Jimmy Wales In Favor Of Wikipedia Blackout: Community Must Decide

from the speak-up dept

While there have been some previous discussions about whether or not Wikipedia would black out its site to protest SOPA/PIPA — and the community’s consensus was to do so — it appeared that they had agreed that the trigger for a black out would be on the passing of the bill. That’s a little late. However, now, with Reddit’s plan to black out its site next Wednesday being joined by lots of other sites, some have been demanding that Wikipedia join them. Jimmy Wales has now spoken out saying he supports a blackout on Wednesday with Reddit, but would like the community to come to agreement first:

I’m all in favor of it, and I think it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit. I’d like to talk to our government affairs advisor to see if they agree on this as useful timing, but assuming that’s a greenlight, I think that matching what Reddit does (but in our own way of course) per the emerging consensus on how to do it, is a good idea. But that means we need to move forward quickly on a concrete proposal and vote – we don’t have the luxury of time that we usually have, in terms of negotiating with each other for weeks about what’s exactly the best possible thing to do. As I understand it, the Foundation is talking to people about how we can geolocate and guide people to their Congressperson, etc. Geoff will know about that. Our task is to decide to do it with a thumbs up / thumbs down vote.

So, speak up, Wikipedians…

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Comments on “Jimmy Wales In Favor Of Wikipedia Blackout: Community Must Decide”

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Trails (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't get it

Because these sites have a much wider audience than those currently involved in or aware of the debate. The idea of the blackout/learn in is a strong negative experience for users in order to make it stick in people’s minds.

Holding drives, rallies, etc… with things like the wikipedia banner (? la donate) are simply not as effective.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't get it

Think of it like being Mohamed Bouazizi. He does himself a lot of harm, but in doing so raises awareness to a lot of people who then cause first the Tunisian Revolt, and then the Arab Spring. Sure, it could turn out to be just some angry guy setting himself on fire, but it could also make huge waves and cause a lot of change.

Justin (user link) says:

Re: I don't get it

You may get that SOPA sucks, but you don’t get what SOPA does. If SOPA passes, supposedly the gov. can take down w/e site they want (In the long term, ofc it has to be an offence of some bull crap), so by Wikipedia and Reddit removing their site (Not literally, but withholding their info/service to the people), they’re showing what the internet could be like and how people can view it in the future if SOPA were to pass.

And I support the black out 100%. Wikipedia can go a day without it’s service, even if it’s during midterms… Lol.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: I don't get it

I get that SOPA sucks, but what I don’t understand is why sites like Wikipedia and Reddit are protesting a censorship bill by censoring their own sites. Even hacktivism makes more sense to me.

Well, it’s just a way of getting people to notice. You can tell people that a bill will enable censorship and may interfere with the websites they visit every day, and you can tell them a thousand times, but that will never make the same impact as a single visit to your blacked-out site. It’s a bold move, for sure – and that speaks to just how important this is: these sites are so worried about what’s going to happen under SOPA/PIPA that they are willing to do a small amount of harm to themselves and their users, if it means getting more attention for the issue and combating the huge amounts of harm that could be done by the legislation.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't get it

A site like Google or Facebook joining a blackout would be ideal. At this point though we will take whatever we can get and make no mistake, these sites that are blacking several are very large. You add two or three large sites together with a lot of small sites all blacking out on the same day and it adds up to something that is approaching the effect of Google.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: I don't get it

Actually, if wikipedia does go black. I am going to double my yearly donation to them. I am certain a lot of other people will also.

Much like the NRA protects the second amendment, I think a bunch of large internet sites banding together, in this, and in funding the other politician, can protect both the 1st and the 4th amendment. It is something we so need, a coalition to prevent censorship.

Any coalition of this sort should stay away from lobbying or paying politicians for laws. That path is a trap. They should just inform and rally people of what politicians are up to on the issues of the 1st and the 4th.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't get it

damn, techdirt needs to move the submit and preview button apart. finishing …

“They should just inform and rally people of what politicians are up to on the issues of the 1st and the 4th.” Then at a later date (reads before the election) remind people of how politicians voted and the repercussions of those laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I don't get it

Both reddit and Wikipedia are sights that could – since they are primarily places for user-posted content – be taken down by those laws.* This is a way for these sites to show the world one possible dystopian future.

* – And the shills will come in to claim that these laws will only target “rogue sites”, but then those same shills also claimed that DMCA takedowns would never be abused, and Righthaven was doing the right thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I don't get it

IF they go black and say this is the future if such and such is past it is huge. Where as reddit is preaching to the choir wikipedia would reach just about every citizen in the US. And if they took all the wikipedia down it would bring alot of pressure down on this bill.

