Skip to comments.English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout
Posted on 01/16/2012 8:21:15 PM PST by smokingfrog
Today, the Wikipedia community announced its decision to black out the English-language Wikipedia for 24 hours, worldwide, beginning at 05:00 UTC on Wednesday, January 18 (you can read the statement from the Wikimedia Foundation here). The blackout is a protest against proposed legislation in the United Statesthe Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senatethat, if passed, would seriously damage the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
This will be the first time the English Wikipedia has ever staged a public protest of this nature, and its a decision that wasnt lightly made. Heres how its been described by the three Wikipedia administrators who formally facilitated the communitys discussion. From the public statement, signed by User:NuclearWarfare, User:Risker and User:Billinghurst:
In making this decision, Wikipedians will be criticized for seeming to abandon neutrality to take a political position. Thats a real, legitimate issue. We want people to trust Wikipedia, not worry that it is trying to propagandize them.
But although Wikipedias articles are neutral, its existence is not. As Wikimedia Foundation board member Kat Walsh wrote on one of our mailing lists recently,
The decision to shut down the English Wikipedia wasnt made by me; it was made by editors, through a consensus decision-making process. But I support it.
Like Kat and the rest of the Wikimedia Foundation Board, I have increasingly begun to think of Wikipedias public voice, and the goodwill people have for Wikipedia, as a resource that wants to be used for the benefit of the public. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that despite its faults, Wikipedias heart is in the right place. Its not aiming to monetize their eyeballs or make them believe some particular thing, or sell them a product. Wikipedia has no hidden agenda: it just wants to be helpful.
Thats less true of other sites. Most are commercially motivated: their purpose is to make money. That doesnt mean they dont have a desire to make the world a better placemany do!but it does mean that their positions and actions need to be understood in the context of conflicting interests.
My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that were doing it for our readers. We support everyones right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they cant pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States dont advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA?
The reality is that we dont think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, were seeing the development of legislation seeking to regulate the internet in other ways while hurting our online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.
Make your voice heard!
On January 18, we hope youll agree with us, and will do what you can to make your own voice heard.
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
SOPA may not be well and truly dead yet, but at least it’s on hold:
Intellectual Property rights. [shrug] Who needs 'em? [/s]
I’m not sure this is at all wise.
People who want to use the resource are going to go elsewhere, and they are less likely to use wikipedia.
What’s next a blackout for other political causes? End of an era.
I hope it does pass and the Noob signs it because if he does he can forget about anyone under 30 voting for him. Yes! Do it do it do it do it! “Cha man dude I caun’t DL anymore MP3s, video games, TV shows, movies. Obama You dick! (spoken like Jeff Spicolli)
I don’t use Reddit, but its one of the largest websites in the world...
Indeed, the Oversight Committee Hearing gained even more attention after Reddits administrators on Tuesday announced they would be taking the so-called nuclear option, blacking out the entire website in protest of the proposed legislation.
Instead of the typical chaotic plethora of user-posted links, images, comics, discussions and other content that is usually hosted on the website (recently propelling it to 2 billion pageviews a month), Reddit will offer only a live video stream of the hearing and a simple message encouraging users to contact their Congressional representatives to tell them they are opposed to the bill.
However, as several Reddit commentators (Redditors) and tech writers outside of the website pointed out, much of Reddit is already opposed to the legislation, and not many members of Congress use Reddit, so it is unclear just how big of an impact the protest will have.
I would agree with your position IF this were a political move, but it is not. This is a protest directly against a direct attack on the internet. It is not "political" in the normal sense of "political" actions -- it happens to involve Congress because Congress makes laws, but the threat being protested is about a resource (the internet), not merely some political party, platform, or position.
look out for Wikipedia to embrace ‘strikes’ for the latest lefty cause de jour.
Freepers, this is a teaching moment.
These leftidiots are feeling the sting of the overeach by the obama government THEY supported. Some scales might fall off some eyes.
It’s a good thing.
