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Help:Group rights

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NOTE:
Prof hydra.svg This page contains a technical explanation of user groups and permissions. See Roles for a plain-English description of user rights.

The way permissions are set-up on different wikis can vary, but the default MediaWiki installation has several different permissions available. Most notable are sysop and bureaucrat permissions, and here at Gamepedia, we have an additional permissions group called Wiki Guardian. Bureaucrats (and equivalent user groups like Global Bureaucrats) are the only group of users who can assign rights to other users.

The list of permissions breaks down each ability that the user group has. For a complete list of the groups, see User groups.

Soft security - There are no permissions

Wikis are typically set up to be freely and openly edited. This means anyone can edit pages often without even having an account. This is only possible because wikis offer a kind of "soft security". By making it very simple to monitor edits or changes and revert (or undo) them to retrieve an older version of a page, a wiki doesn't need to be very restrictive at all.

There are no permissions. Everyone is an administrator. You don't need permission to edit, and you are encouraged to "be bold", go forth and edit!

...at least that is the theory. In practice, there are malicious editors, and so MediaWiki software does offer many options related to permissions.

Basic rights

This is the list of rights anyone browsing or editing a Gamepedia wiki has, whether or not they are logged in:

User rights

  • Create discussion pages (createtalk)
  • Create new user accounts (createaccount)
  • Create pages (which are not discussion pages) (createpage)
  • Edit pages (edit)
  • Edit your own preferences (editmyoptions)
  • Edit your own private data (e.g. email address, real name) (editmyprivateinfo)
  • Edit your own user CSS files (editmyusercss)
  • Edit your own user JavaScript files (editmyuserjs)
  • Edit your own watchlist. Note some actions will still add pages even without this right. (editmywatchlist)
  • Read pages (read)
  • Use of the write API (writeapi)
  • View "Edit" tab for pages editable by form (viewedittab)
  • View your own private data (e.g. email address, real name) (viewmyprivateinfo)
  • View your own watchlist (viewmywatchlist)
  • ⧼right-comment⧽ (comment)
  • ⧼right-geocode⧽ (geocode)

Registered users

Registered users have several rights which users who are not logged into an account do not have. These include moving pages and uploading files. The following is a complete list of registered user rights:

User rights

  • Add and remove arbitrary tags on individual revisions and log entries (changetags)
  • Apply tags along with one's changes (applychangetags)
  • Bypass automatic blocks of Tor exit nodes (torunblocked)
  • Create discussion pages (createtalk)
  • Create new semantic classes (createclass)
  • Create pages (which are not discussion pages) (createpage)
  • Edit multiple pages using a spreadsheet (multipageedit)
  • Edit pages (edit)
  • Edit the content model of a page (editcontentmodel)
  • Edit your own user CSS files (editmyusercss)
  • Edit your own user JSON files (editmyuserjson)
  • Edit your own user JavaScript files (editmyuserjs)
  • Mark edits as minor (minoredit)
  • May claim the wiki to become a wiki guardian (claim_wiki)
  • Move category pages (move-categorypages)
  • Move files (movefile)
  • Move pages (move)
  • Move pages with their subpages (move-subpages)
  • Move root user pages (move-rootuserpages)
  • Override files on the shared media repository locally (reupload-shared)
  • Overwrite existing files (reupload)
  • Purge the site cache for a page (purge)
  • Read pages (read)
  • Send email to other users (sendemail)
  • Upload files (upload)
  • Use of the write API (writeapi)
  • View the spam blacklist log (spamblacklistlog)

From non-default extensions

WebChat

  • ⧼right-webchat⧽ (webchat)

Upon registering, users will also be added to the implicit autoconfirmed user group. Members of this user group can edit semi-protected pages, edit sprites, skip CAPTCHA when adding external links to pages, move pages without leaving a redirection, and aren't affected by IP-based rate limits.

Administrators and Wiki Guardians

By default, MediaWiki provides extra functionality to a group of trusted users called Administrators (historically known as 'sysops', and still referred to by that name in the codebase). Here at Gamepedia, we have another group of wiki administrators known as Wiki Guardians. Most of their role should go largely unnoticed by the normal users of a wiki community. Everyone can get involved in editing pages and even undertaking drastic reorganization of the wiki. The extra powers of an Administrator or Wiki Guardian are intended for use in settling disputes, major maintenance issues, and preventing repeated vandalism.

Who are the Administrators and Wiki Guardians?

You can find out who the Administrators are on this wiki here, and choosing Administrators from the drop-down list.

