User talk:Jimbo Wales/Archive 91

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Request for Comment: SOPA and a strike

(Please help me publicize this widely.)

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. As Wikipedians may or may not be aware, a much worse law going under the misleading title of "Stop Online Piracy Act' is working its way through Congress on a bit of a fast track. I may be attending a meeting at the White House on Monday (pending confirmation on a couple of fronts) along with executives from many other top Internet firms, and I thought this would be a good time to take a quick reading of the community feeling on this issue. 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. (One possible view is that because the law would seriously impact the functioning of Wikipedia for everyone, a global strike of at least the English Wikipedia would put the maximum pressure on the US government.) At the same time, it's of course a very very big deal to do something like this, it is unprecedented for English Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jimbo Wales (talkcontribs) 07:42, 10 December 2011‎

(note: I added the request for comment tag and signature for the bot Crazynas t 09:22, 10 December 2011 (UTC))

So, this is a straw poll. Please !vote either 'support' or 'oppose' with a reason, and try to keep wide-ranging discussion to the section below the poll.

To be clear, this is NOT a vote on whether or not to have a strike. This is merely a straw poll to indicate overall interest. If this poll is firmly 'opposed' then I'll know that now. But even if this poll is firmly in 'support' we'd obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing.

Before answering at Poll, perhaps read below, #Discussion. -Wikid77 05:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Please also see Wikimedia's blog post How SOPA will hurt the free web and Wikipedia by Geoff Brigham, General Counsel. --Tobias (Talk) 08:14, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


As brought up (way) below, this has been all over the blogs and e-news today, so a good number of the "votes" coming in are in response to that. Thanks to all who've made the effort, but I think Jimmy has the results and can decide where to go from here now.

A couple days later (after I put the archive templates on) I'm quite impressed by the outpouring of support for this anti-censorship endeavor. Please do continue to ignore the archive thingy ;-). --SB_Johnny | talk 00:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  • 'Strongly Support' Per what everybody else already said. -- (talk) 08:59, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Strongly Support' Most people who support this don't really understand what it means or who it could effect. Ordinary people believe it's effective in going after pirates only and "if you aren't doing anything wrong, it won't effect you." Doing a mock-up of what the implications would be if this were enacted would seriously drive the point home. Longobord (talk) 23:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Strongly Support' As a native of the Midwest, I can guarantee this WILL GET PEOPLE'S ATTENTION. Potentially more than anything else could. Kids use Wikipedia to do their homework, as do adults in Community colleges. Many homes are very isolated from the flow of information outside their TV channel of choice- not because they're stupid, but because many just have no clue how much is filtered thru biased sources. Please, please do this. Please. Thx!! (Ninavizz (talk) 14:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC))
  • 'Strongly Support' I called congress, Oregon State Senators, posting EFF, Mozilla, Stop American Censorship and Wikipedia to all social media sites. (Teksquisite (talk) 13:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC))
  • 'Strongly Support' SOPA is a violation of Freedom of Speech, plain and simple. Must take a stand against this or the Internet will turn into one run by large corporations only.
  • Support The passage of this act brings us one step closer to silent forfeiture of our basic freedoms. I have already signed several petitions in opposition of the act. I think that any peaceful method that may stop the passage of this bill is worth giving a shot. Matttherecluse (talk) 20:45, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Strongly Support' i already called my congress man about the same issue. I'd hate seeing Wikipedia along with other major sites being castrated by stupid laws like this. (ADude (talk) 20:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC))
  • Firmly Support Javiercmh (talk) 20:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Far from being painful I am glad I got a chance to have something to say in this regard! Wikipedia exists with a neat compromise towards freedom. Collaborating with Wikipedia is an effort in favour of freedom so I see it, in the end, like a political manifesto: I support wikipedia, thus I support freedom! How the hell could I not take a stand on this issue? Let's go ahead!Carlos Linares (talk) 20:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Will be personally painful, but this is an extremely important issue. Digitante (talk) 19:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Strongly Support' a US blackout. It is vitally important that we take a stand, and raise awareness of this important issue. I am a frequent user of wikipedia who will be briefly inconvenienced, but acting now to defend online freedom is far, far more important. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Firmly Support' a US blackout. If we do this we should coordinate with other big websites (google, facebook, ect) if possible.--kevin (talk) 18:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support DO IT! Raise awareness to all the folks who use Wikipedia but may not understand the implications of this terrible law (and terrible government)! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pcgeek86 (talkcontribs) 18:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support (talk) 18:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Fully Support: Wikipedia is a very influential site, one that many people take for granted. This could be a wake up call to many people who feel indifferent about these sorts of things. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • You have my full support. We only really have one shot to stop this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • YES. You have my full support. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Fully support, with conditions: Reminder first, then article of one's choice (per issues raised at #Alternate "Blanking" Proposal). For what it's worth, I have firmly opposed the bill(s) almost from the moment I was first informed. --Slgrandson (How's my egg-throwing coleslaw?) 17:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Fully support - its a great idea and will show congress how important this issue is! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • ""Fully Support""-- I'm not American, i'm mexican, but i recognize that this law will affects us all, i use wikipedia almost daily, and i think its important to let them know that we care enough. --Grillermo (talk) 17:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • ""Fully Support""-- The only way to get the attention of politicians is to clobber them over the head. Let's show them what a pay-per-censored byte Internet would look like and clog their phone lines with screaming constituents. I'd be interested to see if Google would be willing to join a Wikipedia outage with, say, a YouTube outage. Boodjaboodja (talk) 16:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support -- This would be a great way make the general public aware of the consequences of SOPA. This bill, if written into law will have drastic effects on American citizens. It will not stop piracy just as prohibition did not stop people from drinking alcohol. What it will do is cripple free speech, Internet security and kill jobs in one of the few sectors of the US economy that is flourishing. (talk) 16:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • ""Support""-- It is amazing the amount of people who would be greatly affected by this bill and don't know about it. This would, at the very least increase awareness of it and at the most inspire a revolution that puts an end to this madness. It'd be nice to still be able to use wikipedia, although the point may be stronger if it becomes completely unavailable. I leave that to the discretion of those in charge. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support-- (talk) 16:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support -- The average American who knows nothing about SOPA is still likely to use Wikipedia pretty frequently-- I think it's a fantastic way to raise awareness about this ridiculous censorship bill. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support -- The US government has no right to interfere with the internet, I see it as a direct attack on the constitution. What's next? Build the Great Firewall of America? Icefyre127 (talk) 14:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support -- The strike wouldn't be a political agenda, other than defending Wikipedia's need for neutrality - Internet need for neutrality. DoctorDri. 13 December 2011. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Doctordri (talkcontribs) 14:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support -- The Internet as we know it would cease to exist if this bill is passed, and the ramifications it would have on Everyone is just unbelievable. I find it hard to understand how anyone would allow the entertainment lobby to govern the Internet. Who's next? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I have explained the ramifications of this bill to just about everyone I know. Nobody seems to care. WE all know what SOPA bides for the future, but for the average Joe it is going to take some drastic measures to raise awareness. You are in a position to do this, and should. I'm sure the long-term effects from SOPA will be worse than a few day's downtime. (talk) 13:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose --mirko (talk) 13:47, 13 December 2011 (CET). Blank it for the anonymous, but at least not for the user as I *need* it on a daily basis for my work (BTW: yes, I give yearly to the Foundation). I'd support this initiative only if Wikipedia was named as a direct target of the SOPA, if not, then it is not directly our problem.
  • Firmly Support -- This must be a public campaign to be successful. kgrindal 7:48, 13 December 2011 (EST)
  • Firmly Support --Rusenski (talk) 12:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Wikipedia as a platform is allowed to be opinionated in its own affairs. WMF has objectives (e.g. disseminating knowledge and universal availability), and this act would support and protect WP as an agent in this effort. Geoff (talk) 11:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA will have a big knock-on international effect. We should stop it now if possible. Geekdog (talk) 11:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Nothing to add to what others have said except my support. Steve Merrick. 13th December 2001.
  • Firmly Support SOPA directly affects the survivability of Wikipedia, so it's not political, it runs in the same vein as requesting donations. (talk) 11:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support As i understand it, congress and the senate BOTH use Wikipedia quite often. This seems like a reasonable way to get some more attention on the issue. (talk) 10:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This action would gain a great deal of publicity,. While causing only minor inconvenience, people in who require specialized knowledge have alternative sources, by its nature Wikipedia is a gloss for those who do not need those specialized sources, no one is going to fail their finals because they had no access to an explanation of Maslow's hierarchy of need but every one who has a casual encounter with thew term and wants to learn more will be confronted with the danger of SOPA. — Preceding unsigned comment added by SimonW11 (talkcontribs) 09:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support They are not going to listen until the true effects of such legislature are demonstrated to them. I am sorry it has come to this but we must do what we have done for many years; teach about the net and what it is, means and can be. -Miso Susanowa (talk) 07:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Follow the Italian precedent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Davedx (talkcontribs) 07:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA and Protect IP are terrible bills that pose a real threat to Wikipedia and the overall health of the internet. This plan would draw attention to the seriousness of the issue. Kevin Renfrow (talk) 07:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA is an existential threat to Wikipedia, not a political one. Would we warn people of a server outage because we can't pay the bills, or do we not get involved in economic issues either? Libertarian23423 (talk) 07:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA represents a real threat to Wikipedia's existence, and I think we have a duty to warn our readers that it is a real problem. Modrobene (talk) 06:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose A compromise: Add big SOPA warning headers to every article and shift the article content "below the fold" of the page. Please DO NOT block access to Wikipedia's content. Runtime (talk) 06:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Think of all the people in school and academics who use Wikipedia. A good portion of them probably have no clue about SOPA. It would obviously be a good wake up call if they go to research something and a black page was their result. It will open so many more eyes to this issue, an issue that mainstream media is not covering like it should.
  • Firmly Support SOPA has not received enough attention in the popular media and most people (Americans) do not even know what it is. A black-out would raise awareness and force Congress to acknowledge that SOPA is, at best, a very questionable bill with harmful side-effects. (talk) 05:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Wikipedia is known for neutrality, strong rules about editorializing, and a firmly encyclopedic approach. It is tottally understandable that some would ask "why not support other political actions" and oppose this. However SOPA would affect Wikipedia, and is firmly in opposition to everything the Wikimedia foundation stands for. This is not a time to blindly follow the principle of neutrality. We must accept that Wikipedia has grown to such a size and degree of influence that it cannot ignore threats such as this. -- (talk) 05:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA is the Great Firewall of the US
  • Firmly Support If you believe that there is no original thought but only a synthesis of thoughts based on the thoughts that precede them, then one can begin to realize that the corporate oligarchs are simply trying to control all our thoughts. Fight the power.Danthemaniam (talk) 05:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Living in China makes it clear why SOPA's such a bad thing. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This is something that could affect everybody, not just Americans. It could pretty much shut down American sites like Youtube, Faceboook, and Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This isn't about neutrality, it's about survival. The other side is well connected, well funded, and will never give up. The time to be political is when your own existence is threatened. narf (talk) 04:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose this parochial protest

We in the rest of the world are supposed to care about legistlation in ONE country of declining importance ? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Firmly Support Awareness is not being raised by conventional means. Wikipedia may not be a political entity but when misguided laws threaten the viability of the site, something must be done. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This is too important not to do. Total blackout please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support More specifically firmly support a US wide block. Just because Wikipedia is content neutral does not preclude it from having opinions on the laws that will effect it's governance. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose SOPA bad. Wikipedia good. Don't go down the political path. It is a slippery slope. Once you start it is hard to stop. What will be the next political hot topic Wikipedia steps in on? One of the five pillars of Wikipedia is to stay neutral. Be strong, stay the way you are.
Wikipedia may wish to be silent on politics, but the feeling is not mutual. It WILL adversely affect the site75.62.105.81 (talk) 05:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support It's a terrible law. This could change that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Mightythorton (talkcontribs) 03:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC) 
  • Firmly Support. The communicative power of a wikipedia blackout would be enourmous. People won't stand for SOPA id they know of it and understand its implications. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support. Pulling Wikipedia would have a profound effect and if websites such as Youtube join in SOPA will most likely be dead in its tracks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Yes, sounds like a powerful message. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

""Firmly Support"" Tumblr had pretty neat success and Wikipedia has a real impact on people, it will get attention!

