Grants:IdeaLab/Protect user space by default

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An edit filter preventing edits from unregistered and new editors to primary userpages has been developed as a result of this idea, and can be deployed on any Wikimedia project.
Protect user space by default
Pages within a user's own space should be semi-protected by default, preventing edits from anonymous and new editors.
idea creator
Safety Cap
I JethroBT (WMF)
this project needs...
community organizer
project manager
created on14:56, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Anonymous editors can harass users by vandalizing their user and talk pages, often evading blocks by using multiple IP addresses.

Occasionally I (WereSpielChequers) trawl Userspace for certain rude words and when I do I find lots of harassment on the userpages of former editors.

What is your solution?[edit]

Prevent anonymous and new editors from editing user and talk pages by making user space semi-protected by default. Currently this protection level is only available upon request, and is usually temporary for user talk pages. This change will not prevent harassment elsewhere on Wikipedia, but it's a start.

Users who want feedback from anonymous editors could request that their talk pages and/or subpages in userspace be unprotected.

If we make userpages by default only editable by admins and the editor whose page it is then we protect editors from userpage vandalism. You'd have to exempt pages moved from outside userspace, and ideally allow the editor to waive protection on individual pages in their userspace.


Less userspace vandalism leading to fewer editors driven away by this sort of harassment.

Get Involved[edit]

About the idea creator[edit]

Blogger and photographer. Editor on the English Wikipedia since 2008; currently most active on WikiProject LGBT Studies. Contributor to Wikimedia Commons since 2009.


  • Volunteer Whatever needs to be done to make it happen. Funcrunch (talk) 14:58, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer i think that this idea could be the best so i can help the team if you need me Juno Frez (talk) 17:15, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Not sure what I can do, but I'll help as needed. -Thunderforge (talk) 18:06, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Abrimaal (talk) 23:49, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Willing to do whatever needs to be done to get this idea going. Omni Flames let's talk about it 03:38, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Volunteer Can help drafting an RfC to gather consensus on this proposal. I JethroBT (talk) 23:54, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Developer Anything I can do to help, let me know Safety Cap (talk) 15:03, 22 June 2016 (UTC)


