Reddit Plans To Black Out Site For A Day To Protest SOPA/PIPA

from the go-reddit dept

In conjunction with next week's House Oversight Committee hearing on the technical impact of DNS blocking in bills like SOPA/PIPA, Reddit has taken the huge step of deciding to black out its entire site for a 12 hour period -- from 8am to 8pm ET. The guys behind the site admit that this is not a decision they take lightly, and that many in the community disagree with it -- but it's something they feel needs to be done:
The freedom, innovation, and economic opportunity that the Internet enables is in jeopardy. Congress is considering legislation that will dramatically change your Internet experience and put an end to reddit and many other sites you use everyday. Internet experts, organizations, companies, entrepreneurs, legal experts, journalists, and individuals have repeatedly expressed how dangerous this bill is. If we do nothing, Congress will likely pass the Protect IP Act (in the Senate) or the Stop Online Piracy Act (in the House), and then the President will probably sign it into law. There are powerful forces trying to censor the Internet, and a few months ago many people thought this legislation would surely pass. However, there’s a new hope that we can defeat this dangerous legislation.

We’ve seen some amazing activism organized by redditors at /r/sopa and across the reddit community at large. You have made a difference in this fight; and as we near the next stage, and after much thought, talking with experts, and hearing the overwhelming voices from the reddit community, we have decided that we will be blacking out reddit on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC).
This is the same Reddit that got over 2 billion pageviews last month. Taking down the site for an entire 12 hours is a huge, huge deal. But, according to Lamar Smith, they're nobody...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    ddmeightball, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:26am

    Coordination

    Any other sites coordinating their blackouts with Reddit? I think to make the biggest impact possible, several sites need to go down all at once: Google, Facebook, Reddit, 4Chan, etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    pegr, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:28am

    In other news...

    US economy gets boost from massive productivity gains on January 18!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:34am

    Re: Coordination

    Let's start coordinating that. I doubt Facebook or Google would do it, but I bet we could get 4chan and quite a few others to join in.

    I'd do it, but I can't guarantee that I'd be available at 8am and 8pm and I don't know how to black out a blogger website.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:41am

    the ones that would make the biggest difference, even though there isn't a hope in hell of it happening, is the ISPs themselves stopping services. after all, they are going to be just as deep in the crap, perhaps even more so, as any website!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Matt Polmanteer (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Pleasantly Surprised

    I didn't figure any of the bigger sites would actually do something like this because of the revenue they would lose and most don't want to hurt their bottom line. Hopefully Google and Facebook join because so many people wouldn't know what to do with their lives not having these so it would bring a lot of attention to it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:46am

    Re: Coordination

    Really I would love to see Google man up and protest by shutting down. Can you even imagine the effect it would have if Google shut everything down for 12 hours? Just turn off all their servers and take a day off. It would be more than just loosing a search engine. It would take a lot of websites down that are with them, gmail, google docs, and all that is stored in them. Them shutting down like that would stop this bill cold. No News organization could ignore it as it would have HUGE world wide effects.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    anonymous, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Pleasantly Surprised

    they haven't yet realised that their 'bottom line' will be hurt even more if they just sit back, thumb up arse, brain in neutral, doing nothing!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    Tumblr did something like this a few weeks back. They linked to an app that would find your congresscritter and connect you to them. That generated almost ninety thousand calls to congress. I hope Reddit is doing something similar.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Rich Kulawiec, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:54am

    I've requested that Boing Boing, Wordpress and Slashdot follow suit

    Clearly, it would help if Google, Wired, Amazon, eBay, Wikipedia, and others participated as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    fb39ca4, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    I agree. Google is in a perfect position to put a stop to this bill.

     

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  11.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    I hope so too, I hope they're not just going dark and guessing that people know why. I hope it's just one page of explanation and how to fight it and nothing else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    The news organizations would probably notice quickly because they get a substantial amount of their traffic from Google.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Is Techdirt participating?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    Good Question

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:23am

    Re: Re:

    But then, where would the idiot trolls go, they could self harm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    I have a better Idea for Google. Do not shut down, just default the google.com to ...

