This is only true if there is no social norm forbidding a sysop to
edit a protected page. At least, on the english and french wikipedia,
I do think the rule of no-edit on a protected page exist.
Can't speak for Fr, but at least on En, sysops are allowed -- almost
even encouraged -- to make minor edits to protected articles that are
likely uncontroversial. Spelling corrections are a very obvious form of
this, but edits can easily go a lot further. This isn't much of a
problem on En because the community of sysops is vastly multi-cultural
and of such varying opinions that even slightly significant edits are
likely to spark controversy and are therefore avoided.
On De, however, I perceive a much more homogenous distribution of
opinions among the sysops. Since it was a sysop who made the edit, and
since sysops are trusted users, the edit was probably trustworthy. Since
there are often no other sysops disputing/opposing the edit, it doesn't
matter that the edit was of a much greater significance/magnitude than
some edits that spark violent edit wars. This (among many many other
things) encourages existing sysops to make sure the community of sysops
remains broadly like-minded, and this in turn encourages the view that
dissenting non-sysop editors are just vandals, and encourages the sysops
to keep the page protected. Hence, as Erik said, "sysops become far more
relevant in the power structure" and "instead of being janitors, they
Could it be possible that certain pages are automatically unprotected
after a certain time, while others (such as main page or site notice...)
remain protected ? In short, two different types of protection ?