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Wikitravel talk:Protected page policy

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Let's protect the Main Page[edit]

Taken from the policy page: "A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned." Let's protect the main page for a few hours. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 21:29, 15 June 2006 (EDT)

So, protecting the main page is an extremely symbolic gesture -- it's the difference between an open and a semi-open wiki. Please, can't we be utopian for a few more months, at least? --Evan 21:33, 15 June 2006 (EDT)
Sure, I'm beginning to think he wandered off since it's been at least 13 minutes from the last vandlism edit. Reverts are a bit harder for me, and I since I'm now sharing the internet connection my speed isn't very good. Sorry for being rash I'm trying to keep up with him. - Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 21:40, 15 June 2006 (EDT)

Protecting Talk:Main Page/[edit]

For some reason known only to dyslexic spambot creators, Talk:Main_Page/ is repeatedly hit by spammers. Any objections to protecting this page, which will never have any real content? Jpatokal 06:15, 15 August 2006 (EDT)

I don't like protection, but if you really want to protect that page, I don't have any objection. --Evan 11:59, 15 August 2006 (EDT)
It looks like adding the patterns "<a href=" and "[url=" should catch most of these spam attempts. Both are now included in the Wikitravel:Local spam blacklist. -- Ryan 13:44, 15 August 2006 (EDT)
Gah. After the five spams in two days, I tried to hit "protect" for this... and got an Internal error. Jpatokal 05:45, 16 August 2006 (EDT)
Maybe, try recreating it? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:48, 16 August 2006 (EDT)
That worked, however, do we really want to have a protected non-page? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 05:50, 16 August 2006 (EDT)
It looks like you can't protect a non-existent page. — Ravikiran 06:14, 16 August 2006 (EDT)
Actually, I had suggested this to the new admin on PL and it has worked amazingly well. Spammers used to daily add weird stories and then a link to :pl:Wikitravel:Forum. He deleted the page, but the spammers came back. I then told him to recreate the page with a redirect to the Polish version of the travellers' pub and protect the page so only registered users or sysops could edit it. He went with allowing only registered users to edit the page and there hasn't been a single spamming incidence since. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 06:24, 16 August 2006 (EDT)

out-of-control edit war[edit]

I'd like to brinbg up the issue of what consititutes "out of control." Bill seems to feels like recent edits to United States of America are edging toward there (but maybe he can eloborate on that). I generally think edit wars should be tolerated much longer. What do others think? When is enough enough? -- Colin 16:45, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

It appears to me that the same, or nearly the same, edit was made and reverted something like six times each in a very short period, with little communication occurring among the participants. In my opinion, that is enough to at least post a "war warning," if not to do the actual protect. Hence my raising protection as a real possibility, although the page didn't actually get protected (at least not by me, or at all the last time I looked at it).
I think it might be worthwhile to modify the policy on this particular reason for protection, to explicitly suggest a "caution flag" before moving to actual protection. Something like this --
*An out-of-control '''[[Wikitravel:edit war|edit war]]''' is underway. If two or more Wikitravellers
 are involved in an extended edit war over a page and are unable or unwilling to discuss the
 issue on the appropriate [[Wikitravel:using talk pages|talk page]], an administrator can use the
 page protection feature to declare a '''cooling-off period''' on the article until contributors are
 willing to talk out their differences. Administrators ''should not'' protect a page if they are
 personally involved in the edit war; they should ask another administrator to do it instead. 
 It's preferred that the participants be cautioned before such a step is taken, rather than 
 simply pre-emptively protecting the page; actual protection of the page should really be a last
 resort.

