Wikipedia blackout

  1. Hurkyl

    Hurkyl 16,090
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    http://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/01/16/wikipedias-community-calls-for-anti-sopa-blackout-january-18/

    Very unfortunate -- they lose a lot of standing in my own eyes.

    When I see things like this, one of the first things I look for is whether they are taking a reasonable position, or if they are taking an infeasible cartoonish position.

    and this quote looks like they're taking the cartoon position: that any laws and regulation regarding the internet should be rejected on pure principle.



    I don't know anything about the particular laws they're protesting -- and their stated reasons for protest do not fill me with confidence that their protest has merit. In fact, such extreme positions have a counter-productive effect from me -- they've pushed me from apathy to actually feeling antagonistic to their cause.

    I really hope that the editors just dropped the ball on this one, rather than this being a sign of Wikipedia's political direction....
     
  2. jcsd
  3. phinds

    phinds 8,082
    Gold Member

    "Net Neutrality" fanatics have a rational point of view, but like most fanatics, they only have PART of a total picture because their fanaticism causes them to ignore or unduly discount other part of the picture.

    I would hate to see much at all in the way of internet regulation, and I CERTAINLY do not trust politicians to come up with any reasonable solutions to the problems that could perhaps be helped by some (but not much) controls, but to dismiss the whole concept out of hand is lunacy.

    I think the wiki folks see the proposed legislation as a radical point of view in one direction, so they are taking a radical point of view in the other direction. This is how America came to its present state of political gridlock that has us all in such deep trouble.
     
  4. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    In light of SOPA I don't blame their actions, even if they aren't described/put across in the best way.

    On a lighter note XKCD explains best the widespread chaos wikipedia's actions will cause;
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Doc Al

    Staff: Mentor

    :rofl:
     
  6. Char. Limit

    Char. Limit 1,986
    Gold Member

    Meaning no insult, but if you don't know anything about the laws they're protesting, how can you take a rational position on their blackout?
     
  7. This move was fully supported by Jimmy Wales, one of the founders, and still one of the key people there. It wasn't some editor that just dropped the ball, it was a decision straight from the top.

    How can you characterize their position as "any laws and regulation regarding the internet should be rejected on pure principle" when you say

    They feel that wikipedia (and the internet as a whole) will be strongly adversely affected by the laws they're protesting. No doubt they have better legal counsel on hand than you do, so I'll take your thoughts on the matter with a grain of salt.

    If you consider wikipedia to be a valuable resource, it might be worth looking into what they're actually protesting, since they feel it will hamper them severely.

    I'd also add that they're not the only ones participating in the blackout. Many other websites will be blacked out as well. Reddit, the Cheezburger network, Boing Boing (to name a few of the more well known ones). Both Google and Facebook have come out in strongly opposition to the same laws (when do Google and Facebook agree on anything?), though it is doubtful they will participate in the blackout. Other notable companies opposed to the laws are Yahoo, Amazon, Twitter, eBay, and Mozilla.

    Perhaps you should actually educate yourself, before taking a "cartoon position" on their protest.
     
  8. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The main concern for sites like Wikipedia is that they allow people to edit pages, and then volunteers remove illegal postings that violate copyright, pirated material, etc...

    The way SOPA was written, a site like Wikipedia, even PF, could have their sites blocked if they missed removing illegal content that was placed on their site without their knowledge.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act

    The DNS blocking part has already been removed.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2012
  9. Char. Limit

    Char. Limit 1,986
    Gold Member

    Well, I know one person who's against the blackout of sites like Wikipedia and Google: Rupert Murdoch.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-5...using-popular-home-page/?tag=mncol;topStories
     
  10. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    As I understand it the site may not get a chance to appeal this until after it has been blocked. This worries me in case a disgruntled banned crackpot arranges to have a bunch of copyrighted material posted/linked on PF before reporting us.
     
  11. Kudos to Wikipedia for taking a stand again this travesty known as SOPA. It seems that support for SOPA has recently taken a dive as more and more people begin to understand what it really is. The fact that it got as far as it did proves how gullible people can be. I predict other versions of this will appear soon enough though...
     
  12. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Soon? It's already here in the form of PIPA. Depressingly I expect such attacks on internet freedom will continue until the huge industries that push for it either collapse, adapt for the 21st century or some combination of both.
     
  13. Char. Limit

    Char. Limit 1,986
    Gold Member

    Or until they eventually succeed.
     
  14. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Yup. That's nearly too disturbing to contemplate.
     
  15. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

  16. It is disturbing to contemplate, imho. But I think that there are just too many people with computers, and too many organizations/companies/universities with very large server bases that oppose the proposed legistlation ... so that even if it passes, and massively visited sites are subsequently 'closed', there will be workarounds available to the masses in relatively short order.

    How important are the satellite links and who controls those? I have no idea.

    Anyway, I think I understand where Wiki is coming from, and support their action (which I presume is intended to raise public consciousness of the issue).
     
  17. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,298
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I see the fundamental issue as quite straightforward.

    1. The internet should be regulated somehow.
    2. The USA should not have, or claim to have, unilateral authority to regulate anything world-wide. Period. That is completely non-negotiable IMO. Of course I don't expect every US citizen to agree with that position.
     
  18. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Unless of course these big institutions face financial penalties in the US, if a university faced serious fines for students uploading copyrighted material they'd too their best to stop it. It's trickle-down authoritarianism.
    I agree. a silver lining however is that if anything like this did happen in the US is that there would be other areas of the world that would flourish and consequently become havens for internet freedom (hopefully).
     
  19. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    The law is to stop piracy, in other words *theft*, something that we do not condone here, as per our guidelines.
     
  20. Just to clarify: This law is to stop copyright infringement, which in NOT theft. For a theft to occur the rightful owner of the item/content/thing must be denied the item/content/thing. If the owner has exactly what they started with, no theft occurred. Making an exact copy of something does not deny the rightful owner the original...

    I very much understand the spirit of the use of the word "theft" in this context though.
     
  21. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    True but it isn't just a question of theft. If I uploaded a home video of a birthday party that happened to have music in the background (copyrighted) that would be classed as theft under this law leading to the website shut down (even if temporarily) and me (were I a US citizen) potentially facing a prison sentence.

    This is on the understanding that I understand the implications of SOPA correctly.
     
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