  • As creator and as an editor who has been harassed. Funcrunch (talk) 14:57, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I think this is a good idea because most haressment is done through the user space. There is no real reason why a anonymous or an very new user should be able to edit anyone's userpage. Spelling errors can be reported through the talk page. Xxmarijnw (talk) 15:13, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Concur for user pages; but excluding new editors from talk pages may discourage communication with a group needing help. Thewellman (talk) 16:30, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree this seems like a good idea, well worth further exploration. (A clear way to get a page unprotected, if needed, would be an important addition...and there are probably other possible tweaks or additional/compatible steps.) The key to implementation would be getting buy-in from any specific wiki community; I do not think there would be any technical challenge in implementation. To that end, if there is a dimension worthy of funding, it would be to build a thorough proposal, which should involve seeking out people with varying perspectives, and refining the proposal and/or the case for it before presenting it for broader comment. I would be happy to discuss further if that would help. -Pete F (talk) 16:32, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Definitely agree that the user page should be semi-protected. I'm less certain about the talk page, since there are legitimate reasons to have that be available to new editors. -Thunderforge (talk) 18:06, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Seems like a straightforward missing feature. Tropylium (talk) 18:21, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I would agree with protecting the user page, and I have requested this in the past and be turned down. However, I don't agree with protecting user talk pages, as this is still the correct way for a new user to address questions to more experienced editors. Perhaps protecting talk pages from anonymous users would be safer.Deb (talk) 19:03, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
    Deb, that is almost exactly what Funcrunch is suggesting. "Semi-protection" means that users must be somewhat active before editing a page. The threshold varies; on English Wikipedia, that means an account must have existed for four days, and made 10 edits. Once that threshold is cleared, the account is automatically "autoconfirmed," meaning it can be used to edit semiprotected pages. -Pete F (talk) 20:03, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
    I didn't realize the threshold for autoconfirm was that low. Maybe user pages (as opposed to user talk pages) should have the new extended confirmed permission for all but that user instead... Funcrunch (talk) 21:19, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I think this is a good idea, since some vandals may be just ip's fooling around on the site who don't edit seriously. JakeR (talk) 22:51, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Such pages as Wikigrants, community projects, works in progress should be visible only to the registered users. Editable only by admins, editors and users themselves to edit pages created by them.
User pages - let the users decide what level to apply to their user pages: only admins and the user / admins+editors+user / admins+editors+registered+user / everyone.
User talk pages: they must be visible and editable to anyone, however it may be a hard part to protect user talk history from being deleted or modified by mistake. Abrimaal (talk) 23:47, 3 June 2016 (UTC)
  • This seems like a very plausible way to add a little friction to drive-by harassment. Not a magical silver bullet, but one more thing to make it less unappealing. Ckoerner (talk) 04:59, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Yep. I needed to protect my userspace from IP trolls. Zezen (talk) 08:13, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I think this is a fantastic and easy-to-implement idea. The procedure for requesting page protection, while straightforward, is not at all easy to find especially for new users. Conversely, the need to have extended constructive conversations with IP users on talk pages is a comparatively rare thing (I've been here for 8 years, done 4,500 edits and created 13 articles, and just had my first back-and-forth conversation with an anon user on a talk page last week). Krelnik (talk) 15:25, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I can't see any real problems with semi-protecting both user pages and user talk pages as default. A user should anyhow be able to edit his own pages, which makes it possible to having a dialog with the user. As soon as the user becomes autoconfirmed he should be able to set and unset semi-protection of his own user an talk pages. — Jeblad 12:02, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I completely agree. I've never needed to edit another user's user page, and I can't think of a common reason why I'd need to. Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 14:48, 6 June 2016 (UTC)
  • That all pages are editable by default is a mistake, not a feature. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:01, 7 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree with feature to protect user page, as long as toggle to turn it off/on is at the top of the user page (aka very obvious and easy to find). However I do not think the default should be protected mode -- new users have a lot to absorb and will not know the benefits of input from other Wikipedians, many of whom go out of their way to welcome new users with compliments, cookies on user pages, friendly helpful tips, etc. Also, I completely disagree with protecting talk pages by default. Talk pages provide an important goto for discussion when there is an issue.ifny (talk) 13:43, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
    To clarify: I'm proposing semi-protection, not full protection. Autoconfirmed users would still be able to leave compliments and cookies. (These are normally put on the user's talk page though, not the user page.) If you have other questions/concerns, please let me know on the talk page. Funcrunch (talk) 14:35, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Because it seems easy to conduct. Because it will assure editors that they have anyway, what ever happens in discussion, a space, in Wikimedia, where they own the right not to be harassed. Brindavoine (talk) 14:25, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I agree that user pages should automatically be protected. However, I think talk pages need to remain accessible for new users. Nocowardsoulismine (talk) 23:21, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Automatically semi-protecting user pages is a no-brainer. I would prefer an easy opt-in for protecting user talk pages, at least to start. An opt-in list of editors who welcome questions from anon or new users would mitigate any bad effects from this proposal, especially if it could be randomized so that the editors who happen to be at the top of the list do not get all the queries. It could be linked from the message new or anon users get when attempting to edit a protected talk page. Also I think admin talk pages should not be protected, except in unusual circumstances addressed by the present mechanisms.--ArnoldReinhold (talk) 14:42, 17 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Agreed. I haven't encountered this problem but it seems easy to do. As it is only the user page, then it won't prevent them asking you questions. Though it can't be extended to user pages of unconfirmed users as that would mean they can't edit their own pages so it would have to happen automatically when you are confirmed or auto confirmed. Overview of types of protection. Robert Walker (talk) 16:20, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse: Good way to stall sock-puppet activity. DaltonCastle (talk) 17:40, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Endorse, except for user talk pages. Many new users (and some IPs) attempt to receive clarification/advice from more experienced users through their talk pages. Other user pages, however, should be off-limits. Colonel Wilhelm Klink (talk) 19:54, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
  • Not user talk pages. But userspace in general, yes, I think this is a good idea for. Seraphimblade (talk) 16:03, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Good idea, this should be part of the toolkit. Messerjokke79 (talk) 14:42, 6 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment - I do a lot of NPP so interact with new editors a lot. Many of them end up raising questions on my talk page after I post comments and feedback on theirs, which is fine. I'd like the system set so that if an experienced editor has commented on a new editor's talk page, they get the right to talk back on mine. Blythwood (talk) 01:54, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
  • User talk pages need to be editable by any editor, but I've never been able to see why a User page should be editable by anyone other than the page owner, or Admins in case of abuse. User subpages too: if someone is developing something in their sandbox or other subpages, no-one else should be editing it - thought I suppose we'd need a mechanism whereby someone can unprotect a subpage if they actually do want to gather comments there. PamD (talk) 16:56, 5 August 2016 (UTC)
  • As someone who supported FunCrunch's RfC proposal on English Wikipedia, I fully support this idea. Gestrid (talk) 02:12, 7 October 2016 (UTC)

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