  • Support. Here is what I recommend: Facebook, google, youtube and wikipedia should take down their sites and replace them with a message about SOPA all on the same day. But it shouldn't end there. They should also personally attack each of the original progenators in the Senate/House of the bill. Their political careers need to end that day. It's not enough to simply stop this bill. If they do, another will be enacted pretty soon with pretty much the same problems. Politicians need to understand that if they take on the internet and choose record labels over their own constituents they cannot expect support from their own political base. Karlzt (talk) 02:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Only result will be ISYFM. Full stop. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support As an Aussie, we are locked into Free Trade agreements with the US. If this bill passes, it will absolutely be ratified into Australian legislation too. There is nothing good that can come from SOPA, and if the biggest sites 'strike' in protest, the entire world can see the damage it will cause to the Internet as we know it. (talk) 02:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC) (formerly
  • Firmly Support From an occasional editor, frequent user and old man in awe of the energy needed to run Wikipedia, I say go large:
    minimum 12-16 hour blackout to make a real impact proportionate to Wikipedia's contributions, presenting objections to censorship and a presentation of the Open Source organizations also fighting for freedom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This bill has far-reaching implications, to the point of potentially adversely affecting the existence of Wikipedia itself. This isn't just about politics, this is about preserving the existence of an internet that has allowed for Wikipedia to exist in the form it does now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support I understand the arguments made against a strike, but since SOPA could hurt/threaten Wikipedia itself, I think powerful action is warranted. Joetainment (talk) 07:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • "'Firmly Support'" From a frequent user and college student. SOPA needs to be preempted, and only dire action will have success. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support From an occasional editor and very frequent user. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA opposes pretty much everything Wikipedia stands for. Now is an excellent time to make a stand. Jason Grossman (talk) 01:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support SOPA must be stopped. A short term blackout of Wikipedia is a great idea that I fully support as a long time user, writer, editor and donor, and generally as a supporter of freedom, technology and the internet. -M.Sc., M.D. candidate Lenrodman (talk) 01:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This bill is a threat to the internet, and must be stopped. More discussion is needed however to decide how to implement this effectively. Dubk (talk) 00:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Vecter (talk) 00:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support A site like Wikipedia will become unmaintanable should a law like SOPA be enacted. Imagine a rogue party trying to deliberately create difficulties for Wikipedia or block some content by sharing links to copyrighted material in the article edits. Wikipedia may wish to be silent on politics, but the feeling is not mutual. (talk) 23:46, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support talking about this in more detail, and likely support the actual strike, but that hinges more on details about how it will be executed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Stevearm (talkcontribs) 23:34, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Normally Wikipedia should stay out of politics, but this law threatens Wikipedia's basic premise. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This needs stoped, thank god we have such a big power as wikipedia to help do so — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:12, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This issue matters a great deal to Wikipedia. AaronSw (talk) 22:54, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Striking WP would be a very effective media stunt to bring the issue of the SOPA to the attention of the general public and not just the tech community. Plazmatyk (talk) 22:33, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Stay out of politics. Advocacy by WMF on issues that matter to wikipedia is fine; using wikipedia to do it isn't. If Congress feels like passing this law on behalf of the American people, that's its prerogative. Politicising wikipedia damages its reputation. --Mkativerata (talk) 07:58, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support-- Many people don't understand how terrible this legislation is. Wikipedia is based on openness just like he web ... and using it as a platform to oppose SOPA and PIPA is a great idea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Note This would not be advocacy by the WMF. In the Italian case, the WMF was not even aware of it until very shortly before it began. It was implemented by the community.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 08:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
And for precisely that reason, it's a bad idea. I don't have a problem with you going to the White House and giving Mr O a piece of your mind. But we have to draw a line between the organisational advocacy of the WMF and inappropriate advocacy by the "community" which would impair the encylopaedia. What about members of the community who happen to agree with the bill? --Mkativerata (talk) 08:53, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
The encyclopedia will be impaired by the bill! (unbeknownst to the oblivious users). US-only Block is a good way to inform them. Schalice (talk) 21:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support My understanding is that SOPA, while not directly threatening the legality of Wikipedia would be seriously detrimental to the everyday operations of the site. Wikipedia is based in the USA and US citizens account for a large percentage of contributions. With this in mind I also believe any action (if deemed necessary) should be at least English language wide, the proposed law would have an impact reaching far beyond US borders (even without taking into account the likely influence this would have on other western governments) and the response should be equally far reaching. —Flooq (Talk) at 00:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia may wish to be silent on politics, but the feeling is not mutual. The bill would materially affect operations of the site! (talk) 23:51, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - and note that, aside from corporate fatcats who have never heard of the concept of revolution, the American people don't want anything Congress is cranking out (they are approaching an approval rating of 0%). —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 08:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Duh WP:NOTADVOCACY. Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 08:07, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support in principle, though not sure exactly what it is we'd be planning to do. But this bill has the possibility to have a significantly damaging effect not just on Wikipedia but on the free and open Internet as a whole. I normally would never be in favor of Wikipedia taking a position as political issues go, but I've got to agree with the Italians here—this one's a special case because it's a direct threat. Seraphimblade Talk to me 08:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Confused - what are we supposed to be polling over? The acceptance of the bill, or the striking of WP because of the bill? If it's the acceptance then Strongly Oppose, and if it's the striking of WP, then again Strongly Oppose as per WP:SOAP but also Support for the following reason: Think of it like this: The internet is a medium, as is a book. If an encyclopaedia can be written in a book, then why can't it be written on the internet? The law is not clear cut on these things at all. Just my 2 cents. Osarius : T : C : Been CSD'd? 08:23, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The issue has not been well stated, the community has not been well informed, and if I am going to pick up pitchfork and torch, I'm going to pick the issue to do it on. Sorry.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:58, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support iff it eliminates the safe harbor provision of the DMCA, or sufficiently compromises it to jeopardize the Wikimedia mission of collecting and disseminating free information. This isn't about advocacy, but about us being free to act as the largest repository of written information ever assembled. I feel that SOAP is fine for individual articles or policies, but when we're advocating for our right to exist, well we all want to be able continuing to improve the encyclopedia don't we? Crazynas t 09:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Uneasy support if it drastically impacts the core mission or distrupt majorly wiki*dia operations then sure, some form of action might be reasonable. However I believe it's very important to use this only as a last resort, only if it's really needed. It's a powerful weapon, not to be wasted if it can be avoided. Also, it's a very polarizing issue, as we've seen with the itwiki, while the Italian community had a wide consensus, I've seen many others especially from this wikipedia be fiercely against it. I think thinks kind of action should be discussed on some kind of specific page on meta, to allow for input from all the diverse wikimedia projects. Obviously an enwiki strike would have to be discussed and decided on this project, but if the interest is in global actions or actions like this in general, it would be interesting to have input from other projects as well. An enwiki strike is very different, in my opinion, from an itwiki or any other project (except maybe for a commons strike that would disable image loading to the rest of the wikis), by its very nature, Enwiki is the showcase for the entire family, and is used in all countries, unlike a country specific issue, so if it would be an issue only affecting US, EU, Italian or Chinese editors, I would probably object to a strike here. However, if it would drastically affect the project itself, then some kind of action might be justified. However it's really important that it be a community driven initiative, not a wmf-driven one. I really think if the initiative would come from the wmf it might split the community, I fear. Snowolf How can I help? 09:42, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    And it would need to have very, very broad consensus. Snowolf How can I help? 09:44, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support; however SOPA has holds in the Senate, so why not strike for public campaign finance instead? That would remove the opposition to (1) reinstitution of the Glass-Steagall Act, (2) fossil fuel and renewable energy subsidy reform, (3) return to the marginal tax rates of e.g. the 1950s when we paid down the debt from WWII (four times as large as a proportion of GDP than today's) without surpluses because the greater income equality caused the economy to grow much faster, (4) universal health care, (5) sentencing reform, against the prison guards' unions, (6) patent and copyright duration reform, and many other beneficial reforms currently stalled by special interest campaign donations. Overturning Citizens United as several recently introduced constitutional amendments would do is not enough. We must not simply enable public campaign finance, we must institute it. (talk) 10:07, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    The problem with all those other causes is that they are US only and not immediately related to Wikipedia. Take me for example. As a German living in Austria and with much stronger ties to the UK than the US, I think all the other causes you mention are worthy, but it's not appropriate for a world-wide, community driven project to take a stand on them excep twhere they touch the core of the project's purpose. This is the case only for SOPA. Hans Adler 10:31, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    Wikipedia is hosted and the Foundation is located in the US. All project editors are directly affected by the length of US copyright terms which have been repeatedly lengthened by special interest lobbying money in the US, and you might have noticed over the past three years that your economy is somewhat dependent on the US economy, too. But Jimbo already mentioned that this might likely be geo-specific if it happens. I just hope we make the most of it. (talk) 10:44, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support some form of dramatic protest, maybe something like the itwiki one, against SOPA and Protect IP. These bills make it possible for anyone who merely alleges copyright infringement to get a site shut down, pulled from search listings, DNS blacklisted, and its sources of funding cut off. Wikipedia has many enemies who would seek to exploit such a mechanism - besides the fact that the copyright infringement need not be proven, it is trivial to plant an infringement on Wikipedia that we cannot possibly detect (Alice writes article content in Word, sends it to Bob; Bob edits and adds it in). Moreover, Wikipedia may be required to remove links to accused sites, even if the sites did nothing wrong and such links are important for educational purposes. I would really appreciate Jimbo clarifying the actions under consideration however. Dcoetzee 10:12, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Note: I was talking with some other users who suggested that we get a professional like Geoff Brigham to write a brief on the legal dangers SOPA/Protect IP pose to the project. His informed opinion would carry far more weight than armchair lawyers like myself. Dcoetzee 10:59, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
      • Update: Per Geoff's post on the most recent version of the bill, which no longer plausibly threatens to shut down Wikipedia, I withdraw support for a dramatic "hardlock" that makes Wikipedia inaccessible, in favor of a less dramatic mechanism such as displaying a message before continuing to the article. While the educational danger of being forced to remove links to legitimate foreign sites who are falsely accused of infringement (or for whom only a small subset of content is infringing) is a serious problem, it does not merit the same form of protest. Dcoetzee 08:09, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I guess the practical implementation could be roughly as follows: (1) Gain a strong community-wide consensus that this is what we want to do, regardless of what the Foundation may say. (2) Create a template that explains the situation, to replace articles. (3) Make sure that no active anti-vandalism bot will revert edits that replace a page by this template. (4) On the correct date, run bots that replace articles with the template. (5) Based on the consensus, the community will handle premature restorations of articles in the same way that it usually deals with vandalism. Hans Adler 10:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support WP:ADVOCACY is not relevant - except to reaffirm our dedication to the goals of the project. Goals which SOPA seems to threaten to put at risk. unmi 10:29, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support NOTADVOCACY isn't relevant here - we're not proposing to change our article content to advocate a point of view, it's entirely sensible to use Wikipedia to try to influence something of such huge importance to Wikipedia, and our normal article content policies aren't written with something like this in mind. Hut 8.5 11:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. It will add to our costs, and make us vulnerable to summary sanctions. All bad. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 12:42, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, but I think there would need to be a proposal and discussion regarding the exact mechanics. --FormerIP (talk) 13:36, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support only as last resort. Such kind of action works best only if exceptional, and thus should be implemented only in exceptional circumstances, that is, when the proposed law would greatly hamper the operations of Wikimedia projects (e.g. a US law removing the safe harbor status of hosting providers, and thus making the Foundation legally liable for any problem in Wikipedia content). David.Monniaux (talk) 14:47, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support legal action. On the plus side, America has a constitution to stop things like this - on the minus, our politicians never back down from a dumb idea because of protests. If (when) this thing is passed there will be a lawsuit - WMF, please join it as a plaintiff. I don't support a site-wide blackout, but a teach-in may be useful. Wnt (talk) 14:51, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. A protest like this would be huge (many, many magnitudes larger than the protest) and would surely get people to talk about the law, which I consider a good thing. --Conti| 14:57, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support; this law is destructive, and the general population isn't aware of how damaging it will be (the fact that it has been wilfully misnamed, and that public discussion of it is covered in lies and mischaracterisations does not help). Anything we can do to raise awareness of that law is a good thing, and even a brief "blackout" of the English Wikipedia is going to not only be directly noticeable, but is going to bring much-needed press attention to the issue. — Coren (talk) 15:46, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, but ideally keep it a US-based block. No need to block the rest of the world. The Cavalry (Message me) 15:59, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Fuck knows How are people around the world expected to know the details of a parochial piece of US legislation? That said, there are relatively few resources on Wikipedia dedicated to fixing copyvios and those who are involved are relatively unsupported. [1] shows a POV-pusher being able to run a long-term programme of harassment against the COPYVIO project. Then User:Cptnono is able to engage in part of his own harassment programme against the blocking admin who soon after hands in the broom. So, Jimmy, let's see you get your act together and engage in a proper effort to support those engaged in fixing copyvios and managing persistent violators before you complain about how unfair the law is.--Peter cohen (talk) 16:33, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest Possible Oppose. Although I oppose the legislation, this is the start of a slippery slope. If we allow Wikipedia to be used openly as a tool for promoting a specific political agenda, we're basically saying goodbye for WP:NPOV and WP:NOTADVOCACY for good. Let's be clear what it would mean if we did this: any user who wants to use Wikipedia for their own political advocacy would be entitled to do so as long as they could get a local consensus to support them. What would be able to say to stop them doing so? Yes, the law is dangerous and a bad idea; but please Jimbo, don't destroy Wikipedia for the sake of a single act of protest. Robofish (talk) 16:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I am not sure why you would think that. Both NPOV and NOTADVOCACY deal with article contents - what we are talking about here is completely separate from article content. unmi 16:54, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • While it's not clear how this 'strike' would be effected, it would presumably involve either blanking Wikipedia articles temporarily and replacing them with, or adding to them, a large notice informing users of the strike. That is, by definition, changing Wikipedia's content. Now, technically speaking the strike might not take place in the article namespace, but how many of our users can make that distinction? What they will find is that every Wikipedia article contains or has been replaced by a piece of political advocacy.
Wikipedia's greatest strength, along with the anyone-can-edit ethos, is its neutrality. This proposal would directly and completely undermine that. If it happens, I hope no one who supports it will complain when I tag WP:Neutral point of view with {{historical}}. Robofish (talk) 17:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
NPOV applies to articles, not this. There are many valid arguments to be made against community action on SOPA; I see no need to push a false claim that this is covered by NPOV. --JaGatalk 20:28, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I think the point actually being made is not article POV, but public perception that as we support certain political causes (as some would have us do), we are biased on those issues, and possibly others. I am not an antique expert, but I now and then like to wander around antique fairs. If at a dealer's booth I spot one item of repro, I immediately stop shopping there. If he is selling one reproduced item, I really can't trust anything else he's selling.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:33, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Maybe, but a "strongest possible oppose" beginning with a "slippery slope" argument is not very convincing. Furthermore, as I note below, this confuses neutrality and NPOV. The very idea of Wikipedia is inherently political and not at all neutral. NPOV is a rather radical point of view, grounded in the principle that it is better to be informed and aware of all significant views on a topic than to suppress or ignore views which are not compatible with our own or some prevailing dogma. Where else but on Wikipedia is "writing for the enemy" encouraged?
Wikipedia has a political agenda, and one that needs to be promoted and defended. That is completely different from using Wikipedia as a political platform to support other political agendas, and is not a slippery slope at all. NPOV is biassed towards no other viewpoint than NPOV itself. Geometry guy 22:06, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support A political move that affects Wikipedia should be liable to action by Wikipedia. Consider the case with takedown notices. Wikipedia gets one, complies. Therefore it is abiding the law. People want more power to delete articles they don't like, and now the law allows them to do so in higher frequencies. Therefore, Wikipedia loses articles. So, Wikipedia abides by law and law is about to hurt Wikipedia. Wikipedia should try to at least maintain its current status. (talk) 06:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Wikipedia is not Switzerland, I don't see any point in staying neutral if it is going to materially affect Wikipedia. -Kai445 (talk) 17:10, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support (only as last resort) It will be a good chance to let the US people aware of SOPA and also to make everyone remember why they need us. It should very clear that this is community driven rather than WMF decision. But this powerful tool, should only be used once, only if Wikipedia is in danger. This maybe too much, too soon. I think something like changing the Wikipedia logo for something else with a link to a statement is more appropriate.--Neo139 (talk) 18:54, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This bill would likely be the death of Wikipedia, as well as much of the rest of the Internet that is actually useful. I also agree with Seraphimblade's comment below that it would be even better if this could be coordinated with other major websites that would be affected by this. Anomie 19:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support If SOPA passes, our ability to write an online encyclopedia could be greatly damaged, both short-term and long-term. --Enric Naval (talk) 19:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I'm far from convinced the bill is going to have any significant effect on wikipedia even if it passes, despite the servers being located in the US as we already go to lengths to avoid contributory infrigement. While technically the bill could be intepreted as requiring us to avoid linking to sites like piratebay etc at all, I find it hard to believe that will survive on first amendment grounds. Therefore given that this isn't something that's we have any real reason to believe is going to affect all people visiting wikipedia, I would oppose if it's not effectively geotargeted. I'm Neutral if it is. Since as I'm not an American, I don't consider it my business what they do in cases like this. (I'm opposed to the bill BTW.) Nil Einne (talk) 19:39, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Copyright violation is not what we do. I don't see how this would affect us in any substantial way. User:Fred Bauder Talk 20:13, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • You are aware that if the safe harbor provision is eliminated from the DMCA it would open WMF to possibly frivolous, but still finically crippling litigation? Crazynas t 00:31, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support if we make it clear when blanking why and when it'll be over.Jinnai 20:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I think it's like spitting into the wind, but this does seem likely to be a potentially nasty swipe at crowd-sourced work. So much so that it's possible Wikipedia would be unable to continue in its current form. There are copyright problems here, and yes, they do get fixed (generally quite quickly) but the law might force us into pending revisions or something similar just so we are taking every step possible to avoid copyright violations. Hobit (talk) 21:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    • I do think this should be US-only. Hobit (talk) 22:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - The proposed law is yet another step down the slippery slope towards political censorship. If the WP community wants to make a statement, they should use whatever tools they have available. A strike is a good tool. --Noleander (talk) 21:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Extremely Tentative Support 1. If it could be clearly demonstrated how the law would affect Wikipedia, and 2. if that were to be stated on the blanked pages. Then it could be an effective protest, and appropriate. First Light (talk) 21:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. While I'd never condone copyright infringement, or piracy .. A government that tries to take power away from the people, and give it to themselves is a very frightening thing. There are already mechanisms in place to deal with these issues. — Ched :  ?  21:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Tentative support. Promoting and defending the neutral point of view, and our goal to make the sum of all human knowledge freely available, is central to what we do here — as I have noted below. However, the case needs to made more clearly that SOPA threatens Wikipedia and our ability to do this before we consider taking action and/or what action to take. Geometry guy 21:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Full Support - I was right behind it.wp when they held their strike, and I fully support en.wp doing precisely the same. It's a matter of principal to me, that governments should not interfere with peoples interests in a democracy - taking the power away from the people, and giving themselves more. It's nothing short of crazy. Go Wikipedia.  BarkingFish  21:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. To convey what I think, I'm afraid that I need to say this in a nuanced way, rather than saying support or oppose, because I'm actually somewhere in between. I very much support working to prevent the passage of any legislation that would hurt Wikipedia's mission. Therefore, I strongly support Jimbo speaking, with the backing of our community, against the legislation at the White House. Indeed, I think that a statement that a strike might occur will get attention in much the way (qualitatively, not quantitatively, in terms of the number of people reached) as would a strike itself. I would even support a press release from Jimbo and/or the WMF saying that a strike might occur. And I would strongly support WMF engaging as a legal party in litigation. But, on the other hand, I would oppose actually having such a strike. Our mission is to provide this encyclopedia, not to provide it only when we choose to. I agree with some of the editors above that this action could set a precedent in which editors might strike for reasons that become more partisan, and degrade Wikipedia's prestige. I would like our focus to be on fixing the legislation before it passes, rather than on reacting to it after. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • (edit conflict × 2) Strong support If this is what we need to do to convince the public of the possibly drastic effects of SOPA, then so be it. I am all for this. Logan Talk Contributions 22:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support developing options for en. domains. The anglosphere forms a cohesive political-economic unit, and regularly trial policies in one area for export to another cf the New Zealand experiment. About the only power which it is legitimate for the en wikipedia to use collectively, is to strike against attacks on the encyclopaedic process by outside forces. I'm not in favour of symbolic striking—the point is to disrupt the circulation of capital in a domain—if we strike, it has to be either for a set period (rolling set periods?) or indefinitely. One slightly more strategic plan would be to blank all US categories. Fifelfoo (talk) 22:32, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Factual information should be free to access and learn from. Anything which eradicates access to knowledge is an abomination. SOPA goes well beyond its target of combating internet piracy; when it turns to shutting down or criminalizing what is currently free, legal access to knowledge, as is present on Wikipedia, it goes much too far. Melicans (talk, contributions) 22:45, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support right now corporate complaints about wikipedia content do not have the capacity to strongly influence the site as a whole. We earned this independence through years of steadfast commitment to our principles and refusal to accept advertisements. All of that can (and will) be swept away by SOPA. The intent of the law may cover filesharing and other activities unrelated to wikipedia's focus but the letter will undoubtedly be used to demand the removal of critical material or documents (even where those documents are in the public domain or otherwise freely licensed). Imagine the Rorschach Cheat Sheet scandal where SOPA was in place. The APA or the International Society of the Rorschach and Projective Methods could have easily filed a SOPA request (even a trivially false request) and attacked our fundraising sources and DNS routing. We see fraudulent DMCA takedown requests on youtube all the time so the paper penalties for lying on a SOPA request are likely to have the same deterrent effect (read: 0). We need to commit to the open web and explain to our readers that the english wikipedia is in danger should congress pass this bill. Protonk (talk) 23:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - A few days without the sum of all human knowledge is worth it to send a message to keep the Internet safe. ZamorakO o (talk) 00:31, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm not interested in involving Wikipedia in politics, but as Trotsky said about the dialectic, politics is very interested in us. --Gwern (contribs) 02:13 13 December 2011 (GMT)
  • Support. Wikipedia is a marvellous resource that must be maintained at all cost, not marred by the foolish design of a couple of useless politicians.
  • Oppose, really bad idea. Blanking the site for a political purpose, even one that helps Wiki, is using power over content for advocacy. It's in the same class as deleting an article that might help a candidate or cause some subset of us don't like. Yes, not as egrigious...but in the same class. (And there will be some subset of Wikipedians that support SOPA. Heck, I hear they even let Republicans edit this site, occasionally.)
  • Strong Support The block should only apply to the US. AlexTingle (talk) 23:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Very strong support I urge those who oppose to read up more on SOPA. If enforced it will change the internet as we know it and yes this will probably include wikipedia. Imagine specific articles being censored because someone influential doesn't like what they say. I know it is not polite or within wikipedia's usual MO to do something like this, but those who are seeking to force this bill upon the world are against everything wikipedia stands for and must be stopped. This is a serious issue. -- (talk) 19:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
For that matter, I don't know the details of the law and many here don't (I expect, sure some do, but I'm not the only one, I bet). I'm not sure that the benefits from Wiki keeping it's legal fiction outweigh the benefits of stopping privacy. (And let's be is big time fiction. This is an encyclopedia, not an ISP, not even a chat site.)
Lastly, I don't like being polled on this without more work and presentation by the RFC submitter and the argument by Jimbo with first person not giving him the answer he wanted seemed both weak in sophistication and annoying in the manner of hassling an RFA opposer. It's also really bad form to be posting this on your user talk page, which has some tendancy to be populated by sycophants. It would show more respect to the group to have posted this on Village Pump or some central notice board. TCO (talk) 00:45, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
P.s. That was the moral argument against (and I mean it). That said, if you just want to win a political battle, by all means use every weapon at your command (underhanded or not). And this is probably an excellent weapon in efficacy. I just hope you let me get my content off the site before downing it. (But in terms of efficacy, the shock tactic would be better.) Might even be good for keeping me away from this place (good for you and me). -TCO
Comment. Since we created the content, why should we not use our power over it for advocacy or any other purpose if we decide to? --FormerIP (talk) 00:55, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Because of that little message below the editing window, the part about " you irrevocably agree to release your contribution under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 License and the GFDL". It is not ours anymore. We deny access only to the site (or rather, we make the site effectively a single page advocacy message). The information's out there on mirror sites. Which do you think more likely, Google will support us on a matter of principle, or they will anticipate customer needs by substituting into the first page of search results a mirror site?--Wehwalt (talk) 01:03, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Google's so far up our arse we can see them in our bathroom mirror. They are not suddenly going to start preferring mirror sites because we take a position they undoubtedly agree with. Plus, that doesn't address my point. It's our content, we are free to do as we choose with it. We are also free to make a really bad choice in terms of search engine visibility, if we want to. --FormerIP (talk) 01:19, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Reply. We produced the content and donated it to a site that had 5 Principles, one of which was NPOV. Now we would be blowing that. Furthermore, it would become consensus on when we "strike", so that is one step to legitimizing consensus for which candidate we support or how we want to slant articles to win political battles. (I might be being dense and this was entirely your point?)TCO (talk) 01:12, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
FormerIP, I ran a google search for the subject of one of the articles I've helped out on, Murray Chotiner. We were the first site linked too, unsurprisingly. Then I ran the search [Murray Chotiner -wikipedia] which exluded pages with the word "Wikipedia" on it. A mirror site with our content was #8. So we can't deny access to the information.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:13, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, so? I think you are misunderstanding the purpose of a strike. --FormerIP (talk) 02:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Educate me.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:33, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It's to bring to people's attention why you should be valued and what they will be missing. If they still have mirror sites, then they still have mirror sites. But I doubt many people will think: "Who cares? We've still got mirror sites". If an airline goes on strike, then of course there are other airlines. But that doesn't mean there is no point to the airline staff striking. --FormerIP (talk) 03:35, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, because they are generally striking about pay and conditions of employment, a dispute between them and the airline. Loss of business is a factor that both sides no doubt consider. However, here you would be striking for an external issue not within Wikipedia's control.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:21, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Moral support Since politicians aren't likely to listen to us, I'm not sure what this will do other than raise general awareness of an issue. But it is an issue that directly affects us in a negative way, and one that (IMO) needs greater public awareness. This being said, I'm a tad hesitant to get Wikipedia directly involved with any political issue, which may lead to accusations of bias. ThemFromSpace 01:11, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • A "what the fuck?!?" Oppose. We're an ENCYCLOPEDIA. Did somebody forget this? The purpose of an Encyclopedia is to collect knowledge, not some kind of a means towards political advocacy. We are not a Political action committee and honestly, this whole proposal just illustrates how out of touch with the fundamental purpose of Wikipedia - to build an encyclopedia - a lot of editors here are, including apparently Jimbo himself. Of course anyone is free to support whatever kind of measures they wish on an individual level. So go strike yourself. Put up some infoboxes on your user pages. Stop editing for a month or two. But this whole proposal is just so fundamentally at odds of what this project is about that it's actually mind blowing that this is being proposed with a straight face. Wikipedia is NOT facebook. It is NOT a blog. It is NOT a crusading newspaper. It is NOT a lobbying organization. It is an encyclopedia. How about we go and at least try to get the "encyclopedia: a collection of knowledge" part right first (which, given the low quality of a lot of our content has some ways to go) and then maybe after we manage to get that part right we can give ourselves the latitude to go off on off-topic crusades. Stop trying to be cute, write or improve some articles first. That's what we're here for.
And oh yeah. Why this particular cause and not some other? Volunteer Marek  01:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Because it is said that it threatens wikipedia's existence. That's why "this cause". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:18, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It had to be said: [citation needed]--Wehwalt (talk) 01:21, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
LOL. Thus my wording "it is said"; go ahead and accuse me of missing inline-citations, since the links are in the discussion below ;) Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:23, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
You'd fail at FAC, those links are hardly a comprehensive survey of the field. Might not even get to B class.:)--Wehwalt (talk) 01:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Marek, that's the most clearheaded thing I've read all afternoon. I've been sitting here watching arbs and people for whom my respect is slightly shaken support this thing and I was wondering if I've been ported into an alternate universe or something.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia IS an alternate universe (Ron Paul 2012, Ron Paul 2012, Ron Paul 2012).--Filterbypass (talk) 22:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Whether one supports or not, saying that this is "fundamentally at odds of what this project is about" is not clear-headed, but confused. Suppose the law was instead to ban the collection of knowledge? Would that have nothing to do with the "purpose of an encyclopedia"? Geometry guy 12:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Oops. I just read TCO's first post. It's a tie.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I second Wehwalt -- this is just crazy, and it's horrifying to me how many wikipedians are on board with this... I know I'm a wikipedia nobody, but I guess I just trusted that the community would ensure that it sticks to its ideals. I actually had just started preparing a few articles to replace some of the really bad ones in nephrology to give back to something I've used for years and years, but now I honestly really just not sure it's a good use of my time, and I can't help but believe that a whole lot of folks think the same thing. Karthik Sarma (talk) 00:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Sticking to ideals sometimes means defending them. That is a much more tricky proposition, as you have to understand what the ideals are, why they need to be defended, and how best to defend them. Geometry guy 03:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
And more: seeing as we actually have an article on Stop_Online_Piracy_Act, engaging in this kind of action would very obviously violate our core policies such as NPOV, not to mention guidelines like WP:COI (maybe someone could argue that it's okay to violate NPOV with regards to this subject in a "meta" kind of way while hypocritically making a pretense of observing "neutrality" on the actual article itself - but that shouldn't fly). We still have these "fundamental pillars" and this is still one of them, right? If so, why is this proposal even being taken seriously? Go away people. Find something better to do and stop trying to kiss Jimbo's (and at the end of the day he's just another editor just like me and he can make wrong headed proposals just as anyone else - but they're still wrong headed proposals) ass. And call me crazy but I happen to think that our core pillars take precedence over the "cause du jour", even if it is being pushed by the man himself.
And in response to some of the more reasonable editors whom I respect who - in my opinion - jumped on this bandwagon for the wrong reasons: look, I think it's a stupid law myself. But it's not our job to fight it. Next time around, it's gonna be some different piece of political phenomenon, and one in which your personal opinion might agree with it. If this precedent - of Wikipedia getting into politics with both feet - gets set, then next time around you might find yourself at the losing end of community/Jimbo's proposals for political advocacy. Take a long term view and don't try to win a battle when you might lose a war. Volunteer Marek  01:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
As above, this confuses NPOV with neutrality.[2] If you think Wikipedia is "neutral", think again about the radical nature of its mission, and how unacceptable it is to some people, some societies, and some cultures to present viewpoints contrary to some prevailing dogma. Geometry guy 12:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It really doesn't -- and you keep spouting the same thing over and over again without any real explanation. Sure, it's true that NPOV is not the same as neutrality. But in this case, wikipedia is taking a POV on an issue, and there's really just no way around that. The only difference, in my mind, between some sort of holocaust denier blanking all the WP pages in protest of wikipedia's affirmation of the holocaust and this proposed action is that most wikipedians seem to think *this* cause is right -- we don't get to make that choice! Karthik Sarma (talk) 00:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I do not spout: I express my views clearly, and based on principles, and I have a long-standing reputation for doing so. You assert instead that "wikipedia is taking a POV on an issue" without explaining what you mean by "wikipedia", or what you mean by "POV". Have you not yet understood that NPOV is a point of view? Geometry guy 01:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Fair point -- I should have said 'wikipedia would be taking a POV on an issue if this proposal were to be enacted.' The issue is SOPA, the POV is 'SOPA is bad,' and 'wikipedia' would be whoever would enact the proposal (likely the community itself). NPOV is a protocol. If you mean that whether or not something is NPOV requires taking a POV, then sure, you're right. My POV is that a blackout due to the current wording of SOPA is a POV and constitutes a violation of NPOV ;) Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:45, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. I am also concerned that action might compromise our principles: however I think our principle to make knowledge freely available is more of an issue here than NPOV. When discussing politics it is all too easy to be naive. Politics has a bad name: our main exposure to it is through political corruption and career politicians. However, any activity involving more than two or three people is inherently political. This discussion is political and anyone contributing to it is engaging in politics. Wikipedia is political. Even the view that Wikipedia should seek to maintain its neutrality, as seen by the outside world, is political. The goal to make the sum of human knowledge freely available is political. NPOV itself is political. Wikipedia has values and principles which are political. The discussion here concerns the extent to which SOPA may or may not compromise or harm those principles. There are no easy answers, but pretending that this has nothing to do with us because "Wikipedia is neutral" completely misses the point. Geometry guy 02:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
In the spirit of fairness, I'll point out that I never said it has nothing to do with us -- I only said that the option presented here is not one that we should take. There are other options open to the community and to use as individuals. I won't claim to understand politics (since nobody truly can), but I am rather literate in the arena and I have been pursuing the problems with the current SOPA draft through the usual channels, and I have not yet seen any evidence that this approach will fail. Wikipedia is just not the right place to be staging a protest or a forced strike or whatever you want to call it... if individual wikipedians want to go on strike, that's fine. To black out everything is, however, simply too much a violation of the WP spirit. Karthik Sarma (talk) 03:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
We are neither yet at that point, nor does the hat-text of this poll say that we are. Geometry guy 03:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Erm -- that's *literally* what it says - a general strike a la it.wp Karthik Sarma (talk) 05:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia having principles ≠ NPOV violations. By Wikipedia's existence, there is an implicit NPOV violation in preferring copyleft to copyright, in preferring sharing to selfishness, in preferring free access to knowledge for all over limited access for some, in preferring deliberation to voting (at least in limited circumstances). This does not mean that there is an NPOV issue regarding the articles on copyright, Creative Commons, free culture, neutrality, knowledge, Wikipedia (or indeed criticism of Wikipedia), democracy or much else besides. To give a reductio ad absurdum, if someone were to turn up at the Wikimedia Foundation's offices in San Francisco and start torturing kittens for fun, the Foundation staff would be more than justified in calling the cops and escorting said kitten torturer from the building without accusations that they are somehow violating NPOV by taking a stand against all those people who think animal torture is just fine. The community and the Foundation doing whatever is necessary to ensure the continued availability and success of the project as a whole is not an NPOV violation; to steal a phrase from Robert H. Jackson, NPOV is not a suicide pact. —Tom Morris (talk) 14:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • After hours of thinking: Support something, pending specifics about the form the protest will take. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Update: the new version doesn't seem to target wikipedia directly; I still "support something" but now oppose drastic measures such as blanking. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 08:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
    (EC) To be perfectly honest I'm having trouble discerning the sarcastic from the fanatic comments at this point. Which actually says something about the proposal itself and the level of consideration. So I'll just leave that there. Volunteer Marek  01:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support If necessary at a critical moment when it may actually help prevent legislation that would threaten this encyclopedia's future. Our policy against advocacy is not a suicide pact, and one legitimate exception, in my opinion, is to advocate for our continued existence. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:03, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia or the Commons actually being shut down by the government for alleged corporate copyright violations would bring down a hellstorm of public protest, far beyond what any local staged protest might do. We'd be back in a day or less, the feds would be backpedaling, and the corporation calling for the shutdown would be covering their asses at the speed of light. Such an event might very well lead to eventual repeal of the stupid law, and a career-ending calling out of every politician who voted for it.

    Also the whole thing is a very good reason for the world needing a "backup root DNS" that is not based in the USA, and which therefore is not under direct political control by the US government. DMahalko (talk) 02:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

  • What the hell am I supporting? Are we going to wipe the servers for a week or something? If so, don't be so bloody stupid. — Joseph Fox 02:33, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The Italian Wikipedia changed every page to edit as only "View source" for a few seconds before redirecting the page to a rant about why the website was blocking access to every page. Page source markup could only be copied by stopping the browser at "View source" and then just edit the text offline, until the Italian WP resumed access 3 days later. It was very frustrating, and pageview counts of most pages plummeted when people realized they would no longer see articles. -Wikid77 07:30, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support SOPA isn't the only act (of war) being taken against open and free dissemination of information online, though. It'd be good to attack the issues in other countries also. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 02:36, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support If Wikipedia sleeps on this and it passes, it will irrepairably destroy what we are doing here and we'll not have a chance to have a voice then. In this case, sticking to WP:NOTADVOCACY is damaging to the 'pedia. This would be the only case I would support this sort of advocacy though.--v/r - TP 03:45, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose We seem to be putting the cart before the horse. Strikes are what you do when all else has failed and there are no other options. Even if (hypothetically) a strike was a good choice it wouldn't be a good first choice. Cloveapple (talk) 04:14, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose I oppose the legislation, but that's a political view. I don't ever want Wikipedia to take a political view, no matter how much I agree with it. Ntsimp (talk) 05:22, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Brad (talk) 05:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This is one of those cases where it's for Wikipedia's own survival. There is no slippery slope to boycotting for gay marriage or other things. Those things don't stop WikiMedia from hosting pictures of Eric Cartman with gray sideburns at a blackboard in the Dances with Smurfs article. SOPA jeopardizes all of our photographic and audio database because a few things are considered copyright by some company while we consider we have WP:Fairuse. Those things don't open up Wikipedia to blackmail by industries who have their employees non-stop post copyright material here and then threaten Wikimedia Foundation with a shut down if Wikimedia doesn't open up it's top banner to advertising. You believe that some business won't play underhanded? Just wait... SOPA will be the law that at best opens up the top banner to advertising to get concessions from the Wikimedia Foundation to keep it's doors open from non-stop litigation. Alatari (talk) 05:47, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Lobbyists and their politicians always overreach and try to do too much, and it falls upon those that would be affected to clearly draw attention to the problems in advance. Editing some article does not cut it, while blanking Wikipedia would focus the minds of a large proportion of those who use the Internet. The outcomes of a bill like this are hard to predict, but the bill is intended to put the onus on websites to react to every kite-flying exercise and is not compatible with Wikipedia as it exists. Johnuniq (talk) 06:33, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: SOPA would cripple Wikipedia's ability to function. --Carnildo (talk) 06:36, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Koko90 (talk) 10:33, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Poll continued (break one)