    What is SOPA

    or

    How To Stop SOPA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:25am

    Re:

    Good question. While participating would be in spirit of the blackout, I have to question the effectiveness of Techdirt being blacked out. The purpose of it is to drive up awareness, and quite frankly, pretty much anyone who visits Techdirt is already aware. Its the big sites that should black themselves out, Google, Facebook, Reddit, et al, in order to get the word out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re:

    Sure

    The details are right here

    http://www.techdirt.com/rtb.php?tid=100000000

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Benny6Toes (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    How useful?

    I don't know how useful this will be. Sure, reddit users will know what's going on, but, odds are, they already know what's going on. Most internet users (plenty of whom are tech savvy) have never heard of reddit or don't visit more than once a year (when a friend happens to link to them).

    I like that reddit is taking a stand, and I think they should still do it. I just don't think it will accomplish much. Tech news sites will report on it, but does anybody really think it will get a big headline on anything other than HuffPo or (maybe) Dailly Caller? Didn't think so.

    If opponents really want to get noticed, then it needs to be, as others have suggested, a site that is known by everyone. Google, ebay, Yahoo, Amazon...any site like that. Even turning off a subset of their services would make an impact. Google could turn off Google+ or blogger. Amazon could turn off their MP3 sales section.

    Those would be noticeable. I think reddit's blackout, as much as I hope it might not, will largely be ignored.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    I hope so as well. I'd like to see the whole world learn about SOPA and PIPA, and more than that, I'd like the whole world to learn that writing stupid bills like that is standard practice. (COICA, original version of DMCA, etc.)

    Don't just tell people about SOPA/PIPA, tell them that they're just the latest in an unending onslaught from a heavily corrupt congress.
    Barely managing to make the DMCA reasonable wasn't enough, stopping COICA wasn't enough, and stopping SOPA/PIPA won't be enough. Weeds grow back until you take out the roots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Benny6Toes (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:36am

    Re: How useful?

    Oh, and Lamar Smith will just continue to ignore reddit. He would have a much more difficult time ignoring any of the others...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    V (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Bottom Line

    It's good to see "nobody" standing up to the Hollywood stooges (bought and paid for) in Congress.

    I say stooges only because I can't comprehend how a person could be so completely ignorant of the internet and its huge benefits as to suggest this type of legislative monstrosity. No one could be that completely moronic, so they must be bought and paid for by Big Content.

    I hope that Google and Facebook also blackout, with links to their "representatives" - I cringe to use the word, since I think Congress stopped representing the people shortly before World War I.

    Personally, I'd love to see links to Lamar's email, his phone number and any other information we can dig up on him. Let "nobody" contact him.

    Not that a bought and paid for person would acknowledge them.

    There should also be a petition. Have the sites normal visitors sign the petition electronically, then forward it to all members of the committee especially but also all presidental candidates (make it an election issue), the media and all members of Congress.

    Let them know that "nobody" does indeed protest this abuse of power and threat to the Constitution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:41am

    Re:

    Well, Techdirt doesn't really provide anyone with a general search service. The Techdirt audience is already mostly aware of this bill so it won't make much a difference if they did a black out. They can do more to stop the bill by doing what they normally do.

    The Google et al audience is mostly unaware of these bills so alerting them can make a bigger difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    They would have to be careful not to affect their enterprise customers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    We pay $10,000 a year for the Google Maps API, so they better not go down.

    A lot of companies use them for their mail agent. That would hurt many small businesses.

    People pay for advertising services, and expect those to be up. Turning them off would probably be a breach of contract.

    There would be severe consequences if Google did this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:00am

    Re: In other news...

    Yeah... wondering what I'll do on the 18th...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    dcee (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:15am

    Re: How useful?

    Well, no... Much of the reddit community doesn't know or doesn't care. Like the r/gaming and subreddits like that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    "Them shutting down like that would stop this bill cold."

