Repeat After Me – Wikipedia isn’t “down” or “blacked out” or “offline”

Turn off that light!

… but you are presented with a dark image and a message.  All of which is very easy to circumvent if you have the know how, access to a Google search or the relevant plug-in for your browser.

According to their FAQ:

‎Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?
Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn’t to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it’s okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.
I feel like the only person asking “Eh?  What is your point caller?”  This is the definition of a blackout:
Blackout
Pronunciation: /ˈblakaʊt/
noun
1a period when all lights must be turned out or covered to prevent them being seen by the enemy during an air raid: people found it difficult to travel in the blackout [as modifier]: she peered out through the blackout curtains
(usually blackouts) British dark curtains put up in windows to cover lights during an air raid.
a failure of an electrical power supply: due to a power blackout their hotel was in total darkness
a moment in the theatre when the lights on stage are suddenly dimmed.
a suppression of information, especially one imposed on the media by government: there is a total information blackout on minority interests

2a temporary loss of consciousness: she was suffering from blackouts

In context, of all of these, the only one that makes any sense is: a suppression of information, especially one imposed on the media by government ...  This is the fear of Wikipedia – and the wider community of the internet – and yet their site is easily accessible.
This is a bit like a strike where everyone goes to work – pointless.  I have been told that what Wikipedia is doing is ensuring we get their message.  In fact that is what they are saying in their quote but I ask again – what is the point?  Surely if censorship is what is worrying then take away your service, exercise your right to withdraw your service – show the web what it will be like to be truly without Wikipedia.
Make a point.

The nature of this legislation has sent the internet into paroxysms of indignation while the mainstream media have remained largely mum.   I find that remarkable because it seems that the internet, or rather the sites people use to exchange information, are regularly confused with News by regular journalists.  Perhaps this bilge being reported by Rory Cellan Jones over at the BBC highlights the main problem – a lack of technical expertise in the field?

Students finishing essays, sports fans looking to settle an argument – or perhaps journalists wanting to check a fact – are going to be in trouble today. Wikipedia has gone black.

If you need to find out about other topics, try the mobile site – strangely, still working.

Or use one of Wikipedia’s language sites and have Google Translate render it into English.

By the way that’s taken from the sidebar – the main article isn’t any better.  Rory is one of the top BBC journalists.  Gosh.

SOPA* is not good legislation.  Generally speaking it’s rare anything rushed, ill thought out and the result of outside interference is.  Good legislation is built on: consensus, knowledge and experience.  SOPA is anything but and I’ll let the great Wikipedia explain why.

The irony, Me quoting SOPA** from a supposedly dark Wikipedia, is not lost on me.

*No, not this SOPA.

**I forgot to go on about PIPA which is a related piece of legislation.  At the time of writing support for SOPA has crumbled and likely to collapse.  PIPA will probably go the same way.  This sort of legislation is likely to come round again and keep coming round unless those making the law get a better handle on things.  Lobbies, both for and against, need to get their collective fingers out because it’s clear that the current situation is not tenable.  People who create are entitled to reward, also the costs should be fair for the those purchasing cultural material.  The misty eyed naivety of the Net Utopians or Blinkered Old Guard need to be dealt with –  there must be a third way that is fair for everyone.

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2 Comments on “Repeat After Me – Wikipedia isn’t “down” or “blacked out” or “offline””

  1. Talli Roland says:

    Well, it seems it got them what they wanted — a lot of attention.

    • antihippy says:

      You’re absolutely right.

      But then I’m a grumpy old man and I expect my … strikes (for want of a better word) … to be strikes!

      There is an argument that no one is able to have a grown up discussion about this because all of the players are shouting at each other like big kids. As someone involved in the creative industries I’d prefer everyone to get something sensible sorted out.


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