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Our protection policy defines what protection is, the circumstances under which an article might be protected, and gives editors suggestions on how to contribute to articles which are protected.

Definition

An article is said to be "under protection" when administrators restrict the kind of access other editors have to it.

The vast majority of pages on this wiki — indeed, on any wiki — are not protected in any way. Anyone, regardless of whether they have an account here, can change the content of most pages. This freedom is one of the central philosophies of wiki editing. However, there are some pages which are so fundamental to the coherent organisation of this wiki, that administrators must defend them against frivolous editing, such as spamming or vandalism. Thus, you may occasionally run into pages which have either been protected (sometimes called semi-protected ) or locked (sometimes called fully protected).

Protected articles

ProtectedTab

When an article is protected, it cannot be edited by anonymous (IP) editors and registered users who are not logged in. It also cannot be edited by extremely new editors even if they are registered.

The usual reason for placing this level of protection on a page is that an administrator has deemed it to be a page that might be vulnerable to attack by vandals. Many times, vandalism is carried out by people who think that the "anonymity" of the internet will allow them to "get away" with tearing things down. On other occasions, vandalism is the result of a thing called a bot — a robotic programme that automatically trawls sites looking for vulnerabilities. In both cases, protection — or technically but confusingly "semi-protection" — is an effective deterrent.

What protection isn't

Protection does not mean that you can't edit an article. It means only that you have to be logged in to edit the article. That said, if your account is less than a month old, you probably will not be able to edit protected pages directly.

Also, a protected article is not necessarily obviously protected. The "protected" tag (as seen to the left) is the result of using the template, {{protect}}, or its redirect, {{semi-protect}}. It is not the result of actually protecting an article. It is possible to have articles which aren't protected showing that tag, and articles which are protected not showing it. It would be great if the MediaWiki software which powers this wiki automatically placed a visible sign on a page when an admin protected it. But it doesn't. Our admin try to make sure that each protected page has a clear sign of its protected status showing, but they're busy people prone to mistakes, just like you.

Locked articles

LockedTab

A locked article is one that you cannot edit. The number of locked articles on this wiki is extremely small, much smaller even than the number of protected pages. Most locked articles aren't really "articles" at all — they tend to be what are called "templates" — essentially shortcuts that allow you to use one word in the place of dozens of lines of wiki markup. The kinds of templates that get locked are ones that other templates depend on to work, or ones that have complicated code.

For instance, the template, {{YearNav}}, is a constituent part of {{Timeline}}. If {{Timeline}} is on the page 1987, for instance, {{YearNav}} tells {{Timeline}} to display the ten years surrounding 1987. At the same time, {{YearNav}} does nothing without {{Timeline}} in place. Thus both are locked because they're co-dependent templates. ({{YearNav}} is also locked because it's a fairly sophisticated piece of coding.)

In addition to locking "code pages", we also sometimes —but reasonably rarely —lock down policy pages or help pages, too. These sorts of pages tend to get rather quickly locked if vandals attack such a page repeatedly within a short span of time. After all, we want people to be able to depend upon our help pages and policy pages —like this one —being in good, readable shape.

The rarest type of locking happens when there's a edit war on a regular page. That is, two or more users might continually overwrite each other's contributions because they strongly believe the other person is wrong. In such cases we will temporarily lock a page to help both sides cool down.

Finally, we also occasionally lock pages about stories that have not been released yet. You can read more about that case at our spoiler policy page.

What locking is not

Fundamentally, locking is not about an administrator trying to prevent useful editing; it's about preventing bad-faith editing. It's definitely not about an administrator using his or her power to make sure that his or her edits of an article are protected against your edits.

As with normal protection, above, locking is also not always obvious. The act of actually locking a page and flagging it with a red tag (as seen above and to the left) are two separate things. Also since most locked pages aren't normal article pages, most locked pages don't get a visible tag.

Specific restrictions

Protection can be applied to three different facets of articles. The most obvious is the one we've been talking about so far in thsi article: editing. And as we've seen above, administrators can define who may be prevented from editing: either all users (thus locking the article) or just new and non-registered users (thus protecting the article).

But there are two other ways of restricting user access to articles.

Creation lock

Creation locks protect a page that has either previously been deleted or has been identified as a target for vandalism or page recreation. The level of protection applied may be either semi-protection or full protection.

Unfortunately the MediaWiki software does a very poor job of identifying an article whose creation has been locked. It doesn't give you a system message of any kind. Instead, it just sort of "fails" to create, returning you either to the main page, or to the page you were previously visiting. Many users would probably view the result of trying to create a locked page as a bug in the software, in fact. If you're uncertain whether a page has been creation locked, just ask an administrator.

Move lock

Most pages can be moved by any user. Sometimes, though, editors get enthusiastic and start moving a page back and forth between two names, as happened when, for instance, it became obvious that Jo Grant had indeed become Jo Jones. Because there was a bit of a tussle over what the page should ultimately be called, an administrator stepped in and prevented the "move war" from escalating.

Note, though, that move locks don't curb editing at all. It is possible, and sometimes advantageous, to prevent a page from being moved, while still allowing general editing. For instance, during the Jo Grant/Jones "war", general editing of the article was never restricted.

By forum consensus, it was established that all TV story titles shall be move protected. Logically, all story pages, regardless of medium, may also be move protected. This policy was agreed in order: a) to ensure that users had a consistent name for articles; and b) to protect the cache from needless overwork in changing the name of well-linked articles. Therefore, admin reserve the right to move protect any article for the same reasons.

No graphical element need announce move protection, as is the case with edit protection. This is because move protection is usually of no concern whatsoever to most users, since it has no impact on their ability to edit an article.

But I want to edit a restricted page

Great! We want all the help we can get! Don't let protection stop you from making a useful edit to the wiki. If you wish to add information to a protected article but are prevented from doing so, you may add a request to the talk page of the article. If the information is valid, another user who is not prevented from editing the page may add the information for you. However, the information will be reviewed to be in keeping with our various policies, and therefore we cannot guarantee that all requested information will be added.

See also

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