  • Strongly support. Raising awareness about SOPA is critical before it's too late. As an internet-based tool, Wikipedia has a vested interest in fighting SOPA. Furthermore, the citizens that compose Wikipedia have a duty as citizens to prevent it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose. I thing that SOPA is really horrible, but I do not believe that it would be that disastrous for Wikipedia; the worst thing would be to filter our external links for copyright-infringing websites (aren't they already against out policies?). If you do this, please at least make it much softer, maybe do just a warning instead of total boycott like it.wp did. vvvt 08:42, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose The sense of entitlement reflected in this proposal is Occupy-grade obnoxious. If Wikipedia is really going to be this frightened by lawmakers' legitimate concerns about intellectual property rights, Wikipedia may as well put a big sign on the front door announcing it knows it will never be able to effectively police copyright, and it doesn't care. Townlake (talk) 08:50, 11 December 2011 (UTC) Change to Support. This will awaken the world to the heretofore little-known reality that Wikipedia is riddled with copyright violations. I'd be fascinated to see how publicly announcing this plays out. Townlake (talk) 04:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose this has nothing to do with Wikipedia - the US government is not going to shut down this project regardless of legislation - and to remain neutral we must avoid taking political stances.
  • If you feel really strongly about this go and protest in your own time. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 08:59, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
    There appears to be disagreement as to whether this has something to do with Wikipedia. Whatever your view, however, please don't confuse NPOV with neutrality.[3] Wikipedia is not neutral at all, but promotes a rather radical agenda to make the sum of human knowledge freely available to all. NPOV itself is far from neutral: many would regard it as harmful to present all significant views fairly and without bias. Geometry guy 12:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
    • The appearance of neutrality is why we don't include ads - that appearance includes not making overt political stances on things which aren't obviously directly relevant to the project (e.g. the Italian thing) - this bill may be bad, but that's the job of American citizens to sort out - go and protest about it. -- Eraserhead1 <talk> 14:17, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
      Some people think it is directly relevant, as, for example, it might force Wikipedia to check all contributions for copyvios before they are posted, thus compromising the principle that anyone can edit (as well as being completely impractical). Geometry guy 15:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC) PS. There are many reasons Wikipedia does not have ads (freedom, for example) - that's not the basis of an argument.
    Of course I support NPOV. But the very idea of Wikipedia is not neutral: Wikipedia is an incredibly subversive idea when viewed in the context of human history. The fact that you might think that Wikipedia's mission could in any way be considered neutral shows what a wondrously privileged position you're able to speak from. Through most of human history— and in large parts of the world today— knowledge has been tightly regulated for a multitude of political, social, and economic purposes. In some circles, the very concept of NPOV is incredibly controversial, even sacrilegious. The basic fact is that neutrality is not neutral.
    This is also all very much a real and direct issue for us in many ways. Consider: one of our other tenets is verifiability—but how can we uphold verifiability if truthful information can be suppressed elsewhere without even a reasonable lawful process? As I say in my support, if you erase something everywhere else, you erase it on Wikipedia too. Of course people can dodge the law, but underground sites don't make for good citations. We depend on the freedom of others even more than we depend on our own. We're able to adopt a very narrow copyright policy and maximize the freeness of our works precisely because there are other people to distribute the questionable stuff. It may be the case that "the US government is not going to shut down this project regardless of legislation", but that privilege means that the free speech of an entire nation would be our moral burden. Taking a stand here and now will simply be less costly than dealing with the consequences of not doing so. --Gmaxwell (talk) 02:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support I would have suggested a site-wide blanking of content like the Italian Wikipedia back in November had I not look like the lone crazy suggesting it. I withheld my opinion because I thought the U.S. government was smart enough to shoot this proposed bill down, but obviously I was wrong. This bill would subject websites to censorship akin to The People's Republic of China, Iran and North Korea, and it would not only have an effect in the United States, but globally. It effects Wikipedia, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and any other website which a corporation or the government itself felt the need to have information purged from it and blacklisted to prohibit copyright infringement. This isn't just for what's good for Wikipedia, this is for the good of the internet, because this bill will make it unable for us to keep it the way it is. A temporary redirect can always be taken off and reverted back once it's over. Allowing the government to blacklist and change our content because they want to protect copyright, is not fixable and shouldn't be allowable. — Moe ε 09:43, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest support in the world This is a direct threat to Wikipedia's mission, to provide the best knowledge to anyone free of charge. PaoloNapolitano 11:02, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • LOL How about instead, the WMF puts some of its skyrocketing budget into paying some professionals to make sure that Commons and WP don't contain any material that could be interpreted as violating copyright? Then you wouldn't need to worry about this bill. If WP has its house in order, you don't have to worry about the lawman. Cla68 (talk) 11:20, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose; until such a time as someone with proper legal training can explain, cogently, whether and to what extent this will affect Wikipedia in a material way. --Errant (chat!) 11:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Errant, don't have legal training but I've researched this. The primary concern for Wikipedia is: a number of legal commentators say it would make sites whose users post content research their posts to make sure that they do not infringe copyright. Under current law, the safe harbor provisions of DMCA say that if someone posts copyrighted material Wikipedia must take it down as soon as it is notified of the violation, but so long as it does do that, it cannot be sued for a copyright violation. There's much more, but that is the part most pertinent to Wikipedia vs anyone else. It mandates high-stakes user moderation, on steroids. Elinruby (talk) 14:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Comment - ErrantX, maybe it would be a good idea to ask Geoff (WMF Counsel) to study the text of the bill, and get a clear explanation from him as to the effects that SOPA would have on Wikipedia. Any thoughts from others?  BarkingFish  19:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment The unfortunate reality is that US governmental actions affect us all. My country (Australia) follows the US slavishly, particularly in regards to IP legislation and I don't doubt that we'll follow along this time as well. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 13:13, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I would not advise you to tell your MHR and your state's senators (or territory's) that they are slaves to the United States. Certainly not in person, from my studies of Whitlam, I understand Aussie politicians are pretty feisty.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I like the Aussies--they come to all our wars. Face-wink.svg
Whitlam is a completely different species of politician against the gang we have in power at the moment. On one side of politics we have the "Liberals" (capital-L liberals) who are exploring new territory on the conservative/right side of politics. On the other, we have the ALP who, for the most part, are pretending to be Liberals. Seriously. We practically have a one-party system, and they're both in a completely sychopantic relationship with the US. ˜danjel [ talk | contribs ] 14:25, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Ebe123 — .com, .org, and .net are U.S. domains. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 14:01, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment This argument is completely invalid due to the fact that Verisign controls the com, net, and org registries. The US gov't considers these domains to be under their control no matter which registrar they are purchased through, and no matter where the registrant is located. Jasonid (talk) 00:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support as a British Wikipedian: that it's only a US bill is irrelevant, as it will have measurable repurcussions on the rest of the world. And "only wrongdoers have to be concerned" is a shitty reason that has historically being used by authoritarian governments to roll back civil liberties. The fact of the matter is, it'll only be copyright problems at first that'll be blocked, then anything else The Powers That Be dislike that'll be blocked next. As much as I risk pulling a Godwin, first they came for the communists... this bill threatens the entire project, and the entire internet. Sceptre (talk) 13:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, although if there comes to be a poll on striking I would like the implications of the bill for Wikipedia to be made clear to everyone who is voting. It Is Me Here t / c 14:04, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Scratch the future tense:
Elinruby (talk) 14:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, per ErrantX: I have not yet seen a clear explanation, by a competent lawyer, of how exactly this bill would impair the operation of Wikipedia. If there is a convincing case that it would, I would support some form of protest.  Sandstein  14:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • LOL per Cla68. Watch out for that boomerang. --SB_Johnny | talk 14:42, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, this threatens the very existence and survival of Wikipedia. One day is more than enough to get the message across then to spend several months teaching users how to get around US's version of Great Firewall of China. - Mailer Diablo 14:47, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, because desperate times call for desperate measures, and hurts the entire internet community even if wikipedia comes out unscathed. In addition, Wikimedia and wikipedia are community organizations, however they are allowed to have an agenda. When that agenda is the freedom of information and citizens, why stop them from pursuing it? I fully support it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Conditional Oppose If I saw a clear explanation by wikimedia counsel or a group of legally qualified wikipedians that this law would harm the legitimate operation of wikipedia, then I would change my view to supporting any and all measures to oppose the bill. However, like several others above I have not seen that at the moment. From the very limited amount I have read on SOPA, although I consider it an odious piece of legislation, I have not seen anything that indicates it would harm wikipedia. Ajbp (talk) 15:27, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose: As what I consider myself to be a netizen first and a US citizen second, I consider having sites that have committed to me (the average user) of being up and not being hijacked for every single political movement or money grab that comes across the owner's plate. Has the leadership or the Foundation considered the negative effects of the en community organizing a "Taking our toys and going home" temper tantrum on the largest wiki, one of the top informative repositories of data, and the reputation hit to the "Encyclopedia that anybody can edit" if we go through this? What about the editors in other regions of the world that use the EN wikipedia? If, next month Australia or New Zealand start the process that would put a great firewall in place will we issue another general strike? I'm sorry, but between this idea and the "Game Theory" research survey I ponder the need for a EN steering committee for the purposes of vetting proposed ideas that will effect the entire community. Hasteur (talk) 16:58, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Alternative Wikipedia's job is to explain SOPA (and the Senate's PIPA) so people can make up their own minds. Instead of a strike, which would remove all information, we should be focusing on providing as much information about these bills as possible - for, against, and otherwise. Going on strike would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. It would be an own goal. Currently, the article has three very limited External links. Not even the Official THOMAS site is included. I would include in-depth reports such as ABC News. I'm also confused by why PIPA has the Network Neutrality template, but SOPA does not. I suggest we get our own house in order rather than strike. (talk) 17:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment —There are conflicting goals here. The side of opposition to this proposal is that our goals of neutrality and encyclopedism should not be compromised. The side of support is that SOPA's implementation could cause dramatic harm to the function or even existence of the Wikimedia projects. These are both reasonable points that I think can be broadly agreed upon. Where people disagree is in how we may go about minimizing the risk. Our position as a provider of neutral information precludes us from generally taking advocative positions: Wikipedia isn't a soapbox. However, I do think it's reasonable to advocate on issues that affect the project: if SOPA is implemented, Wikimedia might face trouble—so we can justify advocacy on the principle of the preservation and advancement of Wikimedia, rather than merely using our prominence to advocate unrelated changes. On the other hand, the proposed method of advocacy—effectively shutting down Wikipedia for some length of time—seems to go too far. It directly compromises our goal of encyclopedism: while the advocacy is in effect, we would be completely failing our goals. To be sure, it is a highly effective means of protest; but it is not justified when there are lesser methods that could provide nearly as much visibility for our issue without compromising other goals. For example, has anyone considered a simple click-through rather than an outright blackout? Has anyone considered US-geolocated banners in the style of the fundraiser banners, urging people to contact their local political representatives in opposition to the bill? There are partway measures that can be taken before the need for Italian-style drama. We should save that method for a case where we are more directly threatened: Wikipedia would fare comparatively better than many other social-media sites under SOPA because we already do extensive monitoring for and removal of illegitimately used content. While SOPA is still definitely to be strongly opposed (I personally think it's idiotic in many ways), it doesn't directly threaten us, as far as I can tell (I'm not a lawyer). Save the big guns for the really scary cases. :P {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 18:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
    Thanks for writing a comment that is worthy of attention from all points of view. Geometry guy 23:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support --Guerillero | My Talk 18:07, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support do what you think is best. Gerardw (talk) 19:31, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The WMF doesn't give a shit about all the copyright violations sitting on its servers. We can go on strike after the WMF takes immediate action regarding the thousands of copyvios on Commons and the two-year backlog at WP:CCI. That this is even being proposed is completely hypocritical and disgusting. Why the hell are we protesting anti-piracy legislation when we're hosting illegal content on our own site??? /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 20:06, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I've got nothing but scorn and crocodile tears for CCI for running Richard Norton through a multi-week long proctologists exam. Seriously, CCI has nothing to do with anything in this department... Their purported "2 year backlog" is a product of their own making. And those people secretly love it. Carrite (talk) 02:54, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
CCI is irrelevant. The fact is that the WMF is not actively or aggressively taking steps to address the numerous copyright violations it is hosting. It was at one point unwilling to even add a "not sure" license option to Commons' UploadWizard, because immediately putting a speedy deletion notice on copyright violations was too unfriendly to new users. /ƒETCHCOMMS/ 03:07, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
As one of the old-hand proponents of strict and narrow lawful behavior WRT copyright I find your position perplexing. The Wikimedia sites have the strongest free content requirements of any popular community contributed content site that I'm aware of by a long shot. Everywhere else makes you use a DMCA takedown to get rid of even the most obvious copyright violations. It was always my position that the fact that there were other sites that were willing to host the questionable stuff was a big reason that we could get away with being as strict as we are, otherwise our refusals to host things we weren't sure were free would intellectually impoverish mankind. Think of how much harder removing non-free content will be if Wikipedia is one of the few sites that can get away with hosting it? --Gmaxwell (talk) 03:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support a US-only block, but oppose blocking access to the rest of the world, since it's a US-specific issue.—S Marshall T/C 20:49, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Oh I love this idea. SOPA goes against Wikipedia ideals. Blanking would be a stunning event. Artem Karimov (talk) 21:10, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, I think I don't have to repeat the reasoning for it, but I'd even make it world-wide, because the US position matters for many other nations in the world. People should be seeing that the passing of the bill has consequences around the whole globe. --The Evil IP address (talk) 21:46, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. While I can see why many people would want to do this, I'd like to remind everyone of the consequences of both types of actions. If we go ahead and blank the site temporarily in an act of protest, we lose our standing in the eyes of many as a neutral encyclopedia, and become closer and closer to a POV-pushing PAC. As some might remember, one of the reasons for the Spanish Wikipedia split was because of the possibility of ads coming, and many felt betrayed at writing content that they thought was for non-commercial purposes, only to have their trust seemingly betrayed. If we want to risk editors fleeing Wikipedia because they thought they were contributing to a nonpartisan encyclopedia, then go right ahead- but we'll be making a huge mistake. Also, I don't see how such an action on our part is even necessary. Does anyone here honestly think that the US government will be able to pummel us out of existence with lawsuits? The public outrage on any serious attack on Wikipedia by the government would be enough to make every legislator deeply worried about his reelection chances. Unless someone can tell me, with absolute honesty and certainty, that SOPA will destroy Wikipedia and that any inaction on our part will lead to certain doom, I will remain in strong opposition to this proposal.--Slon02 (talk) 21:48, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose – As he has stated above, Jimbo already has enough influence to visit the White House. He doesn't need the the strike in order to speak to politicians, advisers, and the media. I'm not convinced that a strike would be the best way to attract the attention of the media and politicians. The Italian Wikipedia situation is different since they didn't have an Italian version of Jimbo to speak for them. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 22:27, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Strongly support. Media and politicians aren't the primary target; this is about Wikipedia's ten million daily visitors. We need a groundswell of opposition to shout down these noxious bills, and it's damn hard to make the average person care about some blandly titled legislation having something to do with "rogue websites". Slapping ten million people in the face with a warning just might turn the popular conversation around to what those in power are about to get away with. (talk) 11:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment I would like to better understand how this bill would affect us, specifically. I know that the DMCA grants us "safe harbor" against copyvio infringement lawsuits - that is, as long as we are reasonably vigilant about removing copyvio content upon discovery, we're safe from being sued by copyright holders. Fine and good. From what I've been reading, I gather that the SOPA legislation removes that safe harbor, and puts the onus of copyvio policing onto the content providers. So I wonder, could we continue to operate as we do in this brave new SOPA world? Or would we be required to fundamentally change our operating model? Would a level 2 across-the-board pending changes implementation do the trick, or would even more stringent controls be necessary? I don't know. I would love to hear some specifics from our resident copyright law experts, or WMF legal counsel. --JaGatalk 23:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support SOPA could very well have horrible consequences for Wikipedia, possibly because some Government official feels threatened by our commitment to free access of information. Access to potentially damaging information about persons in Government, as well as information about Radical political theory, could be blocked as subversive under the guise of protecting copyright. I could see it getting very messy for Wikipedia, and I believe we should take a stand. Wikipedia has been successful due to the web's open interface; anything attempting to impede the free-flow of information is inherently against Wikipedia's ideals. Perhaps we could institute a day of protest, where Wikipedia is inaccessible and instead replaced with information about SOPA? (talk) 23:08, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I'd like more attention on this issue, especially because, as a Canadian citizen, I have no way of expressing my discontent to any political leaders in the U.S. Wikipedia taking a stand on a bill this Draconian is only fair if said bill could cripple us. m.o.p 23:43, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Assume what I've seen of the bill is accurate, it would allow others to shut down (or ban from US-based DNS tables) Wikipedia entirely. It is something the community should take a stand on. (Wikimedia might take a stand on it, as well, but that's their decision. This is ours, as the community.) — Arthur Rubin (talk) 02:03, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Technical Neutral Not an oppose because I don't want to stand in the way if this is what the majority want however moving this direction from encyclopedia to political advocacy will affect my personal enthusiasm for the project.--Cube lurker (talk) 02:20, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - No sense getting worked up over every crap election-year proposal. Carrite (talk) 02:30, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We're a public charity and aren't allowed to engage in political advocacy. This would be a good way to endanger our status as a charity, I think. And I'm skeptical that the United States government would pass a law that shuts down the Wikipedia. They're not fools. And if they did pass such a law, it'd probably be corrected quickly enough. And if it wasn't corrected quickly, that would mean the United States government is willing to accept the loss of the Wikipedia as collateral damage. And if they're willing to accept the loss of the Wikipedia, then going on strike is not going to change their minds about anything. --Herostratus (talk) 03:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC) After looking into this law some more, I now support any reasonable action including a strike or blanking, if this will help. This really is a pretty problematical law, and if I understand aright it really will likely cause the Wikipedia to be shut down pretty quickly. I'm still somewhat confident that this would be corrected, but my confidence is shaken somewhat, and even if corrected this might take too long. So it's a question of blanking now as a protest, or blanking later under duress for a long time if not forever. I'd prefer the former. I still think this could possibly cause problems for our status as a charity, but this would be preferable to not existing at all, I would say. Herostratus (talk) 05:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose. Wikipedia is not a WP:CRYSTALball and cannot post WP:OR original-research statements, including hypothetical-danger comments to defend a strike. WP does not allow gossip or pet theories to even flood talk-pages. Plus, the proposed SOPA law does NOT seem to apply to Wikipedia file servers within the U.S. and so move or keep WP file-servers within U.S. borders, where the article "Stop Online Piracy Act" emphasizes the intent of the proposed law is to allow the U.S. Feds to prosecute violations of U.S. intellectual-property rights when violated by other nations, as if being violations of U.S. organizations. -Wikid77 (talk) 06:51, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
The rules for WP:CRYSTAL and WP:OR also apply to talk-pages, where editors should not post unverifiable predictions (or product claims, "I bought one and it even ran 100 times better") on the talk-pages, so that covers most pages in Wikipedia (plus WP should not rely on argument to authority with claims that some dire event will happen, but instead have corroborating evidence as verifiable for the claim). As for the implementation of U.S. laws, there is usually a long delay between the passing of a law and the effective date, which allows time to restructure to avoid many problems. I hope that clarifies the issues. -Wikid77 08:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
If WP:CRYSTAL and WP:OR apply to talk pages, then please provide a citation for that assertion to a reliable secondary source. Geometry guy 21:57, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Temporary whiteout now is better then permanent struggle in future. — Dmitrij D. Czarkoff (talk) 07:26, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is a "free encyclopedia", not a lobbying tool. Incidentally, if we really want to use it for lobbying, there are countries where freedom on internet is seriously more threatened than in the USA or in Italy. French Tourist (talk) 08:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose. Do we really need to fork Wikipedia to ensure we keep a free encyclopedia available to anyone that cannot be used for lobbying? — Arkanosis 09:55, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - I'm all for WMF or individual editors advocating free speech, but this should not be done in the name of the encyclopedia or its entire community, or at the expense of every reader and editor. We serve our readers by providing content, not by advocacy. wctaiwan (talk) 10:19, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Though the extent of my support may just be me complaining loudly on Facebook. Marcus Qwertyus 11:12, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - PatternSpider (talk) 12:05, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Uncertain I may be wrong, but I do not think this law would harm any of our five pilars. In fact, it would only cause a reinforcement of the third pillar : Wikipedia shall become a completely free encyclopedia without any copyrighted content (no fair use…). Yet, I remain puzzled by the radical provisions implied : a single misunderstanding on copyright issues would be enough to bring the encyclopedia into serious troubles. Alexander Doria (talk) 13:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. SOPA would almost certainly cause problems for Wikipedia now. What's more, it probably would have killed Wikipedia and its open model at the beginning, before it had the clout it has now. A reasonably open and free internet is the environment projects like Wikipedia need to develop and flourish. This is not a generic lobbying attempt against a generic law - it's a limited action intended to draw attention to the fact that this law, as it is, threatens free content creation, free and open websites, and hence the free exchange of information. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose. While I agree that this legislation would negatively impact Wikipedia and should be opposed, I am not convinced that a drastic step like blanking the site is the correct way to proceed. It could very well backfire. I agree with those who say that the mission of the site is to educate, so let's educate people about the legislation, and have a protest against it on the site, but not instead of the site. Neutron (talk) 15:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Blank the pages. We live in a world of rules and governments on power trips. Don't let them have ours. Mrlittleirish 16:26, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - SOPA gives the corporate world legal leverage to impinge the free flow of information on the web. WP is all about the making knowledge easily accessible to all. As such, the act runs counter to WP's "raison d'etre". Even without being well versed as to the details of this bill, it's pretty evident that WP has more to lose than gain with its passage. NickCT (talk) 16:51, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment. For info only, I count 63 in support and 28 opposing to this point. I did it on my fingers, though and I only have ten, so please feel free to check, anyone. --FormerIP (talk) 17:03, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I had 61-29, but it may be hard to get an exact count because many of the supports and opposes are very nuanced.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:26, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I really, really, really hate to support bold and aggressive action here. That said, whatever happens, happens, and if Congress passes SOPA as law, and BHO doesn't veto, I oppose any subsequent civil disobedience. CharlieEchoTango (contact) 17:52, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - SOPA and similar legislation will be the end of the internet and as far as i am concerned the end of the internet at this point is the end of the world as we know it. Do WHATEVER will help stop it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shinigamidono (talkcontribs) 21:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, even as a non-US user. SOPA is a threat to the very existence of wikipedia and similar websites. It would be naive to think that not taking real and direct action will somehow convince congress to drop the bill in the face of all the corporate lobbying. The US already tries to control what should be the nation-blind internet. Fight SOPA, fight for internet freedom. --AndrewTindall (talk) 21:46, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. As many users have pointed out, Wikipedia is not a political tool. But if the people supporting Wikipedia (all those who have said support), those same people who stand against SOPA, want to express their voice in some way; why lot let them do so. Pjrobertson (talk) 21:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is not what Wikipedia is for. Jimmy Wales may wish to make a protest, but he can do it himself with his own resources, not suborn Wikipedia to be his puppet. The cause may be just, but this is just reaching out to use the most convenient, closest tool at hand rather than the most appropriate. Wikipedia does not belong to Jimmy Wales. Whatever happened to NPOV? Kodabar (talk) 21:50, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
    If anyone was under the impression that Wikipedia belonged to Jimmy there would be no question here! If this happens it would because the community supports it. In my view, the support here is overwhelming. I also don't think there is any conflict with NPOV (please search this page for my comments on that). --Gmaxwell (talk) 03:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - This is legislation that would potentially shut wikipedia down. It would mean that edits would have to be PRE-APPROVED before they can show up, which is against the fundamental core principle of what makes wikipedia... wikipedia! The world must know that their beloved encyclopedia (and yes, wikipedia BELONGS to the world) is in danger! Blank it! Blank it for a day, or a week if you must, but blank it! Fieari (talk) 21:54, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - This is essential for the long-term survival of projects like Wikipedia. -- M2Ys4U (talk) 21:56, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm not sure blanking the pages is the best possible system, though. Personally, I'd display links to impartial, well-reasoned explanations of why SOPA shouldn't become law. For example, Laurence Tribe's letter explaining how SOPA would violate the First Amendment. Orihalcon28 (talk) 21:59, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Uncertain Protesting by advertisement, open letters in very available newspaper and magazin, and personal letters to everybody possibly involved, might be a good idea. But blanking WP for a certain time would not be effective. But the foundation should consider moving its legal registration and offices outside the USA Night of the Big Wind talk 22:07, 12 December 2011 (UTC) May I suggest Ireland?
  • Support. The threat to Wikipedia's editorial independence is strong enough, outside of the threat to the Internet as a whole, to warrant this action. Were it "just" the Internet at risk, but Wikipedia were excluded, I would argue it was unwarranted. As Wikipedia itself may be affected by this legislation and how the powers it grants might be used, taking a stand is warranted. Throwaway85 (talk) 22:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. This legislation threatens the legal framework (DMCA Safe Harbor) under which Wikipedia operates. Under it, Wikipedia and countless other user generated media sites would be shut down. Dpemmons (talk) 22:18, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I have been growing concerned with the requests by law enforcement and private interest groups to abolish and/or erode civil liberties (or my personal life's activities period) before any crime has even been proven. wsoder (talk) 22:24, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support, because I believe that SOPA would seriously damage our ability to work towards our core project goals. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 22:26, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Any legislation in any nation which has jurisdiction over all of Wikipedia's operations (and not just enWP), should be of interest and concern to this community. Especially one that folks feel "would seriously impact the functioning of Wikipedia for everyone" and possibly even put an end to open-source projects like MediaWiki and Mozilla. As a nonprofit in the US, it is WMF's legal right to do this and that exists for a reason. Saying it's only Wikipedia's job to profile this legislation would be like saying it's only the New York Time's job to report on an effort to end freedom of the press in the US - it's absurd and unrealistic. Maybe if we lived on Planet Utopia where projects and the laws which govern them didn't have to be concerned about each other - but that's simply not the world we live in. Covering our ears and saying "lalalalalala" hoping it will just go away or not happen is not an appropriate response for a mature and capable community such as Wikipedia. --Varnent (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support with a clear plan of what to do if/when the actual law passes. --Quasipalm (talk) 22:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The legislation is overly broad, my personal feelings is that the response should be as overly broad. (talk) 22:34, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Good idea. --ESP (talk) 22:36, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, but remember Protect IP SOPA will break the internet, so blanking Wikipedia is just a taste of what might come on a lot of sites if it goes trough. It's a good way to warn the general public about the dagers facing the internet. But if this is done I really hope that the message explaining why will include information about the Protect IP, which is almost just as bad, but even more likely to pass! --Forteller (talk) 23:14, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Strong Support Its a great idea to stop a ridiculous law from being enacted. This would work great and really show how a community can band together to stop these politicians. Wmcscrooge (talk) 22:44, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Support I'm in favor of this, but maybe in stend of blanking all the artcles you should use ICE domain seizure waring, except in instead of "This domain as been seized by ICE" it should say something like
This domain as been seized by the United States Attorney Michael Doe pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by, the United States District Court under the authority of the Stop Online Piracy Act.

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted works is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

and the should be a big button on the that links to the EFF's page on SOPA and says "halt web censorship based on unverified allegations of copyright infringement". Icedog (talk) 22:43, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

This is a nice idea: see also User_talk:Jimbo_Wales#Alternate_.22Blanking.22_Proposal below. Geometry guy 23:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't believe that Wikipedia should employ deceptive messages. The WMF shouldn't trick its readership into believing that Wikipedia really is the victim of SOPA. Also, that message would direct all of the readership's anger on an Attorney General who didn't really shut down Wikipedia; the outcry should be directed at the lawmakers and lobbyists responsible for SOPA instead. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 01:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you that pointing the finger (especially inaccurately) would not be helpful. I wanted to draw attention to this idea not as an ideal, but as a contribution to further discussion on how we might take effective action (if we have to) without causing harm. Geometry guy 02:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest Possible Support SOPA is a direct threat to Wikipedia, among many other things. This action is more than warranted. Digitiki (talk) 22:47, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Very good idea. Chico75 (talk) 23:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support (with reservations) - I'm with the crowd who is leery of what this kind of political advocacy would mean for Wikipedia, but considering the circumstances, I think it is justified. SOPA is a huge threat to some pretty fundamental freedoms, and would almost certainly represent a threat to Wikipedia itself. Sprhodes (talk) 23:16, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This law is not only dangerous to wikipedia, it dangerous to the entire internet. It encourages other governments to take a censorship approach to the internet. Most people will not be aware of this until it is too late. This will make people who otherwise would be unaware, at least aware of the discussion. I fully support this action. -Tracer9999 (talk) 23:16, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support with comments I'd support this during 24h, world-wide. However, since I think Wikipedia is a public service (not as in state-owned, but as commons), I'd prefer that, instead of blanking all articles, every page is substituted by a message against SOPA, then let the user go through to the article after clicking a link. A cookie could be used to show the anti-SOPA message only once for each user/IP. Anyway, I'd support this strike even if the community decide it's better to to a full blanking. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ColdWind (talkcontribs) 23:18, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest possible support in the world The permanent passage of SOPA is a greater threat to Wikipedia's neutrality than temporarily advocating against it, and advocating against it has a substantial chance to be a deciding factor in preventing its passage (although if Google or some other company with lots of eyeballs does something big, then maybe not). --Michael WhiteT·C 23:18, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The threat posed by SOPA to both Wikipedia and the Internet as a whole outweighs the downsides here. --Trevor Johns 23:20, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Only this is an existential threat I think this is only appropriate if we truly believe that passage of this law would prevent Wikipedia from continuing in it's current form. The Italian law from my understanding would have make the site liable for content generated by users and forced the removal of *true* facts. I don't see this with SOPA, but if you believe that if SOPA passes you would have to discontinue Wikipedia forever, then yes blanking it is acceptable.Lotu (talk) 23:29, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Jimmy, this is the right way to go. Please do follow through on your plan. The politicians who have been bought and paid for by the media companies need to know that the people who they 'represent' will not go quietly into the good night. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support The American people are oblivious that this is happening. Many of my friends have never heard of NDAA, SOPA, PIPA, etc. We need to do this. --Boywonder2 (talk) 23:47, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This is basically an issue of survival for WMF, so yes, absolute support. (talk) 00:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support When SOPA passes, articles with a NPOV may have to be rewritten in order to comply. Though the WMF shouldn't take a political stance, after SOPA passes, it will have no choice. Blanking seems a bit extreme (much like SOPA)...perhaps a click-through message + banner + logo + background change would suffice over blanking. Blanking will render wikipedia useless for a day...this probably won't help donations and it'll lose a day worth of edits...but it would elicit the strongest negative response.Smallman12q (talk) 00:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Poll continued (break #2)

