Wikipedia:Protection policy

Page semi-protected
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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This page documents the protection policy on Wikipedia.
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make a request to protect or unprotect a page see
open an edit warring report
Protection icons
Icon Mode
White padlock White Pending changes protected
Silver padlock Silver Semi-protected
Dark blue padlock Blue Extended confirmed protected
Pink padlock Pink Template-protected
Gold padlock Gold Fully protected
Brown padlock Red Interface protected
Green padlock Green Move protected
Blue padlock Skyblue Create protected
Purple padlock Purple Upload protected
Turquoise padlock Turquoise Cascade protected
Black padlock Black Protected by Office

In some circumstances, pages may need to be protected from modification by certain groups of editors. Pages are protected when there is disruption that cannot be prevented through other means such as

anyone can edit
and therefore aims to have as many pages as possible open for public editing so that anyone can add material and correct errors. This policy states in detail the protection types and procedures for page protection and unprotection and when each protection should and should not be applied.

Protection is a technical restriction applied only by

) of the page can still be viewed and copied by anyone.

A protected page is marked at its top right by a padlock icon, usually added by the {{

}} template.

Preemptive protection

Applying page protection solely as a preemptive measure is contrary to the open nature of Wikipedia and is generally not allowed. Instead, protection is used when vandalism, disruption, or abuse is occurring by multiple users and at a frequency that warrants protection. The duration of protection should be as short as possible and at the lowest protection level sufficient to stop the disruption, allowing edits from as many productive users as possible.

Exceptions include the Main Page, along with its templates and images, which are indefinitely fully protected. Additionally, Today's Featured Article is typically semi-protected from the day before its scheduled appearance on the Main Page until the day after it leaves.

Requesting protection

Protection types

The following protection types are available to administrators for protecting different actions to pages:

  • Edit protection protects the page from being edited.
  • moved or renamed
  • Creation protection prevents a page from being created (also known as "salting").
  • uploaded
    , but it does not prevent editing of the file's description page (unless edit protection is applied).

Protection levels

The following protection levels are available to administrators for adding protection to the different actions to pages:

  • Pending changes protection (only available for edit protection) requires any edits made to the page by unregistered users and accounts that are not confirmed to be approved by a pending changes reviewer or an administrator before the changes become visible to readers who are not logged in.
  • Semi-protection prevents the action by unregistered users and users with accounts that are not confirmed.
  • Extended confirmed protection, previously known as 30/500 protection, prevents the action if the user's account is not extended confirmed (at least 30 days old with more than 500 edits). In most cases, it should not be a protection level of first resort, and should be used where semi-protection has proven to be ineffective. Activation or application of this protection level is logged at the
    Administrators' noticeboard
  • Template protection prevents the action by everyone except template editors and administrators (who have this right as part of their toolset).
  • Full protection prevents the action by everyone except administrators.

Submitting requests

Any of the above protections can be requested at

edit request. From there, if the requested changes are uncontroversial or if there is consensus
for them, the changes can be carried out by a user who can edit the page.

Requests for unprotection. Note that such requests will normally be declined if the protecting administrator is active and was not consulted first. A log of protections and unprotections is available at Special:Log/protect

Comparison table

Interaction of Wikipedia user groups and page protection levels
  Unregistered or newly registered Confirmed or autoconfirmed Extended confirmed Template editor Admin Interface admin Appropriate for
No protection Normal editing The vast majority of pages. This is the default protection level.
Pending changes All users can edit
Edits by unregistered or new editors (and any subsequent edits by anyone) are hidden from readers who are not logged in, until reviewed by a pending changes reviewer or admin. Logged-in editors see all edits, whether accepted or not.
Infrequently edited pages with high levels of vandalism,
violations, edit-warring, or other disruption from unregistered and new users.
Semi Cannot edit Normal editing Pages that have been persistently vandalized by anonymous and registered users. Some highly visible templates and modules.
Extended confirmed Cannot edit Normal editing* Specific topic areas authorized by ArbCom, pages where semi-protection has failed, or high-risk templates where template protection would be too restrictive.
Template Cannot edit Normal editing High-risk or very-frequently used templates and modules. Some high-risk pages outside of template space.
Full Cannot edit Normal editing Pages with persistent disruption from extended confirmed accounts. Critical templates and modules.
Interface Cannot edit Normal editing Scripts, stylesheets, and similar objects central to operation of the site or that are in other editors' user spaces.
* In order to edit through extended confirmed protection, a template editor must also be extended confirmed, but in practice this is almost always the case.
Other modes of protection:

Protection levels

Each of these levels is explained in the context of edit protection, but each can be applied to other types of protection except for pending changes.

Pending changes protection

White padlock

Pending changes protection allows unregistered and new users to edit pages, while keeping their edits hidden from most readers (specifically, unregistered editors – the vast majority of visitors to Wikipedia articles) until those changes are accepted by a

pending changes reviewer or administrator. An alternative to semi-protection, it is used to suppress vandalism
and certain other persistent problems while allowing all users to continue to submit edits. Pending changes is technically implemented as a separate option, with its own duration, and it yields to other edit protection levels in cases of overlap.

When a page under pending changes protection is edited by an

unregistered (IP addresses) editor or a new user, the edit is not directly visible to the majority of Wikipedia readers, until it is reviewed and accepted by an editor with the pending changes reviewer right. When a page under pending changes protection is edited by an autoconfirmed user
, the edit will be immediately visible to Wikipedia readers, unless there are pending edits waiting to be reviewed.

Pending changes are visible in the page history, where they are marked as pending review. Readers who are not logged in (the vast majority of readers) are shown the latest accepted version of the page; logged-in users see the latest version of the page, with all changes (reviewed or not) applied. When editors who are not reviewers make changes to an article with unreviewed pending changes, their edits are also marked as pending and are not visible to most readers.

A user who clicks "edit this page" is always, at that point, shown the latest version of the page for editing regardless of whether the user is logged in or not.

Reviewing of pending changes should be resolved within reasonable time limits.

When to apply pending changes protection

Pending changes can be used to protect articles against:

Pending changes protection should not be used as a preemptive measure against violations that have not yet occurred. Like semi-protection, PC protection should never be used in genuine content disputes, where there is a risk of placing a particular group of editors (unregistered users) at a disadvantage. Pending changes protection should not be used on articles with a very high edit rate, even if they meet the aforementioned criteria. Instead, semi-protection should be considered.

In addition, administrators may apply temporary pending changes protection on pages that are subject to significant but temporary vandalism or disruption (for example, due to media attention) when blocking individual users is not a feasible option. As with other forms of protection, the time frame of the protection should be proportional to the problem. Indefinite PC protection should be used only in cases of severe long-term disruption.

Removal of pending changes protection can be requested of any administrator, or at

requests for unprotection

The reviewing process is described in detail at Wikipedia:Reviewing pending changes.


Silver padlock

Semi-protected pages like this page cannot be edited by

biographies of living persons who have had a recent high level of media interest. An alternative to semi-protection is pending changes
, which is sometimes favored when an article is being vandalized regularly, but otherwise receives a low amount of editing.

Such users can request edits to a semi-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{

Wikipedia:Requests for page protection instead. New users may also request the confirmed user right at Wikipedia:Requests for permissions/Confirmed

Guidance for administrators

Semi-protection should not be used as a preemptive measure against vandalism that has not yet occurred or to privilege registered users over unregistered users in (valid) content disputes.

Administrators may apply temporary semi-protection on pages that are:

  • Subject to significant but temporary vandalism or disruption (for example, due to media attention) if blocking individual users is not a feasible option.
  • Subject to edit warring if all parties involved are unregistered or new editors. This does not apply when autoconfirmed users are involved.
  • Subject to
    dynamic IP
    allocation, or other address-changing schemes.
  • Article discussion pages, if they have been subject to persistent disruption. Such protection should be used sparingly because it prevents unregistered and newly registered users from participating in discussions.
  • Protection should be used sparingly on the talk pages of blocked users, including IP addresses. Instead the user should be re-blocked with talk page editing disallowed. When required, or when re-blocking without talk page editing allowed is unsuccessful, protection should be implemented for only a brief period not exceeding the duration of the block.

In addition, administrators may apply indefinite semi-protection to pages that are subject to heavy and persistent vandalism or violations of content policy (such as biographies of living persons, neutral point of view).

A page and its talk page should not normally be protected at the same time. In exceptional cases, if a page and its talk page are both protected, the talk page should direct affected editors to

Wikipedia:Request for edit
through the use of a non-iconified page protection template, to ensure that no editor is entirely prevented from contributing.

Today's featured article is, since 2023, always semi-protected. This was historically not the case, however.

Extended confirmed protection

Dark blue padlock

Extended confirmed protection, previously known as 30/500 protection, allows edits only by editors with the

. Extended confirmed is automatically granted to users with accounts at least 30 days old when they make their 501st edit.

As escalation from semi-protection

Where semi-protection has proven to be ineffective, administrators may use extended confirmed protection to combat disruption (such as

edit wars, etc.) on any topic.[1] Extended confirmed protection should not be used as a preemptive measure against disruption that has not yet occurred, nor should it be used to privilege extended confirmed users over unregistered/new users in valid content disputes (except as general sanction enforcement; see below).[2]

Contentious topics

When necessary to prevent disruption in

designated contentious topic areas, administrators are authorized to make protections at any level. (This is distinct from the extended confirmed restriction below.) Some community-authorized discretionary sanctions
grant similar authorizations.

Extended confirmed restriction

Some topic areas are under Arbitration Committee extended confirmed restriction as a general sanction.[3] When such a restriction is in effect in a topic area, only extended-confirmed users may make edits related to the topic area. Enforcement of the restriction on articles primarily in the topic area is preferably done with extended confirmed protection, but it's not required (other enforcement methods are outlined in the policy). As always, review the policy before enforcing it.

Community general sanctions, applying a similar extended confirmed restriction, have also been authorized by the community.

General sanctions has a list of the active general sanctions that incorporate the extended confirmed restriction.

Other cases

High-risk templates can be extended-confirmed protected at administrator discretion when template protection would be too restrictive and semi-protection would be ineffective to stop widespread disruption.[4]

Extended confirmed protection can be applied at the discretion of an administrator when creation-protecting a page.[2]

Logging and edit requests

As of September 23, 2016, a bot posts a notification in a subsection of AN when this protection level is used.[5] Any protection made as arbitration enforcement must be logged at Wikipedia:Arbitration enforcement log. Community-authorized discretionary sanctions must be logged on a page specific to the topic area. A full list of the 7770 pages under extended confirmed protection can be found here.

Users can request edits to an extended confirmed-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{Edit extended-protected}} template if necessary to gain attention.

Full protection

Gold padlock

A fully protected page cannot be edited or moved by anyone except administrators.

Modifications to a fully protected page can be proposed on its talk page (or at another appropriate forum) for discussion. Administrators can make changes to the protected article reflecting consensus. Placing the {{Edit fully-protected}} template on the talk page will draw the attention of administrators for implementing uncontroversial changes.

Content disputes

While content disputes and

uninvolved administrators, allowing normal page editing by other editors at the same time, the protection policy provides an alternative approach as administrators have the discretion to temporarily fully protect an article to end an ongoing edit war. This approach may better suit multi-party disputes and contentious content, as it makes talk page consensus a requirement for implementation of requested edits

When protecting a page because of a content dispute, administrators have a duty to avoid protecting a version that contains policy-violating content, such as

, or pre-edit-war version.

Fully protected pages may not be edited except to make changes that are uncontroversial or for which there is clear consensus. Editors convinced that the protected version of an article contains policy-violating content, or that protection has rewarded edit warring or disruption by establishing a contentious revision, may identify a stable version prior to the edit war and request reversion to that version. Before making such a request, editors should consider how independent editors might view the suggestion and recognize that continuing an edit war is grounds for being blocked.

