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From mediawiki.org

protect.py is a script that helps you protect pages en masse. It is a simple script that gives you great power over the protected status of almost every part of your wiki. However, since wikis are generally thought of as "encyclopedias anyone can edit", some thought must be giving to the reasons why you want to use this script. Within some wiki communities, particularly Wikipedia itself, misuse of this script could well result in the revocation of your sysop rights.

When to use


Before using this script, you need to thoroughly understand your wiki's policies about page protection. If your wiki hasn't yet discussed its page protection philosophy, it's a good idea to have that discussion and to write up some kind of policy before using this script. Your community should understand what you're doing with the bot. Misuse of this bot — that is, using it to protect all pages on a wiki — is very easy to do with this bot, but would generally be seen as an abuse of administrative powers in most wiki communities. Remember: you could prevent all non-admin from editing every page on your wiki by issuing just one command with this script.

Typical reasonable usages are:

  • protecting a whole category of templates, because changing those templates would have a significant impact upon the wiki
  • protecting help or policy pages from general editing, because you don't want the "rules" of your wiki being subject to vandalism
  • preventing pages from having their names changed — that is, "move locking" pages — but still allowing them to be freely edited



The script is invoked by typing:

$ python pwb.py protect ''parameter1'' ''parameter2'' . . . ''parameterX''

Available parameters include:

-page:       Protect specified page
-cat:        Protect all pages in the given category.
-nosubcats:  Don't protect pages in the subcategories.
-links:      Protect all pages linked from a given page.
-file:       Protect all pages listed in a text file.
-ref:        Protect all pages referring from a given page.
-images:     Protect all images used on a given page.
-expiry:     Supply a custom protection expiry, defaults to infinite.
-always:     Don't prompt to protect pages, just do it.
-summary:    Supply a custom edit summary.
-unprotect:  Actually unprotect pages instead of protecting
-edit:PROTECTION_LEVEL Set edit protection level to PROTECTION_LEVEL
-move:PROTECTION_LEVEL Set move protection level to PROTECTION_LEVEL

## Without support ##
## -create:PROTECTION_LEVEL Set move protection level to PROTECTION_LEVEL ##
Values for PROTECTION_LEVEL are: sysop, autoconfirmed, none.
If an operation parameter (edit, move or create) is not specified, default protection level is 'sysop' (or 'none' if -unprotect).

See note below concerning -expiry.



Following are some concrete examples of typical usages.

Complete lockdown of everything in a category


First, consider the case of a category called category:Dependent templates . Everything in this category is a template which requires another template to work. On its own, no template in this category does anything. But if the template gets changed, it will have a knock-on effect for other templates, which themselves might be transcluded on other pages. So we definitely want to protect these templates from harm. They're the building blocks of our wiki! Here's how you do it.

$ python pwb.py protect -cat:"Dependent templates" -summary:"Moving or editing this template will harm other templates."

Easy. No options other than the category name and a summary. The script will assume you want to move- and edit-lock the template, so you don't need to do anything else.



Now, imagine that you run a wiki about a television show. Your community has decided on a standard nomenclature for the naming of pages about episodes of that show. There will never be a foreseeable need to change that nomenclature, and it would require a big community discussion to do so, anyway. So you want to protect pages from being moved (renamed). Here's how you do it:

$ python pwb.py protect -cat:Episodes -move:sysop -edit:none -summary:"This article's name has been agreed by consensus at [[Forum:Episode names]].  It should not be moved."

Note a few things here.

  • We don't need to put the category name into quotation marks, because it's just one word. (This is, incidentally, true of almost every Pywikibot script.)
  • The summary must be in double quotations, because we've included an apostrophe in the summary text
  • The -edit parameter must be defined to none if we want to allow everyone to edit the article, because -edit, -move and -create all default to sysop
  • Defining -create in this instance would have no effect, because the pages in a category are already created

Working from a text file


Now for a more complicated case. Imagine you wanted to protect the most used templates on your wiki. This is a perfectly reasonable usage, since changing a template that has 10,000 transclusions is going to have a significant impact on your wiki. You quite rightly don't want such a change happening on a whim. So, first you'd go to Special:MostLinkedTemplates and extract the list into a text file called articles_list.txt. Making sure that articles_list.txt was saved to the pywikibot folder on your computer, you'd then be able to type something like this:

$ python pwb.py protect -file:articles_list.txt -always -summary:"[[Special:MostLinkedTemplates]] protection" -edit:sysop -move:sysop

Protection expiry


To enable expiry of protection, place input inside double quotes as strings understandable by MediaWiki (see: API:Protect). Relative periods and absolute dates are acceptable

While it is stated elsewhere that, if not specified -expiry: will default to "infinite", you may still get the following error:

ERROR: APIError: toofewexpiries: 0 expiry timestamps were provided where 2 were needed.

Should this occur, you will need to provide -expiry:infinite on the command line.

Custom summaries advisable


If you fail to use the -summary parameter, an automated summary will be inserted for you. But that summary won't tell your community why you've taken the action. Because protecting pages is generally considered antithetical to the spirit of wiki editing, it's usually important to leave behind a summary that explains why you've taken this unusual action. Remember, when your users attempt to edit or move the page, they'll get a message which includes your bot's edit summary. In most cases, this summary should be as explicit as possible about the reason why your users can't do what they want to do.

If you've put up a full block — that is, sysop-only editing — you'll probably also want to include a link to a page where users can leave feedback on how to improve the locked article. Often, this is the talk page, but on wikis that don't have the talk page functionality enabled, it might be a good idea to drop in a link to a forum or other feedback page.



This script has no ability to affect the protection level of anything in the Special: namespace.