Click here for a list of currently protected pages
The revolutionary nature of Wiki is the ability for any reader of any article to edit that page right now. Wiki is the enabling technology that is making Wikitravel into a really great travel guide. Wikitravellers know that we need to keep Wikitravel open and available to make it succeed. We depend on the distributed effort of the millions of people on the Internet to get high-quality, up-to-date and reliable articles.
However, in some circumstances, it may be necessary to protect a page on Wikitravel. When a page is protected, it can only be edited by administrators. This is an extreme measure and shouldn't be taken lightly. Whenever possible, we prefer to counteract abusive actions by some users with the ability of other users to edit a page.
Reasons to protect a page
Administrators may protect a page whenever they feel that this step is warranted. They are expected to use their judgement, and to err on the side of openness. Some example reasons why a page should be protected would be:
A policy page has legal ramifications for the Wikitravel project. Some policy is important to the continued existence of the project and the livelihoods of Wikitravellers. If these pages are repeatedly compromised, they should be protected.
A page causes a security risk for Wikitravel. Hopefully the MediaWiki software is robust enough to deal with simple security attacks through the Wiki interface, but if in some case it's not, administrators should take the step of protecting the page.
An out-of-control 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 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.
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.
As a special case of this special case, non-human spambots occasionally hammer away creating pages that are not and can never be valid Wikitravel articles (eg. Talk:Bangalore/; note the slash at the end). As it's not possible to stop page creation, these can be redirected to some reasonable place and then permanently protected.
Process for protecting a page
Before or immediately after protecting a page, the administrator should note the protection on the accompanying talk page, and add a link on the protected pages page, with a justification for why the page was protected. Other Wikitravellers can and should comment on the protect action there, but it's not the place for discussing the particulars of an edit war.
If the protect action isn't in the above list of reasons, it should be strongly defended and the reason should be added to the above list.
A page should be unprotected as soon as it's feasible. When a page is unprotected, a note to that effect should be put on the protected pages page.