Administrators who have made substantive content changes to an article are considered

and must not use their advanced permissions to further their own positions. When involved in a dispute, it is almost always wisest to respect the editing policies that bind all editors and call for input from an uninvolved administrator, rather than to invite controversy by acting unilaterally.

"History only" review

If a deleted page is going through

restore the page, blank it or replace the contents with {{Temporarily undeleted}} template or a similar notice, and fully protect the page to prevent further editing. The previous contents of the page are then accessible to everyone via the page history

Protected generic file names

Generic file names such as File:Photo.jpg, File:Example.jpg, File:Map.jpg, and File:Sound.wav are fully protected to prevent new versions from being uploaded. Furthermore, File:Map.jpg and File:Sound.wav are salted.

Template protection

Pink padlock

A template-protected page can be edited only by administrators or users in the Template editors group. This protection level should be used almost exclusively on

. In cases where pages in other namespaces become transcluded to a very high degree, this protection level is also valid.

This is a protection level

extended confirmed protection or lower can be applied to high risk templates that the general editing community still needs to edit regularly. A full list of the pages under template protection can be found here

Editors may request edits to a template-protected page by proposing them on its talk page, using the {{Edit template-protected}} template if necessary to gain attention.

Protection types

Edit protection

Edit protection restricts editing of a page, often due to vandalism or disputes, ensuring only experienced users can make changes (see above for more information).

Creation protection (salting)

Blue padlock

Administrators can prevent the creation of pages. This type of protection is useful for pages that have been

historical lists

Preemptive restrictions on new article titles are 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". Editors wishing to re-create a salted title with appropriate content should either contact an administrator (preferably the protecting administrator), file a request at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection § Current requests for reduction in protection level, or use the deletion review process. To make a convincing case for re-creation, it is helpful to show a draft version of the intended article when filing a request.

Create protection of any duration may be applied to pages being repeatedly recreated in violation of policy using the lowest protection level sufficient to stop the disruption (autoconfirmed, extended-confirmed,

; thus, semi-creation protection should be used only for protection of pages outside of mainspace.

While creation-protection is usually permanent, temporary creation protection can be applied if a page is repeatedly recreated by a single user (or

of that user, if applicable).

Move protection

Green padlock

Move-protected pages, or more technically, fully move-protected pages, cannot be moved to a new title except by an administrator. Move protection is commonly applied to:

Move protection of any duration may be applied to pages being repeatedly moved in violation of policy using the lowest protection level sufficient to stop the disruption (extended-confirmed or full). Due to the implementation of

, non-confirmed editors cannot move pages so semi-move protection has no effect.

Fully edit-protected pages are also implicitly move-protected.

As with full edit protection, protection because of edit warring should not be considered an endorsement of the current name. When move protection is applied during a requested move discussion, the page should be protected at the location it was at when the move request was started.


categories are implicitly move-protected, requiring file movers or administrators to rename files, and page movers
or administrators to rename categories.

Upload protection

Purple padlock

Upload-protected files, or more technically, fully upload-protected files, cannot be replaced with new versions except by an administrator. Upload protection does not protect file pages from editing. It can be applied by an administrator to:

  • Files subject to persistent upload vandalism.
  • Files subject to a dispute between editors.
  • Files that should not be replaced, such as images used in the interface or transcluded to the main page.
  • Files with common or generic names. (e.g., File:Map.png)

As with full edit protection, administrators should avoid favoring one version over another, and protection should not be considered an endorsement of the current version. An exception to this rule is when they are protected due to upload vandalism.

