So, what's the deal?
The wiki software has a few important features that are restricted. Of those restricted features, administrators have access to the following. (New admins, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Administrators' how-to guide.)
- Edit the Main Page, and other protected pages. For information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Editing the main page. You can suggest changes at Talk:Main Page. The main page used to receive a lot of vandalism; protecting it is an unfortunate compromise to keep our welcome mat free of random profanity.
- Protect and unprotect pages. Pages are only protected in certain rare circumstances - for information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Protection policy. This also includes the ability to use semi-protection.
Deletion and undeletion
- Delete pages and their history. For information and guidelines, see both Wikipedia:deletion policy and (most definitely) Wikipedia:Deletion guidelines for administrators. To suggest a page for deletion (after reading the policy and guidelines pages!), see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion. Sometimes deletion is a technical matter, in which a redirection page has to be removed to make way for renaming an article, or a page whose history has been broken up has to be deleted and the pieces recombined. Other times it's a matter of cleaning up simple junk edits on pages with no actual content, or removing material that has been pasted in from another site and infringes copyright.
- View and restore deleted pages and their history. See Wikipedia:Undeletion for guidelines. To challenge an already made decision to delete a page, see Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion.
- Permanently delete images. This is a non-reversible change: once deleted, always deleted. For information and guidelines, see Wikipedia:Image use policy. To suggest an image to delete (after reading the policy), see Wikipedia:Images for deletion. To challenge a decision to delete an image, make sure that you still have a copy of the image (else there is no way to restore it), then see Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion. Note that there is no particular reason that image deletion should not be reversible; this is simply the way the software works at present.
- Revert pages quickly. Any user (logged-in or not) can revert a page to an earlier version. Administrators have a faster, automated reversion tool to help them revert vandalism by anonymous editors. When looking at a user's contributions, a link that looks like: [rollback] – appears next to edits that are at the top of the edit history. Clicking on the link reverts to the last edit not authored by that user, with an edit summary of (Reverted edits by X to last version by Y) and marks it as a minor change.
- Do not use one-click rollback on edits that are not simple vandalism; please use manual rollback with an appropriate edit summary.
Enforcement of Arbitration Committee rulings
Admins have the authority to enforce rulings by the Arbitration Committee.
Hiding vandalism from recent changes
- Admins can hide vandalism from Recent changes. To do this, add &bot=1 to the end of the URL used to access a user's contributions. For example, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:Contributions&target=Example&bot=1. When the rollback links on the contributions list are clicked, the revert and the original edit that you are reverting will both be hidden from the default recent changes display. (The bot marker was originally added to keep massive bot edits from flooding recent changes, hence the "bot".) This means that they will be hidden from recent changes unless you click the "bots" link to set hidebots=0. The edits are not hidden from contributions lists, page histories or watchlists. The edits remain in the database and are not removed, but they no longer flood recent changes. The aim of this feature is to reduce the annoyance factor of a flood vandal with relatively little effort. This should not be used for reverting a change you just don't like, but is meant only for simple vandalism, particularly massive flood vandalism.
Block and unblock
- Block IP addresses, IP ranges, and user accounts, for a specific time, or indefinitely.
- Unblock IP addresses, IP ranges, and user accounts.
- See Wikipedia:Blocking policy for more information on when blocks are appropriate and when they are not. See Special:Ipblocklist for currently blocked addresses and usernames
Design and wording of the interface
- Admins can change the text of the interface by editing the pages in the MediaWiki namespace. This includes the text at the top of pages such as the "Special:Whatlinkshere" and the page that a blocked user will see when they try to edit a page (MediaWiki:Blockedtext).
- Admins can edit the style of the interface by changing the CSS in the monobook stylesheet at MediaWiki:Monobook.css.
There are various other actions which only those with administrator privileges can perform: