Wikipedia Blackout to protest SOPA (Jan 18, 2012)

Details of the blackout, SOPA, PIPA, context of Wikipedia activism, and coping without Wikipedia

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  1. Andrew Lih is the author of The Wikipedia Revolution, How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia. He is an associate professor of journalism at the University of Southern California.

    After three days of debate, the Wikipedia community led by Jimmy Wales has decided to voluntarily "black out" English language Wikipedia for 24 hours, starting January 18, midnight US Eastern time (0500 UTC). The move is in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) making their way through the United States Congress. The issue has been a hot topic among the tech sector, but has had limited mainstream media coverage.

    The Wikimedia Foundation made this official with a press release summarizing the community decision to "go dark" for 24 hours:
  2. In reaching the decision, members of the Wikipedia community chimed in over 72 hours, resulting in "1800 Wikipedians" participating in the vote. According to administrators overseeing the discussion, this was "by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia." In the end, "roughly 55% of those supporting a blackout preferred that it be a global one, with many pointing to concerns about similar legislation in other nations."
  3. Wikipedia will be the most high profile participant in the "SOPA Strike" which has Mozilla (of Firefox fame), Wordpress, Reddit, cheezburger, Free Software Foundation and TwitPic among its over 30 confirmed participants (listed below).
  4. The Wikipedia SOPA Blackout "technical FAQ" has the finer details, including a list of pages that will be available, such as [[SOPA]] and [[censorship]]
  5. Among the social media trends to watch, the Twitter tags #J18, #SOPA, #PIPA#SOPAstrike and #WikipediaBlackout are busy with activity 48 hours before the blackout.

    Already on Wikipedia, there is a banner at the top of each page:
  6. Italian Wikipedia turned their site black in solidarity before the US English site, on Tuesday night US time:
  7. At midnight, Wikipedia, Google, CraigsList and Boing Boing blacked their front pages.
  8.  Ars Technica spiced up theirs.
  9. ICanHazCheezburger went bright and patriotic.
  10.  Minecraft went red.
  11. Schools got in on the action too.
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