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Mocking Blackout Reactions Is Too Easy: Let's Learn From Them Instead

from the stupidity-online?-well-I-never! dept

Unsurprisingly, yesterday's Wikipedia blackout caused a lot of reaction on Twitter. The whole point of a move like this is to shock people, get their attention, and make them start asking questions—and the primary target is those who don't already know about the issue at hand. So it's also unsurprising that some of the reactions were pretty damn stupid. And since there's nothing the internet likes more than making fun of stupid people, it's once again unsurprising that a few different sources decided to catalogue and mock them.

@herpderpedia sprung up to retweet the various freak-outs and desperate pleas of stymied users—mostly students. There's a lot of misdirected anger, with people blaming Obama or denouncing Wikipedia, and a lot of general ignorance: many thought the site had already been shuttered forever, or that the blackout itself was mandated by congress. And since memes are always in their fifth stage of irony for some people while others have yet discover them, there are also quite a few tweets that look like parodies.

But what I see most of all are questions. People are asking why? in huge numbers, and that's fantastic. Granted, a lot of them are directing their questions to the wrong people, and it's not as if all of them are going to use this as a starting point to genuinely learn more about these issues. But some will. And you can bet they'll all be paying more attention to SOPA/PIPA now—not to mention any future legislation that sparks chatter about Wikipedia's Black Wednesday.

Some will say they shouldn't be asking when the blackout page provides plenty of information, but when you look closer you see that several tweets complain about complicated language and unclear explanations, and most are just shouts of extreme frustration (remember, these are all people with a looming deadline on some other project). More importantly, this speaks of broader themes online: people have two primary means of finding information now—search and social—and when one fails, they go to the other. When you want fast facts you Google something then click through to Wikipedia, but when you have a more immediate human need borne of panic—OMG OMG OMG OMG WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO WIKIPEDIA? CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME? Omg [actual tweet]—you turn to your social circles.

But it's the internet, and there will be mockery, and that's fine. I just hope the mockers realize that this isn't like when Kim Jong Il died and some Twitter users thought it was Lil Kim (that was both less excusable and more hilarious). Beneath the surface idiocy, most of these people have been nudged in the right direction by Wikipedia's blackout, even if only slightly—and their reactions provide a lot of insight if you can resist taking the potshots, most of which are too easy anyway.

Now that's out of the way, here are some easy potshots at tweets:

fuck jimmy wales. fuck him and fuck wikipedia. dickhead my works taking ages to do now cos i goota go on so many wesbits.wt a prick.'protest [What sort of company employs a quasi-illiterate to surf Wikipedia all day? I'm genuinely curious]

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? WHY AM I THE LAST TO KNOW WIKIPEDIA IS BLOCKED! I BE ON THERE DAILY!!! [I like that she is less annoyed about losing Wikipedia than she is about the fact nobody told her. I've often thought SOPA/PIPA supporters are just mad because they were the last to find out about free movies.]

I will cry if they shut down Wikipedia forever.. :'( [Why, because you won't be able to look up "sissy"?]

WHY THE FUCK IS MY WIKIPEDIA BEING A BLACK ONE I DIDNT WANT THAT OH GOD IM SO MAD [Swap "Wikipedia" with "President" and this would be the perfect redneck tweet]

I think Wikipedia planned this shit. [Really? I figured it was a typo.]

Gay no Wikipedia!? I was about to search something fucking bitch.. ["The page 'Something fucking bitch' does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered." Incidentally, the first result is "Flavor of Love (season 1)"]



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 10:45pm

    Cheap Shot

    After reading these tweets its no wonder our country is in such a sad state :)

    I've gotten so used to reading comments from people on Techdirt who are either

    A: Intelligent

    B: Shills who are paid to act stupid.