    While a noble idea, it would most likely also shut down Google itself. They would have deliberately shut down services that are important or even mission critical for small and large companies alike, violating every SLA they offer. Having made their point, they also lose the trust of every one of those companies, who would also have excellent grounds to sue as well as instantly cancel any account with them.

    While I don't think that Google have "turned to the dark side" quite as much as some people seem to think, I also don't believe this issue is one they would deliberately immolate themselves over.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: In other news...

    Well, you could always dust off Digg and see if it's still running.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:20am

    Re: Bottom Line

    "I can't comprehend how a person could be so completely ignorant of the internet and its huge benefits as to suggest this type of legislative monstrosity."

    Our government is against ANYTHING socially beneficial. That's why the government grants taxi-cab monopolies, much of the food you eat is monopolized in one way or another (ie: by Monsanto through patents and other government established monopolies thanks to a legal system that allowed them to obtain patents and sue independent farms because their plants just so happen to have a particular gene), the hotel industry benefits from anti-competitive laws, heck, even some cities require permits to sell coffins in a way that effectively ensures that there is only one seller in the city. (I can go on, such as many cities being lobbied by incumbent restaurants like Pizza Hut in a ways designed to stifle competition in the restaurant industry). There exists government established broadcasting monopolies, cableco monopolies, mailbox delievery monopolies, laws that deter restaurants and other venues from hosting independent performers without paying a parasitic third party a licensing fee under the pretext that someone might infringe, to sell liquor or host a slot machine you need a license (which substantially reduces competition in a way that only helps incumbents).

    When I visited Chili you actually have freedoms. I visited a house with a single slot machine in the back yard and neighbors and passer by's came into the back yard to play the slot machine. It was perfectly legal. Taxi cabs are ubiquitous, many people don't drive. The people who picked us up at the airport went to the airport in a taxi cab to pick us up and we went to their house in a taxi-cab, we took the 'freeway' and everything. People frequently go to work and back every day in taxi cabs, many of whom don't even drive, it's not unusual at all. It's affordable. Here, driving is practically mandatory. Taxi cab monopolies serve as a subsidy to the auto industry (and they help the taxi-cab monopolists of course).

    So many things you buy here are covered by multiple, often redundant and obvious, patents, many of which have little to no regard for prior art. Copy protection lengths keep getting extended because a public domain is socially beneficial and would compete with monopolized content. Government funded R&D often ends up copy protected by private publishers for 95+ years and nothing ever enters the public domain anymore anyways do to constant extensions regardless. and the NIH is like the only entity that requires their government funded research to be made public after a year yet Congress is now trying to pass a bill to forbid the NIH from having such requirements. and much of the results of publicly funded R&D becomes patented anyways in such a way that only a few private entities can get licenses to use the technology or create a drug based on the R&D, which helps those businesses at the expense of everyone else.

    This government is plutocratic to the core. Every aspect of this government is plutocratic. It takes away our rights and, unlike other governments (ie: that at least pretend to give its citizens something back, such as in the form of universal healthcare, which I'm not really in favor of) our government gives us little in return. Our government aims to make our lives as miserable as possible at every turn possible. You would be hard pressed to find an industry that doesn't suffer anti-competitive laws in one way or another, anti-competitive laws are everywhere.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Jay (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    I thought that most news comes from social network sites now...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Bottom Line

    and, you know, locking up federally funded research and making it expensive to obtain is something Russia has a large history of. Protecting the government-industrial complex and the big business cartels is what Russia has a history of doing. Keeping the public ignorant is also something Russia has had a history of (which the U.S. govt is trying to do through govt established broadcasting and cableco monopolies). This country is resembling Russia more and more.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Bottom Line

    (protecting these cartels at public expense *)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Bottom Line

    (and if you thrown in the bail outs, something we used to criticize Russia for, we might as well call this country the United States of the Soviet Union).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Jim O (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    reddit should...

