 (UTC)

Can anything be introduced between protection and non-protection like moderation where edits have to be approved by an administrator (or designee) before they're implemented ? Formeruser-83, 1 Apr 2004 (UTC)

If all participants agree to not edit a page but to allow someone else to make the edits on their behalf, it could be done without protection, perhaps as part of the mediation process. Angela. 14:01, Apr 1, 2004 (UTC)

Any admin should have equal permission in editing the page. The protecting admin should not have any special privileges. That makes it too easy to introduce bias into page protection. anthony (this comment is a work in progress and may change without prior notice) 11:13, 2 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Sysops can't edit protected pages. End of story. What's the issue? Angela. 11:21, Apr 2, 2004 (UTC)
Apparently things have changed in the last few months. Sysops regularaly edit protected pages nowadays. anthony (see warning) 01:40, 5 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Compliment for the Protection Policy Page

I very much like the first two subheadings in the Table of Contents: "Why" and "How." They are very succinct and describe the sections beautifully.

What is "persistent"?

The sandbox article has repeatedly, every day or 2, for the last month and a half, had bogus links added to it, which someone eventually notices and reverts. Since May 10, there have been about 32 of these add/reverts. It's never the same user ID near as I can tell, but sometimes the links appear to be the same ones. Nothing in the way of real edits have been done—mostly comments telling people not to do that. It seems like a waste of our time and resources. Would protecting this page for a week or so seem like a reasonable attempt to see whether the presumed vandalism or bot stops this nonsense? Elf | Talk 02:42, 22 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps the intended adjective was chronic. quota
So would you say that this situation is "chronic"? Elf | Talk 20:06, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
I would note that vandalism is "persistent" if a vandal "persists" in vandalizing pages after having been warned. As far as this specific situation, I think if we all just watch the article, we can handle the issue easily enough -- I don't know if it warrants protection. After all, as it stands, we know where the vandal is appearing, and they don't seem bothered by reversions. If we protect the page, what if they move on to another, less visible page (cryptozoology or something)? We might not catch them as easily. Unless it's the same userid over and over, or the exact same link over and over (you didn't imply this is the case), I'd say we just have people who've heard you can post anything you want in a wiki's sandbox, and who aren't paying much attention. If the problem becomes too big for us to handle (multiple vandalisms each day, repeated reversions of our edits that remove the links, etc.) protection is fine, but I like avoiding protection wherever possible, and I think that's in accordance with policy. Just my thoughts, though. Jwrosenzweig 22:21, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
There was a story last week (or so) on slashdot about folks using wiki sandboxes to try to up their google results by adding exlinks. Folks do that on wikipedia:sandbox all the time (it's really pointless, IMHO), and in general folks mistake sandbox for wikipedia:sandbox. As JW says, these are mild vandalisms, and are quickly and easily cleaned up. Protection should be for much worse stuff than this. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:34, 23 Jun 2004 (UTC)
In this situation, I think persistent vandalism would be something where a user broke the three revert rule in vandalizing the same article. If it's occurring over a period of time, I don't think the need to protect the page is as great as it would be if it was being vandalized many times in the same day. Angela. 21:39, 25 Jun 2004 (UTC)

User Pages/Boilerplate protection policy

User pages

These user pages have been protected for over 30 days and should be unprotected. There is no policy justification for keeping them protected indefinitely. Having a protected user page that others cannot edit is not a "right" of adminship.

uc 20:11, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • There is no policy to permit "historical record pages" to be protected indefinitely. We have many such pages, including archive pages, old deletion debates, old RfA discussions, and the like. This is a wiki -- the page history is our means of ensuring that the historical record is intact. The only history pages that are routinely protected are the automatically generated audit logs, like Wikipedia:Bureaucrat log and Wikipedia:Deletion log.

(See [2])

I went ahead and unprotected what I considered "easy cases", the pages that showed zero history of vandalism (Ilyanep, Perl, Schneelocke, Flockmeal, Deb, and Gtrmp). --Michael Snow 22:52, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Deb asserted that there has been vandalism and reprotected hers. --Michael Snow 17:40, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Why is it anybody else's business if my User page is unprotected? RickK 07:14, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC)

User pages are supposed to only be edited by the user him or herself. I don't see why any requests by users to have their pages protected shouldn't be granted. AndyL 16:56, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Why would anybody want to edit someone else's user page? Protection may not always be necessary, but it does not cause any harm. -- Chris 73 Talk 02:06, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
Perhaps all user pages should be private. I can't think of any reason why someone would edit someone else's user page except vandalism. Just a thought. --L33tminion | (talk) 06:23, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
It was more common in the past to edit other people's user pages. People still award barnstars on other people's user pages, and I remember editing Academic Challenger's page to clean up the formatting. (He uses a talking computer and can't see what it looks like.) So there are a couple examples. Isomorphic 00:41, 20 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Boilerplate pages

Some admins have protected pages of their own that contain greetings and similar material that they do not wish for others to edit. I believe this idea is anti-Wiki and ask that the pages in question be unprotected. Users can add such pages to their watchlist to catch any vandalism or undesired editing, or get a web site.

uc 20:11, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

  • Again, I don't know about most of these, but my two will definitely NOT be unprotected. They were subject to vandalism awhile ago, and that could be potentially disastrous. Say someone vandalised my welcome template with something vulgar or offensive and then I unknowingly welcomed a user... BLANKFAZE | (что??) 20:35, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
    • You sound convinced. Are you unwilling to accept community consensus if the other pages are unprotected? And, do you have a watchlist? uc 20:42, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)
      • I am of course always willing to accept and ABIDE by community consensus. But I seriously doubt you can/will obtain one. Yes, I have a watchlist, but it has 200+ pages on it, most of which are frequently edited, and furthermore, I don't check it every five minutes of the day. It wouldn't be too hard for some anon to vandalise one of my boilerplates and it go unnoticed by me. I really don't see what the hullabaloo is; there's no reason anyone but me would need to edit them anyway. So why not lean to the safe side and keep it as is? BLANKFAZE | (что??) 21:18, 29 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Mind your own business. What I do in my own User space is not of your concern. RickK 07:16, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC) Same goes for me. Deb 16:53, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This really is a policy discussion rather than of individual protection requests. I suggest that this discussion move to Wikipedia talk:Protection policyAndyL 17:07, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This is NOT a policy discussion. Any and all of the pages in my User space WILL be protected or unprotected as I see fit, and it's nobody else's business. RickK 22:09, Oct 30, 2004 (UTC)