Uncommon protections

Cascading protection

Turquoise padlock

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. This includes templates, images and other media that are hosted on the English Wikipedia. Files stored on Commons are not protected by any other wiki's cascading protection and, if they are to be protected, must be either temporarily uploaded to the English Wikipedia or explicitly protected at Commons (whether manually or through cascading protection there). When operational, KrinkleBot cascade-protects Commons files transcluded at Wikipedia:Main Page/Tomorrow, Wikipedia:Main Page/Commons media protection and Main Page. As the bot's response time varies, media should not be transcluded on the main page (or its constituent templates) until after it has been protected. (This is particularly relevant to Template:In the news, for which upcoming images are not queued at Wikipedia:Main Page/Tomorrow
.) Cascading protection:

The list of cascading-protected pages can be found at Wikipedia:Cascade-protected items. Requests to add or remove cascading protection on a page should be made at Wikipedia talk:Cascade-protected items as an edit request.

Permanent protection

Brown padlock
Icon for pages that can be edited only by interface administrators

Administrators cannot change or remove the protection for some areas on Wikipedia, which are permanently protected by the MediaWiki software:

  • Edits to the
    interface administrators
    • Edits to system-wide CSS and JavaScript pages such as
      interface administrators
  • Edits to personal CSS and JavaScript pages such as
    interface administrators
    . Interface administrators may edit these pages, for example, to remove a user script that has been used inappropriately. Administrators may delete (but not edit or restore) these pages.
  • Edits to personal JSON pages such as User:Example/data.json are restricted to the associated user and administrators.

Such protection is called permanent or indefinite protection, and interface protection in the case of CSS and JavaScript pages.

In addition to hard-coded protection, the following are usually fully protected for an indefinite period of time (though not necessarily with interface protection):

Office actions

Black padlock

As outlined in Foundation:Policy:Office actions § Use of advanced rights by Foundation staff, pages can be protected by Wikimedia Foundation staff in response to issues such as copyright infringement or libel. Such actions override community consensus. Administrators should not edit or unprotect such pages without permission from Wikimedia Foundation staff.[7]

Retired protections


Superprotect was a level of protection,[8] allowing editing only by Wikimedia Foundation employees who were in the Staff global group. It was implemented on August 10, 2014 and removed on November 5, 2015. It was never used on the English Wikipedia.

For several years, the Gadget namespace (which no longer exists) could only be edited by WMF staff, which has sometimes been referred to as superprotection even though it is unrelated to the above use.

Cascading semi-protection

Cascading semi-protection was formerly possible, but it was disabled in 2007 after users noticed that non-administrators could fully protect any page by transcluding it onto the page to which cascading semi-protection had been applied by an administrator.

Pending changes protection level 2

Orange padlock

Originally, two levels of pending changes protection existed, where level 2 required edits by all users who are not pending changes reviewers to be reviewed. Following a community discussion, level 2 was retired from the English Wikipedia in January 2017. It was suggested then that "Pending changes level 1" be referred to in the future as simply "Pending changes".[9]

Protection by namespace

Article talk pages

Modifications to a protected page can be proposed on its

Edit protected
}} template on the talk page will draw the attention of administrators for implementing uncontroversial changes.

Talk pages are not usually protected, and are semi-protected only for a limited duration in the most severe cases of disruption.

User talk pages

User talk pages are rarely protected. However, protection can be applied if there is severe vandalism or abuse. Users whose talk pages are protected may wish to have an unprotected user talk subpage linked conspicuously from their main talk page to allow good-faith comments from users that the protection restricts editing from.

A user's request to have their own talk page protected is not a sufficient rationale by itself to protect the page, although requests can be considered if a reason is provided.

Blocked users

Blocked users' user talk pages should not ordinarily be protected, as this interferes with the user's ability to contest their block through the normal process. It also prevents others from being able to use the talk page to communicate with the blocked editor.

In extreme cases of abuse by the blocked user, such as abuse of the {{

UTRS tool interface or, as a last recourse, the Arbitration Committee

When required, protection should be implemented for only a brief period, not exceeding the duration of the block.

Confirmed socks of registered users should be dealt with in accordance with Wikipedia:Sockpuppetry; their pages are not normally protected.

