Grants talk:IdeaLab/Protect user space by default

Latest comment: 6 years ago by Funcrunch in topic Edit filter implemented today


I do understand the motion and I would otherwise support it if not many "but"s. People sometime use unfree images in userspace, people categorize draft articles into mainspace categories for instance. It is nothing requiring admin privileges to fix now, but it would be and it could be disastrous. What is worse people can also create spam content in their space, and if it's just for admins to be able to edit such pages, then non-admins wouldn't be able to even mark those pages for deletion easily using common means. I know that in e.g. Spanish Wikipedia they prohibit users with less than 50 edits to create userspace .js and .css files (which have exactly the access level proposed) for this reason, and thus this change may lead communities to do the same for any userpages, which is disastrous — e.g. when you teach a noob to edit a Wikimedia project creating a userpage is often used as an exercise to make the first step in editing. --Base (talk) 15:33, 4 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Yes, the spam is a huge problem; contributors would be unable to flag them that way. Also there is a problem of people creating attack pages, or the like, and delays in bureaucracy of admin intervention limit other contributors' ability to blank in the interim. Frequently one will come across a new contributor struggling with some formatting, or whatever, and it is easier to go in and do the edit oneself to show them proper methods (they learn and get desired edit. Win-Win). Restricting contributions in this namespace hinders collaboration. A lot of "buts". --dsprc (talk) 01:13, 5 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

[Note: The above comments were originally left on another proposal that was merged with this one by another editor. I moved the comments from the project page to the talk page. Funcrunch (talk) 02:27, 6 June 2016 (UTC)]Reply[reply]


Semi-protection of a user page would be fine, no-one normally needs to edit another person's user page except to revert vandalism, which would probably be reduced by this proposal anyway. Unacceptable user pages can be dealt with by admins - no problem there either. User talk pages on the other hand are there specifically for other people to communicate with the user. I don't think that any user should be cut off from communicating on the basis of not having an account or not having one for long enough, but I do recognise the problem that is targeted, and agree that a solution is needed. A more fair and useful route is dealing with potential harassment if it occurs, not in assuming that it will occur, thereby discriminating against a large and mostly harmless group because a small percentage of members are uncouth. Getting a user talk page semi-protected on request is a more reasonable option.

How about using pending changes for user talk pages instead of semi-protect? · · · Peter (Southwood) (talk): 15:50, 5 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pending changes requires someone to approve each change by newbies and IPs, that's a big increase in reviewer time needed. It wouldn't be so bad if people could mark edits to their own talkpages, but not every editor has reviewer rights. WereSpielChequers (talk) 13:10, 8 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bots would still need access. Daylon124 (talk) 13:15, 8 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note on mergeEdit

Another editor (Nemo bis) merged a similar proposal by WereSpielChequers with this one. Theirs was a bit different as it suggested making "userpages by default only editable by admins and the editor whose page it is", whereas I suggested semi-protection. It's up to them if they want to endorse this proposal or not (I don't know that it was a good idea to merge the two without checking with either idea creator first...) Funcrunch (talk) 02:25, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Funcrunch, would you be OK if I merged my proposal with yours? While the redirect was a little odd, we are proposing two similar approaches to the same problem, and if put them as multiple options in one proposal people will be free to suggest ways to consolidate them or express a preference between them. WereSpielChequers (talk) 16:39, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nemo bis already merged your proposal into mine, per above. I just think they should have checked with both of us before doing so. Funcrunch (talk) 16:49, 6 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mentioned on Wikimedia BlogEdit

Hi Funcrunch, I wanted to let you know that your idea was mentioned on the Wikimedia Blog-- but you already commented on the blog and beat me to it! :) As you discuss, this change in the protection level of User pages seems like it could help prevent many problematic behaviors related to user pages. Have you considered bringing this back to for an RfC? Thanks for your submission. I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 22:30, 16 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF)! I hadn't really planned on next steps yet, figuring I'd see how much support it had at the end of the month before going forward. RfC sounds like a good idea though... Funcrunch (talk) 23:06, 16 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Funcrunch: In a volunteer capacity, I can help you with crafting the language around it down the line, if you like. I close a lot of RfCs as a volunteer, so I can help advise a little bit on that end. Let's get in touch at the end of the month to get started. :) I JethroBT (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 16 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@I JethroBT (WMF): Thanks, sounds great - let's get in touch then! Funcrunch (talk) 00:00, 17 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • Earnest new users may need to ask more seasoned users for help via their talk pages. Knowing how to ping is not something new users will pick up right away. I feel that this option would make life even more difficult for earnest new editors for the benefit of older ones. A number of college courses have students edit wikipedia, which involves communicating with eachother on talk pages--a group of new users joining together would be unable to do this under this suggestion. If this is implemented, I think it would be good for it to be opt-in, so that users recieving harrassment from someone on rotating IP accounts can then activate semiprotect on their own user page. M. A. Broussard (talk) 21:01, 18 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi @M. A. Broussard:, thanks for weighing in. I take it that your concern is strictly with new users being able to edit the talk page, not the user page, correct? I've seen almost no reason for a new or anonymous user to edit another's user page, but I can see arguments for the need for the talk page to be edited by such users. I might suggest different options or protection levels for the user vs talk page once this proposal gets more finalized. Funcrunch (talk) 03:25, 19 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes. I am in full agreement that new users shouldn't necessarily be able to edit other users' userpages--but the user talk pages (which are still in user space) should be treated differently. If user pages end up protected by default, for instance, I feel that user talk pages should not--user talk protection could instead be an opt-in item, hopefully with a banner at the top of the page with instructions for new users on how to ping other users from their own talk pages. Whatever is decided, I firmly believe that there is the very real possibility that protecting user talk pages will prevent some new users for asking for much needed help. M. A. Broussard (talk) 01:56, 29 June 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Next stepsEdit