I agree. PS. I thought this was Wikipedia talk:Protection policy. Deb 11:37, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)
The discussion seems to have originally have been at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection. Proteus (Talk) 18:51, 31 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Same as above, I do not see any harm in protecting my user pages, since it is only me anyway who will edit them. Personally, I would not mind if all user pages could be edited only by the user, and maybe by an admin. -- Chris 73 Talk 02:09, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)

I see no reason why it should be anyone else's business whether an admin protects their user page or not. (Also, this whole thing strikes me as rather absurd - it's as if people haven't got better things to do than go around creating conflict for the sake of it. I've half a mind to protect my own page in protest against this pointless meddling.) Proteus (Talk) 13:44, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I also see no reason why I should not protect my own user page (not talk page) whenever, and for as long as, I see fit. I have just protected it after it was vandalised by the same group of IP numbers for the 10th time in 8 weeks. It is no business of anyone but the users' what goes on the user page, unless it's notes about a sockpuppet account. -- Arwel 14:46, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Current status

Other than the boilerplate pages, Wikipedia:Protected page currently lists all of two user pages that are currently protected, those being RickK and Deb. I reprotected those because both strongly insist that they want the pages protected.

RickK's page has been protected almost continuously for over a year. Before that, it was vandalized a total of 10 times by what looks to be five different people (i.e. several vandals edited the page more than once). There was also one message improperly left that belonged on the talk page. Since protection, several admins have edited the page, such as to award barnstars, and these edits have not been reverted.

Deb contends that her page has been vandalized, but as far as I can determine, the only unwanted edits in the page's history are simply messages that should have been left on the talk page instead. That doesn't rise to the level of vandalism in my opinion.

I have seen evidence of vandalism in the history of many user pages, but in most instances it is reverted very quickly. There are plenty of people watching Recentchanges ready to jump all over edits to a user page by anyone but that particular user, especially if the edits are from an anonymous IP. --Michael Snow 22:37, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Automatic denial of editing to user pages

I would like to propose, especially in light of the recent mention of the issue, that a change in page protection policy be made for user pages. At this point, I have two possible policies I would like to discuss, and eventually would like to bring the matter to a poll (but not yet). It is useful in some circumstances for users to be able to protect their user pages from editing by other users, either because they want to avoid vandalism, or because they would prefer corrispondence occur on their user talk page, their user page being all their content about them. I would like to see it easier for users to have this kind of policy, and so would propose that either:

  1. Users have the ability to mark their page as being editable by only them. This would require minor changes to the wikipedia software, which I would be willing to make and submit as a patch, having already made some similar modifications for my own local installs of mediawiki.
  2. Users be permitted to request their user pages be blocked or unblocked for whatever length of time they see fit, without the need to provide a reason.

I would like to explicitly note that this option should NOT be available for user talk pages, which are essential for communication within the community. Thoughts? --Improv 22:10, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

With respect to the suggested software change, is this something that could be overridden or is it absolute? User pages are periodically used to post information about the user rather than by the user, particularly in problem situations like sockpuppets and banned users. If that option is not available, then I would absolutely oppose this idea. With respect to the protection option under the current software, there are serious concerns about the practice because it puts normal editors on unequal footing with admins, since only admins have the ability to edit protected pages. --Michael Snow 22:46, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

    • As for sockpuppets and banning, those users already have stepped beyond the bounds of appropriate behavior, and so unprotecting their user pages is not so problematic. Can you think of an instance where a user in good standing should have such protection removed? --Improv 17:08, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I agree with Michael that the page he notes already contains a good deal of discussion of this matter. I believe that having User: pages editable is an affirmation of our faith in the Wiki model. It is the way things are done on all other wikis (that is, those unrelated to Wikimedia), which lack a page protection mechanism. And, there really is no problem involving user pages today, other than a few individuals who are bucking consensus by insisting that they "control their user space," a concept without precedent or support at Wikipedia. Of the total amount of vandalism received by the project, a very small percentage is directed at user pages. The "personal web space" model of user pages is widely available from free and low-cost web hosting sources. Let's keep this part of Wikipedia the way it is. uc 23:40, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Defining there to be no problem is like declaring that robbery is only a problem because people resist. It assumes your point, and so is at best kind of rude. Why should we not use the useful capabilities that Wikipedia has? Should all wikispace be limited to the lowest common denominator because of some notion of tradition? User pages are not the same as webpages -- they still have a more defined purpose, and it's still possible to call someone to task for violating that. I don't think we need to make that comparison. User pages seem, to me, to be the opportunity to present oneself to wikipedia, and talk pages are for dialogue with the rest of the community. I can see little reason other people should be tweaking one's presentation of oneself and involvement with the wiki. --Improv 17:08, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Just to throw an opinion out, I don't think that "casual" user page protection should be supported, and I think the current policies need to be enforced. uc is right in saying very little vandalism is directed to user pages. Indeed, most such "missteps" are from new users, leaving messages on the user page. The fact that only admins have the "privilege" of being able to protect their own pages is also troubling. I think this easily extends to boilerplate texts, which, though handy, are not an official mechanism. At best, an admin should use boilerplate text using {{subst: }} to insert that, rather than leaving a persistent transclude. In short, I think that no change to the policy is required, nor should it be. -- Netoholic @ 06:05, 2004 Nov 2 (UTC)

In favour of change: It puzzles me that there is a movement in existence to unprotect all user pages, and I fully support Improv's long-overdue initiative. There are only two reasons I can see for a user wanting to edit another user's page:

  1. To vandalise it/Change the content (the same thing, in my opinion).
  2. To remove offensive content in the case of a banned or problem user -- and I can't believe we would want anyone but a sysop to have the power to do this.