  • Tenative Support. I would prefer if any such formalized strike discussion would occur closer to when the finalized version of the bill is finished, as it is about to undergo markup. Currently, it is only a draft. But as it is written now, the threat the bill poses to the project is thus far, quite real. It seems likely that Wikipedia would be the recipient of frivolous lawsuits over the copyrighted content that already resides on Wikipedia in addition to new copyrighted content that is uploaded everyday. Furthermore, websites are at a clear disadvantage when a claim is filed by a copyright holder-- all a copyright holder needs is a "reasonable belief" to sue, whereas the allegedly infringing website needs to show that the claimant "knowingly" and "materially" misrepresented the website's activity. I, Jethrobot drop me a line (note: not a bot!) 23:49, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support. I completely your idea and your call, Jimmy. Dinesh Cyanam (talk) 00:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Really Strong Support Anything could threaten Wikipedia must be protested. Anything. They know they can't live without Wikipedia a single month, every political uses the Wikipedia every day for them speeches. Everyone uses. They have to know how important we are for them before trying destroy us. MetalBrasil (talk) 00:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support. SOPA is much worse than many non-net citizens would like to believe. --Kampfers (talk) 00:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support. Any question of what might happen to Wikipedia as a result of a protest MUST be contrasted with the fact that, if this bill passes, there may very well not BE a Wikipedia to worry about. Regardless of what your position may be on Wikipedia getting involved in politics, existential threats are ALWAYS worth getting involved in. User:Glenn Willen (Talk) 00:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. This is a dagger aimed at our heart. We must dodge before the thrust. Spot (talk) 00:18, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Absolute Support. Wikipedia must be active in opposing this new law, as it could affect any site to which content is posted by users. The common carrier protections must be defended, and it is time for Wikipedia to act in the strongest manner possible... or Wikipedia will cease to be the open website we need. People must be free to edit and contribute! Jasonid (talk) 00:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support with Reservations - This seems a little bold, and slightly against the open nature of Wikipedia, but, if it passes, Wikipedia is going to have a lot of crap to deal with, and the open nature may go away slightly anyway, so...--Unionhawk Talk E-mail 00:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Even if it is only taken down for an afternoon, this will send an unmistakable message that will resonate across the globe. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose. This is really not a good idea. I understand where it's coming from, I really do, and to some degree I agree with the anti-SOPA concerns. However, I think the idea that this is the 'end' of WP/WPF is a little overblown. The consequences on the American public will be significant and I do not think that most people are going to think 'oh, good for them -- standing up for their political ideals.' What *will* happen is that the media will make the WP community look like a bunch of whiny communists and most of america will simply assume that they're right, because they're angry that there's no more wikipedia for them. In the meantime, some big player will put up a replacement site and will win market share. I'd also point out that taking down WP, even temporarily, is screwing many of us contributors that spent time working on articles on the assumption that they'd be available free to the world without a political bent (and, though I'm not one of them, I know there are many contributors on the right who are probably more pro-SOPA). When the day comes that congress decides to outlaw free speech, then by all means take things down in protest. Taking the site down because you are concerned that a *draft* of a bill is going to give the justice department carte blanche to take down WP is absurd.
Bottom line: This draft of legislation is not an existential threat. WP:ADVOCACY *does* apply in spirit -- blanking WP is akin to simply deleting all content. Blocking the site, even for a little while, will slam WP's reputation in the public and likely reduce our ability to respond to *actual* existential threats. And, most importantly of all, we do not ever get to choose sides! We can't decide to change the rules just because we don't like the way things are going any more than republicans or democrats can choose to ignore free speech when it becomes inconvenient. The moment this starts happening is the moment we become a political party that blackmails politicians into doing our bidding (which, by the way, won't work -- you don't think corporate america is dying for the day that wikipedia starts losing and they can get that juicy, juicy market share?)
Please don't do this guys -- this is a bad, bad idea. Karthik Sarma (talk) 00:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Full Support - This is just the sort of thing that will change the game. Kobra (talk) 00:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Wholeheartedly support --EEMIV (talk) 00:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Coming out of retirement to Strongly support this... --Vandalism destroyer 00:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support.
  • Strong Support. This clearly threatens the existence of Wikipedia, and Wikipedia should be extremely clear in opposing the legislation. Larstebil (talk) 01:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. This will make the average Joe realize what this bill can do. We humans tend not to care about what we are losing until we no longer have it. Gamerzworld (talk) 01:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. I agree with those who say that this is a matter of survival. This bill would (sooner or later) mean the end of user-generated content, which is Wikipedia's entire foundation. As for "not engaging in politics", that's all well and good, but when politics begins to threaten your very existence, it is time to get involved. One caveat: the rationale for why Wikipedia is doing this should be made very clear to any visitors to the site. There needs to be a simply-stated but well-referenced, bulletproof essay. Esn (talk) 01:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support as this would impact our operations. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 01:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. We are an encyclopedia, but this insane law would severely interfere with the way we work. WMF would need thousands of employees to even start to attempt to obey this law, effectively killing Wikipedia. WMF should therefore oppose the law by the most effective means possible, not on moral or political grounds, but on narrow practical grounds. -Arch dude (talk) 01:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. While I do not think that Wikipedia would be a likely target of SOPA/PIPA, I believe that a statement must be made, and WP has enough of a viewing group to make it. 01:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. SOPA threatens the very fundamental aspects of the Internet as we know it. It will kill innovation and free speech. If we as Americans think internet filters in Iran and China are bad, this is right there with them in terms of impact and censorship. —Tony Webster (talk / contribs) 01:28, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. The mass opposition to SOPA is a strong sign, and I would applaud Wikipedia's bold move against. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I support a strike by Wikipedia to help educate fellow U.S. voters about SOPA. MichaelLeonhard (talk) 01:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. Do it right now while college papers are being written in the US. Scott Ritchie (talk) 01:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support I doubt the feds would be stupid enough to allow all of Wikipedia to be taken down, or all of YouTube, etc. The backlash would be overwhelming. However they would not oppose taking down the next web innovation, known only to a bunch of geeks. The next YouTube, the next awesome WP-like project, the next Facebook, is what is at risk. A blackout can call attention to the loss of valuable resources which the public was unaware of ten years ago but now relies on daily. That's what we risk losing. --TeaDrinker (talk) 01:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. This needs to be done and this is the right place to do it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Strong support - I don't contribute as much as I view wikipedia, but I'd rather see it go down for a day, then it and half the internet go down for good! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - Political arguments aside, this will reach the most people and carry the most impact. After all, what site do most people use at least once a day? We no longer have the luxury of being impartial. We are already on a side. The side that supports a free and open internet, accessible to all. Zenimpulse (talk) 02:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Definitely support - The broader public needs to be more educated about this issue.. Wikipedia is a great avenue to reach the general public. This trumps political issues. 21:08, 12 December 2011 (EST) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Support doing something powerful. I blackout would be that. I do have some reticence though. Making the knowledge in English Wikipedia and maybe other sites inaccessible feels a bit like protestors who destroy their own neighborhood. Sometimes necessary to gain attention and perhaps justice in the long run, but always painful and with collateral victims. Sure, visitors to Wikipedia sites can come back later or find a mirror, but just as surely, the neighborhood will recover. Maybe. Admittedly the analogy is far from perfect, but I wish there were something the Wikimedia movement could do that would have power analogous to a mass physical action, but avoid costs analogous to the same. Long term, I think fulfilling the Wikimedia vision is exactly that. In the short term, maybe a total blackout is necessary, though if there's a a way to equally powerfully present to viewers what SOPA means, then let them access the knowledge, I'd prefer that. UI challenge? Surely some A:B testing is in order for this important action. I'd hope that at least some messages tested convey not only the threat SOPA poses to Wikimedia, but the long-term threat the Wikimedia movement poses to censorship. --Mike Linksvayer (talk) 02:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support — Some comments have suggested we needed proof that this would directly impact Wikipedia. I don't agree with the view any more than I'd agree with a view that since only .COM and .NET domains have been seized so far that a .ORG shouldn't care. SOPA will indirectly affect Wikipedia by changing the climate we operate in: Today, we're free to make the right decisions, free to abide by NPOV, and free to use our best editorial judgment because we operate in an environment where our freedoms are strongly preserved (and we're also free to make bold mistakes, the value of which can not be overstated), and we benefit greatly from others having the same freedoms. Even if Wikipedia's size grants it political protection from the direct effects of the law, our work and content also serve many people who don't have our voice. These reusers are a part of our mission too. Our work also depends on the writings of many people outside the projects: we shy away from 'original research' for good verifiability reasons, so if you silence something everywhere except Wikipedia you silence it on Wikipedia too. Moreover, the freedom to speak freely outside of Wikipedia is critical to our ability to make a quality verifiable encyclopedia in another way: by allowing us to exclude things in good conscience that our decision will not erase them completely. For these reasons, and many more, I support taking a stand here. Besides, I've found bold statements to be pretty effective myself. :) --Gmaxwell (talk) 02:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I fully support using the encyclopedia to fight against something that could frivolously shut it down or cost it money. --PresN 02:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support strongly - SOPA and PIPA are an existential threat to Wikipedia. They are the antithesis of what free information sharing is all about. At the word of one single complainant, without verification or corroboration, without any adversarial hearing or any determination by a judicial authority of any fault or guilt, all of Wikipedia could be shut down permanently. All it would take, literally, is one seller of widgets who doesn't like the (truthful) bad analysis of his company on his Wikipedia page. If that seller initiates an action, then on his say-so alone, ALL of Wikipedia could be shut down, with no recourse and no alternative. It is only fair for Wikipedia, as a community and as an organization, to show our displeasure at this sort of censorship and corporate control. As for NPOV, that's for what goes in an article. It has little to do with how the community and the organization themselves should behave. Taken to its logical extreme, the NPOV argument would suggest that NO Wikipedia editor should EVER get involved in anything controversial because that might call their neutrality into question. Hogwash on its face. Macoukji (talk) 02:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support strongly and NOT just for USA users, on the back of US offering to author NZ ISP-copyright law which directly ties US objectionable direct meddling with freedom of the pipes, to US objectionable meddling in 3rd country freedom to write their own legislation. For me, any perceived threat to WP directly is somewhat beside the point - it's about having the kind of internet which fosters, rather than frightens off, the ability of humans to share human culture, and thus could bring WP into being. ‒ Jaymax✍ 02:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - PIPA/SOPA threaten Wikipedia and every other website that can be considered "controversial" by anyone. Oroso (talk) 02:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support strongly - This bill is not only a threat to Wikipedia, but to the entire internet itself. Please get this issue the attention it needs. There is going to be such great fallout and many ramifications if this bill passes. Make a stand, or forever wish that you did something. A site with such traffic and influence in public life will shake Congress and the pro-copyright-lobby to its core. This is the time to stand up, Wikipedia. Infernoapple (talk) 02:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support strongly. Historically if laws exists, they get used; it must be assumed this law, like many others before it, will be used a given way if it is capable of being used that way (eg). Today it's "only" for IP protection. Tomorrow and elsewhere free speech gets killed and whittled down country by country under threat of litigation and criminality. Current laws related to carrier immunity got it right. I support the overriding right to access content even if deemed undesirable, even if much of the content would be problematic under US or another country's legal system, because other countries would feel justified in blocking content we see as important for humanity following our example. It's far too massively open to abuse, for the most powerful country on the net to declare war on net rights. Sorry, no. This is bigger than Wikipedia and directly contradicts what we most deeply believe in, which is free global access to all knowledge, a reliable neutral medium in which completeness of information can be relied upon, and trust that humanity will benefit more in the long run than if gates are closed and barriers established. Would be proud to support action if deemed necessary, to send that message. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose - while the idea of a strike on Wikipedia may be "fun" or an event to many, I believe this is an extremely bad idea. As a long-time lurker on Wikipedia, I too fear that SOPA could damage the project and/or raise the maintenance burden and discourage "anyone editing". However, I fear that striking on Wikipedia in any visible manner on the article space will damage our reputation as a reliable data source and cause many readers and editors to leave. I do not wish Wikipedia to have a political agenda to push -- People will either fail to understand or misconstrue our intentions. As an observer of many less technical people using the Internet, I notice people will come across a page that's not their article and ask themselves, "Why won't my Wikipedia work?" This is usually followed up by trying to refresh the page and when that fails they will either try searching the for the page again or stop using Wikipedia (for the time being). My point being: For those who don't know what SOPA is about: We can link them and try to make them aware, but it's not their article. They won't look. On the other hand, if we're trying to get the media's attention (and we would with a stunt like this), we will be unable to edit their articles and news segments; whatever ideas they are able to work out of our strike will be aired and read nationally. This will again push the wrong ideas to the general public. I can imagine the headline now: "The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has gone on strike today in protest of the US SOPA act. Wikipedia is well known for its neutral point of view and encyclopedic content." While I perfectly understand that WP:NPOV and all of our pillars do not apply to this issue, the news and general public might not quite get that point and we won't all be there to explain it to them. -- SnoFox(t|c) 03:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • A follow up thought, I would support something drastic and suicidal such as a strike if SOPA was slated to pass. For example, if vetoed and going back for the re-vote, feel free to strike. I'd even help. That would likely prevent the 2/3rds from getting there. I just think it's way too early to strike. As seen here, it still has a while to go. -- SnoFox(t|c) 03:45, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Poll continued (break #3)

