Wikipedia Considering Total Blackout to Oppose SOPA

Some argue that denying access to users may not be the smartest form of protest

The web is under threat from the very objectionable SOPA bill that is in the process of becoming law in the US. It's not just the web in the US, since so many websites and crucial components of the internet and the web are housed in the US, SOPA will affect the web globally.

There's been a lot of criticism of the bill and plenty of internet companies have made it very public. A large online movement dissuaded lawmakers for a bit, but the bill may still go through.

To protest against the bill, Wikipedia founder and spiritual chief Jimmy Wales has proposed a blanking out of Wikipedia, temporarily.

The idea is that this move would be seen by a lot of people, raising public awareness and, presumably, get more people to oppose the bill.

"A few months ago, the Italian Wikipedia community made a decision to blank all of Italian Wikipedia for a short period in order to protest a law which would infringe on their editorial independence. The Italian Parliament backed down immediately," Wales wrote on his personal Wikipedia page.

"My own view is that a community strike was very powerful and successful in Italy and could be even more powerful in this case. There are obviously many questions about whether the strike should be geotargetted (US-only), etc.," he explained.

A total blackout of the site, either US-only, for the English Wikipedia or even for all of the local wikis, is being considered.

There are many in support of the move, in the discussion page, but the few that do oppose it raise valid concerns.

Wikipedia is used by millions of people daily. Leaving them without access to the site for any amount of time should be unacceptable, even for a cause like this.

Others question whether Wikipedia should get involved in politics at all. Of course, the issue is more than political since it could affect Wikipedia and the web at large in very real ways.

Denying access to all of the content may not be the smartest idea, but a form of protest from one of the largest websites in the world should prove useful for those opposing the bill.

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