This is about motivating grass roots and this would do exactly that which is why I pledged to donate 10 dollars to wikipedia if they do indeed go black out for sopa.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Re: I don't get it

This is the people of the United States and the countries around the world saying, “This far, no further”.

This is people saying, “This is our country, you are here to represent US, not corporations”

This is people saying, “Stop being such bought off devious retches”.

This is “we the people” giving notice to the politicians.

This is the party of we.

anonymous says:

with all the flack that Google has been getting from certain ‘representatives’, with the way it’s being used as nothing other than a punch bag, i sincerely hope that it joins this blackout. if it does, the impact would be enormous! it would also be a good thing if they filtered out all the entertainment industries websites as well. give them a taste of their own medicine!

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

OK, I can only support this. That said, I am genuinely worried about a wikipedia black-out. I don’t think I spend any day without using wikipedia a dozen or so times minimum. I know, that’s the point, but this is scary none-the-less.

While I find it hard to believe we could get Google, Amazon, eBay, Twitter, Facebook etc to actually black-out, it might be possible to get a fake black-out. Something along the lines of a gigantic click-through popup. It would draw people’s attention without killing the service.

Gothenem (profile) says:

Need more.

With Wikipedia and Reddit doing a blackout, it is good. However, I think we need more on board.

Facebook and Google would be ideal. If these sites went down with Reddit and Wikipedia, the world would shudder. No one would be able to ignore the message. They may disagree with it, but NO ONE will be able to ignore it. No one will say that there is no opposition anymore.

Everyone will learn what SOPA and PIPA are about and the demand for action will increase.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

No matter what happens.

Wikipedia should go black (gray – every page with a click here to continue SOPA message) regardless of whether they drop this bill or punt it to after the elections. It would raise awareness and prevent this from happening again for a couple years. After which the tools will be in place to follow your representatives promises, voting and funding.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Dissenting Voice

I do not know where to begin.

“Wikipedia’s purpose isn’t to preserve its own existence. It’s just to exist”

How does it exist if the bill being discussed is passed into law?

“It’s sullying its own function with this political grandstanding.”

History and encyclopedias are written by the winners. Not by those who sit by the side of the road and do nothing.

Do we want an entry in the future http://www.OfficialEncylopedia.gov that reads

Wikipedia – A site shut down for “alleged” infringement under H.R. 3261. No further information is available.

Donny (profile) says:

Re: Re: Dissenting Voice

I’m making a distinction between “Wikipedia as a thing in itself” and “the people who care about, run, maintain it”.

I think the latter, the people, should do all they can to stop SOPA/PIPA because they’re horrendously stupid pieces of legislation.

But I don’t think the former should be involved. I don’t think those people should USE their encyclopedia as another weapon to make their side win the debate.

Wikipedia is not a political tool. It’s an encyclopedia.

David says:

Re: Dissenting Voice

If this passes, and Some internet regulation official decides certain content on wikipedia is controversial, or that the entire site is a threat to someone’s copyright, or for whatever other reason they come up with. Then wikipedia can be blacklisted and no longer exist. Its not about political grandstaning its about protecting the last free media we the people have.

David says:

I support the blackout 100%

I pledge $10 donation if wikipedia blacks out. I don’t want it to be click through popup ad either. People don’t read those. I want the site shut down completely for 12 hours. That will get people’s attention. Those internet groups who support this had better stick together and go all out in opposition. Otherwise the internet, wikipedia, youtube, may cease to exist.

Mesonoxian Eve (profile) says:

I just received an email from Wikipedia asking me to pledge a donation for them to blackout the site?

Wow. I mean, this is one of the most insulting things I’ve ever read. I understand Wikipedia is a nonprofit, but to force a “pay or we’ll do nothing” to stand against SOPA, rather than just turn off the site, is troubling to me.

Now I regret donating last year.

I don’t like this “Money or nothing” extortion attempt.

LC (profile) says:

Honestly, I think that a high-traffic site like Wikipedia should definitely blackout to a black screen with a link to americancensorship.com if they are truly against SOPA. They would get lots of attention, even from the no-so-net-savvy amongst us, and really draw people to the cause.

However, I believe it’s more important for Google, Facebook and Youtube to get involved. These three have a lot to lose under SOPA/PIPA, and the latter 2 could even be shut down under these laws. And you can bet your ass they get tens of millions of hits per day from all over the globe. Yes, people outside the US should be protesting because
A. It could fuck up the internet for them too, particularly social media
B. It sets a bad international precedent, other countries will point to the filters and other measures the freedom-loving US has in place to justify their own similar totalitarian systems and
C. Most of the companies that are pushing for the laws are big multinationals, many with offices in other countries, so they can be punished in and out of the US, but only if a sufficient number of people know about it.

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