Administrators can protect pages and unprotect pages. Full protection of a page or image means that a non-admin cannot modify it.
The majority of pages on the wiki should remain publicly editable, and not protected. Pages may, however, be temporarily or permanently protected for legal reasons (for example, license texts should not be changed) or in cases of extreme vandalism or edit warring.
There are two kinds of protection:
- Full protection disables editing for everyone except other administrators.
- Semi-protection disables editing from IP addresses and accounts less than four days old.
All protections and unprotections are automatically logged in the protection log.
- Pages with very high traffic (such as the Main Page).
- Maintaining the integrity of the site's logo and favicon.
- Protecting the interface and system messages in the MediaWiki namespace. (These are protected automatically.)
- Talk pages of blocked users, if they abuse the ability to appeal their block.
- Templates that have a great potential for vandalism through their inclusion on many pages.
- Editing disputes
- Persistent vandalism by registered users.
Indefinite semi-protection may be used for:
- All templates and images transcluded in the Main Page
- User pages when requested by the user
- Talkpages of AutoWikiBrowser bot accounts (see discussion)
Temporary semi-protection may be used for:
- Articles, talk pages, and images that are persistently vandalised by multiple users
There is no need to protect personal .css and .js pages such as "user/monobook.css" or "user/cologneblue.js". Only the accounts associated with these pages are able to edit them. (For more information on using these pages, see Help:User style.)
By consensus, the Data (discussion), Update (discussion), and Exchange (discussion) namespaces are protected. The Data and Exchange namespaces can only be edited by users in the sysop, rollback, custodian, or bot usergroups. The Update namespace is indefinitely semi-protected.
Any administrator may unprotect any page after a reasonable period has lapsed, particularly a few days. Protection can also expire automatically if an expiry time is specified by the protecting administrator.
- Protecting pages pre-emptively is generally discouraged. Only protect when there is persistent vandalism coming from many IPs/accounts, or if there is an on-going edit war that is showing no signs of cooling down. Blocks should be used instead of protection whenever possible.
- Do not edit protected pages that are subject to dispute except to add a notice explaining the page's protection.
- Do not protect a page you are involved in a dispute over. Administrative rights are not editor privileges – administrators should only act as servants to the user community at large.
- Avoid favouring one version of the article over another, unless one version is factually incorrect or vandalism.
- Temporarily protected pages should generally not be left as such for very long. Expiry times should usually be used in these cases.
- Talk and user talk pages are not to be protected except in extreme circumstances. An exception applies to user talk pages for banned users that are being persistently abused.
- Protection is not an endorsement of the protected version. Do not edit a page protected in a dispute to change it to another version.
- To maintain the open nature of the wiki format, protection should be used sparingly. Always consider other options, such as blocks and dispute resolution, before resorting to protection. Whenever possible, use an expiry time to keep the page protected for as little time as possible.