My protection of my own user page was in response to wanton vandalism by a user who was either too stupid to understand what she was doing or didn't care. Either way, it made my page look a mess, and that was why I protected it. After doing so, I thought to myself, "Why on earth didn't I do this sooner? It will stop other people from editing it by mistake." So I left it protected. The argument that a page can be unprotected after vandalism has "stopped" is a false one, because no one knows that an attempt has been made to vandalise a page unless the attempt is successful. In my view, it should be the norm for user pages to be editable only by the user him/her/self or by an administrator. Deb 13:07, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What the hall has it got to do with anyone whether users protect the pages within their namespace. I don't understand why anybody should be concerned about it. Let people do what the like in their own backyard (within reason of course). Mintguy (T)

Deb's arguments seem very cogent. I see no reason for anyone other than the user to edit their own user page, except in a very limited set of circumstances which should be restricted to a sysop. -- Arwel 14:53, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes. Improv's suggestion makes good sense. Michael Snow's argument about "unequal footing" don't make sense to me. Normal editors are on an unequal footing with admins in terms of editing power. That is the difference between normal editors and admins. Of course Improv's suggested protection of a user page by its own user should be able to be overriden, presumably by any admin, but that should only be done to perform authorized adminstrative functions, and should then be restored. As to talk pages, if it were difficult to exempt them from the proposed patch, then I would still see no problem. Just write policy that talk pages should normally be left unprotected, except when an editor expects to be away from Wikipedia for a long period of time, in which case a notice of this should appear as the last entry on the talk page. That is the only reason I can see for keeping a talk page protected, to prevent vandalism in those circumstances. If there are other reasons, then include them also. Jallan 15:27, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Absolutely a user should be able to protect his own page! I can see of no reason why anyone has any business editing another's user page--that's what we have talk pages for--aside from this "everything should be open" view. While I have not been the victim of vandalism as Deb has, I commiserate with her. We already have precedents for pages being restricted--for example, the main page is quite rightly restricted. Certainly we should strive for maximum openness on article pages, but a user's space ought to be sacrosanct. What's to stop someone from coming in and doing all sorts of mischief on a user page? Now if we did restrict editing to user pages we would need a safeguard, something like the page we have to complain about inappropriate user names, so people didn't fill their page with obscenity or libels. One other area that we should consider restricting would be the archives, e.g. voting records of WP:RFA candidacies, where we are preserving things for the historical record. We should set up a formal poll for this idea ASAP. Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 18:56, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
  • I would like to elucidate my comment above. First, I will state I have not gone over the manual on the proper criteria for restricting pages, I only have looked at the arguments above and on Deb's talk page. That said, I understand the difficulty of restricting pages when the user is not himself an admin (which keeps the user from editing as well) which is why I support the suggestion by Improv to alter the program so nobody but the creator can edit a user page. I think that a worthy change that should be investigated. PedanticallySpeaking 20:15, Nov 2, 2004 (UTC)
    • I feel that I've gotten at least one useful insight from this discussion -- that allowing overrides to user page protection is an issue for some people, and there are good reasons to work out a sensible policy in that area. I'd like to wait a few more days before beginning a formal poll to see if any more ideas show up. It would be a big bonus if I can talk to the people against the idea and see if sharing of perspective can lead us anywhere. I do agree that waiting too long would be a bad idea. I hope to be ready at least by the end of the week, if not sooner. Sound good? --Improv 19:55, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think we should be clear that we're talking about a proposed change to the software system, not simply a "policy" change. Naturally, if a software change goes through, the differences in features will also have an effect on policies as well. I think the change would be acceptable if there is community support for it, but I would suggest that the software patch should satisfy these criteria:

  1. It may apply to pages in the User: namespace, but must not extend to pages in the User talk: namespace. Talk pages must always be open for communication.
  2. It should be available for all logged-in users, regardless of whether they are admins.
  3. It is distinguished from the current page protection feature, otherwise non-admins who have their user pages restricted will not be able to edit their own pages.
  4. It must be capable of being overridden (presumably by admins, as in the problem situations cited above).

My personal choice would be that this feature not be implemented by default, but require some action by the user to implement. But that determination is open for discussion. --Michael Snow 21:00, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

We're actually talking about a two part poll, first for people just being able to ask admins to protect their page for no reason for any length of time, and second, for something more akin to what you describe. Either works for me. --Improv 21:30, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't believe there is any reason to rush into having a poll. There have thus far been few people involved in the discussion.

I once again assert that this does not solve any problem that we actually have. User page vandalism is a trivial issue at Wikipedia, and nearly all that has occurred is retailiatory edits made to irk an administrator who has rolled back a user's edits, or blocked the user. Other than RickK, who has been the target of frequent vandlism because of his vandal-fighting activities (and whom I and undoubtably others are willing to make an exception for), there is no current problem with user page vandalism. Deb's request for protection is based on her belief that in principle she should "control" her user page. Yes, there are a handful of others who feel likewise, but I dispute that they are facing any problem that requires a draconian policy change to solve.

