SOPA blackout: A dark day in D.C.

January 18, 2012

Along with everyone else on the Internet, I’m feeling aimless while today’s scheduled blackout against the Stop Online Piracy Act rages on.


View Photo Gallery: Coordinated efforts to fight the proposed Stop Internet Privacy Act before Congress changed the face of the Internet today. Here’s a glimpse.

My early morning Wikipedia search for “fascist leaders” (don’t ask) failed. My daily visit to D.C.’s Reddit ended in disappointment. And on Facebook and Twitter, it seems everyone I know is in full mourning.

“Icanhazcheezeburger?! OK, this is serious now,” writes one friend.

“Hope you didn’t need Wikipedia or hundreds of other sites today!” writes another.

However, the good news is that there are plenty of ways to get around the blackout. (You can access Wikipedia on your smartphone, or just hit the Escape key before the redirect page loads.) The bad news, though, is that District residents don’t have a senator — or a House delegate with a vote — to write to to protest SOPA. (Martin Austermuhle of DCist has more on this here.)

Though we miss the sites we visit each day, we’re pardoning this interruption by trying to have a little fun with the blackout. Our fellow journalists over at BlogPost, along with the Guardian and NPR News, have decided to take on the monumental (and fun) task of helping answer everyone’s unasked questions. Check out the #altwiki hashtag to watch the question-and-answer session go down in real time, and see some of the questions @WashingtonPost has answered here. (“What is SOPA?” is my personal favorite, along with these:

The ultimate #altwiki? Librarians!

— Mireille Djenno (@BookyBookish) January 18, 2012

#altwiki What was soap made out of in the 1600’s? Would it be safe to put in your mouth?

— Kate Lechler (@KateLechler) January 18, 2012

What was the name of that one band with the song about the girl #altwiki

— Michael Moldovan (@moldovanm) January 18, 2012

Is the devil actually in the details? #altwiki

— Vince Kelley (@Vint13) January 18, 2012

Tell us what you’re missing in the comments below — bonus points if you tell us what you’re searching for. For inspiration, take a look at what people said last year when Wikipedia turned 10 years old.

Video:

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales on SOPA blackout (CNN):

More reading:

Politics:  SOPA protests shut down Web sites

BlogPost:  Wikipedia blacks out on Wednesday

Style:  With blackout, some rest for the Wikied

Photos: SOPA protests black out top Web sites

Style blog:  How to survive the Wikipedia blackout

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