Wikipedia blackout: The Post tries to fill in the blanks


This screen shot shows the blacked-out Wikipedia Web site, announcing a 24-hour protest against proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress, intended to protect intellectual property that critics say could facilitate censorship, referred to as the "Stop Online Piracy Act," or "SOPA," and the "Protect IP Act," or "PIPA." (AP Photo/Wikipedia)

A number of Web sites, including Wikipedia, have gone dark today in protest of SOPA and PIPA — two controversial bills currently under consideration in Congress. The legislation is aimed at combatting the sale of pirated or counterfeit goods on foreign web sites, but some tech companies worry they’ll face unnecessary costs and regulations if the bills are passed.

.@iwapodcaster re “Wheel in the Sky.’’ It’s a 1978 song by Journey. More from Songfacts: bit.ly/zo271A #altwiki

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 18, 2012

By 10 a.m., The Post crew had answered dozens of questions on everything from the identity of the Austrian chancellor to static electricity’s characteristics, uranium enrichment, British labor law and Journey’s second hit (“Wheel in the Sky’’).

The Guardian sent a reporter to answer queries via the Encyclopedia Brittanica; NPR News assigned its chief researcher to help. Librarians and readers across the Web have also helped answer queries. The effort is just a one-day Band-Aid, pre-cleared with Wikipedia, which should be back to full strength at midnight.

Perhaps the cagiest question of the day: What’s the Spanish word for soup?

That would be sopa.

Related:

Wikipedia blackout: An #altwiki Band-Aid

SOPA protests shut down Web sites

Google to state anti-SOPA stance on home page

Wikipedia Blackout: How to survive it

Wonkblog: Sen. Ron Wyden’s fight to stop SOPA and save the Internet

David Beard is a writer, editor and director of digital content for The Post. He also edits The Optimist, a weekly e-newsletter, and has been a foreign correspondent.

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