Wikipedia to go dark to protest #SOPA?

There are very few petitions that I think will actually do something. Usually, I simply don’t bother. Nobody reads them or listens to them. However, there are exceptions, and here is one of them.

Apparently, Wikipedia is considering going dark to protest the censorship monstrosities “Stop Online Piracy Act” and “Protect IP Act,” and DemandProgress has a petition website up where you can pledge to donate $1 if they do go dark, or simply sign a nonmonetary petition to do so. I have pledged the money, not only because I oppose SOPA, but also because I have used Wikipedia a lot over the years, and I would like to give back to that community.

We’ve been over why SOPA is a bad idea here many times. There are sincere technological problems with SOPA, along with political issues. It’s a cure that’s worse than the disease. The backers behind SOPA are pirates themselves. Wikipedia would also not be alone in this, if it does go through. All of these are reasons why we need to do something about this bill, and do it now.

The reason I think this would actually be effective is that, without a doubt, Wikipedia is one of the top five most important websites on the Internet to most users, right there next to Google, Facebook, Twitter, and United Liberty. How many people have, when hearing a new phrase or idea, have gone to Wikipedia to look it up? How many people, when first encountering libertarianism, went there? How many students use Wikipedia as a research source (as dodgy as that is)? I could go on and on. It’s #6 on Alexa Rankings, behind Google (which everyone goes to first thing), Facebook, Yahoo!, Youtube, and Baidu, which is the Chinese Google; barring that last entry, for Americans, definitely makes it into the top five. (Yes, I was being facetious about United Liberty.)

The impact would be huge. Most people just don’t know what’s going on in our government because they don’t pay attention. But if one of their top websites goes dark with an anti-SOPA message, you can bet your petunias they will want to know why, and they will turn against it.

I’m honestly a little amazed that Wikipedia is even considering it, though tying donations to the blackout is a good incentive. I think this would be a powerful, powerful weapon against SOPA and PIPA, and not even Hollywood would want to stand against an angry public of that magnitude.

So please, go there. Pledge to support Wikipedia going dark. Pledge a dollar, if you can. Send a message to your senators and representatives. Let them know about this monstrosity. Let’s stop it.

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