You can find out who the Wiki Guardians are on this wiki here, and choosing Wiki Guardian from the drop-down list.

What can an Administrator or Wiki Guardian do?

There are several extra features available to them, see the full list of permissions. The key ones are as follows:

Protecting and unprotecting pages, and editing protected pages
'Protecting' a page prevents normal users from editing the page at all. There are several reasons why a particular page might be protected. For more information see Protected pages.
Deleting and undeleting pages
A page can be deleted semi-permanently, such that it is no longer available (even in the page histories) for normal users. Normal users can't delete pages. For more information see Deleting and undeleting.
Blocking and unblocking a user or IP address
Users can be blocked from the wiki. This is a useful way of keeping out persistent vandals. Users are identified by their registered user name or by IP address and can be blocked permanently or temporarily to give them a "cooling off" period. For more information see Blocking users.
Patrolling and seeing the mark of unpatrolled edits
This is a way of coordinating with other sysops, to ensure that every edit of the wiki has been checked over by a trusted user. For more information see Patrolled edits.
Edit the MediaWiki namespace
The ability to edit the MediaWiki namespace for skinning, editing language messages.

Bureaucrats

Another level of permissions within a default MediaWiki set-up is the "bureaucrat" group. Historically, the founder of any given wiki generally was accorded Bureaucrat rights, but here at Gamepedia, we have assumed this custodial role for the most part. Bureaucrat positions may be granted to admins by Wiki Managers on a case-by-case basis, with prerequisites for consideration being demonstrated admin reliability and consensus from fellow admins.

The main thing a bureaucrat can do, which Administrators and Wiki Guardians cannot, is to promote users to be Administrators and demote them to normal users. They can also promote users to be (and demote from) bureaucrats, autopatrol, bots, or other rights (see next section). In addition to modifying user rights, bureaucrats also can hide revisions from the public (see RevisionDelete).

Assigning permissions

"Assigning permissions" means granting or revoking user's extra rights within the wiki software. This can be done by going to the user rights page and adding a user into a "group" which has specific rights, or removing from it. Note that this action requires special permission itself! Typically only Gamepedia Staff has the requisite permission to assign rights, but if the wiki has bureaucrats, they can also assign permissions.

Promoting users to sysops and bureaucrats

Assigning user rights using Special:UserRights

The user rights special page allows you (if you have access) to set which groups a user is in. A common task would be to put a user into the 'sysop' group, which will grant the user various extra rights, such as deleting pages and blocking users (see this section above for more details).

Obviously giving a user such rights implies that you trust the user, both in terms of being non-malicious, and also as somebody with sufficient competence in using the wiki software, and in dealing with the wiki community. People hoping to become sysops should read this page carefully. However it should be noted that actions of a sysop user are (almost) entirely reversible, by other sysop users, and so it can be a good idea to dish out these extra permissions to several users in order to:

  • Spread the workload of day-to-day sysop operations such as blocking vandals and deleting pages.
  • Make things more democratic, and decrease any perception of a single dictator running the community.
  • Allow competent users the power they need to make progress with wiki refactoring.

Processes

If you have many sysops, you may start to need documented processes governing their actions. E.g. when should a page be protected versus leaving it unprotected? You may even reach the point where you need a documented procedure for deciding who gets to be a sysop, and who should have their sysop rights revoked. To manage all of this, you may wish to promote several users into the 'Bureaucrat' group (a smaller number of your most trusted users) to spread the workload managing the promoting/demoting of sysops. On some large wikis, users are voted in by other users before they are granted extra permissions, and sysops have their rights revoked by a committee that investigates accusations of misconduct. Such processes are unlikely to be necessary for anything but the largest of wiki communities.

Other permissions

Autopatrol
Users in the autopatrol user group automatically have their edits mark as patrolled so that admins don't have to manually patrol them. This user group usually gave to trusted members of the community, who are known as constructive editors. By default, all admins can add a user to this user group, not just bureaucrats.
Bots
Bots are accounts that used for automated tasks, which edits do not show up on recent changes, by default. Their edits can be shown by changing respective filters.
Gamepedia Staff
The Gamepedia Staff user group is only for Curse staff and Wiki Managers.
Global bot
The global bot user group is only for Curse staff and Wiki Managers bot accounts. It works similar to the bot user group but with curse permissions included.
Check user
The check user right should only be given out to Gamepedia staff. It allows a user to view the IP logs of a given username to check if they are avoiding blocks or are utilizing multiple accounts for other reasons.
Widget editor
The widget editor user right is added from the Widgets extension. It allows a user to edit the widgets within that namespace.

See also