-- might do the trick (the last sentence is new). Feel free to wordsmith. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:10, 1 October 2006 (EDT)

If the edit war is just one user going postal on a page and a bunch of admins reverting, I'd rather slap a restraining order on the user, so the rest of the site can still edit the page. (And I'd rather not do that either.) Jpatokal 23:02, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
Mostly, yes. I agree that neither is desirable. I could see an argument that says that a user block would put all the blame on one person, making it less likely that they can be brought around to work with everyone. A page protect spreads the blame around and makes it a group problem. I think it's mostly a question of politics, and probably up to the admin(s) around at the time. --Evan 23:49, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
Unfortunately, events on the United States of America page have demonstrated that the user block wouldn't suffice; the creatively malicious user can and will find workarounds. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 21:07, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
I thought Mediawiki's user block is smart enough to watch for the same IP? (Or maybe stupid, because my ISP likes to rotate their DHCP pool and I've been hit by this a few times on Wikipedia.) Jpatokal 22:19, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
I like this wording, B-o-t-H. --Evan 23:49, 1 October 2006 (EDT)
Text modified accordingly, and I sure hope this never comes up again. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 21:07, 5 October 2006 (EDT)
Well, I guess I was one of the subjects of the "out of control" edit war. I would like to see more comments on what others think about "out of control" as Colin suggested above. Bill's revert back to status quo on the page and warning did work and I support his giving the warning, but at the time I thought any protection of the page would have been too soon and after a few days of thinking about it, I still believe that. There are things I could have done better in the area of discussion and I am willing to accept that and modify my behavior. Now, "when" should a protection be considered for an edit war? Three reverts over an hour? Ten? Twenty? Is it length or time and not number? If an administrator is involved, should there be a pause by the administrator at some point? If there has been a warning and there are additional edits, are we at the last resort point? Do we wait for another three edits over an hour? Ten? Twenty? Or, is it time… I like the idea of letting things go for as long as possible, if someone is getting tired of reverting a page for someone going postal, then stop, and let someone else do it for awhile. If it is a slow, steady revert .. then give a pause and do some discussion and attempt to involve others in a discussion. I believe page protection should be a rare occurrence “very much the very last resort” and looking at the protection logs it is rare. But when is "last resort"? I would be interested in examples. I think “last resort” can mean entirely different things to different people. When is enough enough? I do agree and support the change made to the policy, but I believe page protection should be very rare. Thanks! -- Tom Holland (xltel) 08:53, 7 October 2006 (EDT)
Just to clarify why I did it: These edit wars over the how much "warning" needs to be going on had been going on for four days with little consensus building discussion. I assure you that I did not want to click the button because Evan gave me some amazing insight several months back, but all attempts failed to truly have a constructive discussion. Also, I made no reverts to the U.S. page because I didn't want to become "involved" in the edit war.
My thoughts now: The protect button should never be used during puffing dragons and somebody on wheels attacks. Last resort could be several days of fruitless discussions on how to come to a consensus about what to warn or what not to warn potential visitors to a region. A warning shot is fired (like BotH's the day before I fired the unfortunate, but real shot). I'm making a personal comittment to myself that if an edit war only goes on for an hour or two a day I won't think about protection until two weeks later (More than enough time for more people to come together and develop a consensus), or should an edit war become so insanely counter productive that every admin and user cannot constructively contribute to the project because of an ongoing edit war. -- Sapphire 14:21, 7 October 2006 (EDT)


I think the existing policy (as highlighted above by Bill) is sufficient, with the warning that page protection is a very last resort since I don't think it helps. Every single "edit war" that I've seen in the past couple of years (like the United States one that precipitated this discussion) have always been someone either attempting to force through a viewpoint without reaching a consensus, or someone repeatedly vandalizing a page and then being reverted. Both of those are in violation of current Wikitravel policies and clear cases for reversion. The closest thing to a true edit war based on differences of opinion that we've seen would probably be pages like Israel or Palestinian Territories, and discussion seems to have mostly provided solutions for that issue. Thus, I think we may be trying to come up with a solution to a problem we don't actually have.
If someone is trying to bully through a change without discussion, or if someone is repeatedly vandalizing a page, page protection will at best be a temporary solution, and more likely will encourage them to find other pages to focus their attention on while stopping legitimate editors from editing. If we are going to change policy at all, I'd suggest a "don't feed the trolls" solution is probably the best - after a couple of reverts, instead of immediately reverting changes, wait a few minutes for the person in question to get bored and go away before reverting, and the "edit war" is avoided. In the case of User:Korea dan / User:hate usa, as soon as the United States page was protected he went on to Washington, D.C.. Page protection didn't work; and I can't think of many cases where it would have worked. Thus I don't think we want to start using it more frequently as policy. -- Ryan 14:31, 7 October 2006 (EDT)

