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Help:View source

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When a page is protected , only certain users can edit it. Semi-protection blocks IP addresses and new users, while full protection restricts editing to administrators . When blocked, users cannot edit a page, instead they see the View source option. Regardless of a page's protection level, all users can view the source by selecting View source, where the edit tab usually appears. This allows anyone to copy and inspect the wikitext of the page but no changes can be made.

View source appears not only when editing is restricted due to page protection or blocking, but also when users lack the editinterface permission, such as when attempting to edit a page in the MediaWiki namespace.

Sometimes, developers lock down the database for maintenance or when the backup server needs to catch up to the job queue , which can make the View source function enforced upon everyone.

Below is what the View source of a protected page typically looks like: