Wikipedia is built around the principle that anyone can edit it, and it therefore aims to have as many of its pages as possible open for public editing, so that anyone can add material and correct errors. However, in particular circumstances, because of a specifically identified likelihood of damage resulting if editing is left open, some individual pages may need to be subject to technical restrictions (often only temporary) on who is permitted to modify them. The placing of such restrictions on pages is called protection.
Protection can be applied or removed to and from pages by Wikipedia's administrators, although any user may request these actions. Protection can be indefinite, or expire after a specified time period.
The most commonly encountered types of protection are full protection, which means that a page can be modified only by administrators, and semi-protection, which means that a page can be modified only by users who are logged in and whose accounts have been confirmed (any account is automatically confirmed if it is at least four days old and has made at least ten edits or posts). Other forms of protection are detailed below. Protected pages are normally marked with a small padlock symbol in the top corner; different color padlocks represent different protection types, as shown in the images at the right.
It is possible to hover your mouse over the padlock symbol in order to view why and for how long a particular page has been protected.
This policy explains in detail the protection types and procedures for page protection and unprotection, and the reasons for which protection should and should not be applied.
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