Paris[edit]

Incidentally, this is all happening all over again regarding Paris. I've fired the warning shot and would prefer not to fire for effect, for all the reasons Ryan gave, but this one is really out of hand. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:06, 29 December 2006 (EST)

FWIW I could stop for an hour until the silly guy goes away. But since I'm wandering through the recent changes patrol and surfing anyway, it's not a big deal to me. -- Colin 17:12, 29 December 2006 (EST)
Maybe it's not a big deal to you, but it does make it hard for the rest of us to see what else, if anything, is going on as regards recent changes. The noise on the recent-changes page is reminiscent of a Willy attack at its worst. I have no particular dog in this fight as regards the Paris edits themselves, but I'd really like to be able to do my unpaid "job" again... -- Bill-on-the-Hill 17:29, 29 December 2006 (EST)
The "enhanced recent changes" setting in preferences should clean that right up for you. -- Colin 17:33, 29 December 2006 (EST)
Let's hold off on any page protects. We really don't like to do that..... ever! -- Tom Holland (xltel) 17:36, 29 December 2006 (EST)
I'd like to hold off on it too. Unlike Koreadan this editor has only been around for a couple of hours. Our buddy Dan came back several days and was consistently unproductive and disruptive. We should wait until we know this guy really is dedicated to being disruptive. -- Andrew H. (Sapphire) 19:50, 29 December 2006 (EST)
Hopefully he understands what's going on now. But if he reverts again I request page protection because he needs to learn that he must talk to people instead of bullying a change in and he is under the misaprehension that bullying is possible which is undermining his willingness to talk. -- Colin 20:16, 29 December 2006 (EST)
I don't think it will be productive to protect the page (he'll likely just move on to other pages), nor do I think it is productive to engage in a minute-by-minute revert war. This user's edits are clearly disruptive and should be reverted, but in order not to clutter the recent changes or page history we're better off waiting a few minutes for him to get bored and wander away rather than to revert immediately, which just keeps him online and trying to bully through his changes. -- Ryan 23:03, 29 December 2006 (EST)

Invalid namespaces and (semi-)protection[edit]

So, over on Shared there's been a busy little bot who likes to create "Wikitravel:Wiki" several times a day. This is not and will not be a valid namespace, so I've turned it into a redirect and semi-protected the page, which should stop the bot and cause no inconvenience to anybody else. Do we need a policy tweak to address this, or is it covered by "repeated vandalism"?

Also, the policy doesn't address the option of semiprotection (registered users only) at all now. Jpatokal 13:35, 26 November 2006 (EST)

Protecting "Archive" pages[edit]

It occurs to me that there may be another, more "positive" reason to protect pages. I started this in the Pub, but it's a better fit here, so:

Impelled by the VFD discussion regarding the volatile Talk:Germany/Racism page, I've been wondering whether we should make a policy of protecting pages that have been set up as "Archives." The point of an Archive page is to faithfully capture a discussion (or other information) as it occurred, while allowing the root page to move on to other topics. Making changes to an Archive page once it's created and passe (obviously excluding the current Archive pages for VFDs, DotMs, Discover entries, etc., which get modified until the end of the month they're archiving for) is clearly contrary to the reason for creating it to begin with. Is this something we should think about, or is the present situation (where the VFD may get resolved by making the subject page into an Archive) so weird that no policy is appropriate? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 16:07, 12 August 2007 (EDT)

I think that makes sense - with a note added at the top of the Archive page to explain that if anyone has something new to say on the subject, they should mention it at (blank). Gorilla Jones 16:19, 12 August 2007 (EDT)
Sounds like a good idea – cacahuate talk 15:27, 19 August 2007 (EDT)

Vandalism[edit]

I propose getting rid of the last reason listed for protecting a page. It currently reads:

  • A page is subject to repeated vandalism. This is a special case of the edit war; if a user is repeatedly and systematically vandalizing a page, it should be protected until the user gets their head straight, or they wander away, or they get banned.