Both the contemplated changes are major departures from longstanding project policy. See m:Protected pages considered harmful and m:Foundation issues. It is a core belief of the project that anyone should be able to edit any page except in rare instances.

uc 21:49, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Actually my belief is that (a) All users (not just me) should be solely responsible for the content of their own user pages, and that (b) Users - and particularly sysops - should refrain from interference with other users' pages unless they have good reason.
Every policy, however "longstanding", should have some kind of logic behind it, and be of some benefit to the community as a whole. The one to which you refer possesses neither of those qualities. Deb 22:52, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Further, uc, calling it draconian is really excessive, don't you think? Almost anyone involved on Wikipedia long enough, admin or not, gets vandalized. I'm not an admin (and doubt I ever could pass nomination, but you never know), and I've been vandalized a few times and had random people edit my user page instead of my talk page a few times. If I could protect it, you can bet I would. --Improv 16:09, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
m:Foundation issues does NOT say that it is a core belief of the project that anyone should be able to edit any page except in rare instances; it says Ability of anyone to edit articles without registering. User pages are not articles. QED. -- Arwel 23:37, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Just make user pages editable by the user themselves and by admins. Nobody else. If there is anyone who really wants other people to edit their user pages, I don't know where they are. So far I didn't see any good argument to the contrary on this page. --Zero 23:41, 2 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't see any reason not to give people a choice to protect their user page if they so desire. The technical solutions would not be much more complex allowing people to turn protection on/off. --Improv 16:09, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I allow people to edit my user page and so does Martin Harper (It's where I got the idea from).I certainly wouldn't want software changes that prevent people from editing my user page when i have expressly stated on that page that other people can edit it. My user page has been vandalised numerous times. I just revert - problem solved. I have temp protected mine and other people's user pages for a couple of hours (when the vandalbot was in action for example) I don't see the need for permenant protection Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 09:27, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I would suggest then that you don't protect your pages permanently, but allow others to do so. Or do you have an argument that nobody should be permitted to do so? Sometimes we take a break from Wikipedia for awhile, or don't notice changes to our user page, and it can be irritating to find that someone has tweaked it absent our knowledge. --Improv 16:09, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't see the need for that either. Whenever I see a person edit a user page that is not thier own, (on RC or on my watchlist) I take a look to see if it's vandalism and if it is then I revert. If it's a "tweak" a (spelling correction for example) then sorry but if you find this annoying then you really should get your own webpage. People seem to feel they own thier user pages, but they dont. Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 13:48, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • I think users should be able to protect user pages that other users have no good reason to edit. I would for example not like anyone else to edit my work in progress pages, or my personal templates. It's too much of a burden to admins to have to protect them all by hand, so why not let the users do it themselves. However, in case of inappropriate user pages, I feel admins should be allowed to edit them. On the other hand, there is much to say for keeping them editable. It does create trust within the community, but with the proposal you can still unprotect if you feel you can trust people. [[User:MacGyverMagic|Mgm|(talk)]] 11:01, Nov 5, 2004 (UTC)
    • But is vandalism of template pages actually a problem. I have a personal template page where i keep a number of templates. i don't think it's ever been vandalised. If it was someone would notice it on RC or I would notice it on my watchlist. Most vandals vandalise user pages and user talk pages. I suppose that it must happen occasionaly where a particluly nasty piece of work would change welcome template to fuck off or some such thing, but I've not seen it happen, and even if it did, it would be reverted. So why do we need to protection? Theresa Knott (Not the skater) 12:41, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Theresa, stop the strawman argument about ownership of pages. You, yourself, refer to them (with spelling corrected) as "their user pages". What does their mean? Perhaps not ownership in every sense. I can refer to "my" office for example. But user pages are under different standards here than other pages. If not, there are many user pages which contain statements and POV that even on talk pages would be harshly criticized. Imagine hearing about a community where everyone kept their doors unlocked. Sounds like what you want Wikipedia to be, a community of trust. But imagine then learning that people in that community were not allowed to lock their doors (except in very special circumstances). Where is the trust? As to "just revert", if you choose to do that, that should your business. Some people choose to do that with spam. After all, it doesn't take much time to click and delete it. That's what those who oppose anti-spam legislation say. But others prefer filtering, a kind of protection. They feel they should use as little time and energy as possible on such nonsense. But if indeed user pages are considered to be open to be edited by others, why does no message alert appear as appears for one's talk pages? Why has no-one ever asked for that feature? Surely because the understanding is that normally user pages should not be edited by others. Stop trying to enforce trust when that is not the issue at all. The issue is the convenience of protection for people who want it for pages which, despite some exceptions raised here, should in most circumstances be left alone except by the invdividuals to whom they are assigned. The argument of "I don't mind the trouble or reverting and so nobody else should" doesn't work. You also stated: "I certainly wouldn't want software changes that prevent people from editing my user page when i have expressly stated on that page that other people can edit it." No-one has suggested any software change that would prevent people from editing your page if you so choose. Jallan 20:46, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • I'm on the fence on this issue. One argument in favor of the status quo: we'd much rather discover vandals mucking around in User: space before they start vandalizing the main articles. Protecting User: pages is a bit of a NIMBY policy. That said, I know I would be frustrated to get into an edit war over my own page, and I think the stakes are relatively low here. Is there some way that this could be used as a test of mechanisms to provide stable/1.0 versions of pages which are shown by default? For example, we could have a preference which causes the last edit made by the "owner" of a page as the version shown by default. For User: pages, it's obvious who the owner should be. -- RobLa 02:01, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I notice that some User pages which are/have been protected (such as Deb or RickK) don't have a protected template at the top of the page as directed in the Wikipedia:Protection_policy and the Wikipedia:Protected_page procedure. Why? -- 19:50, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Ok, I'm just throwing this out, I don't yet know how I feel about it: What is the stated purpose of a User page? It is a page by the user or a page about the user? If it's a page by the user, why place it on a Wiki? If it's a page about the user, why shouldn't I (or anyone else) be able to write a brief factual biography about them and place it on their user page? -- 20:07, 11 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Wiki is about trust

Wiki is about trust, and there's an important symbolic point to be made by keeping user pages editable by anyone. I post my travel schedule on my user page on meta, and it is rarely (if ever) bothered by anyone. How crazy is that? It is crazy, but it is also true.

