Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wikipedia goes dark for 24 hours--great protest or best protest ever?

In a few hours (oh god, is it Eastern, Central, or Pacific?), Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours to protest SOPA/PIPA, bills before Congress that everyone who likes communication dislikes. The only people who like those bills are IP-owning corporations (which, sure, they're people, right?).

Over the past few weeks, SOPA/PIPA have been altered a bit to make them less onerous on people, but they're still bad bills and potentially disruptive to the Enlightenment project that Wikipedia is engaged in (i.e., spreading information, preferably correct information, but let's remember that Diderot's Encyclopedie wasn't 100% accurate. The important thing is the corrigibility of the information: the project is the accumulation itself--this is science that we're engaged in, not theology).

I don't want to get deep into SOPA/PIPA, I just want to give some props to Wikipedia for coming up with a protest that's gotten attention and will continue to get attention. And what a great protest it is: it's a direct inquiry to users of Wikipedia, asking if this is the sort of world they want to live in. Do you want to live in a world without Wikipedia? Sure, we all joke about how annoying it is that some students use Wikipedia as a single-stop plagiarism store; or how they think it's the alpha and omega of research.

But all joking aside, Wikipedia is a huge resource that I use all the time. (Note to self: donate more to Wikipedia.) It won't be fun tomorrow, to go through 24 hours without Wikipedia, but I'd rather go without Wikipedia for a day to ensure that it survives the ever-oncoming copyright-holders onslaught.

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually disappointed at certain sites who AREN'T following suit. I think it should be for two days or maybe longer even.