I've never come across a consensus anywhere that that is how to handle vandalism, and it isn't really how we've been anyway... if not removed altogether, can we reword to:

  • A page is subjected to prolonged high-speed vandalism, at a rate unreasonable to keep up with using reverts.

Objections? – cacahuate talk 17:58, 28 August 2007 (EDT)

I definitely support this proposal, as I do not agree with the text as it currently stands. I would add, though, that this reason for protection (persistent and rapid vandalism) should only warrant a very short-term protection, perhaps just one hour. --Peter Talk 19:40, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
Is this proposal intended for English version only? If not, please propose on each language versions and shared:. -- Tatata 21:40, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
Personally, I do think this should be policy across language versions, but I think we need to come to some basic agreement on administrative practices before we can coordinate this sort of fine-tuned policy change. Also, this particular bit of policy may be less appropriate for smaller language versions that have fewer time zones covered by admins. --Peter Talk 01:32, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

Protection of Main Page templates[edit]

I'd like to suggest protecting the Main Page templates (Template:DotMOtbP, Template:Newsitem, and Template:News*divider). They're attractive vandalism targets, and there's little if any reason for regular users to edit them. Jpatokal 23:43, 15 November 2007 (EST)

I understand that certain templates can't be protected or risk losing their auto-updated content. Any ideas on solutions for protecting those pages? Aside from our very vigilant Admins? JuCo 14:26, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
Jani says he has fixed the bot, so I've gone ahead and proteted the last one. -- Colin 14:28, 1 August 2008 (EDT)
After swapping some notes with Justine (thanks!), I (having shot off my e-mouth and originally pinged her regarding the protection for Template:Discover) am OK with your reinstituting the protection that she applied, pending a test of whether DiscoverBot really does work as a registered user now. However, if there turns out to be a problem with getting the Discover updates to keep occurring daily, we may need to re-examine this. -- Bill-on-the-Hill 15:03, 1 August 2008 (EDT)

Protected Status?[edit]

Swept in from the Pub:

So I would like to know if, like on Wikipedia, protected and semi-protected status is available. I ask this, because there has been a bit (not obnoxiously excessive...but a bit) of touting on the Orlando article from people who are not Wikitravellers (ie edits list their IP address). I fully understand how Wikitravel is a wiki and thus everyone can contribute, but I would like to keep things in a consistent format and IP-address-people seem to do nothing but tout and what I'm about to describe. For those who know about "Orlando"...it's more like a small metropolis than a city (for instance the city proper has 220k residents but the metropolis has 1.2-1.5mil residents...not including far-flung suburbs, but just the contiguous urban area) such that a lot of people keep adding locations/attractions which are outside the city proper (myself included). If those of us Wikitravellers want to clean up the page and bring it to Wikitravel standards, we don't want businesses and naive IP-address-people to come along and add stuff outside the city proper. If protection is available, semi-protection would be nice...and if not, are there any plans/desire to add such? Oh, and to those who view the page...I have yet to clean up the touting, since it only came to my attention today and am to tired to do so. Thanks for yall's answers AHeneen, a member of the Wikitravel:Florida_Expedition AHeneen 02:10, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

We use protection very sparingly, usually when spambots are involved. We definitely never consider protecting pages based on misguided efforts, rather we try and guide new and anon users towards learning the right place to put things... when you do move the listings out, leave descriptive edit summaries so that users who look at the history can see why and where you moved the info to. I know it's annoying and sometimes time-consuming, but that's sorta how it's gotta be, we can't write these guides with just a handful of us, we need those new and anon contributors :) – cacahuate talk 02:17, 23 October 2008 (EDT)

Protected pages[edit]

our policy states that after protecting a page we are to list it on Wikitravel:Protected pages... can we do away with that, we rarely do anyway, and it seems an unnecessary step... we can and should leave a reason for protecting in the edit summary, and if there needs to be discussion about it then it can happen on the article talk page. I think that other page should just serve as a list for permanent protections, otherwise it's another useless list to maintain – cacahuate talk 15:02, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

