How can I edit a Wikipedia article with or without having a Wikipedia login? And what about locked or protected articles?

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How can I edit a Wikipedia article with or without having a Wikipedia login? And what about locked or protected articles?

How can I edit a Wikipedia page (with or without having a login)?

As more and more people are getting interested in contributing to the Wikipedia Wiki Project Sanitation (see here: , or see forum posts about it here: ), I want to explain to you how anyone can edit a Wikipedia page at any time:

When you are are editing without a Wikipedia login (this is OK if you want to quickly just fix a typing mistake or similar small change), click on the "edit" in the red circle (for example on this page: ):

If you think that you will make some bigger changes or that will enjoy contributing on Wikipedia, then please get yourself a login.* When you are logged in, the page looks slightly different:

Note that without a login, the edit button takes you to the "source editor" which is not that convenient to use. With a login, you can use the much more convenient "what you see is what you get editor" - it it just like editing a Word document.

Protected pages:

Note also that some pages in Wikipedia are protected or semi-protected. This means that they cannot be edited without a login or that they can only be edited by auto-confirmed users (people like myself). You can become an auto-confirmed user quite quickly, as you build up your reputation on Wikipedia. I became an auto-confirmed user after only a few days of editing Wikipedia.

The purpose of protecting Wikipedia pages is to clamp down on persistent vandalism for certain pages. For example, the page of Barack Obama is protected. The page about toilets is also protected, as there was too much vandalism - you can see a little symbol of a lock at the top right of the page:

(what do you think about the two photos that I chose for the lead of this article?)

A protected page can of course still be edited (e.g. by confirmed users like myself), but not directly and not without a login.

Vandalims is unfortunately a reality of life, also on Wikipedia (often it is just highschool students who think it is funny to add a sentence like "if you read this, you are stupid" to a Wikipedia article). Luckily, Wikipedia has developed many "bots" which can detect and undo vandalism immediately; IP addresses and users can also be blocked from further edtis. Also, there are of course all the other nice editors (like myself) who keep a watch on articles that they find important and who can quickly undo vandalism with two clicks of the mouse.

So, how about making your first edit on Wikipedia today? Or next time when you read on Wikipedia and you see a typing mistake, how about correcting it on the spot? That would be a nice thing to do. :-)

If you wondering which article to start with, take a look at this list of popular sanitation-related articles:


* If you want to make really large changes, then please announce and discuss your ideas on the talk page of the article first. Each article has a talk page, which you can access by clicking on the "talk" tab at the top left, just above the title of the article.

Head moderator of this discussion forum
(Funded via consultancy contract with Skat Foundation funded by WSSCC)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
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