User pages

Base user pages (for example, the page User:Example, and not User:Example/subpage or User talk:Example) are automatically protected from creation or editing by unconfirmed accounts and anonymous IP users. An exception to this includes an unconfirmed registered account attempting to create or edit their own user page. IP editors and unconfirmed accounts are also unable to create or edit user pages that do not belong to a currently registered account. This protection is enforced by an edit filter.[10] Users may opt-out of this protection by placing {{unlocked userpage}} anywhere on their own user page.

User pages and subpages within their own user space can be protected upon a request from the user, as long as a need exists. Pages within the user space should not be automatically or preemptively protected without good reason or cause.[11][12] Requests for protection specifically at uncommon levels (such as template protection) can be granted if the user has expressed a genuine and realistic need.

When a filter is insufficient to stop user page vandalism, a user may choose to create a ".css" subpage (ex. User:Example/Userpage.css), copy all the contents of their user page onto the subpage, transclude the subpage by putting {{User:Example/Userpage.css}} on their user page, and then ask an administrator to fully protect their user page. Because user space pages that end in ".css" and ".js" are editable only by the user to which that user space belongs (and interface administrators), this will protect one's user page from further vandalism.

Deceased users

In the event of the confirmed death of a user, the user's user page (but not the user talk page) should be fully protected.

Protection of templates

Highly visible templates – those used on a large number of pages or frequently substituted – are often edit protected based on the degree of visibility, type of use, content, and other considerations.

Protected templates should normally have the {{documentation}} template. It loads the unprotected /doc page, so that non-admins and IP-users can edit the documentation, categories and interwiki links. It also automatically adds {{pp-template}} to protected templates, which displays a small padlock in the top right corner and categorizes the template as protected. Only manually add {{pp-template}} to protected templates that don't use {{documentation}} (mostly the flag templates).

Cascading protection should generally not be applied directly to templates, as it will not protect transclusions inside <includeonly> tags or transclusions that depend on template parameters, but will protect the template's documentation subpage. Instead, consider any of the following:

  • If the set of subtemplates is static (even if large), protect them using normal protection mechanisms.
  • If the set of subtemplates is unbounded, use MediaWiki:Titleblacklist to protect all subtemplates using a particular naming format (as is done for editnotice templates and subtemplates of Template:TFA title).

Note: All editnotice templates (except those in userspace) are already protected via MediaWiki:Titleblacklist. They can be edited by admins, template editors and page movers only.


Sandboxes should not ordinarily be protected since their purpose is to let new users test and experiment with

wiki syntax. Most sandboxes are automatically cleaned every 12 hours, although they are frequently overwritten by other testing users. The Wikipedia:Sandbox is cleaned every hour. Those who use sandboxes for malicious purposes, or to violate policies such as no personal attacks, civility, or copyrights
, should instead be warned and/or blocked.

Available templates

The following templates can be added at the very top of a page to indicate that it is protected:

On redirect pages, use the {{Redirect category shell}} template, which automatically categorizes by protection level, below the redirect line. A protection template may also be added below the redirect line, but it will serve only to categorize the page, as it will not be visible on the page, and it will have to be manually removed when protection is removed.

See also


  1. ^ Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Extended confirmed protection policy.
  2. ^ a b c Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Extended confirmed protection policy 2.
  3. ^ The extended confirmed restriction was previously known as the "500/30 rule" which differed slightly.
  4. ^ Should we use ECP on templates? discussion at the village pump.
  5. ^ Wikipedia talk:Protection Policy discussion to remove manual posting requirement
  6. ^ Created October 2013 as a result of Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Template editor user right‎
    , admins technically can still edit or unprotect these pages, however, they should not do so without permission.
  8. ^ "Superprotect". Wikimedia Meta-Wiki. 2014-09-08. Retrieved 2024-03-20.
  9. ^ VPR RfC to remove PC2
  10. ^ Please refer to Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Protect user pages by default and its talk page for community discussion related to a preventative measure for user pages.
  11. ^ Per discussion at Wikipedia talk:Protection policy/Archive 15 § Own userspace pages protection policy, June 2013
  12. ^ Per discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Archive314 § Protecting an editor's user page or user space per their request, September 2019