Jimmy Wales considers a protest blackout of Wikipedia

John Moe Dec 13, 2011

Like a lot of online content people, Wikipedia founder and honcho Jimmy Wales is opposed to the Stop Online Piracy Act, the proposed bill that would give law enforcement a lot more power to go after sites accused of selling counterfeit goods or content. Critics of the bill argue it would have a chilling effect on the Internet and curtail freedom of speech.

So Wales is contemplating temporarily blacking out the English language version of Wikipedia in protest.

What’s interesting here is not the threat, other sites like Reddit have already done similar things, but the discussion taking place on Wikipedia about it. Users are weighing in about whether this should be done and giving reasons why they support or oppose it. A quick glance indicates that the Wikipedians strongly favor the blackout but it’s really interesting to read the reasons from both sides to get a deeper understanding of the issues related to SOPA and the way Wikipedia works. For what it’s worth, sponsors of SOPA have said that Wikipedia would not be affected by the bill one way or another but Wikipedians say it’s not about their site, it’s about the Internet.


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