Wikipedia will shut down for 24 hours Wednesday to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, founder Jimmy Wales announced on Monday.
In place of Wikipedia, users will see instructions for how to reach local members of Congress, which Wales hopes “will melt phone systems in Washington.”
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Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support.
- The blackout will only affect the site’s English version (en.wikipedia.org), although other language versions may opt to display a message or take their own action in protest of the bill. The blackout will take place globally on the English site.
- The site will display some sort of message explaining the protest, the exact wording of which is not yet determined.
- The time period for the protest is 24 hours: midnight to midnight, January 18th to 19th, EST.
- The exact nature of the blackout will be decided by the Wikipedia community, similar to the action taken by the site’s Italian language community against a proposed wiretapping law in Italy.