And if Wikipedia gets gutted as a result of trying to stand up to the obamantion, no great loss. They’ll just learn an eternal truth about statists aka marxists: totalitarians ALWAYS destroy the useful idiots first. Why? Because it’s a way to secure power and it’s EASY. After all, most of the leftidiots never see it coming (despite history)!
Um, SOPA is as much a threat to us as it is to them. It’s pure crony capitalism aka a big govt power grab..
Frankly, I’m just shocked these leftidiots see it...
Do you think I support it? Hardly.
I just think there’s a better way to fight it.
The average user will care less that Wikipedia goes down for a day and won’t even notice Reddit gone.
Talk about shooting your head off to spite your face.
“I just think theres a better way to fight it.”
Oh, I agree. But if these leftidiots want to turn themselves into cannon fodder fighting something they helped (and help) create through their blatant obama whoreshipping leftist bias, I’m all for it...
After all, BenK, every bullet they take isn’t one that can directed our way...
Is one that can’t PIMF
> look out for Wikipedia to embrace strikes for the latest lefty cause de jour.
Don’t hold your breath waiting. That’s not their thing.
Look, if you don’t like Wikipedia, that’s okay, use the Brit or World Book or Conservapedia. But don’t waste time looking under the bed, your enemies are the power hungry idiots making laws that restrict your freedom. Not the folks defending liberty and protesting the power grab.
> I just think theres a better way to fight it.
And that would be... What? I don’t see any practical and effective and quick-acting way mentioned in your prior comments.
Care to enlighten us?
Uh. I’m a wikipedian. ;)
> Uh. Im a wikipedian. ;)
Cool! So am I, as you would know if you read my FR Profile page.
What’s your handle? Can’t seem to find one that matches BenKenobi, but maybe I missed it...
...or more accurately, there are multiple candidates but no exact match.
Last check 4.7k edits.
“Care to enlighten us?”
Sure. Wikipedia’s strength is that it is perceived as nonpartisan. Wikipedians would be better off as individuals to set up their own dedicated campaign to defeating SOPA, rather then using Wikipedia as their vehicle.
Taking a hands-off approach, but recruiting people through wikipedia accomplishes the same thing - without cutting your nose off to spite your face.
Boycotts are only effective when they have an impact on their target. Dr. King’s bus boycott was effective, because the bus companies were dependent on their patronage. Wikipedia:
1, does not patronize the government or influence the government in such a way that the government would be dependent on them.
2, it raises the question. If SOPA is serious enough to merit ‘intervention’, then why not lefty cause of the day. This isn’t an argument that Wikipedia wants to go down.
3, with the existence of the mirror sites, which are going to be still up, Wikipedia isn’t actually depriving anyone of access to their content. In short, they are adopting the tactics of their enemies and the goal of their enemies, to censor the web.
That’s why it has to be a collaborative, grassroots effort by wikipedians, everyone who has a stake. This, just damages the core purpose of wikipedia.
Okay, fair enough, your activity level far exceeds mine and I will defer to your greater stake. :)
What you wrote makes sense, and I could get behind your suggestion.
Not sure about the link. Heck of a long page, once I added the closing parenthesis missing from the URL. I checked the revision history but didn’t become enlightened... Could you tell me what you meant by the link? Thanks!
This is not a blackout for a political reason but for something that would shut down wikipedia’s way to operate. The problem is that if you want this resource, there is no other good way to get it — knowledge is what wikipedia deals in, collective knowledge, collective consciousness if you will. There is no other viable alternative of this scale.
...until after the election.
The problem is that a strike won’t accomplish what they set out to do.
It’s not shelved. They are lying. For months the mainstream media has hidden these bills. These bills will allow government to censor and kill the Internet.
These bills are the worst attack against freedom Ive ever seen .To think that anyone with any sense supports these bills boggles the mind.
These politicians and the mainstream media hate the Internet because people like us and sites like Freerepublic expose the truth. These bills would effectively censor and shut down the Internet which is what government wants.
The mainstream media hates this protest and the media have been hiding these bills.
How did that save the children welfare state turn out? That save the world global warming EPA crackdown? Shall I go on?