It's been speculated, and now it's confirmed: Wikipedia plans to give its users a (severe) taste of the Internet under SOPA by going offline in protest of the bill on Wednesday. Last week Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wiles wondered aloud in a statement if the site should coordinate a shutdown with Reddit planned for this Wednesday, January 18, to register its disgust with the much-maligned Internet censorship bill. And today we see Wiles tweeting sly confirmation that the massive online encyclopedia will indeed go dark.
We're glad to see a hat tip to Wikipedia's most loyal users! That suggests something else too: unlike Reddit users, who you'd expect to be anti-SOPA partisans anyways, a Wikipedia blackout will make site's more passive users very aware of the bill's existence when they lose access to that repertoire of knowledge that is Wikipedia. Wiles writes that Wikipedian consensus is currently for a 24-hour shutdown of the site's English-language versions globally. So beside our inner Internet deviant enjoying seeing Wikipedia officially go anti-SOPA, we appreciate the decidedly Wikipedian way the site made the decision to go dark: with a "Wikipedia talk" forum you can read for yourself here. As Wiles writes, it was a community decision.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.