    I can't imagine there are so many non-shills that act so much like Techdirt shills.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    Notice

    > WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? WHY AM I THE LAST TO KNOW WIKIPEDIA IS BLOCKED! I BE ON THERE DAILY!!!
    AFAIK, 4+ hours before the blackout, the banner of Wikipedia has changed from the usual donation AD to a countdown message. (Not sure exactly how long, but I saw that in that morning when I started working)

    I think this user didn't stay with Wikipedia long enough.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    TheNutman69321 (profile), Jan 19th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Notice

    It was well over a day that the banner was up warning of the blackout.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:27pm

    When I read stuff like that my reaction isn't to mock them over the message itself, which is bad enough, its to mock them for freaking out like that on the internet in the first place.

    The internet is a big dark scary place, sometimes it'll send you into rage, other times it'll just make you want to curl up in a little ball and make mewing sounds. But, you don't go crazy over it, you suck it up in silence until you've collected yourself enough to post rationally. Employers check this stuff now, have a little forethought. And even without that, losing it just feeds the trolls, which is its own brand of internet sin.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:29pm

    Re: Cheap Shot

    The blackout was nothing but the biggest con ever pulled on the internet.

    The bill had absolutely zero to do with sites like Facebook and Wikipedia, yet there were all these dumb lemmings talking about how the bills would end the internet.

    The propaganda was all based on lies, and you know it. People are indeed stupid.

    But I don't think the "Lie, Lie, then Lie Some More" angle is going to work again when the legislation is redrafted.

    You only get to play that card once, and you've used it.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Just John (profile), Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Couldn't resist, could you?

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:46pm

    I disagree with you Mr. Carab, mockery and petty pot shots are how some people wake up to the world, nobody likes to be mocked and when your reaction provokes mockery, people generally go silent or try to learn why are others making fun of them so they try to do something about it, is part of society like air is part of our lifes, for good and bad we all do it, we all done it and we all probably will do it more.

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:52pm

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    I think the "buy legislation" card has a limited number of uses too, and it seems that one's nearly used up.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    The written law in SOPA says otherwise.

    A 100 professors of law say otherwise, analysts say otherwise and any person who actually read it knows it would harm everybody.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    The biggest con in history was the enactment of a monopoly(copyright) under the disguise of protection for the little people.

    That is the biggest con of all times, nobody deserves a granted monopoly enforced by any government period.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 11:58pm

    All the intelligent people have Javascript blocked for every site that doesn't absolutely need it, which also neatly bypassed the Wikipedia blackout.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:02am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Odd. The "Lie, Lie, then Lie Some More" angle works for the RIAA/MPAA. Every time.

    Explain why we can't use it, if at all?

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:09am

    It is too soon to make a Kodak joke?

     

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

  14.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    "I don't think the "Lie, Lie, then Lie Some More" angle is going to work again"

    Me neither. Hopefully this will lead to congress and your masters to stop lying about people who oppose the bill and start real debatel. Maybe you will actually accept input from people who understand the technology, people who have ideas on how to reduce piracy without destroying free speech, and maybe even input on how to reduce it without needing any new laws whatsoever.

    Perhaps this is what was needed to get you people to stop attacking and lying about the opposition, and actually get workable solutions in place. We shall see...

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    I very much doubt that those people see it that way, those idiots from the industry don't know what "no" means, it never happened to them in their life times, they are not used to see people say no.

    They will try everything they can to continue this futile enterprise and will be hammered down like a nail sticking out into compliance, but not without a fight and that is good, that means popcorn and soda time.

     

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

  16.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:40am

    Re:

    I had hoped my comic reversal at the end of the post would make it clear that I do acknowledge and appreciate the value of mockery, comedy and even vulgarity to make a point - indeed I have argued in their favour many times in the past. The true intention of this post was simply a reminder: that there is something to be learned alongside the mockery, even if the mockery is admittedly kinda fun... (though, really, most of the herpderpedia retweets are not even that funny)

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Jaerys, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    It's under copyright, obviously.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Floppy Copy, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 12:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    If you truly want an example of stupid, read the article that was linked:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/2012/01/hollywood-unions-google-sop a-pipa.html

    "The Protect IP Act does nothing more than make it possible for the U.S. government to handle illegal foreign websites in the same manner it can already do -- and has been doing -- with illegal sites."