We should be proud of editable user pages, and not create a culture of distrust by assuming that unprotected user pages cause problems when they obviously don't.

There are rare exceptions. Example: RickK is a vandal hunter. He deals with difficult people so the rest of us don't have to do it. I see no special problem with his user page being not editable, though I would encourage him to try to unprotect it now and then and see if it can stand. But for most of us, even prominent people like me, it's just a non-issue. Jimbo Wales 20:49, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

  • I disagree. Wiki is about whatever we decide it's about, and perhaps the users who decide to make symbolic points can make them. As for me, I argue that I and others like me should be permitted to decide our user pages are not going to be part of that. There are various parts of the wiki, each with its own traditions for when and how to edit. For discussion areas, we have highly structured ways to respond to each other, with subresponses and signing. That comprises the talk namespace and some of meta (like VfD). For articles, we never sign, and points are not, in general, in response to each other, especially not using bullets the way we do here. I will argue that user pages are a third realm, where it is a separate culture, with its own rules. There have not been problems in the past augmenting the technology to facilitate culture. The different types of users attest to that. I can see no reason why this should be an exception -- given the role of user pages, and that by many users it is considered at best rude to alter their user page, I feel that it is appropriate to consider changes along the lines I suggest. --Improv 20:59, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The point is that these are "traditions", and therefore something to be preserved by way of culture and social norms, not necessarily technological enforcement. I agree that editing user pages is generally to be discouraged unless the user invites you to edit. Nobody in this discussion has been editing user pages (except for Deb trying to prove a point), and I doubt there is any particular desire to do so. But that doesn't mean we need to change the current enforcement system from social pressure to technological fiat.
Anyway, protection is unnecessary in most cases, and it is also flawed in terms of the "problem" we are trying to solve, because it is only available to a certain class of users instead of all users. For example, if I were to "protect" your user page from editing right now, on the grounds that there is a history of vandalism (which there is), you yourself would not be able to edit your own user page because you're not an admin. Undesired edits to user pages are in no way limited to admins - I can think of quite a few other cases - so the protection feature is the wrong solution here, and I oppose it except under the same protection criteria that apply to all pages. A broader software change affecting all users might be acceptable if you want to get that implemented, but I don't particularly see the need. --Michael Snow 05:53, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I welcome that discussion, and hope to see if people are ok with making changes to the software, or if not, to just get in touch with an admin when needed to toggle protection. If various ideas fail the poll, that's fine, but I eventually intend to have one. Either way, while you don't see the need, I feel others should be allowed to have/see said need, and if you dislike the mechanism, you should not use it while allowing others to. --Improv 07:50, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
One of my early questions was to ask if it is OK to fix links to disambiguation pages on user pages. I've done so regularly ever since and don't recall ever having anyone protest at this. Looking at my user page history, I see approximately 60 incidents of vandalism, a similar number of reversions to remove this, four minor corrections and an edit to a picture caption. I am more than happy to put up with the vandalism, which is inevitably fixed quickly and does no real harm to me, to have this page open to edit in the way I believe it should be. I've been pleased to see each of those friendly edits and quite able to ignore the unfriendly ones (or revert on the rare occasions I get there before anyone else). Not making major changes is a matter of etiquette, not of ownership. Allowing others to make minor changes is also a matter of etiquette.
To say that those against implementing this idea should "not use it while allowing others to" misses one side of the equation. I would be prevented from fixing links on those pages, which I see as a distortion of the Wiki-way. As Anthere says on her page "This is not my page; this is a page about me" -- sannse (talk) 10:16, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
If you came across a userpage which said, "Please don't edit this page, for any reason", would you fix disambiguation links on it, or would you leave a note on the user's talk page letting them know to fix the links? --Improv 15:29, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I would leave it, as I would if the page were protected. I might leave a talk page message (as I do if I have any doubts about the correct disambiguation) or I might not bother and just move on to another page. Similarly, if I came across an article that's protected or with an "in use" notice on it I wouldn't edit - which doesn't mean I believe that it's right to have prolonged protection or that the person editing "owns" the article -- sannse (talk) 18:56, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I don't think Jimbo really meant to sound as though his opinion should outweigh other people's simply because he is "a prominent person". But I do take issue with his comment that it is "not a problem". It was a problem for me when some idiot kept amending my user page. Okay, so it wouldn't have been a problem if she had been improving the page rather than making it look silly, but that's missing the point. It has been a problem for Arwel that someone kept making spiteful changes to his biography because he had previously banned them. It has been a problem for RickK that people kept vandalising his user page. It would be more of a problem for Jimbo if vandals weren't aware that he is such a prominent person and that they consequently avoid upsetting him when they couldn't care less about less prominent people. Deb 19:32, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Have a look at the history of my page Deb. Or Theresa's or Jimbo's for that matter. This isn't a split between those who have had their page vandalised and those who haven't. -- sannse (talk) 20:28, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Deb, your page has never been vandlized as the term is used at Wikipedia. It was edited by someone who added the text "Dear Ms. Fisher, thank you for your edits on the List of Political Prison Memoirs. John Hickman" and another time by someone who wrote "I TRIED SO HARD...Gong_A_faedra...see_your-diascussion." Perhaps there is some special reason why these incense you so, but they hardly compare to "I'm a gay whore who screws monkeys!" which was placed on my user page in this edit. uc 21:27, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I think what you're saying is that it's not a problem for you, because you don't happen to mind. That just underlines my point. So Jimbo doesn't mind people vandalising his page. So what? Why is it a problem for a user page -- any user page -- to be protected if the user doesn't want to take the risk? No one's attempted to answer that question as yet. Deb 20:49, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Some possible reasons:
  1. It's contrary to the fundamental aspect of a wiki, which is the editability of pages.
  2. It makes ordinary users inferior to admins because the protection is only available to admins, even though our policy is that admins are supposed to be equals with other editors.
  3. It deviates from the standard practice of page protection, which is a last-resort type measure used when other measures (such as simply reverting unwanted edits) do not suffice to deal with the problem.
Point #1 is not necessarily absolute in this context, but it suggests to me that the burden of persuasion is on those who want to change how things work. Point #2 is important because vandalism happens to non-admins too. Point #3 is another reason why page protection is the wrong solution here, and why I think we should be looking at Improv's proposed software patch if the community actually decides that a change is necessary. --Michael Snow 21:36, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I mind, at times I mind a lot. But to me, asking everyone to leave my page alone because of the actions of a few individuals is throwing out the good with the bad. Just as in articles we allow edits by all, despite the risk of vandalism from a few, I believe we should do so on user pages. To do otherwise is throwing out the principles of collaborative editing, community ownership of pages, and trust in the good will of the majority. I don't think we disagree on how annoying and sometimes downright distressing vandalism can be, but to me it's an important part of the wiki way for as many pages as possible to be fully open for editing. I see no reason for this not to apply to user pages as well as articles. -- sannse (talk) 21:39, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
How many user pages are really made as a collaborative effort? I suspect practically none. User pages are not part of the Wikipedia proper -- they're metainformation, just as the meta pages are (although of a different sort). They're not meant for the same things, and they're not used the same way. The will of the majority and things of that sort are fine for 'pedia content, but different traditions hold for user pages. You don't expect people to come in and rewrite information on yourself into paragraph form, insert or remove tables, or the like in your user page, do you? --Improv 22:18, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The fact that practically no user pages involve significant collaboration just shows how strong the tradition already is, which suggests that we don't particularly need to do anything to give it even more force. --Michael Snow 22:28, 4 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Yep. As I said, not making major changes is a matter of etiquette. So is allowing others to make minor changes. And having the ability to edit is a matter of principle. -- sannse (talk) 09:09, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
We're changing our tune a bit now, aren't we? Now "major" changes are suddenly unacceptable, but "minor" changes are good. Yet you all feel the need to revert your pages after other people have made changes to them, and when I have the nerve to speak to someone on their user page instead of their talk page, I'm told that this constitutes "disruption" of wikipedia (because of course it's okay for Schneelocke to tell other people not to touch his user page as long as he doesn't actually attempt to protect it). Now a newer user with a common sense, non-confrontational approach has made a constructive suggestion for change, and you're all suddenly prepared to die in a ditch for a "principle" that clearly doesn't exist for the majority of users. Let's face it, we're looking at unquestioning conservatism here, and it makes me sad to see it. But you can go ahead and do what you like to my user page now. I've unprotected it. Deb 18:21, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
No, I've not changed my tune - I said in my first message what I said in my last. But I am willing to change my tune, either in response to convincing arguments or to consensus. To me that's an important principle too -- sannse (talk) 09:59, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Minor note here -- I'm actually not that new of a Wikipedian -- I've been on here since 2002 (albeit under my older username, Pgunn), longer, I think, than many admins :) --Improv 19:10, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The idea that administrators should not be permitted to protect their own userpages seems unfortunate. It has been suggested, that allowing administrators to protect their pages makes ordinary users "inferior." Unfortunately, ordinary users are already made inferior by the present protection policy. If, for example, an administrator's page (such as that of the above cited example of User:RickK) is consistently vandalized, the administrator may protect his or her page, and his or her right to do so has not been challenged in the above discussion. On the other hand, what can an ordinary user do under the same circumstnaces? Page protection will inherently mean that the user can no longer edit his or her own page. Hence, ordinary users will suffer no new inferiority if administrators are allowed to protect pages even when there is no past history of vandalism. -- Emsworth 23:41, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What about fixing broken wiki syntax? Typos? Ambiguous links? I want people to be able to edit my user page and fix them if they see these things. Requiring them to post notes on my talk page is not acceptable, as the threshold becomes way too high. I will assume good faith, and am more than willing to risk vandalism (noting that, of course, I am not a Wikipedian of note and my page is quite unlikely to be vandalised -- but my position is independent of this).