    Reddit should gin up something that lets you call congress through the site. The site gets reactivated for you if you call.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Phillip Vector (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re:

    The issue that allow of users have of that site is that they also know the situation with SOPA. Shutting it down would be like preaching to the choir and probably not be noticed by those in power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Kevin H (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    I agree that shutting down google maps, gmail, g+ all being a bad idea. Shutting down their normal search results should be a wake up call to the businesses that are using them that they should speak against this crappy law as well. Having to use Bing is like asking the blind paraplegic to join my pickup game.

     

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  38.  
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    Kevin H (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: In other news...

    I hear that stumbleupon and 9gag can be entertaining for bits at a time.

     

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  39.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    Yeah, but are they gonna pay AP's new fees for doing so?

    After all we know that all news from everywhere belongs to AP even before it's polished up and stuck in a newscast or newspaper right? ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    I presume people on Reddit already know about SOPA and are against it. This won't do any good at all. It'll just send some people to Digg (well, probably not).

    Awareness needs to happen offline, not online.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    akp, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    From TFA:

    "Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re:

    Perhaps the best way to do that is through good old fashion handing out flyers and placing them on people's cars. Perhaps we can organize our efforts do so?

    We can mention things like copy protection lengths and the fact that nothing enters the public domain anymore and compare that with other countries that celebrate new works in the public domain every year. We can discuss how it's difficult to get a hold of many older works because of copy protection lengths and how this leads to the erosion of our cultural heritage/history. Then we can move onto constant retroactive extensions after discussing how long copy protection lengths used to last. Then we can discuss how federally funded research gets locked up for long periods of time by publishers that contribute little, they don't pay researchers or writers or those who do peer review. Then we can move onto SOPA and its impact.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 9:46am

    If google did the same, that would get noticed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re:

    I'd argue that Reddit's and Slashdot's readers would already be well versed on SOPA/PIPA while others may not be. The question sites need to ask themselves is when does this become an act of cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    A complete shutdown of Google would be an example of spiting your face because, depending on how Reddit does its shutdown that may send casual users skittering off to Google to find out why, for how long and so on.

    Facebook won't shut down, that's practically a guarantee. I hope I'm wrong but there you are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Coordination

    Except the media companies, news and politicians... That might help.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    johnny canada, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 11:52am

    I just Googled

    "will Google go black on Jan 18"

    over 153,000,000 results

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
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    The Logician (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Perhaps, instead of a shutdown, Google and Facebook could, instead, add an information page that loads whenever you use the search engine or go to their main page, much like that used by americancensorship.org some time ago. You would only be able to access the page or your search results after the information page loads, thereby guaranteeing that viewers will see it but not hindering the operation of these sites' services in any way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    The politicians will strike back at them.

    The only way that Google or Facebook or other major site could do this would be if they all do. Unfortunately, if they do try it without having a good number of the major site doing it the pols will get back at them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    jen powers, Jan 11th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    will zuckerberg and page have the guts to join reddit in solidarity against SOPA with site black outs on 1.18.12?
    http://littlebiggy.org/4709048

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: In other news...

    TV Tropes marathon?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
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    tsavory (profile), Jan 11th, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Coordination

    Way to many consequences if Google shut down but I do think they should add a banner above search results. Something that will be really noticeable but not interfere with the use of the site.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 12:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Is that such a bad thing?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 12:55am

    Re:

    If you follow the links in that article, you can see what's being discussed and considered. Short version: consideration seems to be still ongoing, though I haven't had time to read the pages fully this morning:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Coordinated_SOPA_reacti on_in_early_2012_RfC

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
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    Claiborne (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Coordination

    Unfortunately,the law of unintended consequences would most like then come into play. Namely, the drastic impact on commerce and productivity would then label Google as evil and "too big" and would then drive the next angle of attack for the SOPA/PIPA witch hunters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    I-Blz, Jan 12th, 2012 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: In other news...

    YES.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 13th, 2012 @ 11:16am

    Re:

    But if Wikipedia has a blackout how will they get people to click their donation-begging banners that are on every page of their site?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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