  • Full Support We NEED this kind of gesture. Please help us. SOPA will NOT stop piracy, it will only affect the technologically challenged. Pirates have already worked out ways around SOPA and PIPA. This bill is pointless since piracy is already illegal. This kind of policing on the internet cannot be done without taking peoples rights away. People do not realize this now but they will regret any SOPA like legislation that is passed. PLEASE help us. Cantormath (talk) 20:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose I oppose SOPA but I oppose blanking wikpedia for any reason. review the comments from the fund raiser, that is why wikipedia thrives, not to take a political action. create another cool site for that!! Exprexxo (talk) 16:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - Jimmy please do stop playing policy with this project. Did Eric Schmidt from Google call you up? This Bill pushes Google but it does not affect us as we play by the rules. The whole idea to black out Wikipedia is banana. :))) Let's wait until the Government blacks us out. :))) What won't happen. We are the least affected web project on earth. Let's not misuse our project for policy reasons that do benefit other web companies and let's go back to what we can do best - writing an encyclopedia. We do not need to get involved in policy that effects a lot of our big donors but has little affect on us. (talk) 02:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - The bill gives copyright owners too much power; it does not have accountability. WhereAmI (talk) 06:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Not to push an agenda, but to inform everyone about SOPA, and the effect of SOPA on the Internet. --Raul1231 (talk) 03:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - That being said, I think a rolling blackout (a few hours a day) will be just as effective but will be less disruptive to the site itself (continuing to be updated with new events and continuing to be a popular resource for information). Rdhettinger (talk) 03:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - Jimmy please do stop playing policy with this project. Did Eric Schmidt from Google call you up? This Bill pushes Google but it does not affect us as we play by the rules. The whole idea to black out Wikipedia is banana. :))) Let's wait until the Government blacks us out. :))) What won't happen. We are the least affected web project on earth. Let's not misuse our project for policy reasons that do benefit other web companies and let's go back to what we can do best - writing an encyclopedia. We do not need to get involved in policy that effects a lot of our big donors but has little affect on us. (talk) 02:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Conditional Support This action threatens NPOV/NOADVOCACY. The only way around it is if it's an action not by the users of wikipedia, but by the WMF itself, which is the right organization to do this.Takometer (talk) 02:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. My understanding of this proposed legislation is very limited, but if I understand it correctly, this legislation will remove the safe harbour provisions of the DMCA. I have serious concerns of the effect that this may have on Wikipedia, which have already been expressed by FT2 and Macoukji. I feel the same way. I feel that this (a Wikipedia blackout) is an extreme measure, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures. Steven Zhang Join the DR army! 02:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Absolutely. This law is unbelievably dangerous and we need to let people know what it's consequences will be. This website is the fifth most visited in the world and we will be massively impacted if this law passes. We need to do everything in our power to oppose this terrible piece of legislation. Thingg 03:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose - Jimmy- this is a commerce issue, which has NOTHING TO DO WITH WIKIPEDIA. Let's stop pretending that piracy isn't an issue, and leave the laws up to the government. Read the new mark-up, only lawbreakers will be affected. Wikipedia getting involved in this will permanently soil its reputation. 03:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Strong Support If SOPA gets past the judiciary committee I think some action of this type is warranted. Wikipedia has always been a bellwether of the open culture movement, we shouldn't allow legislation which threatens the culture Wikipedia is a part of to pass without our voices being heard. Polyquest (talk) 03:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak Oppose for this proposal but Support for doing *something*. I do not feel there is consensus here for this kind of tactic. This won't be the last time this kind of action will need to be taken, either, perhaps next time there will be more clarity. Themusicgod1 (talk) 03:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Opppose. Wikipedia's copyright stance is enough to avoid problems, and guess what? I actually believe that YouTube needs to reform its business practices or be forcibly shut down.—Kww(talk) 03:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support for this proposal. As far as I am concerned, this would be the most visible stand that Wikipedia could take against this moronic law. In fact, I propose (if others haven't) that the shutdown be for a minimum of 24 hours, and during the week when it would be the most felt.
  • Support Im just a guy whos been using wikipedia pretty much every day for years, and who has also been following the creeping death of the copyright industries endless demands for years too. I completely support the idea of using wikipedias considerable public exposure to bring the issue of the hateful SOPA bill to light, as the vanguard of the future of human knowledge we and WMF would be remiss if it didnt use this capability at such an opportune time, especially since the alternative of the influence the average citizen has on its government has never been lower than it is now. Its not just about downloading films and music, its about the whole INTERNET for gods sake, our culture, our commons, our privacy and our freedom. They want it all, and the US govt wants to give it to them. The line must be drawn here, this far and NO FURTHER. It has to stop! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This is the best way to educate people about SOPA. man with one red shoe 03:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • First they came for the pirates, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a pirate. Then they came for the blogs, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a blogger. Then they came for the social networks, and I didn't speak out because I didn't use any social networking site. Then they came for me (Wikipedian), and there was no one left to speak out for me. (Support) 山本一郎 (会話) 03:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I say we set a precedent here. If Wikipedia is threatened with censure by law, it will oppose it using non-violent means within its power. Wikipedia will not remain neutral and will defend itself if when some force, regardless of other politics or agendas, threatens its mission or objective. - (talk) 03:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support- SOPA is both stupid and evil. It has the potential to seriously damage the internet, and will not be even remotely effective in its stated aims. Vocally opposing it is the right thing to do. Reyk YO! 03:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support I do think that it's important to keep Wikipedia neutral on a wide variety of topics, even ones that I myself consider crucially important. But Wikipedia is one of the pillars of the Internet and it is, by far and away, the most visible and influential not-for-profit, grass-roots, and free Internet institution. It has a duty to weigh in on SOPA in the strongest possible terms not just for its own constituency but to stand up for its fundamental principles of free, open, transparent and uncensored access to know for everyone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rettkent (talkcontribs) 03:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support some sort of coordinated and targeted action that doesn't take the rest of the world hostage. Redirect all visits from Capitol Hill to for 24 hours instead? If Google, Facebook and so on did the same thing it would send a clear and targeted message. Have you spoken to Google, Facebook etc about this? The rest of the world did not elect your politicians and though I support what you're trying to achieve here, what do expect those of us outside the US to do about it? Vyvyan Basterd (talk) 03:45, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support It's a perfect demonstration of what will happen with just this one site should SOPA pass. SOPA will cause irreparable harm. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support The only thing that will stop SOPA is mass awareness. Not enough is being done as it is.
  • Support. There has been very little attention paid to this issue by the media. This should fix that problem nicely :) — RockMFR 03:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • "'Strong Support'". Without action like this, there is a very strong likelihood that SOPA will pass despite the fact that much of the public would be against it if they only knew it were on the table. Wikipedia's strike would change this. (talk) 04:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, although I doubt it will do any good, since Wikipedia doesn't have a PAC and money seems to be the only thing politicians listen to anymore. Tom Reedy (talk) 04:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - seems guaranteed to get publicity in the mainstream media. Mitigate harmful effects by providing links to mirrors. Stevage 04:13, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. When I first read about the Italian Wikipedia's actions, my gut reaction was highly negative. The idea of exploiting/withholding a Wikipedia as a means of political protest didn't sit well with me, nor did the conflation of a language and a country. But when I read the various arguments and became aware of the extent to which the Italian Wikipedia and other Italian-language knowledge sources would have been adversely affected, I came to realize that desperate times called for desperate measures (and the protest's swift success bolstered the sentiment). I'm as strong a proponent of Wikipedia's neutrality as anyone, but when something threatens its very existence, we're forced to either fight back or become an encyclopedia that remained neutral until fading into history. Our mission, first and foremost, is to deliver free knowledge to the world. We mustn't lose sight of that. —David Levy 04:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - while i agree that wikipedia should remain neutral and avoid politics in nearly every situation, this is about freedom of information. all of the information is on wikipedia. and no one in america is paying attention. they need to know what is at stake. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support We need to send a strong message to the government. This is an excellent way to do it, particularly if this is coordinated across a lot of different sites. While Wikipedia is neutral, this is an attack on neutrality itself (how can we have a neutral encyclopedia if some entertainment agency decides it doesn't like it and has it shut down). Cypher3c (talk) 04:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. I don't know enough about the law to say that it's definitely a good idea, but I have no objection in principle. It's political, yes, but we have skin in the game. It's potentially damaging, yes, but the fact that it's a sacrifice makes it a more powerful statement. The Foundation should seriously consider action, and it should keep this option open. Melchoir (talk) 04:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - it's a matter of importance to the running of Wikipedia itself, rather than any particular editorial content (thus NPOV and NOTAVOCACY don't really apply) Erp Erpington (talk) 04:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Total Unyielding Support. Take it all down for a straight 24 hours but display information for how users can contact their representatives and Senators. This bill (well, technically, the House and Senate companion bills) is rotten to the core and must be destroyed, buried and the earth salted. This is absolutely not a partisan issue. It's about freedom of speech on the web, pure and simple. I took down my discussion board for 24 hours last week, without notice, to show what it would be like for the site to go down. Doing this won't cause any lasting damage, but will make a real, lasting statement that will have impact. Stevie is the man! TalkWork 05:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - People complain about NPOV and such, but Wikipedia's mere existence is a political stance for the ability of the average person to have a voice in the world and for the idea that knowledge belongs to people, not businesses or governments. Acjohnson55 (talk) 05:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - This is an atrocious, offensive, and anti-democratic piece of legislation indeed. In itself, that is not remarkable nor cause enough for Wikipedia to take a stance in protest. However, since this particular piece of legislation impacts Wikipedia directly, I think a protest is appropriate. Let's just remember to take seriously the concerns from those who are weary of the Wikipedia project being turned into a political action committee. That said: do the right thing here, Jimbo! Make us proud. Star shaped (talk) 05:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Raising awareness about this can at least allow users to make their own informed decision, if nothing else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. That Wikipedia—a nonprofit, noncommercial Web site—is one of the most successful sites in the world is a bit miraculous in this age of corporate hegemony. And make no mistake: the proposed legislation is designed to allow corporate interests to consolidate even more power, money, and control, leaving individuals (e.g., Wikipedians) with fewer options to make a mark in the world. Even if the proposed legislation wouldn't directly and immediately affect WP—which it well might—it would pose significant risks for the future of free inquiry and expression on the Web as a whole. It is entirely appropriate for Wikipedians to unite and make a stand on this issue, and I find myself surprised and gladdened to see Jimbo taking the lead and soliciting community input. Rivertorch (talk) 05:18, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I will miss having access to Wikipedia for the duration of the blackout, but it is an excellent way to raise awareness about this important issue. Microbat (talk) 05:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - Not only will this bill compromise Wikipedia, but it will eliminate the internet as one of the few places left for people to voice their opinions and I think that blanking a high profile site like Wikipedia is the best, most effective way to the get the message out there to the masses. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Benjw90 (talkcontribs) 05:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I support blocking in the US only. There really isn't anything most other countries will be able to do about this, given how powerful America is politically. I also suggest that WMF seriously considers moving out of the US, in case it is passed. Even if this bill does not pass, there are going to be more attempts like this further down the line. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rdnetto (talkcontribs) 05:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - This will make an amazing statement. I don't believe it violates any article level activism issues because it effects wikipedia directly and not a topic. --ZacBowling (user|talk) 05:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I concur with the previous statements that this will make a strong protest against SOPA. While it does transgress WP:NPOV, I think when issues like this come to discussion, its safe to WP:IAR. This is the fate of the internet we're dealing with, and if people can't see a world without our services, they'll never see the truth behind SOPA.  Marlith (Talk)  05:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I think that SOPA could have negative consequences for Wikipedia and is worth fighting against --Unicityd (talk) 05:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - This just serves as an another example of the growing ineptitude of politicians worldwide. The SOPA and Protect IP Acts will destroy the very principles upon which the United States was founded, should they be passed the United States will have lost the last vestiges of its already tattered integrity and reputation. —James (TalkContribs) • 4:04pm 06:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • This is not political, so Firmly Support To those who say something like this would be political in nature, you might look at it another way. The SOPA issue is not political. At least, it's not political in the same way that endorsing a Democrat or a Republican would be. To those who agree that SOPA represents a fundamental threat to the Internet as we know it, Wikipedia's public opposition to the bill would be in its own interest, in its users' interest, and in the interest of the very ecosystem which allows it to exist. (talk) 06:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Supporting the hell out of this! History has shown that big media companies have accused new media of piracy (There's a trope for that too, given I am a troper): the early VCR, the early MP3 player, and now this! It may have gathered bipartisan support among the small group of politicians and lobbyists, but at the same time, the various political groups who would otherwise not look each other in the eye stand united in opposing the draconian bills such as this. To have either of the bills passed will have all sorts of implications for international internet, and even further tarnish American reputation. It doesn't help that law experts consider this blatantly unconstitutional. So do it! Do it! --MrBiggles42 (talk) 06:18, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Very Strongly Support With much lobbying on the other side; the people need a way of finding out about SOPA and contacting their representatives... drastic times call for drastic measures — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:22, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support I'll spare the details, since they're listed multiple times already. There's an opportunity for a significant impact on every day people here -- do it. (talk) 06:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - SOPA is a direct threat to Wikipedia and the rest of the Wikimedia projects themselves. In doing that, SOPA is a threat to the free exchange of ideas itself, and the free speech of the WMF. From a practical standpoint, under SOPA, one allegation of copyright infringement could result in crippling litigation against the WMF. As such, full scale resistance is called for. A strike is warranted and should proceed posthaste.Katana0182 (talk) 06:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - These bills have too many bad side effects. Wxidea (talk) 06:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This is an ill-conceived and poorly-written law that could significantly impact the operation of the encyclopedia, making it appropriate for us to publicly voice our collective opposition. This particular way of voicing it would be extreme, but effective. --Cybercobra (talk) 06:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, SOPA is a threat to the free internet. – Acdx (talk) 06:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Though, if we ever do this, we must be sure to only use this method to protest against bills and laws that threaten the use of wikipedia (as done in the Italian case). As wikipedia is currently deeply dependent of US legislation, why not make it global too, every wikipedians worldwide is somehow unknowingly involved. But anyway this would need a formal vote rather than a poll. --FoeNyx (talk) 06:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - SOPA is a bill that will destroy the internet as we know it, and all websites, including Wikipedia, will be effect by SOPA if it becomes law. Right now SOPA is too esoteric for many casual computer and internet users to understand, but a temporary blank of one of the most popular websites on the internet would help people to understand the gravity of what passing this law would mean. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I think this kind of kick in the pants is what's needed. It's clear that drastic action is necessary. CDRdude (talk) 06:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support' - SOPA is a bill that will negatively affect Wikipedia, and the community built around Wikipedia. A full-blackout would help users who otherwise wouldn't be aware of the adverse affect SOPA would have on a resource they commonly use. ncallaway (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 06:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC).
  • Firmly Support, We cannot let those that the American public trusts less than telemarketers and car salesmen right now block our only real free speech area. On the internet, one soul can express themselves and be heard by a million people in hours. There are no permits, no censorship, no propaganda, no social mores. There's no shame. People need to know what SOPA is trying to do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support, At least people should be aware what is SOPA and why it's bad. It doesn't matter if it starts in one country, if it succeeds it can very easily be accepted by other governments as well, it's a very convinient law for them.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Slider88slider (talkcontribs)
  • Firmly Support, The bill will not only negatively affect Wikipedia, but the English-speaking digital world around which this version of Wikipedia exists. Whatever our opinions about the United States, there are real people living there who are not in the slightest way responsible for the poor behavior of their government and the vocal majority we see in media. I supported the idea for the Italians and I support the idea for Americans. A country doesn't need to be of worldwide significance to merit protest on its behalf, so the argument that the United State of of "declining importance" and we shouldn't protest their censorship because of that is fairly disturbing. Do what you can to defend the rights of our species, regardless of which portion of the planet he happens to walk upon. If Wikipedia can make a difference by protesting this bill, do it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - The action is justified given the scale of the threat. Action should be coordinated with other stakeholders to the extent possible. Estevezj (talk) 07:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support, We must go to great lengths to bring attention to this. So many americans unthinkingly take Internet resources for granted; a high-profile outage will generate needed attention from the media at all levels. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - Imagine if you didn't do anything, and the law gets passed, and 10-years from now the Internet as we know it is no longer. And you would look back on this day, and think if only.QuangV (talk) 08:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Firmly Support - This is a great idea in my opinion. So glad to see that there are many people who won't just sit idly by as special interests run the world. ElentariAchaea (talk) 08:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - SOPA is the first steps at possible widespread internet censorship. It is a dangerous precedent for the government to interfere with the workings of the internet to then lead to censorship of free speech. Also it is a direct threat to wikipedia as well so I don't think of action against SOPA as being arbitrarily political without good cause. With SOPA and NDAA and other bills, as well as the pressure against wikileaks we are in a fight for our rights and freedom so I consider this vital. I think blanking on all languages is good to raise awareness and make more effective. (First time contributing here... hopefully I did it right) (talk) 08:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - Unfortunately, it seems precipitous action is sometimes required to get the attention of people who are otherwise too easily distracted by shopping malls and American Idol. SOPA is a very bad bill, and this would be effective in generating media attention that would help raise awareness of the issue and bring about debate. Censorship is a slippery slope, and so Wikipedia has a moral duty to show solidarity with those who would stand to be more directly affected by SOPA. Arjuna (talk) 08:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support without hesitation Anything to help support the project against this terrible new law. doktorb wordsdeeds 09:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Although I agree with many above who point out that this does negatively effect Wikipedia's neutrality and could be a slippery slope, it's worth noting that SOPA and various other legislative acts and treaties (ACTA, for instance) pose a real and grave existential threat to Wikipedia and to the free flow of knowledge and information in general. If it is a slippery slope, then it is a slope set up by those who would limit the flow of knowledge. If we are to slip down it, I believe it is worth doing so with as much grace and fortitude as we can. It's very simple: If we do not take action when our existence is threatened, we will not be able to take action when the threat comes to bear. --Smári McCarthy (talk) 09:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support The potential impact on wikipedia, if not from this then from the next Big Brother enactment, is too troubling to ignore. A week would be a minimum. Ysth (talk) 09:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - As a UK resident I am all too aware how US policy is used as a justification for policy elsewhere. Malak1000 (talk) 09:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - But only because I vehemently disagree with SOPA and would be happy to see any nonviolent protests against it. I also don't think that objections along the lines of the protest violating Wikipedia's founding principle are valid. The existence of wikipedia is a strong statement in favor of the freedom of information in a very general sense. Taking some time to show the world what that freedom has given humanity in reaction to proposed legislation that threatens it is simply a more direct and useful version of the continued existence of Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, while I root for the oponents to SOPA, I don't think Wikipedia (the international website) should get their hands on local politics. A banner would be an acceptable middle ground, something stronger (a complete block) would penalize people all around the world for something they can't do anything about. -- Luk talk 09:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I support this completely. I have read some of the reservations of others about Wikipedia's neutrality, but I think they are clinging too strongly to the "pillars" here. This should not be a slippery slope because there is really only ONE issue ever where it makes sense for Wikipedia to do something like this and that issue is censorship. Advocating doing nothing in this specific instance is completely impractical and, in my opinion, shows a lack of total understanding of the situation and consequences of inaction. This IS our fight. I see it as an obligation actually. Wikipedia and its supporters are obligated to protect the conditions that allowed Wikipedia to thrive. Of course this community should protect the foundation it is based on. Suggesting otherwise is similar to a bank neglecting its security because "it's not their job to deal with the locks." All parties, neutral or not, owe it to the future of the internet to prevent legislation like SOPA from becoming law. Heeerrresjonny (talk) 09:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - SOPA is a clear threat to Wikipedia. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose Jimmy- have you read the new mark up on this bill? It won't affect you or any other American or legal site. The fear-mongering is really reaching a fascist peak here- very frightening. If you fail to stand your ground against this tech lobby peer pressure, your reputation will never be the same. Just sayin, because I love this place. Peace. 10:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Full Support. Stop the crazy! Citizens of the USA, please take your country back; it's embarrassing for the rest of us, and now our governments are getting funny ideas. Jon (talk) 10:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - SOPA is a threat to freedom on the Internet. Such legislation must be stopped in any country. But in the US it is especially important, since a lot of governments are still following US examples on Internet legislation. rené (talk) 10:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Oppose - Wikipedia should not go any political Roman 92 (talk) 10:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose, SOPA is an incredibly stupid law, but inconveniencing the entire world because of a piece of legislative stupidity in one country would be an overreaction. Lankiveil (speak to me) 10:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC).
  • Oppose - Wikipedia cannot hold democratically elected law makers to ransom every time that they do something that wikipedians don't like. Jamie Kitson (talk) 10:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - SOPA will make impact on all the Internet. So, Wikipedia just can't be a silent watcher. Veryblackraven (talk) 10:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - --Texaner (talk) 10:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - Important we do this for everyone, not just the US. 10:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Strong Support - The driving force between the internet has some downsides as with every revolutionary new phenomenon. We'll have to accept new paradigms instead of fighting them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:05, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support strike in US. Switzerland has an army for a reason: even neutral parties are entitled to take action to preserve their very existence, and SOPA is a clear threat to not only Wikipedia, but every site with user-generated content on the Internet. It's essential that Americans be made aware of what their lawmakers are doing, and be "inconvenienced," as others are wont to say, enough that they are encouraged to act to prevent it. I think the full blanking for people outside the United States is overkill, however. There are too few things that non-Americans can do to affect our political process to make it worthwhile to inconvenience them. A nice, large sitenotice to let them know what us crazies in America are doing THIS time is certainly warranted, however. jSarek (talk) 10:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Opppose. Before protest action is taken, I would like to see a better solution proposed by those that are against SOPA instead of a knee-jerk reaction to any kind of actions taken to fight cyber-crime. To those who think the Internet should be a totally free flow of information, that is to say, it is equivalent to free speech and should be protected with the same ferocity, and therefore unregulated, I would ask the following. Imagine that you are a person holding down a dreary 40 hour per week job, and in your spare time, like J.K. Rowling, you manage to write a potential best-selling novel. But some smart-ass hacks the publisher's computer systems before it can be published, puts it on-line, and your future income dematerializes because now anyone can get it for free. How would you feel toward those people downloading and enjoying your work of thousands of hours for free? What would you think the government should do about it, if anything? Another scenario: your on-line bank account is hacked, and a good chunk of your savings is stolen. Hackers have set up websites to freely exchange toolkits for doing exactly this. How would you respond if the bank just told you, sorry no refund, and the law enforcement authorities responded with 'Sorry, but there's nothing we can do.'? Another scenario: a malicious group of hackers decides to take down Wikipedia just for fun, and starts a huge DoS attack with a mega bot-net. Some command and control servers are found to be located on a server in a foreign country run by a company with a policy of renting to anyone for anything and refusing any sort of regulation. Coincidentally, they also might be hosting websites by banned groups opposed to some authoritarian government. Do you just put down having to live with the DoS attacks as the price of free speech? SOPA may be bad legislation for various reasons -- overly broad language, or inadvisable or ineffectual technical solutions -- but some of the claims I've heard against it seem to me to be exaggerated and/or equally lacking in rigorous technical analysis. For example, the claim that ISP's might be forced to inspect all IP packets to prevent access to some domain. Well duh. This is hardly a gargantuan burden. Packet addresses get inspected all the time, because the packets have to be routed. Big websites have front-end servers which have to do load distribution and also try to ameliorate DoS attacks. Firewalls the world over have to inspect packets to try to block hackers. SOPA may or may not endanger the freedom of information flow. I say that a bigger danger is to capitulate to the cyber-criminals and do nothing. At some point, the criminals will make the Internet unusable for anything important. SPAM has caused me to stop using e-mail addresses I would have liked to keep. I refuse to use on-line banking at all because I know that there is no absolute security and it is not worth risking my savings. I had to take down the forums I tried to run because spammers filled them up with garbage. I can't let the public register on the Wiki that I now run, which sort of ruins the point of it and just turns it into a cheap CMS for me, because the same thing would happen. I wonder if those opposing any action to regulate the Internet simply don't have anything to lose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Support in the US only, and ideally just a click-through for now. -- samj inout 11:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I believe that lobbying on this topic is part of our mission. At the same time "striking" by taking down the English Wikipedia does not fit well with the rest of our mission or values. Even if such an action were to be limited to the USA this is likely to damage the development of the encyclopaedia during that time. If other countries, such as the UK, were to have an outage, I would start to struggle to justify this action as a response to non-domestic legislation. Now, if we were to have a targeted outage that took out Wikipedia articles of all American politicians and pundits for a week, that might be felt by the right people without having unintended consequences for other parts of our open knowledge mission. ;-D -- (talk) 11:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support - This will not tarnish Wikipedia's reputation. There are people that already think it has a liberal bias, and that will not change. If anything, using Wikipedia's strong reputation will only make this act more effective and give people a pause and a lot to think of. As long as Wikipedia keeps up their great work, their reputation will remain solid. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support (with some conditions), but: 1. Start with side-wide banners. 2. If no reaction, take another step.
    First: I agree with the calls to separate NPOV/neutrality in articles from NPOV/neutrality of the community as a community. The only place, in this question, I can see the community taking an NPOV position would be to the question "Should Wikimedia exist?", and that, frankly, scares me. If the editing community of Wikimedia doesn't support the survival of Wikimedia, then who should?
    Second: Improving the articles on SOPA and its ilk is of course important (necessary), but not sufficient. IME 99% (conservative count) of the readers won't know about the existence of these proposals, and a "write it, and they will [all] read it" take on the issue seems to me to be akin to putting one's head in the sand and hope that the problem will go away on its own.
    Third: I would like to reiterate the need for an explanation from someone with legal knowledge and understanding of the question - thus my condition above. If this is as it has been made out to be, then yes, I'll definitely support action out of self-preservation.
    Fourth: As for Wikimedia not being political: True, but there has to be a limit to how far one withdraws from the surrounding society. Just imagine what would happen if an expressedly apolitical religious organization/congregation were faced with the prospect of being effectively outlawed: would they silently accept that? Should they? Yes, I know I'm pulling it now, but I couldn't come up with a better comparison. Mike (talk) 11:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Support #sopa is a nightmare. We should oppose it. I am a spanish wikipedia contributor, but as our wiki is also hosted in the US, I would suggest extending the strike to all the wikipedias hosted in the US that certainly will be affected by #SOPA and ProtectIP. --MotherForker (talk) 11:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Very Strong Support This affects us as internet citizens. The core of the internet runs on the US, and if this passes, it sets a precedent that other countries will follow. It reminds me of Asimov's very first book of the Foundation series. The Encyclopedists were arguing whether they should stick to their scholar work at the Galactic Encyclopedia or become a stronger force in the history of mankind. I think that decision has come to Wikipedia. -- eordano —Preceding undated comment added 12:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC).
  • Firmly Support - This law directly affects Wikipedia and its credibility as a source of information. This and similar laws elsewhere must be opposed. Rammer (talk) 12:21, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support although I have misgivings on whether this will actually change anything. At the very least, however, it should inform a lot more people about SOPA.--Mithrandir (Talk!) (Opus Operis) 12:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose, mostly because I'm not from the US and consequently can't give too much of a fuck about SOPA. Woo-hoo! Lewis Collard! (lol, internet) 12:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, to get across the message of how devastating the results of SOPA could be
  • Strong Support, Action must be taken - Phorque (talk) 13:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Wikipedia should defend itself when threatened. --Sbassi (talk) 13:16, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support This legislation would fundamentally affect this community and is against the values of our project, and seems to be in real danger of being enacted unless we take a stand quickly. --Loboes41 (talk) 13:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support This is one way it might be possible to actually get the attention of a large number of people who otherwise wouldn't know what's going on. Hock (talk) 13:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Firmly Support People of the world need to understand how much power they hold as individuals this is one way to show them --Leroyjabari (talk) 13:28, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support for all language versions of Wikipedia, as the servers are in the US and all versions could be affected. --Rosenzweig (talk) 13:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support -- A preview of the silence America can expect should SOPA pass. Newbornstranger (talk) 13:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, People won't take action unless they are aware. Blacking out the Wikipedia for a day (while horrifying to College students) would wake everyone upMfcoburn (talk) 13:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • support jo, we are neutral but neutrality does not mean indifference and we cannot be indifferent here for the very principles our communities are working for, regards --Jan eissfeldt (talk) 14:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • support -- The free flow of information for all, worldwide, including this wiki, is at stake. --Mnp (talk) 14:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support All the reasons mentioned above: it affects Wikipedia, freedom of expression, net neutrality, business, encyclopedias. And also american Congress is not representative of all the world to decide a law which esentially will affect Internet, which is a transnational service. (talk) 14:16, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong extended support — I'm new to Wikipedia, but I've read about SOPA before (with some horror, I must add), the latest article being about comments by a Google chairman (see here). This is much more than just politics. I say "extended support", because I would extend a strike to all Wikipedia-sites, not just the English version. This issue will affect all of the internet, so taking only the English WP offline would have limited effect and symbolic power. And it should be a longer strike, to my mind at least 48 hours, preferably spanning the Christmas days (24th to 26th). Landgang (talk) 14:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Admin Support (I'm noting I'm an admin only so that you can more easily find non-IP comments). SOPA (AND PROTECT-IP... mention both, not just one), need to be stopped. Much of my time on Wikipedia has been spent dealing with copyright violations and other image-related problems, and it's horrifying to think that that kind of violation, which we try to prevent, could become criminal and could (unlikely, but possible) lead to DNS blocking of Wikipedia. Word about these bills needs to spread, and this would be one of the best ways to do it. I would recommend, however, that there be some way to access the content, whether from a button at the bottom of the page or a link to a page listing Wikipedia mirror sites.
    To anyone opposing this because they aren't in the United States: These bills could affect you too. If the U.S. passes a bill like this, other countries may well follow suit and do the same sort of thing. Even if they don't, parts of the Internet (such as YouTube) could end up being shut down if they're blocked in the U.S., their largest single audience. –Drilnoth (T/C) 14:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Weak support While I think the bill might die in subcommittee, I think awareness of the issue is important. However, Wikipedia needs to maintain its absolute neutrality, and taking down the site would disrupt this. In conclusion, I think it is necessary that Wikipedia close temporarily in order to remain open. I am going for weak support because in truth, I still not entirely sure. Thanks for listening. de Mediātōre Scientiae (discutere) 14:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support, best to make the point before it's too late — Preceding unsigned comment added by ConfusedVorlon (talkcontribs) 14:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support; after a bit of thought, yes, this is an existential threat. SOPA overreaches. We don't need the Great Firewall of the U.S. Antandrus (talk) 14:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. Совсем проклятые копирасты распоясались! Нельзя, просто нельзя допустить подобной фигни!-- (talk) 14:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support There is plenty of abuse already without SOPA (talk) 14:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support, SOPA is a very real, very dangerous threat to the entirety of the internet, not just Wikipedia. People need to be shown. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support. I don't think the average person fully comprehends what SOPA is and how bad it could be, but I'll bet they use wikipedia. This action could bridge that gap and spread awareness. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support SOPA has sufficient potential international nastiness that this directly affects us as badly as the Italian law would have affected it:wp. And particularly as WMF and its servers are based in the US - David Gerard (talk) 15:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support SOPA will break our ability to link freely on the internet, which is absolutely essential to this project. Thud495 (talk) 15:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support: A one day token strike to show our resentment. Although we should not be using Wikipedia as a propaganda tool, I see this as an attack on the very roots of Wikipedia, which means we are just silently protesting the attack. Yesterday it was Italy, today its the US, it might be somewhere else tomorrow. Theres been talk of a similar legislation in India as well. Around The Globeसत्यमेव जयते 15:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support While I get why WP:SOAP might otherwise prohibit this, this is a huge deal. SOPA could quite possibly have effects far ranging and even damaging to WP itself. Some things are more important than rules.. this is one of them. TheGreatTK (talk) 15:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Internet must be free --lsanczyk - 12:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Words cannot express how bad these pieces of legislation are, or how disturbing it is that we need to resort to measures like this to get our elected representatives' attention. mwalimu59 (talk) 15:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - I read through the oppositions, and I think they are somewhat unfounded. Yes the page views would take a dive, yes it does lend itself to Wikipedia being perceived as biased. But in this case it is biased, it is like the smuggling of printing presses to print the bible or similar, as much as I don't think I could live without wikipedia even for 24hours, it is worth to get some public awareness. May I suggest start out without blanking the page as one person suggested and simply have a top box with a link to the SOPA article, then if that doesn't gain enough attention black it and link it to the SOPA article with a reference at the top as to why. I also think this affects more than citizens of the USA, as most traffic routes through there it is only a matter of time before the whole idea of an open Internet is history. Changlinn (talk) 15:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I can easily say the form of protest that came from my fellow Italians turned out to be rather successful. Should it pass in its current form, SOPA would be a serious threat to the whole Internet world, which definitely justifies such a strong response. --Angelo (talk) 15:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Unconditional Support People need to know about this. Speaking both as a regular user of English Wikipedia and as someone outside the US, I still fully support doing everything possible to raise awareness if there is the slightest chance that such a monstrocity will pass. Even though I would be (significantly) affected by such a protest, it will be nothing compared what will happen if these proposed extreme measures pass. A brief protest with global impact is the perfect way to illustrate the threats to the Internet and all online communities everywhere. (talk) 15:39, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Incredibly Strong Support The bill is a trainwreck they somehow managed to push under us for such a long time. If people knew it existed, it wouldn't pass. Shrug-shrug (talk) 15:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Although Wikipedia should remain politically disinterested in its article contents, it is completely entitled to self-preservation and indeed should take the necessary steps for an internet as free as powers will allow. Deltaway (talk) 15:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Wikipedia is a community and this would be a noticeable way to express the community's feelings, it's a great lobbying because it comes from the real internet users. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I understand the concerns about people not wanting Wikipedia to act politically, and to generally stay neutral. I think this action is in line with that desire. SOPA directly impacts the activities of Wikipedia and its basic model. Since that is the case I think Wikipedia can act, neutrally, to draw people's attention to the fact that this legislation would adversely impact the functioning of the site. - cohesion 15:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The WMF should engage in political protest when laws are proposed which directly conflict with the mission of the WMF. I support this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The articles are neutral, the mission is not Sargoth (talk) 16:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Wikipedia is a powerful player congress will have to listen to — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support A blackout would be entirely consistent with WMF's mission statement. DrFishcake (talk) 16:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support Though maybe make it US only? People outside of US can't really help anyway. Theon144 (talk) 16:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support While Wikipedia may not be damaged by this act - and I'm only saying may because it's hard to tell - a significant amount of legal companies will be harmed by this. And it's the beginning of a slope that may lead to projects like Wikipedia being harmed by future legislation.--Christonjp (talk) 16:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support I agree for that sacrifice should be done to prevent those greedy bastards from goverment to apply that awful law, aiming only one point - to make fatbags only more rich, and kick usual people into face. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - Not enough people are aware that SOPA/PIPA extist or of what the impact of these bills would be. If the blackout page was informative and factual, it would both raise the profile for such legislation and raise the general level of debate around them above the current "criminals vs fascists" straw man nonsense that's going around right now.shelkart (talk) 16:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support this is not about the US passing yet another bad law; we're talking about something that can adversely affect all of us, and everything WP stands for. Fuzzyshark (talk) 16:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support I think it should happen for sure. I think this act is consistent with the missions of Wikipedia, and I think it is in the best interest of Wikipedia and the community to make it happen. I don't have a strong preference about English vs US users. Dfarrell07 (talk) 16:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - This is not about politics, but what is good for the encyclopedia. This bill gives control of the internet to whoever wants to spend the most money censoring it, which is the pretty much the opposite of the egalitarian and free access to knowledge this site provides. Ian.thomson (talk) 16:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - Plenty of reasons are already given to support this. I say it's time to realize Wikipedia can be affected by SOPA / PIPA if they pass, and it won't be limited to the United States. I don't want my government policing the internet and deciding what I can or cannot see. I also don't want other governments dictating what their citizens can see, or what I'm allowed to see from their country. I understand not everything is meant for everyone, but sharing information and knowledge should always be allowed. Roeszler (talk) 16:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)roeszler
  • Strong Support - I've been using Wikipedia just about every single day since its inception. I'm not an editor, but I love Wikipedia and, moreover, the open Internet. Someone, somewhere, must stand up and send a very strong message that this sort of legislation is a third rail in politics. Don't touch it. Shred (talk) 16:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Supprt - Anything that can be done to stop SOPA should be. It threatens the very principles the Internet was founded upon. Immortal Z (talk) 17:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Extreme Support SOPA needs to be destroyed, and we need to take any measures necessary to ensure its destruction. -- GSK (tc) 16:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support I think we should do it. This would be terrible for the world and Wikipedia. Fortunately, there is something we can do about it. Therefore, I don't see much of an option. We know our responsibility. Jghall07 (talk) 17:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose --Bseddon 17:06, 13 December 2011 (GMT). Wikipedia a service organization not a political one. I appreciate your concerns but WM is not a political party - or is it?. Should we be considering donations to be political contributions? Taking Wikipedia off-line for any amount of time makes as much sense as a company not selling in protest at some government action. The only people you hurt are the users and yourself. You clearly believe in this so get involved with a political party.
  • Strong Support As a librarian, I am extremely sensitive to the problems of "fighting fire with fire" through a WP information blackout. However, it is perhaps too easy for many people to take for granted the wealth of access and information offered by a free and open Internet, and community-led organizations like Wikipedia in particular. Wikipedia's absence would be noted by far more people than will ever receive or attend to Facebook posts, Tweets, or emails encouraging them to oppose the Internet blacklist bills. I am begging for your and the community's support in taking a strong stand against this legislation; it has gone too far, the Internet needs to claim its own rights. No other major Internet entity has this power - Google or Facebook can voice their opposition, but simply cannot "turn off" in protest for a day. Wikipedia is unique in many ways, and can use its visible absence in a unique way here. DigitalHoodoo (talk) 17:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Conditional Support only to the extent that this bill represents a direct threat to Wikipedia's continued existence. I think this kind of thing does violate WP:SOAP, but if this bill is indeed a threat to Wikipedia (which seems plausible), then I think we should invoke WP:IAR in favor of the protest. WP:What "Ignore all rules" means:

    Despite its name, "Ignore all rules" does not sabotage the other rules. Its purpose is to keep them from sabotaging what we're doing here: building a free encyclopedia. Rules have zero importance compared with that goal. If they aid that goal, good. If they interfere with it, they are instantly negated.

If this law prevents us from continuing to build a free encyclopedia, then I see no clearer example of an appropriate IAR. If it doesn't, then there's no clearer example of an inappropriate IAR. Writ Keeper 17:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support We need to stand up for open source/public domain content.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 17:09, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Extremely Strong Support -- Something needs to be done about this, so what better to do than get the government's attention by blanking every page? Furries (Talk) 17:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support preferably as a co-ordinated action with other major internet sites that will affected by this law such as Facebook, Google and Twitter. Davewild (talk) 17:31, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Everyone should have the right to self-defence, but for a usual law abiding citizen it is a bad deal, say, to fight alongside one street gang against another which potentially poses a threat to personal security of the aforementioned citizen. I oppose the strike, and endorse views expressed by users DMahalko, Cloveapple, SnoFox and probably others. There is no immediate threat → there is no self-defence, but just an abuse of power, which can lead to popular distrust to Wikipedia. Incnis Mrsi (talk) 17:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support -- The internet will grind to a halt when they see what every top link in Google links to. You have my complete support. Ordos (Talk) 17:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
  • Strong support -- I view SOPA as not only government trying to control the Internet (unnecessarily to boot) but as corporations having control of government. This is a corporate-interest only bill. Actually users of the Internet are clearly against it. Until individuals are protected from unfair accusations of copyright abuse and their rights for fair use match those of copyright-holders rights to protect their intellectual property, I cannot support the bill. The asymmetric, and already unfair, situation where big corporations can strong arm an individual or even Youtube to removed a video cannot be made even worse by this bill. Wikipedia does and should try to stay apolitical... but it must defend itself against legislation that threatens its existence or harms the Internet in general. It's too bad it's had to come to this. Jason Quinn (talk) 17:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support --Neither the US Government or any other in the world should decide what can be on the internet or not, because the internet it NOT their property. What is happening to the freedom of expression these days? Hello? --JewBask (talk) 17:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support Deich (talk) 17:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support --Holder (talk) 17:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Fully Support --Wikipedia needs to defend itself as well as educate. Don't just blank pages -- replace every page with an article about SOPA so people understand the issue.MythicFox (talk) 18:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Full Support This could very well be our last stand. Chocogerman0 (talk) 18:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support Wikipedia must defend itself against existential threats by doing what it does best: informing the populace. -Ich (talk) 18:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Terrifically Strong Support Do It I say, and let the general public see just what they're risking by allowing this bill to pass through. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ZeDestructor (talkcontribs) 18:43, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Terrifically Strong Support --Congress needs to be put in their place, and their place is serving the American People by representing their own state and district while tending to the needs of this nation. All the copyright censorship bills must be opposed by all members of Congress effective now. This includes SOPA, PIPA, and the Open Act. Also, I would like to see Chris Dodd arrested for treason just for suggesting, supporting, and actively lobbying for this proposed law. Heck all members of congress should be given a citizen's arrest on Treason charges. With the exception of Ron Paul and son Rand Paul and the US National and State Park Services, the entire Government from President to dog catcher deserves another term about as much as a sex offender deserves to be in the same room with tons of boys and girls and the door locked so the kids can't get out. (talk) 18:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Strong Support --I like the suggestion for every page on Wikipedia to display a message about SOPA and suggesting courses of action... e.g. contacting congress opposing the bill.Clay1039 (talk) 18:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest Possible Support --This is a fantastic idea. Wikipedia has a tremendous potential to advocate for freedom in the US and the world. The actions of the US will inevitably impact other countries as well. The Real Jean-Luc Talk/Contribs 18:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support --I also like the suggestion to display a message about SOPA. Am willing to support the action (should it be made) with a blackout of my own blog.Dlairman (talk) 18:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Grüße aus Frankfurt am Main und viel Erfolg! -- Andreas Werle (talk) 18:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Firmly Support' Freedom of Information is clearly under attack. Jimmy Wales is correct in calling attention to SOPA before it is passed and our rights are abridged by this draconian legislation. There should be a link to an analytical article that states the loss of freedoms with alink to legislation doc. TalkAbout (talk) 19:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support --I believe that every major website should be against SOPA. It's voices are much more powerful than an advertisement on CNN. Wikipedia would be a strong voice against this useless bill.-- (talk) 18:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Conditional support. When was shut down, the volunteer response team received a lot of mail, in both Italian and English, from editors and readers outside of Italy. They felt they were being punished for the actions of the Italian government, which were beyond their control. I think that was a valid complaint, and as a result, I think it would be best (if technically possible) to limit the scope of a potential blackout to users geolocated in the United States. It isn't a foolproof approach, but it would dramatically reduce the collateral damage to editing and reading. If a geographically-conditional blackout is not feasible, then I'd prefer an altered logo with a sitenotice linking to an explanation. In either case, the explanatory text could detail SOPA's detrimental effects on Wikipedia in particular and user-generated content sites in general, and encourage US users to contact their representatives. If no such text exists, then I'll be happy to start it someplace. - Jredmond (talk) 19:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. For us italians worked well enough and I am proud of it. --Helios 19:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support --Waldir talk 19:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, neutral in our mission, fierce for our mission -- Cherubino (talk) 19:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. I put my comments elsewhere on this page. Gzuufy (talk) 19:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Grüße aus Köln und viel Erfolg! --Wvk (talk) 19:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. But it really should be in last resort. DarkoNeko x 19:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support. — TransporterMan (TALK) 19:47, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support. This bill threatens the very principle Wikipedia stands on: freedom of information. If people aren't already outraged by the bill, I don't see the harm in reminding them of what it would be like without a product of this freedom of information for just a day. If you feel you can't block the information from users then either provide alternative access to the site or come up with a different way to protest, but PLEASE do something to prevent it from being passed. Primecut (talk) 19:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support to raise awareness about a law with potentially catastrophic effects on the internet in general and Wikipedia in particular. Calliopejen1 (talk) 19:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support SOPA directly threatens the free flow of ideas and information across the internet. A blackout on Wikipedia would be a highly visible way of drawing attention to the issue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly/Firmly support it might be a good idea for the page to actually go black. Basically just a shell of an HTML page with CSS for black background. That way media organizations and people start really talking about it. The big problem is that nobody who isn't a nerd even knows about this act. Pale2hall (talk) 20:24, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support - SOPA and PIPA go against the flow of information that the internet stands for! Jkbuster (talk) 20:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. Directly relating to Wikipedia, this bill would allow anyone unhappy with his article to shut down the entire domain without any sort of judicial hearing and with no penalties. chrylis (talk) 20:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Poll continued (break #4)