So if there will be any option of protecting user pages, it should be that: an option. Wikipedia is not a free webpage hosting service. If it's nobody's business but yours what goes on the page, it's also nobody's business but mine if I want to leave my page open for editing by others. Extend, don't extinguish.

That's point one: leave it optional.

I don't see why there shouldn't be such an option. The arguments that apply to articles don't apply to user pages, which are specifically not encyclopedic and typically not part of the continuous improvement process. There already is a de facto way of achieving protection: you can monitor your page 24-7 and undo every change. This would be unacceptable for an article because no-one gets to decide unilaterally what's good for the article, but ownership disputes over user pages are silly. Policy and philosophy aside, who is not expecting to have the final say over one's user page, even if others can edit it? It is not conducive to editors to be unable or discouraged from taking ownership of their user pages, and it is not particularly beneficial to readers for these pages to be in the public domain (metaphorically speaking, of course -- everything's still under the GFDL).

That's point two: if people want this option, I don't see pressing arguments to deny it to them. JRM 17:03, 2004 Nov 7 (UTC)

My 5c worth (since I was invited to participate): One user page that did need a lot of protecting was that of User:Zoe, both during and after her time here.

User pages should be protected, at the request of the user or after their departure from wikipedia , provided that they contain no comment that can be reasonably be regarded as offensive (I seem to recall that one user used his user page as a showcase for pro-Stalinist rubbish) or personal attacks (user:netesq springs to mind as a personal example). Having said that, I suspect a new debate will break out over what constitutes "reasonably be regarded as offensive". Arno 06:20, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

One more thing - concern has also been expressed about whether to allow sysops to protect their own pages. Not being a sysop myself, I lack this little privilege, but I feel that any judgements on this matter should be done on a case-by-case basis using sheer common sense. If a sysop is abusing his/her rights by doing this, (eg if a sysop writes "user X is a crook" on his/her user page and then protects it) then the matter should certainly be referred to Jimbo or someone for (hopefully) swift action. But if a sysop is under attack from vandals, then yes, he/she should be able to protect it without having to go through a gauntlet of cumbersome bureaucratic procedures or getting in trouble. Arno 06:29, 8 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Protection of templates and images used on the Main Page

Moved from Talk:Main Page#Protect main page?

