Administrators can protect and unprotect pages. 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 indefinitely protected for legal reasons (for example, license texts should not be changed), or in cases of extreme vandalism or edit warring.
There are three kinds of protection:
- Full protection disables editing for everyone except other administrators.
- Established protection disables editing from users who are not established.
- Semi-protection disables editing from IP addresses and users that are not autoconfirmed.
All protections and unprotections are automatically logged in the protection log.
These are the common reasons for when a page merits full protection:
- Protecting important pages that non-admins should never need to edit, such as the main page on large wikis.
- Maintaining the integrity of the site's logo and favicon.
- Protecting the interface and system messages in the MediaWiki namespace (these are protected automatically).
- Deleted pages that are continually recreated.
- Stopping a full blown edit war between multiple established users, with the protection being removed once the discussion over the disputed content is resolved.
Indefinite established protection is typically used for:
- Protecting articles that are too advanced for the typical newer user to edit properly.
Temporary established protection is typically used for:
- Preventing users from working around autoconfirmation to push their agendas or make unwanted edits via sockpuppeting.
- When a persistent block-evading vandal targets a specific page with autoconfirmed accounts.
Indefinite semi-protection is typically used for:
- High traffic articles about a particularly contentious subject that tend to constantly attract nonconstructive or outright bad faith edits from new and unregistered users.
- Any article on the wiki that new and unregistered users should never have a reason to edit, such as the wiki's policy pages.
- Any other article that requires some substantial degree of expertise to constructively edit, but not so much as to require established protection.
- Articles about unreleased content that are heavily prone to speculation and other such nonconstructive edits, though such protection should be removed shortly after the content's release.
Temporary semi-protection is typically used for:
- A page or image that has been a recent target of persistent vandalism or other persistent nonconstructive edits by new and unregistered users.
- To stop edit warring by multiple new and unregistered users.
- When a page is being brigaded from outside the wiki.
If a page was protected indefinitely or excessively long over a temporary issue, admins should unprotect the page when the issue has passed. If a page was protected indefinitely with permanent intention and an admin thinks it should no longer be protected, they should discuss with the other admins before unprotecting the page.
- Do not unnecessarily protect pages, there should be a real pressing need to prevent people from being able to edit the page. For example, do not protect a page simply because it got vandalized once.
- Of particular note, admins should not protect their own user pages just for the sake of preventing others from editing them. Other users do not have the privilege of their user pages being locked from editing by anyone but themselves, admins do not exclusively deserve that privilege either.
- Admins should not protect a page they are directly involved in an editing dispute over. Admin powers are not editor privileges - admins should only use their powers to help assist the positive growth of the project.
- When pages are protected over edit warring, it should not be edited aside from basic maintenance until the editing dispute is resolved on the talk page.
- Temporarily protected pages should not be left protected for very long; generally a month or two is enough over extensive vandalism, and any protection length upwards of a year or more is probably excessive. Admins should additionally avoid applying an indefinite protection length unless the page really merits being protected permanently for the foreseeable future. Otherwise, pages indefinitely protected over temporary issues tend to be forgotten about, and then end up remaining unnecessarily protected long after the reason for initially protecting them has passed.
- Talk pages of any sort should generally never be protected, except in extreme circumstances (such as a user being persistently harassed on their talk page by another block-evading user).