  • Support strike, to put pressure on the citizens who keep voting for plutocrats whose laws aim to destroy user contributed sites like Wikipedia.-- Jeandré, 2011-12-13t20:43z
  • Support strike: 375 (88.4%)
  • Oppose strike: 49 -- Jeandré, 2011-12-13t20:43z
  • Strong Support/US only It would be nice if someone somewhere actually did something however minor about the police state we have become. For the past 10 years we have been silently taking it in the ass with little or no complaint while piece by piece our constitutional rights have been shredded. Having the inconvenience of no Wikipedia for awhile is a very small price to pay for possible resumption of freedom. So many have died and been maimed for the freedom we have just given away. Sure there are risks and it probably won't work but we know there is zero chance of reversing the tide if we do nothing. I don't agree with key aspects of the Occupy Wall Street agenda but you can not deny that the media is talking about things they would not be if that movement did not occur. If Wikipedia was truly concerned about the appearance of having a political agenda it would stop taking money from people with strong agendas. Yes Wikipedia is biased, less biased then most of the internet due to the ground rules of course but biased because of the type of person that is drawn to editing Wikipedia in general and certain articles in particular. Edkollin (talk) 20:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly support some kind of action, whether an it-wiki type strike or something else.--Ragesoss (talk) 20:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Personal support This issue should be staring people in the face as much as possible while something can still be done about it. I'm not going to speak about what would be best from a community or wikimission POV because I'm just not in the mood to think about it right now. As far as my personal stance goes, I'm all for it. My preference would be for a US only blockade or one which impacts the US and internet censoring nations. If, however, the choice is between global action and no action, then global it is. --U5K0'sTalkMake WikiLove not WikiWar 21:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support -PHermans (talk) 21:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose Wikipedia is a global resource, why inconvenience the 95% of the world who don't get to vote in US elections over this one particular local issue? If WMF finds the US legal environment uncongenial, it can move to another jurisdiction. Cusop Dingle (talk) 21:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
    • This isn't Switzerland, there is to be no referendum. We have to vote for legislators on the basis of their overall positions, and this wasn't an election issue. So far, U.S. free speech and copyright law has been among the best in the world, and the U.S. has been opposing censorship and supporting those who want to get around it: so this is a global issue. Further, as far as moving currently WMF projects are fundamentally based on U.S. copyright law in areas like the public domain and fair use. —innotata 22:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Also, this law would apply to servers world wide. Wikipedia would be inaccessible inside the U.S. Theimplord (talk) 23:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support SOPA has the potential to cause serious harm, and treads on a very slippery slope. I think this is absolutely essential, and I hope to see more organizations bring awareness to this issue. Nick Wilson (talk) 21:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Firmly Support This legislation is a dangerous application of US policy abroad and a chilling effect on innovation and freedoms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Isn't Wikipedia's server bank located in Florida? The site should go blank except for an informative essay about the legislation. dissolvetalk 21:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support Saying that the function of Wikipedia is to provide an encyclopedia, not protest, is like telling striking miners that their function is to dig coal, not protest.Solri (talk) 21:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support, and note that if the vote is being held on Thursday (in two days), this strike needs to be implemented soon. TotientDragooned (talk) 21:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support »NMajdan·talk 22:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support for US only. People from outside US would probably not understand why they have to be victims of American politics. Try all other means first. --Eleassar my talk 22:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongest Possible Support The threat that SOPA presents can not be understated. To ensure Wikipedia's survival, and the survival of a free and open Internet, we must move immediately to raise awareness and understanding of this bill. Further, to have any real effect, it is vital that any such action is coupled with a means by which readers can act, ideally in a way that will make a difference. Practically speaking, this means something other than merely allowing users to send an email or sign an online petition (both of which functionally have no impact) but rather something like tumblr's automated phone call system, or the one currently in use at For this action to have an effect in time, Wikipedia should go dark ASAP, no later than tomorrow, Wednesday December 14th, for at least 24 hours. And whatever explanatory page is displayed to visitors should prominently feature a means by which to take action, ideally via this automated calling system. AaronMuszalski (talk) 22:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support This law poses a major technical issue for the sites. Depending on how the law plays out we may have to consider moving the content hosting outside of the US. The list of countries actually fit for hosting Wikimedia content is very, very small. Even if we do move our content hosting to another country, what will stop the US from pushing this law to other countries, like they are currently doing with the DMCA? This isn't just a law that people in the US need to worry about. This is a law that all projects in all languages need to worry about, because it has consequences that very strongly affect them. --Ryan lane (talk) 22:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support - but the action should be clarified. Closing down the entire English Wikipedia for 24 hours is clearly an adequate measure. The NPOV doesn't affect our actions; but we should take care to describe the protest in a neutral manner, in the ensuing article about it - including this discussion, with the most important pro's and con's. The main reason for a protest is informative:
    • SOPA proponents and other defenders of intellectual property often argue as if there were just two items on the net: Commercially produced and legally paid for material, and commercially produced but 'pirated' material. We need to stress the existence and importance of freely contributed material and software.
    • SOPA is an actual threat to Wikipedia as a cooperative and non-commercial enterprise. We need to remind net-users of the role WP plays nowadays.
    • As for precedences: As Jimmy noted, this has already been done once. Did you feel shocked and shaken in your belief that WP should describe the world in a neutral manner, when you heard abut the it-wp action? JoergenB (talk) 22:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 'Strongly Support' This proposed law turns the notion of the presumption of innocence on its head. All who treasure freedom of expression should do everything they can to oppose its passage and raise awareness of the attendant issues with the body public. Peter Farago (talk) 22:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support not convinced we need to entirely hide the website, but something like this is in order when such a threat to Wikipedia and the Internet worldwide as SOPA has the chance it has of passing. —innotata 22:35, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support This proposed law is a real threat to any website out there, and definately would seriously dampen free speech. (talk) 22:45, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support for the begin with "US only", in a second step - if necessary - "en" and - if still necessary - in a third step: whole world. ("NPOV" can't mean "pro gouvernment POV" nor "pro industry" POV") --Skipper Michael (talk) 22:55, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Wikipedia should not insert itself into political causes, but neither should it stand by idly while the political system seeks to undermine its mission. Jwolfe (talk) 22:56, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support I oppose this law on grounds similar to those mentioned above, and feel that an action such as this would gain the necessary attention of an otherwise ignorant public to put pressure on their congresscritters. gloin (talk) 22:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • STRONGLY Support, duh, easy decision. SOPA/PIP bad, Wikipedia good. yrtneg talk contr 23:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. We should do this more often. Nick (talk) 23:16, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support. It would get the word out to millions of Americans in a way they can't just skim past.Zola (talk) 23:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support I could list a paragraph of reasons for why I'm supporting this. In fact, I did, but have decided to trim it down to this: I'm more than a little tired of people being apathetic about this matter. Everyone needs to realize that SOPA goes beyond the internet. The panic this would incite among students (who probably aren't supposed to be using wikipedia for that essay) may jar them awake long enough to think about it. I might be giving people too much credit, though. Mccojr02 (talk) 23:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support I strongly support a complete and total blackout to oppose this breaking of the internet. Any inconvenience users may experience would be insignificant compared to the possible and likely problems this bill could create. Seriously, I think a real blackout is totally called for, but I applaud any efforts by this website, or anyone else, to protect an uncensored internet. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chapelperilous23 (talkcontribs) 23:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support How the heck is this passing? For one thing, there is definitely a majority of US citizens against it, and for another, this is not only a violation of free speech but also DEFINITELY will not help the global economy. Just because Sumner Redstone wants it doesn't mean it is right. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 23:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC).
  • Strongly Support - Not a fan of SOPA at all. I specifically don't like how many large Media companies have kept it quiet ~ as if it were to cause little harm and no damage. I think otherwise. I also think, that Wikipedia, just like any other major internet site - should be automatically granted rights, have a direct say in what happens. I think it's an excellent Idea - although a little devestating that I won't be able to go on Wikipedia for a while (it will break my everyday routine), I think Mr. Wales, has done a wonderful and "the right thing" in an RfC - and which will hopefully down the track happen - and SOPA will hopefully back down. Thank you, (-- MSTR (Chat Me!) 00:04, 14 December 2011 (UTC))
  • Strong support --Elian Talk 00:09, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support defend the internet and Wikipedia from corporate-sponsored laws Bhny (talk) 00:11, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly Support DNS blacklisting threatens internet freedom world wide. --Asher Feldman 00:45, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strongly support Gaining a great deal of publicity while causing only minor inconvenience, Wikipedia ought to carry through with a sitewide blank in order to raise awareness of the dangers of SOPA. As the 8th most visited site on the internet, it's important to note that Wikipedia has a huge amount of power in these matters (see the similar action done in Italy). User:Yurthouses 00:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support for Wikipedia, for the Internet, and for freedom and human rights. This is not a "soapbox" issue, this will have a profound impact on the rights of Americans and those not from the United States as well. This proposed law can place even a site as big as Wikipedia at the mercy of those who have more money and assets. hello, i'm a member | talk to me! 01:44, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • 强烈支持(Strong support),网络自由是全世界人民的声音(Voices for Internet Freedom comes form everywhere around the world.)。 --王小朋友 (talk) 12:47, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  • For those that are curious, my rough count was 423 Support and 51 Oppose, which is roughly 89%. I am not suggesting that !votes are more important than consensus, or anything else. I am only posting this from a curiosity standpoint. This is only for people that were curious about the numbers. Thanks. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 03:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
My count (details currently at bottom of page) was 440-ish to 50-ish, so that seems right. Maybe time to find the dumbest reasons and the most well-thought-out reasons on each side? Ian.thomson (talk) 03:46, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support Most people are totally unaware of SOPA and how it might affect the freedom of the Internet. Wikipedia has the power to make people aware. (talk) 09:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support It will help to raise awareness. I suggest also that all wikipedia urls redirect to a page with a black background that describes the protest. Alpv (talk) 13:46, 16 December 2011 (UTC)


  • DO IT. It's time the people take back power from governments that only serve the rich and powerful. The problem with SOPA is simply that not enough people know or have been made to care how it will affect the internet. A Wikipedia strike will change that. This strike will get the attention of millions, perhaps billions, of people who will read what SOPA will do and raise their voice. SOPA will kill the internet as we know it. This is a do or die situation. STRIKE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:05, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Jimbo, can you clarify this? I'm not sure that I'd be supporting or opposing; it needs some clear statement. I'm "interested", sure; I think it's an important issue. But how can I express that? I can't support/oppose because you haven't said what I'd be supporting.  Chzz  ►  07:57, 10 December 2011 (UTC) Supporting the bill? Supporting "some action"?  Chzz  ►  08:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Noting "Support" means to support the content-blanking. For the Italian Wikipedia, the "community strike" (made by admins) changed every page (articles, talk-pages...) to edit as only "View source" for a few seconds before redirecting the page to a rant about why the website was blocking access to every page. Page source markup could only be copied by stopping the browser at "View source" and then just edit the text offline, until the Italian WP resumed access 3 days later. It was very frustrating, and pageview counts of most pages fell sharply, when people realized they would no longer see articles. -Wikid77 08:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
But it says, "To be clear, this is NOT a vote on whether or not to have a strike" - so I still don't know what we'd be "support"ing.  Chzz  ►  05:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Ok, great, let's go with it. Then after we run that, can we have a "Support gay marriage in Australia" type shutdown, to put pressure on politicians down here to finally do the right thing? Then let's not forget about people who have a problem with prostitution being illegal. Perhaps we can do something for them too. And then there is pot, let's not forget the potheads. Where will it end. Read WP:NOTADVOCACY. Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 08:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
    Irrelevant comparisons. SOPA directly affects all languages of Wikipedia.Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 08:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
So you are telling me that my right to marry whoever I please is irrelevant? Thanks for your support. lol Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 08:06, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
No, I'm saying that in this case, your comparison is invalid. Gay marriage bills in Australia do not affect the Wikimedia Foundation's operations. SOPA does. —Jeremy v^_^v Components:V S M 08:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
If there was community consensus to strike for gay marriage in Australia, then why not? It might be a difficult consensus to achieve, but... --FormerIP (talk) 13:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Why not was stated already above. It doesn't directly affect the goal of Wikipedia. One of Wikipedia's rules is to remain neutral. The debate here is whether it still remains neutral when its main goal may become impossible due to pending legislation. If you can explain to me how gay marriage in Australia can directly affect the goal of Wikipedia only then would it be valid. - (talk) 03:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
EXACTLY, and neither does this, because we have policies in place that prevent unlicenced, copyrighted materials to be used on Wikipedia. Nothing has been shown that demonstrates how WP would be affected. So let's drop silly ideas such as this. Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 08:11, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
That we say we have policies is one thing, but are we helpful enough when someone asks for information to help them track down an individual who they purport to have infringed on them? Also - why do you keep repeating WP:ADVOCACY / WP:NOTADVOCACY? - they aren't relevant. unmi 10:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Why would WMF treat such requests differently from how they treat requests for information at present? I do not know what that policy is, but I imagine that they would reassess it if there is a change in law. Are you suggesting that WMF help will cause UN troops and black helicopters to show up at editor doors?--Wehwalt (talk) 10:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Where will it end then? If they keep passing legislation like this they will keep taking chunks out of the vast knowledge painstakingly collected here. Does Wikipedia sit on the sidelines and just let itself get censored like this? - (talk) 03:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
On a side note Jimmy, if you want this publicised widely, why not hire Bell Pottinger to run a successful PR campaign in relation to it. You could organise this when you do the chat to them. Of course, this is a total cynical comment, but is intended to draw the parallel of us looking idiotic for using WP at a tool for advocacy, only a matter of days after busting the balls of a firm for doing exactly the same thing. Y u no be Russavia ლ(ಠ益ಠლ) 08:20, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Crazynas: Could you take a second look at your post? The "don't we" phrasing comes across as patronizing, though no doubt that was not your intent. And Snowolf is correct, and I do not believe any such consensus will be forthcoming. Wikipedia editors tend to be individualists, and I think you'd see a sizable minority try to edit more on a day of action. Unless Jimbo proposes to shut down the site, in which case I guess we are all along for the ride, like it or not.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:28, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I don't think there is consensus either, from what I gathered at the time of itwiki actions, mainly from what I've seen on IRC, a significant if not majoritary part of the English-speaking community feels very strongly against this. Snowolf How can I help? 10:01, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Is that better? Yes, if the proposal (that this proposal is attempting to determine is necessary) passed (not commenting either way on that) the database would be locked as in... no edits, and every page would redirect to a single page about the issue (at least that's how the Italians did it) Crazynas t 10:04, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • If we take a position on an issue like that, we will raise doubts in people's minds as to whether we are in fact neutral. Shall we become Conservapedia-light? People would be entitled to worry not only about our coverage of that issue, but of every issue. As for the Italian job, I am not certain the Italians are a guide to us in anything except football. I think doing that would be ill-advised, forcing people to "join" the protest whether they like it or not. Maybe we could all block K Street while we are at it.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:21, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • By the same kind of argument, nobody can ever go on strike for their own pay. Most people are quite good at distinguishing between political agitation for the sake of it and exceptional action when the core of an organisation is under extreme pressure. SOPA would open WMF up to censorship by the US government. Relocating the WMF and its servers to a more appropriate place such as Iceland is extremely expensive and could not cure the danger that our content becomes inaccessible to Americans. Once you have laws in place such as SOPA, which make it possible to shut down practically all media (I am using this word in a loose sense that includes Wikipedia) depending on the discretion of government institutions, the media are at the mercy of the government and will comply with any hints about what will or will not lead to them being closed. That's a huge step beyond the very effective economics-based self-censorship regime that is already in place in the US media and makes many Americans go to the government broadcaster BBC for more objective news. Hans Adler 10:43, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • We could just IP block-exempt every American editor and let them in through TOR...</sarcasm> For the uninformed (and that is not meant as a slight) some light reading. Crazynas t 10:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The BBC is not a 'government broadcaster'. It's a national broadcaster. For many this might be a subtle distinction but in Britain it is highly significant. Sam Blacketer (talk) 23:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I apologise for using the wrong word. I am of course aware of this distinction. Germany adopted the same system after the war. Hans Adler 23:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • People who feel that we don't have enough "truth" in our articles already feel like that - be they supporters of Israels occupation, Intelligent Design or other groups that we unfairly discriminate against. What we are talking about here is activities outside of article-space, no one is arguing that our articles on SOPA must have a particular slant or flavor. We would stand little chance to convince people who are unable to appreciate the difference of our neutrality by rational argument in any case. unmi 10:49, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I think you are intentionally arguing the individual case rather than the general. Involving ourselves with politics will lead people not to trust us. As for the middle east case, with organized fight clubs on both sides, I do not look for serious article content from that sphere. Good luck getting Arafat or Ben-Gurion to FA.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Yasser Arafat is already FA :P--Neo139 (talk) 22:19, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
  • The only pages that shouldn't be blanked are the articles on SOPA, PIPA, PROTECT IP, the 2012 Defense Authorization Act, and a list of the United State's history of censorship. Every other page should link only to those 5, and they should be protected from vandalism. Kobra (talk) 01:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

Yes, I agree Seb. That blog reads like a Washington post editorial. Does anyone have a link to a less frantic analysis of the proposed legislation? Has it even passed a committee, or a house of Congress?--Wehwalt (talk) 12:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Details of the contents and progress of the bill at, thoughts on the wider impact at Harvard Business Review. There are few facets of our lives that give us the luxury of absolutes, most of the time the rational actor must work in terms of risk mitigation. unmi 12:14, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Probably the most sensible approach here (given that this is just one small part of the US goverment move to stricter internet control) is to transplant the entire movement to one of the Internet "safe harbour" countries. This could be an interesting catalyst to help us do so. We have some small benefits being "based" in the US - but there are places with even greater benefits. --Errant (chat!) 12:17, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Wouldn't help. This legislation blocks the domain, so Wikipedia (and other user generated content sites) wouldn't be available in the US. Dpemmons (talk) 22:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Such as ... (both countries and benefits)--Wehwalt (talk) 12:45, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Many of the Nordic countries have particularly liberal approaches to internet freedom etc. And excellent internet connectivity. Iceland is a very liberal Haven. Finland is excellent, with some of the highest standards of freedom of speech in the world. --Errant (chat!) 13:10, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, that could boost the economy through the sale of winter gear to the St. Petersburg crowd. God knows the economies in both countries could use it.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:23, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

"On the eve of the House Judiciary Committee vote, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America admitted that he's pushing a censorship regime just like China's. According to Variety, he said: 'When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn't do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites.' -- " -- (talk) 13:07, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Wow. Emotional argument much? Anyway, the protest would hurt us and have little effect, the public would go to the mirror sites.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:24, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
How would it hurt us? (talk) 13:39, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
It would hurt our reputation, esp. when the doomsday-scenarios turn out to be false. That's why I need to know whether this is really such a grave issue before I have any firm opinion on some protest. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 13:45, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
What worries me is that I am starting to realize that this may be mentioned and characterized on Monday, then mentioned in the media at a further remove from reality "Wikipedia editors vote to strike", say after "Well, I asked our editors and an overwhelming ..."--Wehwalt (talk) 16:45, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
But not if those doomsday predictions aren't wrong. Given evidence of past how things go like this, it will be abused.Jinnai 20:59, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
For this reason, it makes sense to support a trigger but not an immediate protest. I agree it would be premature to have a flashy protest at this stage, given the number of hurdles that are keeping this bill from getting voted on in both houses. By setting up a trigger, we can decide now if we want to strike once we are at that critical juncture. By planning well in advance, we can act most effectively. hare j 22:10, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm still trying to parse that, Harej. How can we decide now what we will want then?--Wehwalt (talk) 22:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Eh, how can we possibly strike? When we are (inevitably) questioned more closely, it will be revealed that we are studying our own filters. People won't fall for it. We'll need to close that chapter in our history first, before we can act with clean hands. (This is even more strongly the case in india, of course, but still applies to .us) --Kim Bruning (talk) 22:28, 10 December 2011 (UTC) On the up side, I'm glad to see that Jimmy is back on the light side :-)

A collective will to act can be as effective in negotiations as any particular threat of action. I am also glad to see Jimbo standing up for the goals of the encyclopedia. Geometry guy 23:17, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

IF we do (as a ... community? how much of a community are we really once we start imposing blanket "strikes" in response to controversial political issues) go with the "let's use Wikipedia to exert political pressure" thing (and honestly, my opinion is that this is nothing but an exercise in meta-narcissism) then supporting gay marriage in Australia is a helluva more worthy cause then this SOPA thing. So. Ok. I'm willing to strike on SOPA as long as we strike on gay marriage in Australia first and we actually manage to make that Australian government change it's policy. Otherwise I'd request that any article that I have spent oodles and oodles of time contributing to or created be exempt from these people's silly idea of a strike. IF we're gonna play this game, I wanna play a different game and who are you to have decided this? Volunteer Marek  01:46, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. There is clearly an element that does not want this. The proposed plan does not admit of dissent. We are forced off the encyclopedia for 24 hours—blocked for a day, effectively—and we have done nothing wrong. For what? I have yet to hear any proponent articulate what they think would happen after the strike, both on wiki and off.--Wehwalt (talk) 02:25, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, firstly while I'm in favour of political strikes, I don't see how 404ing en.wikipedia will force the Australian state and federal governments to reconsider various acts concerning marriage—there isn't a cogent link between marriage and wikipedia's "industry." In contrast SOPA directly attacks the encyclopaedic process, and so striking against this makes sense. Secondly: a 24 hour strike would be grossly ineffective as all symbolic strikes are. A strike would have to be indefinite or for an extended set period with the threat of future extended periods to have any effectiveness. And Wehwalt is correct, we would be removing our own pleasure in editing by striking, unless we restricted access to registered accounts with etcetcetc. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:49, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
a 24 hour strike would be grossly ineffective as all symbolic strikes are - You're right, we got to be serious here. We should shut the site down permanently until they give in! Volunteer Marek  08:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Fifelfoo, I see no indication that a strike would have any effect on the political processes. I did take the trouble, which I think no one else here has, to look into what happened in Italy. I would suggest adding a {{cn}} to Jimbo's comment, but if you read it carefully, he nowhere says the Italian strike was effective. He merely says that the Italian Parliament's "backing down" happened "immediatly". Post hoc ergo prompter hoc?--Wehwalt (talk) 13:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes Volunteer Marek, that's exactly the point of a non-symbolic strike. Wehwalt, I agree that Jimbo's argument on that point is fallacious reasoning. Divisions within Italian capital itself over the appropriateness of their then Prime Minister, and other such factors extraneous to the Italian wikipedia were significant. However, the English wikipedia is much more closely involved in the circulation of capital; where it is incorporated to make other products look more useful. Taking down en totally, or merely to a defined unit of "outsider" would damage google search, national library Australia, non-caching marketing systems etc. Whether you believe this would be sufficiently disruptive economically to achieve its purpose is another matter—Jimbo's talk page isn't the place where such an evaluation could happen, and the current evaluation of the efficacy of striking is well below the standard of debate I'd hope for. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:10, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It would be difficult to find information to support this, but I have a hunch that Wikipedia gets used extensively by the US Congress since Wikipedia pages generally have very high pageranks with major search engines, and it is arguably the most convenient way for someone to learn basic information about a topic they currently know nothing about...which is necessary when you're supposed to vote on proposed legislation that deals with topics you know nothing about *ahem* Heeerrresjonny (talk) 10:11, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Continued vote

  • Strongly oppose a strike. I have no problem with the Wikimedia Foundation lobbying to prevent this bill from passing, or suing to have it declared unconstitutional if it does pass. But Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, and blanking the content, even temporarily, would detract from its ability to serve its readers as an encyclopedia. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 18:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Is there a reliable summary somewhere of how exactly this will affect Wikimedia? Would transferring ownership and hosting of the websites to a non-American chapter alleviate some/all of the problems? If so, how difficult would it be to move? --Yair rand (talk) 21:41, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Above there is a comment by a users who is worried about Wikipedia losing all market share and being replaced if some kind of political protest happens. I certainly hope the user realizes that the risk of that is non-existent. wsoder (talk) 01:06, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Support: I disagree that this would violate Wikipedia's editorial neutrality in that the bill(s) in process could and would open the site up to frivolous complaints about infringement as written and the complainant would not be liable should the claim(s) be false. That alone should mean the protest, be it a strike or any other form of protest is not a violation of editorial neutrality but a legitimate protest of a real and present danger and threat to the viability of the site and free expression on the site and by the encyclopaedia. That said, my feeling is that it should be sudden, fast and be over with quickly. Something like 48 hours. That would be sufficient to gain considerable media coverage and to make the point without harming the dedicated users of the site. It would also get the word out about SOPA/IP PROTECT to a vastly wider public than it appears to be now. TtfnJohn (talk) 03:36, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

  • I would like to suggest, that if a general blanking does not occur, this instead: blank wikipedia access from every US Government and State College address. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Opposition to blanking Wikipedia is itself a non-neutral position. The view that the pillars are stone fast unbreakable principles is a view that believes in categorical imperatives and a reading of the rules akin to constitutional textualism. Philosophicaly and philologically these are hardline views that do not sufficiently constitute a synthesis and weighting of the sum of human knowledge and morals. Therefore I believe that any argument for opposition rooted in these axioms is null. -- (talk) 05:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Unhappily, STRONG Support Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia, not a political organization ... but that shouldn't require us to commit a form of on-line suicide, which will be the end result of this bill if it's not stopped. No, that's not the intended consequence, but the death of a million forced deletions because someone is offended on the internet will accomplish the deed. I wouldn't blank the pages, though, but put up some message. "Wikipedia unavailable due to government censorship." if you can't find a better one. "Wikipedia" is five syllables; someone more talented might be able to make a ringing haiku. Wikipedia | censored into quietness |not showing today. htom (talk) 16:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I'd suggest to you and others claiming this action is too "political" for Wikipedia that all our activity here is political; the simple fact of a community-run encyclopedia, as opposed to an encyclopedia produced by some private "authority", marks political activity - activity that shapes and determines how power is held and wielded. Now, if this were a /partisan/ political action, I'd strongly oppose it - it would be absurd to blank WP in support of most other popular political agendas. However, as it stands the action is non-partisan; it represents a conflict between a model of internet business and organization that is modular, public, transnational, and decentralized versus one that is closed, privately controlled, and organized around central, national authority. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DigitalHoodoo (talkcontribs) 18:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support and not necessarily U.S. only, SOPA has the potential to affect internet users everywhere... Jonhall (talk) 20:17, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • STRONG Support It's ridiculous that it has come to this, but I feel the action is warranted. The stakes are just too high. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support Nearly-pointless law. Something has to be done. Buggie111 (talk) 01:45, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Support The internet is the only place that freedom of speech truly applies. Don't get me wrong, I am all for protecting a companies intellectual property but SOPA is not the way to go as it would mean that any user editable site like Wikipedia or even a site where a user can add comments would be at risk of being taken offline because of even a single stray comment. The direction that they should take is more along the lines of the Open Act (, which supports innovation and would give the US government extra powers to deal with offenders. (Mike Ratcliffe) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:21, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support of a 24-hour English Wikipedia global strike, blanking all articles and replacing them with information detailing the threat posed to internet freedom by legislation such as SOPA Snake666 (talk) 23:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