Is it time to protect all templates and all images used on the main page? The page was protected completely until relatively recently - so this wouldn't be unprecedented. This page is our public face, to have even temporary vandalism here is a big problem. We had emails of complaint to the Foundation today (or more specifically to Jimbo, who forwarded them to the support team). Vandalism is always a bad reflection on us - but on the main page it's intolerable. What do you think? -- sannse (talk) 18:07, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)

For the record - in my capacity as featured article director, I've decided to start protecting the featured article template as a matter of course. However, that will *not* prevent the kind of image-upload vandalism that occured yesterday. The only way to do this is to (a) restrict image overwriting to administrators, or (b) protect all main page images for the duration they are on the main page. →Raul654 22:06, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)
I go for option (b). By the way, perhaps the Yes heading below should mention templates and images. I'll insert it now. --Eddi 01:35, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
The page was protected completely in the past, yes, but we didn't have things which were regularly updated on the main page at that time. Until we get rid of the notion of having a featured article dictator, and eliminate "in the news" et. al. from the main page, I don't think it is appropriate to protect it. We're supposed to be a wiki. But whatever, I suspect I've already lost this fight. anthony 警告 19:20, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I was unable to fix a problem in today's featured article, because it's protected. I don't have the energy to ask for unprotection every time I want to edit something, so I'll just leave it unedited. I don not believe that this is good for the wiki. (Today's problem is that the Thomas Jefferson image has too much alt text, and some browsers don't wrap alt text, so the column ends up being too wide. There will be a different problem soon, and I won't be able to fix that either.) —AlanBarrett 10:27, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Yes: protect templates and images used on the main page

  • Yes. Considering the number of main page lookups and its role as the outward face, I think minutes of unreverted vandalism may be far worse than hours of uncorrected typos or even factual errors. --Eddi 18:28 + 20:09, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes -- but there needs to be a clearly labeled line of notification to whomever can fix things which are broken, somehow. Baylink 18:32, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. It was nice that any user could update the main page as necessary, but some vandals have caught on, and some, like 33451 and his numerous sockpuppets, seem to take a positive delight in vandalizing the main page. We can't have mud (or goatse pictures, or blather about AppleWorks hackers :) all over our public face. —No-One Jones (m) 20:41, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes, protect. [[User:Sam Spade|Vote Sam Spade for Arbiter!]] 22:03, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. We've already been pseudo-protecting the main page, but that wasn't going to stop slightly more determined vandals; now let's make that protection a little more real. Lowellian (talk)[[]] 22:21, Nov 17, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. Filiocht 08:38, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. the 'anyone can edit' doctrine is most useful for neglected articles. Stuff on the main page is well cared for anyway (of course, unprotect after it's not on the main page anymore). possibly, protect images only (impact of vandalised images can be much more severe than vandalised text/layout) dab 09:16, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. Vandalism on the Main Page is unacceptable; there's no point protecting the Main Page itself while leaving the transcluded content open to vandalism. -- ChrisO 10:26, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes, but... we need some way for non-admin users to be able to contribute to these pages. Perhaps we should have a convention whereby "temp" or "pending" versions which can be altered by anyone, with admins acting as servants to the community by copying all but vandalistic content to the protected pages? -- The Anome 10:40, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes - it was just a matter of time till vandals grasp how templates work and how to abuse them to modify a protected page. andy 12:13, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes unfortunate, since we should be open, but sadly it has come to this Sayeth 21:17, Nov 18, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes, alas, it must be done. The Main Page is the face of Wikipedia and must be pristine. Lord Bob 04:04, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. We now have a responsibility to our readers. When we began using templates on the main page, I was concerned that vandalism would result and was surprised when it didn't. I believe we should protect the page, and work on our "no big deal" policy regarding adminship. The ability to edit the main page was for some time considered one of the major perks of adminship. The Uninvited Co., Inc. 13:48, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. It's simple enough to have enough admins to do this. At the very least, it would be nice to limit editing those templates to users who are logged in. --Sketchee 20:38, Nov 27, 2004 (UTC)
  • Yes. I don't consider it unfortunate at all that we protect the main page, site templates, and images used. --Improv 06:01, 30 Nov 2004 (UTC)