    That gem is from the page you linked to, Anonymous Coward. So here is the obvious question in reply to that statement; if all PIPA will do is give the U.S. government the ability to do something they already have the ability to do, why the hell is PIPA needed?

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:25am

    Student 1: So ... like ... we have to use books...!?
    Student 2: Yeah ... and Copy/Paste doesn't work on them...
    Student 1: Are you sure? Try again...

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 1:37am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    "The bill had absolutely zero to do with sites like Facebook and Wikipedia, yet there were all these dumb lemmings talking about how the bills would end the internet."

    Speaking of liars...

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:07am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    But I don't think the "Lie, Lie, then Lie Some More" angle is going to work again when the legislation is redrafted.

    Really? That's the way it got drafted. Tough luck you got called on it and will be again next time around.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Because he's got to whore himself out SOMEHOW.

    Gawd, if he stopped blatantly lying and bullshitting about these bills, he might have to actually do some honest work!

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    No, that's not the biggest con; it's only medium-sized in the grand scheme of things.

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    Lachlan Hunt (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:56am

    > What sort of company employs a quasi-illiterate to surf Wikipedia all day? I'm genuinely curious

    He was obviously referring to school/university work.

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 3:08am

    Humour

    The most funny comment I read went like... "OMG Wikipedia is down. Can someone contact that soap guy and tell him to knock it off" LOL

    Not to overlook that so many were left puzzled why Wikipedia and Google now had a problem with soap.

    Yes it was about awareness and for only one day of action it proved very successful. Not many days to go now and more action is needed.

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    certainly not anon, too lazy to log in (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 3:17am

    Re: Re: Notice

    But people have trained themselves to ignore that banner.

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Cloksin (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 3:36am

    Too Funny!

    "Gay no Wikipedia!? I was about to search something fucking bitch.. ["The page 'Something fucking bitch' does not exist. You can ask for it to be created, but consider checking the search results below to see whether the topic is already covered." Incidentally, the first result is "Flavor of Love (season 1)"]"

    I don't think I've ever laughed this hard while reading Techdirt. Nice job Mr. Carab.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    Loki, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Considering pretty much the entirety of the entertainment industry's arguments are based on disinformation, exaggeration, double standards and outright lies anything their supporters have to say is totally irrelevant.

    The only con I see is an industry who's entire business was originally founded on infringement and "theft" trying to buy laws that prevent competition.

    And while there are indeed a lot of stupid (or at least ill-informed) people out there, it's exactly those people the entertainment industry relies on to continue perpetrating their fallacies.

    The rest of us see you for the shill you are.

     

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

  29.  
    identicon
    The Luke Witnesser, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 4:38am

    Here lies the truth about SOPA/PIPA that even TechDirt has yet to report: what MPAA, RIAA, and Hollywood execs do not want you to see.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJIuYgIvKsc
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzS5rSvZXe8

    The truth behind why these big companies responsible for SOPA and PIPA are also responsible for piracy itself is far more insidious than even their outmoded business model.

    Hint: can you say, do as I say so I can crush you under heel?

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Obviously you're one of the dumb fools that bought Google and Masnick's lies.

    Chump.

    Copyright isn't going to be repealed. Infringement isn't going to be legalized. And there *will* be piracy legislation enacted; enacted because of greedy, selfish, lawbreaking douchebags like yourself.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    mrtraver (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:20am

    llol

    "I've often thought SOPA/PIPA supporters are just mad because they were the last to find out about free movies."

    This made me literally laugh out loud.

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:22am

    "@herpderpedia sprung up to retweet the various freak-outs and desperate pleas of stymied users—mostly students. "

    Of course, none of those were fake. Not a one.

    Hitler Reacts to SOPA is rather humorous.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Bengie, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:23am

    Re: Notice

    At one point, the banner said something like "8 hours until [whatever]". Pretty sure it was more like 8+ hours.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    "because we are greedy, selfish lawbreaking douchbags"


    Fix it for ya

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    bongo houzi (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Re:

    there were so many ways around the blackout I do not understand how so many people were stymied by it, much less surprised by it

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    And there *will* be piracy legislation enacted; enacted because of greedy, selfish, lawbreaking douchebags like yourself

    I think you are pointing the finger at the wrong person. The only greed, selfishness and lawbreaking (more like law bending) that is happening is coming from the side of SOPA supporters.

