WikiEducator:Policy for page protection

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Workgroup to propose policies and guidelines for WE Administrators

Project Home/Charter  |  Meetings  |  Workgroup report  |  LANDING PAGE - Policies and guidelines

Draft Policies

WE Admin page | Selection of Admins | Policy for page deletions | Policy for page protection | Policy for blocking users

Draft Guidelines

Page deletion guidelines | Guidelines for Blocking users  | Guidelines for protecting pages

Also see & edit Consensus Policy (Draft under development) of inter-group interest


Page protection is a mediawiki tool to ensure that the wiki pages that acquired general approval in the related wiki community or within a group that develop/developed such pages are not edited without discussing the changes and arriving at consensus with the active editors/menders of such pages.

Since WikiEducators develop OER for both formal and non-formal sectors of education and the content is expected to be used/adopted by academic bodies and other educators, a judicious use of page protection feature will increase the reliability of the content.

Administrators can protect a page to restrict editing or moving of that page, and remove such protection. The protection may be indefinite, or expire after a specified time.

Types of page protection

  • Full protection prevents editing by everyone except administrators. Fully protected media files cannot be overwritten by new uploads.
  • Semi-protection prevents editing by unregistered contributions and contributors with accounts which are not autoconfirmed.
  • Creation protection prevents a previously deleted page from being recreated.
  • Move protection protects the page solely from moves.

Full protection

A fully protected page can be edited only by administrators. The protection may be for a specified time, such as 7 or 14 days, or may be indefinite. The edit tab for a protected page is replaced by a "view source" tab, where users can view and copy, but not edit, the wikitext of that page. Administrators still have an edit tab, but the edit box is shaded red with a warning above it.

Any modification to a fully protected page should be proposed on its talk page (or in another appropriate forum). After consensus has been established for the change, or if the change is uncontroversial, any administrator may make the necessary edits to the protected page. To draw administrators' attention to a request for an edit to a protected page, place suitable template (to be developed) on the talk page.

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.

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 and copyright violations. 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.

Administrators should not protect or unprotect a page to further their own position in a content dispute.


Pre-emptive full protection of articles is contrary to the open nature of WikiEducator. 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 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 suitable 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.

Talk-page protection

MediaWiki now supports disabling users editing their own talk pages when blocking. And it does not prevent other users from editing the page for typos etc).

Administrators may fully protect the user talk page of a blocked user if the page is being used for continued inappropriate editing by sock puppet accounts of the blocked user.

Office actions

Pages may be protected by OER 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 OER Foundation staff.


Semi-protection prevents edits from anonymous users (IP addresses), as well as edits from accounts that are not autoconfirmed . Such users can request edits to a semi-protected page by proposing them on its talk page.

Administrators may apply indefinite semi-protection to pages which are subject to heavy and persistent vandalism or violations of content policy. Semi-protection should not be used as a pre-emptive measure against vandalism that has not yet occurred, nor should it be used solely to prevent editing by anonymous and newly registered users.

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 where all parties involved are anonymous or new editors (i.e., in cases in which full-protection would otherwise be applied). This does not apply when autoconfirmed users are involved.
  • Article discussion pages, when they have been subject to persistent disruption. Such protection should be used sparingly because it prevents anonymous and newly registered users from participating in discussions. A page and its talk page should not both be protected at the same time.
  • Talk pages of blocked IP addresses that are being used for continued inappropriate editing, or continued uncivil or offensive remarks. The protection should be timed so as to not exceed the length of the block. Although administrators may also choose to change the block settings to block the user from editing their talk page instead, since there is no need to synchronize the block period with the page protection time period with this method.

User pages

User pages and subpages are protected at the user's request if there is evidence of vandalism or disruption. User talk pages are rarely protected, and are semi-protected for short durations only in the most severe cases of vandalism from IP users.

Deceased users

In the event of the confirmed death of a user, their user page, but not their talk page, should be fully protected.

Creation protection

Administrators can also prevent the creation of a page through the protection interface. This is useful for articles that have been deleted but repeatedly recreated by an editor. Such protection is case-sensitive. A list of protected titles may be found at Special:Protectedtitles.

Administrators should avoid using creation protection as a pre-emptive measure, as it is intended to be a response to actual events. Pre-emptive restrictions on new article titles should be 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. As with deletions in general, the matter can also be resolved through the deletion review process.

Permanent protection

Some areas of WikiEducator are permanently protected by the MediaWiki software. The MediaWiki namespace, which defines parts of the site interface, is fully protected; administrators cannot remove this protection. In addition, user CSS and JavaScript pages, 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 the hard-coded protection, the following are usually permanently protected:

  • Pages that are very visible, such as the Main Page.
  • Pages that should not be modified for copyright or legal reasons, such as the general disclaimer or the licensing policy.
  • Pages that are very frequently transcluded, to prevent vandalism or denial of service attacks. This includes images or templates used in other highly visible or frequently transcluded pages.

Move protection

Move-protected pages cannot be moved to a new title except by an administrator. Move protection is commonly applied to:

  • Pages subject to persistent page-move vandalism.
  • Pages subject to a page-name dispute.
  • Visible pages that have no reason to be moved, such as the Administrators' noticeboard.

Fully protected pages are also move-protected.

As with full protection, administrators should avoid favoring one name over another, and protection should not be considered an endorsement of the current name. An obvious exception to this rule is when pages are protected due to page move vandalism.

Other notes

Cascading protection

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. Cascading protection should be used only to prevent vandalism to particularly visible pages such as the Main Page.

Cascading protection is available only for fully protected pages; it is disabled for semi-protected pages as it represents a security flaw.

Cascading protection is not instantaneous; it may be several hours before it takes effect.

Procedure for page protection

  1. Any type of protection or unprotection may be requested at WikiEducator:Requests for page protection.
  2. Changes to a protected page should be proposed on the corresponding talk page, and carried out if they are uncontroversial or if there is consensus for them. A log of protections and unprotections is available at Special:Log/protect.

Except in the case of office actions, 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.

Admin Workgroup Meeting (Asynchronous), Second Session, from 0001 UTC on 5 August 2009 to 2400 UTC on 7 September 2009