No: don't protect templates and images used on the main page

  • No - the advantages of anyone being able to update it outweigh the disadvantages. However, there does need to be a clear way of being able to get people to fix vandalism like yesterday quickly... --Frankie Roberto 20:08, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • No, certainly not! Vandalism of templates and images used on the main page typically gets reverted within minutes, and that's good enough. Ordinary users should be able to update things like "Did you know" and "In the news". —AlanBarrett 16:34, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • Not unless you get rid of "Did you know" and "In the news", and make the featured article chosen by consensus. anthony 警告 19:15, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
    • But if someone changes those images, they're smaller and less noticable. Not to say I'd want the old goat in those spot, just that it wouldn't be as scandalous. Plus, Raul's write-up for the featured should stand as is, because (though I hate that he has) he has the final say on which article goes up which day, and he usually does a pretty decently edited teaser for the article. There's no real reason to touch the whole thing. -- user:zanimum
      • The reason to touch the whole thing is that we are a wiki. No single person should be in charge of any page. We should only be protecting pages when we are legally required to (the GFDL license, Wikipedia:Copyrights). anthony 警告 03:44, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • No what's next, protecting popular pages? The reversion times for the main page are quick enough. I'd support some kind of temporary version system though. BrokenSegue 02:38, 19 Nov 2004 (UTC) changed my mind BrokenSegue 21:09, 30 Jan 2005 (UTC)
  • No We should not protect the main page!! We shouldn't give in to vandals!!! Gkhan 15:19, Nov 20, 2004 (UTC)
  • No. Most vandals are too stupid to know how to vandalize templates anyways :). Besides, when vandalism does occur on the main page templates, it's usually reverted quite fast (I, for one, keep all templates on my watchlist). Also agree with points made above. -[[User:Frazzydee|Frazzydee|]] 15:54, 21 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • No. — Matt 04:15, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • No. This gives vandals more credit than they should receive, it implies that this vandalism actually affects our main page considerably and that it is something we cannot easily undo. Both are not true, we have ways to revert quickly and the amount of people affected is thus negliable. It also turns our highly dynamic WIKI front page into a static conventional one. The only problem arises on images, the problem is in the caching, when you revert the image, the older version seems to keep "hanging around" in some way, therefore I think we should protect FP images ONLY. -- [[User:Solitude|Solitude\talk]] 13:01, Nov 22, 2004 (UTC)
  • No on templates. Trust the wiki. A somewhat reluctant yes on protecting images while they're on the main page; the image caching issues can leave egg on our face long after they've supposedly been "fixed", and images can be more searingly offensive than anything in text. [[User:CatherineMunro|Catherine\talk]] 20:40, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • No -- Taku 05:35, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)
  • No. We shouldn't give the vandals the satisfaction. However, it might be a good idea to temporarily protect pictures on the main page because of the cache issue. [[User:MacGyverMagic|Mgm|(talk)]] 16:06, Nov 25, 2004 (UTC)
  • No. No good without the bad. If caching issues need to be fixed, fix them, but don't pull in protection as a stopgap mechanism. I don't care about vandal satisfaction; that's the kind of "the terrorists will have won" argument I consider neither here nor there. I do care about our public image: we are a wiki. And wikis sometimes have their public images harmed by vandalism, which is subsequently reverted by the loving, caring community you could be a part of! (Get the idea? :-) JRM 11:47, 2004 Nov 26 (UTC)
  • No. This won't stop vandalism. The vandals will just get more clever. They will find a way around the protection. Protecting the main page will only make the main page worse, as people without admin powers (like me), will not be able to edit it. Norman Rogers 22:50, 29 Nov 2004 (UTC)


  • Could we not just have all images protected from reuploading, and just have a reupload process, that just like feature or deletion listings (but just like 2 days or something), and from there sysops can replace. -- user:zanimum
    • I suspect this would take a lot more work than a quick daily protect of images used on the main page. It would also discourage the improvement of images that happens regularly now, and encourage forking of images (which I dislike because it obscures the image history) -- sannse (talk) 22:19, 17 Nov 2004 (UTC)
      • Agreed. Anyone who cannot upgrade an image because it is on the main page can just check back after 30 hours - or bug an active sysop by email/irc/etc, which still ends up being less bother for everyone. Pakaran (ark a pan) 18:27, 18 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • If becoming an admin was no big deal, then anybody who wanted to edit protected pages could just become an admin, and it would be OK for many more pages to be protected. However, despite the policy that it should be no big deal, becoming an admin is a big deal in reality, so there should be few protected pages. —AlanBarrett 18:47, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)
  • If there was an "edit protected pages" capability, that was distinct from adminship, and if it was no big deal to get that capability, then it would be OK for there to be more protected pages. —AlanBarrett 18:47, 27 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Refusal to discuss a dispute on a talk page

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I'm wondering if the refusal of another user to discuss a dispute on talk is considered a valid reason to unprotect a page? If not, couldn't the protection last indefinitely? Everyking 23:36, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Since the page in question seems likely to go into mediation soon, and it would remain protected through mediation, I wouldn't worry too much. Snowspinner 01:02, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)
Well, I'm worried about it just the same. It ought to be unprotected, and you're the one who has to account for ever protecting it to begin with. Everyking 10:24, 3 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Indefinite protects on articles are a bad thing. I'd say get it unprotected so others who aren't involved in the dispute can edit it again. It can always be reprotected if repeated revertion starts. However, I'm not sure whether it's an appropriate thing to do while the page is in mediation. [[User:MacGyverMagic|Mgm|(talk)]] 10:33, Dec 3, 2004 (UTC)

Unprotection policy?

This is a serious question, what is the unprotection policy? I ask because it is specifically against wikipedia policy for an admin to protect a page that they are actively involved in. Does this policy apply to unprotection also? Mrfixter 22:05, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

There isn't a definitive answer to that question, nor is there a clearcut unprotection policy. Because long-term protection is generally considered undesirable, there's not much reason for policies saying "Thou shalt not unprotect". Also, because the disputes that lead to protection differ in nature, it's difficult to establish guidelines for unprotection that are any better than case-by-case judgment.
In some situations, it may be bad form for an involved admin to unprotect a page, especially if they immediately revert to their preferred version. However, unless they are manipulating the situation to get the article reprotected on that version, it doesn't seem like that serious an offense because it hasn't interfered with anyone else's ability to edit the page as well. --Michael Snow 00:16, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Right. Well, I think there should be clear unprotection policy. I think the same rules of protection should apply to unprotection. At the the moment it seems like a loophole that admins can unprotect pages they have been invloved with but cant protect them. The decision to protect and unprotect are both controversial, and the admin making that tough decision should be as free as possible from all allegations of bias. --Mrfixter 14:46, 16 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Does this page still need to be listed on RFC? Maurreen 05:56, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm removing this from RFC. Maurreen 06:48, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

"ownership" of protects

I have the impression that there is an informal consensus that the admin who imposed a protection "owns" that protect. Is this (a) true and (b) reasonable?