Thanks to everyone who has endorsed this idea. On the Inspire Campaign leaderboard, we've ended up tied for fifth place out of 279 ideas, with 28 endorsements, FWIW.

Based on feedback, I think it makes sense to limit the default semi-protection to the user page, at least initially, rather than automatically including the user talk page. I'd also like to explore the idea of applying the new(ish) extended confirmed permission, which is available on the English Wikipedia; it requires 30 days tenure and 500 edits.

Now pinging all those who have volunteered to help out: Safety Cap, Juno Frez, Omni Flames, Thunderforge, I JethroBT, and Peteforsyth although he didn't explicitly sign up as volunteer, and WereSpielChequers whose related idea was merged with this one. It might make more sense to do hash this out over e-mail; I defer to I JethroBT who offered his expertise. Funcrunch (talk) 18:48, 1 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What does it mean to ping us volunteers? Are you wanting us to do something? (Also FYI, I'm going to be on vacation next week, so won't be able to respond until after that). -Thunderforge (talk) 20:23, 1 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm just alerting everyone who specifically signed up to volunteer on this project (as opposed to simply endorsing it) that I do plan to move forward with this proposal, now that last month's Inspire Campaign has closed. I don't have any specific tasks or requests yet. Funcrunch (talk) 21:21, 1 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, sounds good! Omni Flames (talk) 22:17, 1 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Great news! Glad to help. Do we want to set up a slack or other collaboration tool for this project? — Safety Cap (talk) 18:38, 9 July 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sorry for the delayed update. I just got some tips from I JethroBT (in a volunteer, not WMF staff, capacity) on how to create an RfC so we can move forward with this idea. I will be drafting an RfC in the next couple of days, and will ping all volunteers again when the draft is ready for review. If anyone who volunteered to help out is now too busy or no longer interested and wants to not be notified, please let me know: Safety Cap, Juno Frez, Omni Flames, Thunderforge, Abrimaal, Peteforsyth. Funcrunch (talk) 21:50, 1 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Grants to improve your projectEdit

Greetings! The Project Grants program is currently accepting proposals for funding. The deadline for draft submissions is tommorrow. If you have ideas for software, offline outreach, research, online community organizing, or other projects that enhance the work of Wikimedia volunteers, start your proposal today! Please encourage others who have great ideas to apply as well. Support is available if you want help turning your idea into a grant request.

The next open call for Project Grants will be in October 2016. You can also consider applying for a Rapid Grant, if your project does not require a large amount of funding, as applications can be submitted anytime. Feel free to ping me if you need help getting your proposal started. Thanks, I JethroBT (WMF) 22:49, 1 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Request for comment is now availableEdit

An RfC based on this idea is now available at en:Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Protect_user_pages_by_default. I will be notifying all users who commented (pro and con) on this idea, per en:WP:CANVASS guidelines. Funcrunch (talk) 17:20, 31 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Notes about the RfC and volunteersEdit

Does this idea has the support of target en.wikipedia community?

A Phabricator task has been filled after the RfC at

It seems the en.wikipedia closure for such proposal isn't consensual, as indicated by MZMcBride on Phabricator and Andy M. Wang on the RfC talk page.

Lack of MediaWiki developer support

The volunteers contain a large number of persons but:

  • I can't find a Gerrit account for any of the volunteers listed on the proposal page ;
  • MediaWiki currently doesn't have fine-grained ACL like per page rights, and so this change isn't trivial to land in the core.

I'm really concerned this proposal doesn't get support of anyone contributing code to MediaWiki software.

To go on with this proposal

There are so two things I consider required to go on:

  • get a clearer consensus on en.wikipedia the community really wants this;
  • get support of established MediaWiki development contributors to support development and review changes.

--Dereckson (talk) 15:13, 29 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree with Dereckson, and I have doubts that the closure of the RfC actually reflected consensus at the polls. Followed up there. Andy M. Wang (talk) 15:29, 29 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I also agree. It's the engineering part I'd most be worried about... For MediaWiki, would we want this as an extension, or is it safe to assume other wikis would use it as well, to the extent it should be built into core? If this is more of an enwiki thing, then a localized solution like the edit filter would seem more appropriate — MusikAnimal talk 03:12, 31 October 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Edit filter implemented todayEdit

Today a filter was implemented to disallow editing of user pages by unconfirmed users. For discussion, please see the talk page of the RfC on en:wp. Thanks to everyone who participated in this process. Funcrunch (talk) 05:24, 1 December 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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