Remove new "superprotect" status; and permit Wikipedia communities to enact (current) software decisions uninhibited.
  • Petitioning Lila Tretikov

This petition will be delivered to:

Executive Director
Lila Tretikov
Board Chair
Jan-Bart de Vreede

Remove new "superprotect" status; and permit Wikipedia communities to enact (current) software decisions uninhibited.

    1. Petition by

      Wiki Strategies

To the leadership of the Wikimedia Foundation:

Along with you, we envision a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge, and seek to make that vision a reality. We are members and supporters of the Wikimedia community. We have great faith in the potential of the Wikimedia web sites and communities (commonly known as "projects") to move the world toward realizing this vision.

Recent actions undertaken by the Wikimedia Foundation (in deploying the Media Viewer and superprotect software capabilities) however, threaten and undermine our ability to pursue this vision together going forward. When new software substantially changes the way that our work and the work of our colleagues is presented to the world, it should be deployed only where there is broad agreement that it advances our vision and our strategic goals. Our software and our activities must strike a balance among the interests of a variety of stakeholders, including photographers, media curators, the subjects of photos, those viewing images, those seeking to reuse images, and others.

In addition, Wikipedia is fondly and importantly known as the encyclopedia anyone can edit — a concept whose central importance applies equally to all her sister projects. New software should not diminish the end user's awareness that they are invited to add to, improve, and curate Wikimedia content; ideally, it shouldincrease that awareness. The "superprotect" page status introduced to keep the Media Viewer enabled is even more extreme: for the first time, a software feature has been designed to take the ability to edit pages away from Wikimedia project communities, giving that ability exclusively to unelected Wikimedia staff members.

Alongside our general concerns, we are dismayed to see many of our colleagues making a variety of acts of protest. Longtime and respected Wikimedians have given up their advanced user permissions; ceased contributing to and translating the WMF publication Tech News; and repeatedly discussed whether it is time to create a fork of Wikimedia projects. Is it possible that the good will that contributes to attracting and retaining volunteers is eroding to a point that will significantly damage our ability to fulfill our vision? We cannot know, as there is no practical way to measure this; but recent trend toward acts of protest is, at the very least, alarming.

What can be done to get us back to a point where we can calmly discuss and pursue the best course(s) of action? We believe there are two simple steps that the Wikimedia Foundation can and should take.

Those of us signing below have varying perspectives on the Media Viewer software: some think it should be discontinued entirely, while others think it is a worthwhile addition to Wikimedia sites. Likewise, we have varying views on the new "superprotect" user right; some think it should not exist, while others think there is an appropriate place for this feature in our world, as long as its proper use is clearly defined and diligently executed.

But we are united in our belief that the following are necessary conditions for a healthy and productive path forward. We hereby request that you disavow and reconsider your recent statement to the contrary:


  • * The Wikimedia Foundation should remove the "superprotect" status recently enacted on the German Wikipedia's "MediaWiki:Common.js" JavaScript page; and


  • * The Wikimedia Foundation should clearly assert that it will permit local projects (such as German Wikipedia, English Wikipedia, and Wikimedia Commons) to determine the default status of the Media Viewer, for both logged-in and non-logged-in users, uninhibited.


We look forward to improving our software together, to better reach our strategic goals and better attain our vision. But that process is hindered by the current state of affairs, and we need the Wikimedia Foundation to act decisively before it is possible to move forward effectively.

PLEASE NOTE: Wikimedia contributors are encouraged to sign this letter on Meta Wiki, instead of here on Please do not sign in both places.

Cartoon by Don-kun, licensed CC BY-SA.

Lila Tretikov, Executive Director
Jan-Bart de Vreede, Board Chair
Remove new "superprotect" status; and permit Wikipedia communities to enact software decisions uninhibited.

[Your name]

Recent signatures


    1. Last few days for signatures

      Hello Wikimedia supporters,

      Thank you for adding your voice to that of the 740 Wikimedia volunteers who have signed this letter. Seldom have that many Wikimedians spoken in unison, and the message is being heard. The Wikimedia Foundation continues to oppose the disabling of the Media Viewer, but has acknowledged the significance of this letter in several places.

      We plan to deliver the letter on September 7. Currently we are at 76 signatures here on Can we get to 100 before we deliver it? Please ask your friends and colleagues to join you in signing the letter!


    2. Reached 50 signatures
    3. Update: Approaching 400 signatures!

      Thank you for signing our letter.

      The requests we are making here are small, and they have precedent. If the Wikimedia Foundation wants to pursue a radically different structure to the movement, that is something that needs broad discussion; the millions who love Wikipedia and its core values should be consulted. While this may sound impossible, this same Wikimedia Foundation sponsored a Strategic Planning process 5 years ago that engaged 1,000 people over the course of a year. Radical changes should not be made unilaterally and suddenly.

      In the few days since we posted this, 360 Wikimedia volunteers have signed it, far exceeding my expectations: Counting the 42 signatures here at, that is 400 people, and the numbers continue to grow.

      This issue resonates with many people, but many find it complicated and difficult to absorb. Please share the petition with your own community, and explain why it matters to you! Is Wikipedia's broad promise of participation and empowerment important to you? Do you worry that sudden changes might lead to a decline in updates to Wikipedia, impacting its quality? Please spread the word on Twitter, on Facebook, or in an email to your friends!

      Here is a tweet you can share, copy, or modify:

      Will you support the hundreds of Wikipedians around the world asking the Wikimedia Foundation to ease its grip?

      All the best,

    4. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • James Montague GREAT RIVER, NY
      • about 1 month ago

      Volunteering to make corrections on Wikipedia has been an enjoyable past time and hope this situation can be resolved soon

    • Martha Forsyth W NEWTON, MA
      • about 1 month ago

      The change smacks of "over-protection" to me, in a place where the first person did not ask for that.

    • Enock Seth Nyamador AFLAO, GHANA, GHANA
      • about 1 month ago

      Everybody loves Wikipedia. Remove new "superprotect" status.

    • Marcus Shannon AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      I care about Wikipedia

    • 陳 宥霖 台灣, TAIWAN
      • about 1 month ago



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