In hopes of providing some help to the community as it considers these issues, I have posted a blog on SOPA, including a summary of the new amendment as well as an outline of the legislative process. I hope it will be helpful. Geoffbrigham (talk) 06:36, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Strong Support Doing this would probably be the single best thing wikipedia has ever done. Standing up for internet freedom is essential for wikipedia's continued functioning. The strike should probably be indefinite too, not just for a day. Sometimes you have to just draw a line in the sand. There will be wikipedia if this goes forward, the internet will become just another vehicle of censored and pre-packaged corporate crap and shills, everyone worried about the negative impacts of actually doing something are missing the terrifying reality of the results of not doing anything... QwertyMIDX (talk) 16:34, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Qualified Strong Oppose I do support protesting this terrible piece of legislation which will affect US users, even if the Wkimedia servers are moved to say... Iceland or Switzerland. Plus the US sets the global trends. I would also say that while Wikipedia is neutral and NPOV we should not and can not be neutral about being shut down. We can't just watch impassible as somewone shuts down Wikimedia and be like "I don't know, we're neutral about this sort of thing!" That would be sheer stupidity -- no offence intended for anyone who sincerely strongly feels about political non-involvement. But it would be like the victim of a kidnapping who is about to be shot or not in the head saying they are neutral about being killed and can't get involved in the decision, because you see, they are in principle neutral and NPOV. However this protest is equally not thought through. This protest would be like shooting ourselves in the leg. Who is going to suffer as a result of this? The U.S. Congress, the guys profiteering from SOPA, Gingrich and Obama? NO! We are going to suffer if we actually blank Wikimedia for say even 2 days. We can't and shouldn't protest something evil being done to us by doing ourselves harm. Is that intelligent? Again, no actual supporter of SOPA is going to feel this protest in any way, we'll be the only ones affected. Why do something like this to ourselves. I do support a "soft" blank though, having a blank page with the text "this is how Wikipedia would look like" and then a link to the real article, and, by way of cookies, have this only happen once or twice per user. Omulurimaru (talk) 16:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Strong Support for wikipedia to wield its power to generate positive change in government, people would listen. That being said I propose the take down message include a workaround to get to wikipedia content, for those who depend on it on a daily basis. The message would get through even if wikipedia content was available after a strong message page. (I am a new user, forgive me if I am posting this proposal/comment in the wrong place, and feel free to move it to the right place)Meistromaster (talk) 17:57, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Support Comcast has been airing commercials in Support of SOPA 24x7. The fact is that I am in favor of some form of censorship to protect children from some webpages. But this is going to create a hostile enviroment from corporate abuse that is certain to follow. A stand needs to be made, and this is the place to make it. I'm glad to see forward thinking from Wikipedia on something like this. Nodekeeper (talk) 18:39, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Strong Support, I don't like internet piracy, it is stealing. Though this act will stop piracy, it will also stop freedom. We can have laws that stop piracy, but not freedom. If this act passes, other "free" nations will follow suit. It will stop a new kind of society; a society more free, with more participation than any before. It will stop the new renaissance. The future of humanity will be a lot different if this act passes. If a shutdown of wikipedia has any effect in stopping it; we own it to humanity to try. Pseudoanonymous (talk) 18:35, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Strong Support for opposing SOPA. And to be effective, we need to do several somethings very soon and they will need to indicate that we have strong support and the will to continue. I don't know what our first action should be. I do know one action will not be enough. Whatever we decide to do, if we are not in this for the long haul, it will be wasted effort. I suggest we separate the "call to action" conversation from the "what (& when) to do" conversation. It's time to get organized, people. Jeff.Hull 18:40, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

  • Strong support : as a French guy, I see what paranoia against piracy could do. Thierryyyyyyy (talk) 21:32, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support : And the more dramatic, the better. Oppose half-measure like allowing a way to get to the article. Just say wikipedia is gone and that's it. This is the best way to stimulate discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by William Jockusch (talkcontribs) 03:32, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - I'm not sure whether this really counts for anything now, but since the section is here I thought I'd add my stance. I'd like to remind everyone that SOPA and Protect IP directly affects Wikipedia and it's users, regardless of where you live and regardless of whether Wikipedia moves its servers. This is not just some pet political issue. This is not just of concern to US citizens. The fact that article content is supposed to be non-POV does not in any way prove that an action to protect Wikipedia by drawing public attention to the issue is somehow in violation of Wikipedia policy. Remember that these bills do not just affect deliberate copyright infringers. If any user even posts a link to a site (or an image etc) that's accused of copyright violation, whether the user is "supposed" to or not, Wikipedia could be held accountable. In addition, any website that so much as links to a site that is accused (not even proven) of copyright infringement could be blocked so that users in the US cannot access the site. That is enabling the government to censor the internet.
I strongly suggest people inform themselves about the bills in question. There are also similar bills being proposed in countries other than the US right now. Please, educate yourself.
I think a dramatic statement is needed - it's not just to draw the attention of lawmakers but to draw the attention of the public and Wikipedia users/readers. A lot of people don't even know about these proposed bills. If the public were encouraged to inform themselves about these bills and how they will affect them, that could make a big difference. Note, however, that the informal "straw" poll to gauge community interest Jimmy conducted above was just that. It is not some official definitive vote on whether or not a "strike"/site blanking is imminent or what exactly that would entail. -MsBatfish (talk) 06:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support as a 7-year WP veteran of a 24-hour blackout of en-wp, no articles available, just an explanation of the threat posed by SOPA.--SarekOfVulcan (talk) 06:08, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support JJ Harrison (talk) 09:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support — I'm a little late to the party, but I can safely say that I can think of no better reason to put the site on strike than this. SOPA is dangerous on an unprecedented level, and among other things, it puts absurd amounts of power into the hands of anyone waving a copyright stick. I brainstormed up a number of creative methods that one could use to abuse that power while following the letter of the law, and the results both depressed and infuriated me—something very few things ever manage to do. --slakrtalk / 10:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support The world needs to teach the United States that the Internet does not belong to them. Blanking English Wikipedia will affect many countries other than the United States, which would hurt the other English-speaking countries as well as the US. Hopefully this will put pressure on Congress to reject the bill (or veto it later). Tushar858 (talk) 17:50, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - This is not engaging in politics, it's protecting the existence of politics in face of dictatorial oppression. Oppressive laws are passed in many countries, and this trend must be broken. --OpenFuture (talk) 19:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - To those few that appose, I hope you develop better critical thinking skills. SOPA is a corporatist front against what they deem is a threat to their lies and corruption -- an open Internet. To oppose this strike is to appose Wikipedia. If SOPA goes through, there won't be a Wikipedia of any value. Don't believe? Then READ SOPA. Educate yourselves. Cowicide (talk) 22:29, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong Support - if SOPA passes it will have a large affect on Wikipedia, at the very least US access to it. So while the protest may be slightly disruptive, it won't compare to what will happen if it fails. ··gracefool 23:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Strong support - Yes, yes, yes! The legislators who erroneously believe SOPA will accomplish anything other than stifling freedom of speech and the flow of information must be shown otherwise. If a popular website such as Wikipedia comes to a halt, even if only temporarily, it will send a HUGE message to Congress. Kinaro(say hello) (what's been done) 00:59, 16 December 2011 (UTC)


For the detailed question asked, read #Request for Comment: SOPA and a strike

Blogger/Hacker Shishir Bashyal scraped this Wikipedia discussion and created a pie-chart showing the support/oppose statistics. It's a majority of 89.4 % supporting the protest against SOPA. --Atlasowa (talk) 20:15, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Another idea: Could we coordinate this?

Wikipedia would be far from the only site threatened by this legislation. Many of the most popular sites on the Web today (Google, Ebay, Craigslist, Youtube, Facebook, etc.), would be threatened by this, as they are mainly user-driven. If we do plan a day of action on this, why not coordinate with some of those sites? Even if they weren't willing to shut down entirely for a day and say why (and some might be), they might be willing to put up a prominent sitewide statement telling their users: "This service will go away or be severely curtailed if this passes. Call Congress today, or encourage your US friends to do so if you don't live here". Can you imagine the outcry that could be generated if we could coordinate such a campaign, with a day's shutdown for some of the big ones and the site notice for most of them? Wikipedia is large enough, and they hate this enough, that we could at least likely get a sympathetic ear at many of those companies. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

There is a very fair article, I felt, to both sides, from the San Jose Mercury News here. Google and the other groups contented themselves with signing a letter.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:27, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm proposing we ask if they're "content" with that. If they feel that's enough, we've got an awfully big megaphone on our own—but if even a few of the other behemoths will jump in too, we could amplify that an awful lot. Seraphimblade Talk to me 16:33, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I think drafting a letter and "signing" it would be a good idea as a starter measure. --Errant (chat!) 20:22, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
They don't all have to block service (although google blocking its search engine would be a major boon). I think even if they publicly alterted their website for a day, all coordinated, it could still send a message if it was attached with a reason (and how to contact your congress person for those in the US).Jinnai 20:56, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Could someone who supports this please explain to me...

What would be the difference between this proposed strike and rewriting the article Stop Online Piracy Act from an explicitly partisan, anti-SOPA position? Why is the former considered acceptable but not the latter? (If you say 'but the former would only be temporary', you're missing the point.) Robofish (talk) 17:15, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with temporary or permanent—doing so with the article (even temporarily) would be unacceptable. The difference is the same as having the banner at the top of the site encouraging people to donate to WMF (acceptable), as opposed to changing the Wikipedia article to say "WMF is an awesome foundation, go donate to them!" (unacceptable). One is clearly in an article that's part of the encyclopedia, while the other is clearly a message from those who operate the site behind the encyclopedia. And while it's unprecedented, this is quite literally an existential threat to Wikipedia, and to the free and open Internet as we know it, and it's currently flying well under the radar. I don't see a bit of a problem, given that, with Wikipedia shining a megawatt spotlight on it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 17:34, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Judging by the fact that Floyd Abrams does not oppose SOPA and considers the opposition political, according to a piece in today's Washington post, that seems a bit overblown, Seraphimblade. Here is the link.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:40, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Did you expect a senior partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, representing the Directors Guild, the Motion Picture Association and various entertainment industry unions to oppose SOPA? unmi 17:47, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Indeed. As always, "follow the money." Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 17:48, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I do not always agree with Counselor Abrams, but I have never heard that he was dishonest or motivated principally by money. If I was motivated principally by money, I would not edit Wikipedia, travelling to gain information and images to improve the project has cost me $1.28, or possibly slightly more.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:00, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
List_of_prominent_cases_argued_by_Floyd_Abrams#Financial_Crisis Your mileage may vary. unmi 18:08, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
No one said he is dishonest. He is simply representing his clients' interests, which is his obligation as an attorney. Short Brigade Harvester Boris (talk) 18:12, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
And in fact, he'd be dishonest if he didn't, or actively went against their interests while representing them. But that makes what he says suspect—not due to dishonesty or malice, but from the simple existence of conflict of interest. Given that the people pushing this are his client, he is not likely to oppose it, even if he privately thinks it's a horrible idea. What if he said that, and then had to argue for it in court someday on his clients' behalf? Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:15, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
He is no lawyer who cannot take both sides. But, yes? What would happen then?--Wehwalt (talk) 18:18, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
"So, Mr. Abrams, in your Washington Post editorial of 12-10-2011, you said, I quote, 'This whole thing is a rotten mess and blatantly unconstitutional?'" "Well, yes, but..." "And now you're telling us that it's a wonderful thing, and we should rule in favor of it?" "Well, yes, you see, uh...". It would be highly unethical for an attorney to publicly attack his clients' interests while representing them. (That's aside from the fact they'd likely fire him and his firm—wouldn't you? Take both sides, perhaps, but not take an opposing one to your client in public!) Regardless, I'd much rather get my information from the engineers that design the Internet's infrastructure, and every one I've seen who has spoken on this will do significant damage, and all but kill DNSSEC (which should be a top priority if we're really interested in protecting the public). Seraphimblade Talk to me 18:26, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Possibly, if he was called as a witness. Lawyers aren't as a rule. In fact, ethically you cannot be a lawyer and a witness in the same case, with very limited exceptions that don't apply here. You've been watching Inherit the Wind too much.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:37, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I think a more relevant point is that while perhaps it would be problematic for him to publicly oppose a bill he may later have to defend for his clients, it doesn't mean he has to publicly defend it in a non legal forum. Personally I would consider it unethical for him to argue something which is against his personal beliefs in a manner which suggests it's his personal belief. To me the editorial is presented more as a case of his personal beliefs then an attempted to defend his clients interest (it has a disclaimer at the bottom but that's to be expected). Perhaps he doesn't hold to the same ideals but I don't think we should be accusing him of such without evidence. This doesn't mean he's right, he may simply not understand the issues. Nil Einne (talk) 19:50, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Is there any reason to believe he might not understand the issues? His discussion seemed cogent and informed to me.--Wehwalt (talk) 20:06, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

I'm just amazed that so many people feel that this wouldn't compromise our neutrality, while discussions of allowing advertising on WP have continued to show a consensus opposed to it. I can't understand how anyone could think advertising would compromise our neutrality while somehow a prominent message openly advocating intervention against a specific political proposal would not. Robofish (talk) 19:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

Abrams said it, and you can believe it if you care to believe a man who accepts money for his work: it's become ideological. I am imminently expecting them to all announce for free silver.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:21, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
There are two confusions taking place here. As noted already, there is a marked difference between what Wikipedia articles say, and what the Wikipedia community and/or the WMF say. However, there is another confusion clouding clear thinking: there is a marked difference between neutrality and the neutral point of view. The neutral point of view is a point of view: it is the viewpoint which seeks to represent all other significant viewpoints accurately, fairly, with due weight, and without bias, according to reliable sources. It sits alongside our goal to make the sum of human knowledge freely available.
That is far from being "neutral". To some people, in some societies, and some cultures, it is a radical and totally unacceptable viewpoint: information contrary to some prevailing dogma is often regarded as harmful, and suppressing it is considered desirable. Wikipedia actively promotes the idea that it is better to know and understand what those who disagree with you say and believe than it is to silence them or pretend they do not exist. "A more informed world is a better world." That isn't "neutral" — it is an extraordinary political statement.
Part of our role as a community is to defend and promote the neutral point of view. Political acts which might undermine our ability to do so can and should be challenged. Not in articles, where we should redouble our efforts to represent the views of those who disagree with our goals accurately, fairly, and without bias. That is the neutral point of view. Geometry guy 20:41, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I was enjoying your post, though not completely agreeing, but you disappeared into passive-voice vagueness on the second sentence of the last paragraph. Can you clarify?--Wehwalt (talk) 20:52, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Sure. The main point of my post was to address confusions which cloud productive discussion about what course of action to take, if any. The sentence you refer to ("Political acts...") is not at all vague, and could easily be rephrased as "We can and sometimes should challenge political acts...". I am asserting the legitimacy of making political challenges to acts that interfere with our goals. In any particular situation, such as this one, the case still has to made that our goals are under threat, and that taking action is justified: just because we can act, does not mean we should take a particular course of action. This may not be so far from your own view. Geometry guy 21:23, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Probably, though I suspect I am a bit more hardened on the no point. As of yet, I have seen nothing beyond generalities as to the "threat" to Wikipedia. We have a bill. As I understand it, it has not passed either house of Congress, and the Senate has gone for a competing bill. There will, at some point, be a conference committee. Withdrawal of service, or even the threat thereof, is a weapon usable once. If it is used too early, it is ineffective and we sound shrill. Please keep in mind that it is not very much of a weapon, it is the classic toy gun with sign "BANG!" because the public will simply go to the next site to get the information. I recall in one of James Hogan's books, they kept shutting a computer that could learn on and off. Eventually it wired around the switch. So will our public. All it does is rather dramatically declare our position on something. Will our public sit and ponder the evils of the proposed legislation? Will they follow the links and learn? No. They will say, "Funk this schiss" or something similar, page back and go to #2 on the list. Or possibly look at the cached copy on Google, not sure how that works. In other words, no one will be inconvenienced. But people will have learned two things: That Wikipedia takes positions on contentious political issues, and that accessing the site is not necessary in order to gain the site's information. Switch off, switch on.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:27, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
We licensed our data to the world. They took it. We can't take it back. Now, what would be in my view an effective means of doing it is a symbolic strike for 24 hours, editors refrain from editing. Possibly we could even plan non-wiki activities, post photos, have get togethers, invite the media, that kind of thing. Not everyone would have to participate, but you can't hide the fact that you edited during those 24 hours, so social pressure would apply.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:44, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with you on many points: you make pragmatic arguments, and I am a pragmatist as well as an idealist! I don't agree with your last point, as people find their information through search engines, and these predominantly link to Wikipedia. However, according to the hattext of this RfC, no particular action is being proposed at this stage, so the RfC is, on the face of it, concerned primarily with principle, not practicalities. However, the pragmatist in me sees more than that: Jimbo is looking for collective will, as such an expression of will could be useful leverage. Our support or otherwise should be based on whether we believe it is appropriate to bring our collective will to bear in this case.
If there is consensus for action, I hope you will take forward your ideas about how to act most effectively. Geometry guy 22:58, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Certainly. If the community decides generally to act, I will of course suggest what I deem the most effective ways to take action. I am a loyal member of the community.--Wehwalt (talk) 23:16, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
OK, Geometry guy, this point has me add a support !vote in the sense of "something should be done". Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 01:11, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry I should have said 'for example, perhaps he doesn't really understand the technical issues'. I'm not saying he doesn't understand the issues, rather suggesting it's a possibility. My point is more that even if you feel he's wrong, it doesn't mean he's being influenced by his need to defend his clients. And even if you think he genuinely personally believes what he's saying, it doesn't mean he's right. Of course people can disagree on stuff without either holding their views for the wrong reason, but I was specifically thinking of Seraphimblade's comment on engineers. I think there's a fair chance they will indeed understand the technical issues about the design of the internet and how certain actions will affect the internet then him. On the other hand, I also think it's fair to say he will understand the legal issues, like how the law is likely to be implemented, what it means for companies and users who have to respond to the law, and how it will interact with stuff like the US consitution then the engineers. One of the difficulties here of course is they both matter. Nil Einne (talk) 14:57, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
BTW one interesting slightly related example here is the 92A controversy mentioned in Copyright law of New Zealand. Concerns were raised about the ability for users internet access to be cut off based on three complaints and without a court case. Others were concerned about the effect on ISPs and particularly schools, universities, libraries and those operating public wifis (although these are very rare in NZ anyway) in dealing with large volument of complaints (particularly for ISPs) and also in identifying who was responsible (particulary for non ISPs). After an outcry including in blogs and other websites, the original amendment was put on hold and the law was amended again resulting in Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act 2011. In this case it undoutedly helped that there was a new government who could conviently blame the previous government for the old law, even if the party behind the new government had supported the original amendment anyway. Also the MP considered responsible lost their seat in the election that lead to the new government and some suggested anger over the bill was one of the reasons.
Anyway in the new amendment, the ability to cut off internet access after 3 complaints had been put on hold for now. But fines can be imposed by the copyright tribunal. Also ISPs are allowed to charge to process complaints and While the new law has had an effect on traffic (i.e. what people are doing with the internet) [4] [5] it hasn't actually resulted in a large number of complaints to ISPs yet. Some people say the fee copyright holders get charged by ISPs to process complaints is enough to discourage them. Others say the involved parties (RIANZ etc) are keeping quiet either so they can complain in the 2013 review that it isn't working or so they can pretend to other government this is what it will be like if they have similar laws and they don't have to worry about an unmanagable chaos of complaints and internet users being railroaded. Some think it's still too earlier and copyright holders are still testing the waters and learning how to deal with the law (and perhaps wanting to avoid an outcry by proceeding too rapidly). Yet others say it's proof the earlier fuss was a much ado about nothing.
Nil Einne (talk) 15:20, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Robofish, it's the same as the difference between asking people to help write an encyclopedia and editing the Encyclopedia article to say that people should write encyclopedias. The former is not a WP:SOAP issue, but the latter would be, and a WP:NPOV violation (unless we also included non-fringe views from people saying that encyclopedias shouldn't be written.) (talk) 00:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Or, better, it is the ultimate instance of WP:POINT.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:29, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
"Ultimate" in what sense? Geometry guy 00:53, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It's a considerable disruption to make a considerable point.--Wehwalt (talk) 00:58, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Since the alternative from inaction is the likelihood of greater disruption, then it is not disruptive on balance. (talk) 01:02, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
A rather remote possibility! Surely the revolution would come after they took down Facebook, even if it didn't start with Youtube.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:07, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
[citation needed] Please see below: #What we are trying to prevent has been happening for a year (talk) 01:22, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Those are advocacy sites. They are not expected to be neutral treatments, naturally they seek to advocate.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I am afraid you are very much mistaken. Business Insider and Ars Technica have always been considered reliable independent secondary news sources on Wikipedia. (talk) 01:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
"Considerable" as in "worthy of consideration" or as in "too much, a lot of"? Geometry guy 01:09, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
As in, a significant amount.--Wehwalt (talk) 01:24, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Start a WikiProject

Wikipedia's greatest strength is in collecting and disseminating accurate information. Currently the EFF is largely supportive[6] of an alternative bill, supported by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Represenative Darrell Issa (R-CA), known as the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act or OPEN Act.[7] Note red links [now blue ;)]; in fact as of writing this no results come up here for the name. I would like to see this red link become a DYK and perhaps even a Featured Article. Thus there would seem to be a use for a WikiProject, dedicated not to advocacy but simply to ensuring that the facts as they exist are accurately reported, as the SOPA bill needs no herald to announce its stench. But is a new WikiProject definitely needed (rather than some recruits to WP:WikiProject Human rights, WP:WikiProject Telecommunications, or WP:WikiProject United States Public Policy, or simply a general agreement here to get cracking?)? If a new WikiProject is needed, what should its scope and name be? Wnt (talk) 19:11, 10 December 2011 (UTC)

I've since gotten OPEN Act up to the point where I proposed it for DYK. Feedback welcome ;) Wnt (talk) 21:05, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Good. I'll be by.Elinruby (talk) 07:53, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

You're a public speaker and sort of a celebrity

Have you tried speaking to the politicians? Could you try contracting one of the people responsible for the Republican debates and have them bring the subject up? Could you create buzz within the mainstream media without doing a strike? Have we exhausted all other options? Out of curiosity, on whose side is the man with the veto on? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 00:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, I will be speaking to people throughout this week. Your idea about the Republican debates is a good one, but we don't have a lot of time. They are trying to ram this through very quickly. I am being very cautious with my public statements because the behind-the-scenes negotiations are underway, and timing is everything. We don't yet know which side Mr. Obama is on, but I am hopeful that he can be supported to veto SOPA in favor of the OPEN Act. I will be speaking to some of his top advisors this week.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:22, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Don't we have rules about using Wikipedia to make legalistic threats? Can't we just get this Wales character blocked and save all this arguing? Weakopedia (talk) 18:04, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

What we are trying to prevent has been happening for a year

We're too late, but it's still a good idea to oppose SOPA to prevent this from becoming more widespread:

  1. Rosoff, M. (December 9, 2011) "The Feds Shut Down A Music Blog For A Year For No Real Reason" Business Insider
  2. Lee, T.B. (December 12, 2011) "ICE admits year-long seizure of music blog was a mistake" Ars Technica (talk) 00:15, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Actual scenario

DMahalko in the poll-section makes a damn good point — what would actually happen if US government shut down wikipedia along with youtube and so forth? The backlash would be enormous and as dramatic as it seems, the public demonstrations against it could maybe only be quelled by the imposition of martial law or something. So... (even though I !voted some tentative support), can the strong support-voters explain why we shouldn't just let this scenario take place and wait for the water cannons and pepper spray to appear on the news? Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 02:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