The reason for it, in my view, is to simply add a layer of annoying bureaucracy in order to make page protection more of a pain to do, and therefore a less tempting hard security measure. But you're absolutely right, no one really remembers to add temp protections to the page. After all, a 15 minute protect hardly merits extra bureaucracy (in my opinion anyway). I would suggest creating a time limit on temp protections that don't require notice on this page. One day should suffice to cover routine temp protects that serve only to halt page move vandalism and edit warring. --Peter Talk 03:20, 28 March 2009 (EDT)

Permanent protection of bot magnets[edit]

Policy already allows protecting vandalized/spammed pages, but there's one special case: non-articles like Talk:Bangalore/ (note the slash), which can never be real articles, but which for some bizarre reason keep getting hammered by spambots (created 21 times to date). I've thus permanently fully protected it as a redirect to Talk:Bangalore (which, on past experience, the bot is too stupid to follow). Jpatokal 06:25, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Makes complete sense - I'd be fully in favor of adding this exception to official policy. -- Ryan • (talk) • 11:01, 13 July 2009 (EDT)

Talk:Travel topics[edit]

Can we add a permanent ban on anonymous edits for Talk:Travel topics? For reasons I don't understand it's a spambot magnet with near-daily attacks, and it's not a particularly high bar to ask users to register before commenting on that page. Thoughts? -- Ryan • (talk) • 17:10, 4 December 2009 (EST)

It is annoying, I think it's the "topic(s)" keyword that draws in the hordes. Problem here being that afaik, we have no setting for disallowing unregistered users, only for blocking non auto-confirmed users which is either 30 days or 3 months - don't remember. Not that I'm entirely against the concept. --Stefan (sertmann) talk 17:15, 4 December 2009 (EST)
The non-auto-confirmed protection is what I'd suggest. The ratio of spam-to-comments on that page has got to be around 30-1, so adding protection seems like a nice way to save some patrolling, avoid further cluttering the article history, and the protection should have little effect on those who want to comment since we can easily add a disclaimer pointing anonymous users to the Pub. Hopefully a few others can weigh in since we don't seem to have a "Votes for protection" process so it's somewhat unclear how exactly to go about getting a page protected. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:37, 5 December 2009 (EST)
Given the resounding silence either people are ambivalent or not reading this discussion, so I've added protection under the Plunge forward mantra. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:21, 6 December 2009 (EST)

Accidental protection[edit]

This discussion archived from the now-obsolete Wikitravel talk:Protection log page

OK, so, this is the second time I've done this. Page protection doesn't have any confirmation for admins, and the button for it is all mixed up with all the other buttons. So I accidentally protected a page I didn't mean to. Once again, OOPS. --Evan 15:17, 19 Dec 2003 (PST)

So, I want to know why I'm the only admin who ever does this. --Evan 01:57, 4 Apr 2004 (EST)

Unknown[edit]

This discussion archived from the now-obsolete Wikitravel talk:Protection log page

I'm this close to protecting the handful of articles (United States of America, Europe, Seattle, Washington (D.C.)) that are being repeatedly spammed (mostly using compromised .edu hosts, using the edit summary "Unknown", from unpredictable IPs) from not-logged-in edits. Someone tell me why I shouldn't. - Todd VerBeek 23:22, 3 June 2007 (EDT)

It would be an unfortunate precedent, but yeah, this is getting out of hand. First, can we see whether the spam blacklist work that you did stops the attacks? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 00:15, 4 June 2007 (EDT)
I won't give you a reason not to protect the articles because we should protect these pages, at least temporarily. The spam blacklist works, but it doesn't prevent the patterns that spammers find are not blacklisted, at least not yet. -- Sapphire(Talk) • 00:21, 4 June 2007 (EDT)
It uses a different site and different page names each day. Every time we blacklist it, it moves on to completely different URLs. - Todd VerBeek 00:58, 4 June 2007 (EDT)

Apparently now it's changed tactics: picking a more obscure article, and just blanking a section. No spam. Which is harder to block, but easier to clean up, because simple vandalism of that sort it isn't quite as urgent to deal with. - Todd VerBeek 09:01, 4 June 2007 (EDT)

Well, I've done it, on those four pages. Other admins are invited to undo it when/if they see fit. - Todd VerBeek 10:14, 4 June 2007 (EDT)

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