    You claim that the people protesting SOPA were doing so based on lies, but the only lies I have ever seen are those coming from the mouths of SOPA supporters.

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    bongo houzi (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 5:55am

    Re:

    that's not the point

     

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

  38.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    And there *will* be piracy legislation enacted; enacted because of greedy, selfish, lawbreaking douchebags like yourself.

    Since you've become increasingly childish: I know you are, but what am I?

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Copyright is not going to be repealed yet!
    FTFY

     

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

  40.  
    icon
    Nastybutler77 (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:23am

    Re: Cheap Shot

    Look what you did. You went and summoned a shill.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    He and people like him are the reason why no one believes anything the MPAA, and RIAA say. This sort of spin, is self defeating on the internet, it forces people to think things through. Let him keep posting.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:33am

    Re:

    Of course, none of those were fake. Not a one.

    I did mention that :) As the day went on, the balance of the feed seemed to shift from mostly real to mostly parody... All the "Soap" comments, for example, seemed to be jokes.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    "Lie, Lie, then Lie Some More" does indeed sound like they're working on the bill.

     

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

  44.  
    icon
    ipgrunt (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Scary

    OMG!!! Can these ppl vote???

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 20th, 2012 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    Absolutely zero to do with Facebook and Wikipedia other than the provisions on Anti-Circumvention that would require them to massively step up monitoring of all user submitted content and the sweeping immunity for vigilante action without a court order.

     

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

  46.  
    icon
    Bill Price (profile), Jan 20th, 2012 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    The bill had absolutely zero to do with sites like Facebook and Wikipedia, yet there were all these dumb lemmings talking about how the bills would end the internet.

    Of course, if you actually read bills instead of the talking (shilling?) points your employers give youi, you would know what the bills would really do, and why they're such a danger.


    First, it allows for private cause of action: with these as law, anyone has the power of government to shut down whatever sites they don't like. It will stay shut down until the courts can work through their backlog and get around to giving the victim his day in court. That is, if the victim hasn't gone bankrupt by then.


    Second, the definition of 'foreign' obviously includes actual non-domestic sites, but it also includes any domestic site, like google.com, which has a non-domestic counterpart, like google.nl. Facebook and Wwikipedia, and most everything else, is terminally vulnerable to any bad actor (like the MAFIAA) that comes along.

     

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

  47.  
    icon
    April (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 7:24am

    You'd think with all these kids being in high school and with how much homework they're doing they might actually manage to spell correctly or use proper grammar. Apparently not. What with the teachers relying so much on wikipedia I can't say I'm that surprised. Please to the teachers AND students..go away and get a better education.

     

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

  48.  
    icon
    AzureSky (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re: Re: Cheap Shot

    you should tell your corporate masters that, they been using that card over and over for decades now...

    "loosing billions to "piracy""

    "every download is a lost sale"

    "people are loosing jobs to piracy"

    common now....shill better next time!!!

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    AzureSky (profile), Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    proper grammar on the internetz?

    come on now...

    as to twitter, I dont use it because despite my love of trying to pack as much into as little space as possible, i cant stand how bad my grammar/spelling have to become to make anything worth posting on there...

    My favorite was the guy who called me (works for charter cable) pissed off wikipedia was blocked as where like other sites he uses daily, and he had no idea why...linked him here and to a few choice articles via email....should have seen his reaction.

    later that day a huge 2 page email went out from him to all his work and non-work contacts with a bunch of links(mostly techdirt) telling people about sopa.

    he should have listened when i linked the info weeks before i guess...:P

    note: I dont strive to perfect grammar or spelling online, but I try not to make things to hard to understand, Its not like I am being graded (collage i always did very good in English!)

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    economics assignment help, Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 12:12am

    economics assignment help

    Thank you

    Your blog is very Informative.

    Visit :- homework help

     

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


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