The US Department of Justice is already seizing websites. Google Operation In our Sites and ask yourself why the Department of Homeland Security is worried about counterfeit handbags when SCADA control panels are open to the entire internet and some reset user passwords to an easily-googled default if their users follow best practices on password complexity.
This is not a Chicken Little scenario. Copyright law was used against a security researcher who disclosed the presence of a commercial rootkit on millions of cell phones. Last month. The SOPA article contains several examples of unintended consequences caused by governments messing with their TLDs. (If they have not been removed) It's important to understand that the US controls all .com, .net and .cc domains, so this is not a parochial US issue. I have not managed to get that piece of information to stay in the SOPA article though. Elinruby (talk) 07:55, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't answer my question. Read it again. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 07:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Do you see much coverage of Occupy Oakland or San Francisco on the news? It's all been filed under "dirty hippies were a health risk, and the police did what they were ordered to do." Do you see much coverage of Goldman Sach's fraudulent derivatives? Do not expect critical thinking from the evening news.
Wnt's explanation somewhere around here is essentially correct. The DoJ is not going to seize Wikipedia. It will instead require it to take active measures to make sure its users do not post anything that could be considered to violate copyright. At a minimum this is an unfunded mandate for a huge staff increase that would probably make Wikipedia's business model untenable (and YouTube's, and Twitter's...).The Chinese equivalent of Twitter employs hundreds of people to screen user posts. But since copyright law is *already* being abused to criminalize First Amendment material, the chilling effects will be far, far worse. SOPA also makes illegal tools for evading penalties for copyright violations. Goodbye to the open source projects that brought you the Arab Spring. These tools are very very broadly defined, in a manner that could cover widely used privacy tools such as SSL and VPN. Passage of SOPA would endanger the implementation of DNSSEC. That's not me saying that, it's Sandia Laboratories.
But nobody is going to arrest Mr Wales will just gradually become harder and harder for him to keep this site in existence. Oh yeah and, speaking from the heart of Silicon Valley here, which currently leads the nation in job growth--the uncertainty about the effects of the law will very likely cause venture capital to dry up. That's not me saying that, that's venture capitalists.
That's why.Elinruby (talk) 08:13, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I wasn't expecting anything from the evening news, or any news for that matter. I am expecting protests from all those who use wikipedia and other sites, and that (unlike the Occupy-movement) is a broad base of people.
As for the part that requires wikipedia to enforce copyright-law more aggressively, I am completely for that. People who engage in copyright infringement here should be blocked and banned for life upon first violation without recourse or discussion. But that's just me I guess. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 09:33, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, did not mean to point my finger and say *you*. People, in general, should not expect an outcry about really bad proposals. A single Senator kept this from poofing into law as is, and it still may if the sponsors can get sixty votes.
If a tree falls in a forest, though? The reason I believe you are mistaken about this is that they have already been seizing sites for a couple of years, and nobody paid attention because they were just torrent sites. Except some of them weren't. And some of that illegal video wasn't. And at least one site they seized was totally legal in Spain, where it had its offices and servers. But see, it had a .com domain name. The legislation also does away with this pesky jurisdiction stuff -- if someone in the US reads your site, it's affected by the bill.
And by the way, I'm not against protecting copyright at all. Just don't think SOPA is the way to do it. And your proposal is a little drastic too, LOL. We don't have to argue about that, but let me tell you a story. I am currently involved in an AfD that says that a screenshot of an open source browser running on my own personal laptop may be a copyright violation. Who knew? I posted why I thought it wasn't, and as far as I know it's still open for comment. I will be ok with the results either way it goes. But I am telling you this in hopes of showing you that if the person who filed the AfD is correct, it was an innocent error made for all the right reasons. And under SOPA, Wikipedia would have been responsible for it. Elinruby (talk) 13:14, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Because it's not going to happen that way. The bill doesn't appear to propose shutting down Wikipedia, but possibly restricting its freedom and the freedom of the sources on which it relies (if I understand things correctly). There would be no public demonstrations, no pepper spray, just an Internet that is less open. And, without wanting to breach Godwin's law, I believe some people died in the Holocaust having had a similar faith that if you sit tight and stick to your own business, bad things just don't happen because something else will always intervene. --FormerIP (talk) 03:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Forgive me, FormerIP, obviously we don't agree, but isn't it a good idea to wait on the Nazi analogies until you've grasped, at least generally, the statute? Even with the ritual nod to the dear departed Mike Godwin.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:07, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Take a deep breath and just work past the analogy. The point is that let's sit tight, because something always comes along if you do nothing is a poor policy to live by. If you think the bill is actually not so bad, then of course that makes it a different matter. --FormerIP (talk) 03:19, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Very clever recasting, I salute you. However, what you are actually doing is very solemnly assuring us there is, there is a wolf coming despite significant evidence to the contrary.--Wehwalt (talk) 03:27, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, that's what I meant, this could be cry wolf. And sometimes, it can be better to actually let the wolf appear so people can (often for the first time) see what a wolf actually does. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:32, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
If you think it is cry wolf, then by all means oppose it on that basis. But not on the basis that the idea of taking action to defend yourself somehow doesn't make sense. If there's really nothing to worry about, then I too support inaction. Seb: I feel I must add, though, that in the "cry wolf" scenario there is no wolf. Keeping quiet about a wolf so that it can maul the villagers is a different story that no-one has written yet. --FormerIP (talk) 03:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Wait, the cry-wolf scenario is to bore people into submission when the wolf finally comes (see: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, on when the wolf arrived), hence, "psychic numbing" was the danger. There should be real sourced discussion about the expected danger (including primary sources which state the danger, not argument to authority raising fears, but real evidence in legal wording affecting U.S. websites). -Wikid77 09:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
There might not be a wolf here, either. Moreover, the villagers in the story know by experience what a wolf does. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:53, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The effects would be more subtle but more pervasive than an all-or-nothing block. Once the U.S. government gets into the Great Firewall business, many decisions would end up being made more after the fashion of totalitarian nations. For example, there was a flap here a year ago about Wikipedia displaying the FBI seal on its page, which Mike Godwin concluded was legitimate. There was recrimination against his outspoken response because some people felt that whatever the law, antagonizing the government was not a safe thing. That sentiment would be much, much stronger if people felt like at any time the DOJ could act on a specious third party complaint to block all access to the site without trial. Such intimidation might start at decisions of which content to exclude on the basis of pseudo-legal theory, but it would quite readily extend to excluding mention of political views or facts that the government found inconvenient. For America to surrender to the Chinese model and abandon its mores against censorship would greatly demoralize the resistance to such tendencies. Wnt (talk) 05:15, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Wnt. Also, these "cry wolf" analogies don't really apply here. Unfortunately, the problem here is that there is no "wolf" but there is still a major problem or threat. It is unfortunate that the best way to explain it results in a "slippery slope" fallacy. This is how the entertainment industry wants it. The problem is one of erosion, not an outright attack. I trust in the huge number of "internet experts" (for lack of a better term) that oppose SOPA because they should know. That is who we should defer to. If people are looking for simple cause and effects here they aren't going to find them and it is important that we acknowledge this. It would make sense to have reservations on a "cry wolf" basis if it were only a handful of "experts" that opposed it or if the bill was so drastic that we could completely expect widespread backlash. However, neither of these are true. The effects will be slow-moving and the major media coverage will be poor (their owners are likely supporters of the bill) so the effects that come later won't be strongly tied to the causes for everyday citizens. As people with at least some specialized knowledge of the topic, the responsibility falls to us to try to prevent an erosion of the internet. Heeerrresjonny (talk) 10:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I really wish that some of the people here who understand that these laws endanger Wikipedia would come help patrol the articles on the subject as they are plagued by contentious editing and repeated removals of sourced material. I have not yet succeeded in getting the problems with DCMA to stay in the article, for instance. I just got a lecture on advocacy by an administrator I'd asked for help. Opinions of first amendment lawyers get moved to an opponents section, and their presence there is then used to say that quoting about the impact of the bill is not NPOV. Und so wieder. And by the way, I support a strike. Whatever it takes to get people to understand that much of what is special about the internet would wither and die. Elinruby (talk) 07:55, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I would have to look at the article in some detail, which I lack the time to do, I have someone annoyed at me for not implementing his peer review comments on another article, but from your description it sounds to me like you wanted the opinions of opponents of the bill to be stated as fact, rather than as opinion. Even if they were stated by "first amendment lawyers", they are, nevertheless, opinions. Hope this helps. I could not act as an admin regarding that article due to my participation in this discussion, but if you have specific questions on content, I'll do my best.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It keeps getting cast that way, that's true. But when you ask a lawyer "what will happen if x" (the law passes as is, for example) what you get for your money is called an *opinion* whether you or I like the term or not ;)And that name does not make the result invalid. Kind of like the theory of evolution isn't just something someone made up one day in the shower ;) even if it *does* have "theory" in its name.
Or, if you can think of a better way to forecast the effects of this bill, I am open to any suggestions you may have. That categorization of "opponents" and "supporters" is someone else's idea and a bit arbitrary in my opinion, because it loses many shades of grey. The EFF as I recall for example gives the House sponsors credit for trying to get away from rigidly prescribing a technical solution that won't work, but says the language proposed instead is so vague that *anything* could go into the court order, leading to the uncertainty I mentioned elsewhere on this page. That's quite a bit more complex WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT. Lawyer's opinions are all we have to work with and at least better than the language of the legislation, which says it's protecting motherhood and apple pie by preventing people from ordering their drugs at legitimate Canadian pharmacies. I usually hang out on technical and obscure pages where there's zero controversy, but I am pretty sure that AGF doesn't require us to buy any bridges in Brooklyn.
And besides, weren't you yourself citing Floyd Abrams a little while ago? Silly Wehwalt:)
Meanwhile, if you are serious, I may indeed have questions for you about how to apply policy. Thanks. Seriously. (For instance some specific issues around how to fairly give both sides without whitewashing when the consensus is *so* much against it...) But I can assure you that the article as it stands contains statements that are simply wrong but keep getting reinserted. Needs help and I don't care whether the people who help it agree with me, as long as they do in fact help it, mumble. Elinruby (talk) 12:53, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I have to go out shortly, I will answer your policy questions on my talk tonight (separate discussion, people) I will confess I did think of how powerfully people were crying out against Floyd Abrams fand then citing to first amendment lawyers, but it did not seem worth mentioning for tactical reasons. I may have been wrong, but no big deal either way. You tell me that there is no certainty in the future; I heartily agree and suggest you mention that to the people who are utterly predicting the sky will fall and there will be a Great Firewall across America. And the burden of proof is not with me, it is with Jimbo as proponent and backer of the RfC.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:51, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Welp, the Great Firewall of China uses precisely these techniques, so if this law passes that's what we will have. That's another fact. So is the number of small internet companies that would go out of business because of the monitoring requirements. But I digress. You asked me about Wikipedia and the most pertinent to Wikipedia is what it does to DMCA. Tonight is fine. At your convenience. If people let me ask them questions I am not going to go complain about how soon they answer ;) As for Abrahams, mmm, I have a fair amount of disdain for Citizens United but I can't evaluate his legal abilities. I just feel like it's one way or the other, yanno? Either lawyers are experts for this, or not. He's not quoted in the SOPA article because I think his opinion is about PROTECT IP, but I'm ok with adding him anyway if it seems like a good idea. Would have to also mention his client list in that case, mind you. Talk to you later. Elinruby (talk) 20:34, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

my apologies to Elinruby for accidentally zapping the above comment, and thanks to Risker for alerting me - David Gerard (talk) 21:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)


  • I oppose Jimbo's proposal, as I made clear, so perhaps I have a slight bias. But one reason it is highly unusual to have RfCs on user talk pages is that we allow users a bit more privilege over their talk pages than over the average page. It is not, however, unusual for words to get a bit heated in an RfC. But is this an RfC? Or is it just a straw poll? If the former, I suggest we move it out of Jimbo's userspace, though keeping a link of course.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:53, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
This is my personal request for comment in order to guide my thinking and talking with politicians over the next few days. I am also speaking to the Foundation, Foundation attorneys, our paid lobbyists, fellow traveller organizations, etc. Because the Foundation has requested, reasonably due to negotiations under way and the impact that I might have on that by accidentally creating a public furore, I'm not able to say a lot at this time. Part of my job here is to represent the wishes of the community to all these parties, hence the straw poll. As I said before, nothing here is binding - if and when we would do something like this, there would be a much more formal proposal. Right now, what I'm thinking is that if there is a credible threat that this might happen, this could have a positive impact on the thinking of some legislators. Do not underestimate our power - in my opinion, they are terrified of a public uprising about this, and we are uniquely positioned to start that. Back room politics over cigars and promises, or a vigorous public debate? I know what I want, and I know what the other side wants, and they aren't the same thing.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:11, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
"Paid lobbyists"? [citation needed]. --SB_Johnny | talk 23:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Contradiction. This is your "personal poll", but it's your "job" to represent the Foundation? Sue is the CEO. Did she ask for this poll? Did the board formally vote and ask for it? Are you speaking for them, when you talk to the President, or for yourself, or just trying to have it both ways like a wave-particle duality? No one denies that you have a big Q rating, but the akward straddling of personal advocacy with people who think that you really still are in charge of Wikipedia is wrong. It would be more noble if you were more self-effacing here.TCO (talk) 14:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I left a message at Sue Gardner's page asking whether statements to Barry O by Jimbo will represent the WMF's position.TCO (talk) 15:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
TCO, you are way out of line here. I am in constant communication with both Sue and the Board of the Foundation. Niether of them has ever suggested to me, and would laugh at the idea, that I'm supposed to get permission from them before asking a question of the community - that's an absurd thing for you to expect. Sue and I have an excellent working relationship and I am of course a solid team player. It is rude and uninformed of you to make such comments.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:27, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Jimbo, I'm a bit puzzled by your comparison of cigars and promises, and vigorous public debate. As I see it, there is very considerable and open public debate on this question. If indeed this is decided in back rooms with cigars as in a Homer Davenport cartoon about Mark Hanna, I find it difficult to believe, if they are truly so contemptuous of the public, that they would be swayed by Wikipedia. On the one side, we are taking chances with our reputation for neutrality and availability to take a stand which is already being taken by other people amid considerable publicity. On the other, we'd be doing the same thing, and not making any difference. Either way, we will have altered people's perceptions of Wikipedia in an unplanned way.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
If I could break in with a fact here for a sec -- they were *trying* for the backroom. They did not invite any internet engineers to the hearing on the bill. Many many internet and tech companies wanted to testify but got the cold shoulder. Google was allowed to testify but got berate quite a bit for carrying ads for Canadian pharmacies a couple of years ago. Sorry for the interruption, I'll see myself out now ;p Elinruby (talk) 14:52, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for that information, Elin, but I don't see that it materially changes the question. You tell me they showed bad faith, I will take your word for it for now, but just from what's out there, this issue is under klieg lights. Whatever happens will be debated in public fora. Similarly, even the threat of action by Jimbo, tomorrow or later, will have an effect on public perception on how we are seen. I routinely see newspapers and blogs casually mention information gotten from Wikipedia. I suspect that if we are viewed as being within the political spectrum, that will change. I don't see many casual mentions of information from Conservapedia, after all!--Wehwalt (talk) 15:01, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It is *now*, yes. It wasn't in early November, and this spring the Senate version would have passed without a whimper if Ron Wyden had not put a hold on it. Even then it was getting no coverage at all, apart from specialized blogs and the odd story in the New York Times music section about the some of the rap sites that got hit. I think you express a legitimate concern about impartiality, but I also don't think impartiality requires Wikipedia to keep silent when its survival is at stake. You can have an opinion on what should happen and still stick to the facts you know, or nobody would ever be dispassionate enough to cover the news. But I'll shut up now and go do just that. Elinruby (talk) 15:45, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
"survival is at stake". Yes I know. I've seen at least two invocations of the Nazi Party, and any number of predictions so dire that I look up and am amazed the sun still shines. I have yet to see a clear and present danger to Wikipedia, explained cogently and unemotionally.--Wehwalt (talk) 15:56, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I'd like to see that too. Elinruby's explanation above is that the effective removal of the safe harbor provision might force the WMF to vet every contribution for copyvios before it is posted. That would make the crowd-sourcing method that drives Wikipedia completely impractical, and undermine the principle that anyone can edit. Geometry guy 16:05, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The thing is, all this is too dependent on "mays" and "might" and "coulds". I could be hit by a meteor tomorrow. Barry O could change parties on Tuesday and world spin backwards on Wednesday.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:25, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Some things are more likely than others. :) But, you're getting vague, now, Wehwalt: "all this" what? "too dependent" for what? Geometry guy 16:34, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
The alleged threat to Wikipedia is the "all this". Many of the comments, even in support, contain such language. I am looking for evidence on three points: That the proposed legislation is a real threat to Wikipedia, that the proposed course of action (blocking the site for a day) would significantly help alleviate this threat, and that the course of action would be worth the down side (public perception of loss of neutrality). I have seen much passion expended in support of these point, but few facts cited.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:45, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Patience, patience, Wehwalt. I'd like to see more evidence too, but a definite course of action has not yet even been proposed, and action may prove unnecessary. On the other hand, there is evidence that the legislation could negatively affect Wikipedia, and it is a sensible objective to ensure it isn't a real threat and/or prevent it from becoming a real threat. The time to raise concerns about the possible impact of legislation is before it is enacted into law, and the time to influence policy makers is before they become too committed to a course of action. It's no good waiting with fingers crossed, comforted by the fact that the sun is still shining, until the court injunction arrives, and then saying, "I now have evidence that this legislation is harmful to Wikipedia, and therefore now oppose it". Geometry guy 17:39, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Raising concerns is what Jimbo is doing by meeting with the white house folks... I don't really see the point of this straw poll at all if all people want is to 'raise concerns' -- this straw pole is about closing wikipedia (temporarily) in protest, which is a lot more than just raising a concern. And I'll point out that SOPA has plenty of supporters, even in the tech world. Nobody thinks it is perfect (not even the MPAA/RIAA), but it isn't a finished piece of legislation yet (and even when it is it won't be perfect). The idea that waiting until the changes that have *already been promised* hit the committee floor is the same as waiting until the injunction arrives is pure FUD. Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
You don't see the point? Interesting. So would you like go into a discussion without knowing whether anyone else backs your position? Don't you think you could be more influential if you were representing the views of many, rather than just your own? Do you not see the value of political leverage? Geometry guy 03:12, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
My understanding is that discussion about SOPA in general is not the point of this straw poll -- the point is to collect opinions on this specific proposal. I'd incline to claiming reductio ad absurdum but I simply don't see any connection at all between what I said and not believing in political leverage... Karthik Sarma (talk) 03:16, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
What specific proposal? Check the hat-text again. There is no specific proposal. Geometry guy 03:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

These are all mainstream publications, with some well-respected tech sites thrown in:

Elinruby (talk) 17:00, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

So... would anyone like to see RS for the First Amendment concerns? I actually posted some earlier but will post some more if you like. They are thick on the ground, and hey, I just noticed this new one: Feds admit they seized a completely legal domain name last year. Note: they *just* admitted it. So sorry you've been out of business for a year. I can also post some RS for the breaks-the-internet concern if that's of interest, or the posting-infringing-video-becomes-a-felony concern...The human rights concerns? But we should take this elsewhere if we do that. Those four are some of the better explanations of why the law is a threat to Wikipedia. Elinruby (talk) 17:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
You *are* aware that innocent people sometimes get sent to jail by juries of their peers, right? Mistakes get made, and it doesn't make the DOJ a pack of fascists. The articles you reference are quite alarmist, with little discussion of actual text or intent behind current discussions. They certainly don't really talk about alternatives, and you'll find 'mainstream' newspapers that complain about just about anything... Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't recall saying anything about a pack of fascists - But if this is what happens when sites get seized without judicial review, then perhaps we should think twice before explicitly legalizing the practice. It's certainly a red flag and all the people saying "this will never happen" should click the link. Elinruby (talk) 22:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Another idea: Black background

So there is a lot off opposition to blanking the site for various reasons, one of which is that removing content, even for a day, is against what we should be doing. While I don't agree entirely with those people, I admit they do have some valid points. I think after a night of pondering that we could achieve a similar level of hype by doing a white-text-on-black-background instead of a site blank. It might not be quite as effective, but if we link it prominatly on every page (because there will be people wondering why we changed our colors), then it has the impact of informing people as well as not removing our content. We might have to go through some images (like the logo which has a white background) and make alternate ones for main site images (article ones aren't worth it) so it still looks proffessional. Obviously this won't appease those who don't think we should do anything and I do admit it won't have quite the same impact as a site blank. Thoughts?Jinnai 16:12, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

While the impulse is commendable, such showy gestures are best used where a site has a greater depth of emotion than research available to it. I would prefer to have a simple banner inviting people to learn about and discuss the issue - especially if that issue includes WMF joining as a plaintiff in a lawsuit to obtain injunctive relief and ultimately to overturn the legislation. Wnt (talk) 16:27, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
That banner will be ignored unless there is something showy.Jinnai 19:38, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia's power isn't as a medium, but as a reference. Our business isn't really herding eyeballs where we want. But every week I see forums where people reference Wikipedia to back up political arguments, and for example I must have directed people from discussions on the forums to Wikipedia entries a dozen times, and it often seems effective. Now it's important for Wikipedia to take a stand - to share its internal experiences with the public, to make clear to the country that this bill would be a real problem. But for that it doesn't really need bold fonts and fancy graphics; it needs news reports. And news reports almost always come out when lawsuits are filed, which is one of several reasons why I hope Wikipedia will join other academic and civil liberties organizations in suing for an injunction against the law if/when it is passed. Wnt (talk) 22:15, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
It would certainly save electricity. - DVdm (talk) 16:25, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
[citation needed] --MZMcBride (talk) 19:52, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Proposed replacement text

What about replacing all pages with "Our mission free knowledge for everyone, but the U.S. Congress and their proposed Stop Online Piracy Act might put an end to our mission. To show our disapproval, this, and all other pages at Wikipedia have been blanked."

It is not by any means perfect, but I think something along those lines should be added. It should also ask for a donation and contain a picture of Jimbo. PaoloNapolitano 19:16, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that the replacement text needs to explain more about how SOPA would impact wikimedia sites. I would write a suggestion, but I don't think I know enough of the details. Scott.medling (talk) 09:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I'd LOVE to see the entire Wikipedia website redirect to China: Sends a clear message and it'll probably even freak out some conservatives who'll initially think Wikipedia has been hacked by 'dem foreigners and frantically try to Google the situation. But, to their dismay and horror... in solidarity, Google, Bing, etc. redirects to China also. So our poor conservative friends will have no choice but to use China's government website to get all their information. See how they !@#$%ing like that for a while. Cowicide (talk) 22:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Alternate "Blanking" Proposal

What if the page came up blank with a message that said "This might be what Wikipedia would look like if Congress passes the Stop Online Piracy Act. Click here to learn more, or click here to continue to this article." The user could pick if they want to go to the SOPA article or move past the blanking. So the entry is a blank article, but they can go on to the article they've requested if they choose to continue. We could set up a cookie so this only happens once per user per computer.--v/r - TP 20:30, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

I hope we won't get to the point where actually taking action is necessary, but if we do, this is a much better approach than denying access to the encyclopedia. On the other hand, I don't like any of the proposed message texts, because they play into the hands of those who would use this as an opportunity to attack Wikipedia. However, getting the text right (and indeed the precise form of action) is something that we don't need to do unless action proves to be necessary. Geometry guy 23:21, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
If any action is to be taken it should be a strike. Because "Wikipedia have put a notice on their site" is not news in the way that "Wikipedia articles are inaccessible" would be. And because we risk a boomerang if the story ends up being about edit-warring and slanted coverage on SOPA-related articles. If they're not visible, then that can't happen. --FormerIP (talk) 23:26, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
You do realize that you literally just suggested that it would be a good idea to cover up discussions and even article content because they might make WP look bad, right? This is funny to me because my understanding is that a lot of contributors spend their time reverting the edits of folks who try to cover up inconvenient truths in their articles... Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I really like your idea and think it would be an effective alternative to complete blanking of Wikipedia. (talk) 23:43, 11 December 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a good, less radical proposal (if/when) we get to that point. Crazynas t 00:48, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
This proposal is for a symbolic action. As it will not effect the economic use of en.wikipedia, I do not believe it would be effective in forcing a major English language state to change its law. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:50, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
If you are looking to impact the conomic use of, we could put on a 20-30 second timer that disables the "continue" button until it expires.--v/r - TP 20:48, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
That's an interesting proposal to convert the symbolic into the economic by attacking the speed of circulation of capital! That's a good pick. I've noted it below in a dissection of ideas coming forward. Fifelfoo (talk) 01:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I, too, think this is a good proposal.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:19, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Regarding my concern about the text and criticism of Wikipedia for condoning copyvios, I'd like to draw attention to this idea by Icedog, which I find rather appealing: it addresses potential criticism head on by suggesting, with humor, that Wikipedia has been taken down, in its entirety, because of the copyvios that some pages contain. Geometry guy 23:10, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
This proposal is great, and would probably garner support more easily than just blanking the site. sonia♫ 02:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I like this proposal too. Possibly a first step might be to put some type of message in the same place as the "donation banner"? Wikipedia could send a different type of web page or banners for computers in the Washington DC area <grin> • SbmeirowTalk • 04:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Great idea, TP. At the very least, that should be implemented on the Main Page. Rivertorch (talk) 05:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I like these ideas, but I feel like it won't be fair to those who are trying to get information. I understand this is quite an issue that needs to be tackled, but how about doing it so that people will at least understand it, but wouldn't distract them in any way from getting information (ex: blanking the logo without blanking the text OR blanking the logo and text with option to remove it). This is something that needs to be addressed. I think it's important that we make it so at least it doesn't become to obnoxious to have every single page and/or word blacked out. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 06:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
There definitely needs to be some information here if this blanking happens. Without it it will mostly be in wain, IMHO. But please also mention Protect IP in such information! This bill is almost as bad as SOPA, and is probably more likely to pass. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Forteller (talkcontribs) 12:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
  • I like this proposal, but only as a secondary option if there is not enough support for a complete strike. My first choice would be a site-wide blanking, ideally with a message about why we are temporarily blanking the site. Even if it only lasted for 24 hours I think it would send the right message and get enough news coverage. But so far the above proposal is my next choice. I didn't get to "!vote" on Jimmy's tentative proposal above, by the time I saw it it was already closed, but my "!vote" would have been "Strongly Support". It is not just necessary to show the government how the Wikipedia community feels, but to inform the public about SOPA and Protect IP - from my experience most people are not even aware of these bills, and the few who are really don't understand them or how they will affect the average internet user. Calling it an "anti-piracy" bill hides the real issues and makes people think it's not going to affect them as long as they don't download illegal music. SOPA and "Protect IP" are basically bills designed to enable the government to censor the internet, (among other things). And there are similar proposed bills and laws in countries other than the US as well.
To those who claim that supporting a "strike" or any kind of action sets some kind of precedent and will mean any user can now use Wikipedia however they want for their own political means, that is a simply ridiculous argument and a logical fallacy. This issue directly affects Wikipedia and any other place where information is freely available on the internet. I suggest people do some reading about this bill and the subject before claiming that this has nothing to do with Wikipedia and that this is some kind of personal political issue. It affects us all. Also, some people's comments led me to wonder whether or not they actually even read or understood Jimmy's proposal before "!voting", since some claimed that a "support" vote meant that the strike was definitely going to happen - the "!vote" was simply to gage the level of community support for/interest in an idea, not to determine whether it would happen or its specifics. MsBatfish (talk) 01:33, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Proportionate and effective responses

  1. The WMF should seriously investigate moving WMF operations out of the US. Publicise this. Embarass the US government, possibly affect SOPA, probably not. If necessary, have serious contingency plans ready. As a first step, of course, review the legal risks of SOPA and publish the conclusions. (Without this, the current discussion is pretty weak.)
  2. The community should do whatever it wants, but it should be a grassroots community response in order to be effective (like the Italian case) not a WMF move. Because of the discussion on this user talk page, that is now impossible, so the best thing is to do nothing, as a community. As individuals, of course, people can do what they like. Rd232 talk 02:54, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
What should they do, see if Sealand is for sale? Honestly, this entire affair is reaching new levels of absurd surrealism. Tarc (talk) 03:09, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps you should look up surrealism. What exactly is absurd about moving outside of a hostile legal jusridiction, or seriously investigating the possibility of moving when a previously hospitable one risks turning hostile? Rd232 talk 07:34, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
If the WMF moved out of the US, it would no longer be a US charity. Thus, US donations to it would no longer be tax deductible. It's a problem.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
There are Wikimedia chapters in the US that American donations could go to, just like for other countries... --Yair rand (talk) 09:20, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

While it is certainly possible in a highly theoretical sense for the Foundation to move out of the United States, it would be highly problematic for a number of reasons. For many reasons, even under SOPA, the United States would likely remain the best jurisdiction for our work. The First Amendment provides very strong protection for our work. The physical infrastructure of the office and the main servers are in the United States, and it would be extremely costly to move either. So while leaving the US is a theoretical possibility, it is not a threat we should make idly, and it isn't a very plausible threat unless things radically change. (Which they could, of course!)--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:18, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I was about to ask the same question. There's always the friendly nation of Tonga and their top level domain of .to where they maintain no WHOIS database and they have lax copyright laws.... Alatari (talk) 12:47, 12 December 2011 (UTC)


I am not sure how theoretical the issue of best juristiction is. There are very strong cross-currents in this matter. From a purely legal point of view, the USA is looking weaker and weaker as a candidate for the most useful jurisdiction for the WMF mission statement and long established goals. On the other hand there are clear signs that for purely pragmatic reasons of somewhat distateful monetary considerations even despite the US having hostile legislation in terms of what we are about, it may not be *yet* time to move out from it's jurisdiction. Iceland has a clearly superiour legislation in terms of what WMF wants to do, but as long as the US act's as a global bully, and appears to want to emulate China in terms of control of the internet/WWW, and Iceland is economically vulnerable to pressure, the idea of moving to Iceland may be a trap for the WMF; as an alternative jurisdiction. The important thing is to not get wrong footed; but absolutely have contingency planning in place. -- Cimon Avaro; on a pogostick. (talk) 19:46, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
"the United States would likely remain the best jurisdiction for our work." sounds like an unexamined assumption to me. Yes, moving would be very costly, but if SOPA is as much of a threat as you say, then it would certainly be a reasonable and proportionate response to consider the costs and benefits of moving, and to investigate under what conditions it would be better to move. This need not be cast as a "threat", since the move would hardly damage the US government. It's a question of contingency plans under extraordinary circumstances. Rd232 talk 18:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • To make a dramatic comparison, saying that if Wikipedia doesn't like a proposed law that affects it they should just move to a different country is similar to saying if people in your neighborhood are racist you should just move. I think right now we should be focussing on fighting these bills. In addition, as I said elsewhere (there are multiple threads where someone has suggested moving the servers), SOPA and Protect IP can still affect Wikipedia and it's users even if the site is based in another country. MsBatfish (talk) 06:16, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Strikes, voluntarism, and coercion

Usually, with a strike, those workers choosing to strike down tools, and those choosing not to work on as usual. Those not striking may be picketed and persuaded, but they can't be compelled to participate in the action. Given that, I've no problem if some/many Wikipedians choose to strike. However, blanking the site is quite a different matter. If someone blanks a good page, we revert, warn and then block. Are those of us who choose not to strike to be forbidden from doing that. If we revert blanking will be end up blocked. My point, a shut-down of Wikipedia would not be the equivalent of a volluntary strike at all - it would be the equivalent of the management of a service provider withdrawing its service in political protest - and instructing its employees to cease working. The management may well be the community rather that the WMF - but the notion of individuals choosing goes out the window. We're all compelled to be part of the protest - even those of us with no knowledge of US politics and law.---Scott Mac 12:06, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

You might want to look into how the Italian Wikipedia community handled it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 12:19, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I think you're wrong about "usually", Scott. Sometimes it is possible to work through a strike, but in many cases your place of work will be out-of-operation, or for reasons of health and safety or the practicality of you working, your employer may instruct you not to come in. --FormerIP (talk) 12:31, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but non-strikers get to record their protest at the strike by at least signing in and getting paid. The unions don't get to shut everyone out and then claim 100% support. Only management can do a lock-out.--Scott Mac 14:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay, so if everything is disabled except logging in, that should do it (?) --FormerIP (talk) 14:33, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
No it won't. I don't wish to "strike" - I want to go on as usual. I have no interest in this. If you want to strike, I won't prevent you - but please don't compel me to join you.--Scott Mac 14:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Me too! Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Blanking isn't a strike anyway. It's more than that - it's suspension of service. I don't know how you would go about implementing it but if we get to that stage I intend to break any "picket" line and make sure that it is trivially easy for our readers to re-obtain access to the site if needed (probably via browser plugin or a proxy). Anyone willing to help both with implementation & publicity, please do let me know (US media contacts in particular would be useful). --Errant (chat!) 14:36, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
It seems like, if it does happen, it will be geographically specific, so all that would be needed would be for people outside the US to offer VPN. Which, I guess, can't be prevented so, sure, go ahead. --FormerIP (talk) 14:40, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm with Scott. Johnny Friendly, out of the way.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:30, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I certainly agree that this would have elements of a lockout. Jimbo asserts that Wikipedia has elements of a monarchy and has talked about using his royal prerogative in the context of the recent Arbcom elections. The lack of a secret ballot and the put-downs delivered to some of the dissident voices (Cla86 Marek etc.) on this page means that this poll has all the democratic validity of the recent elections in Russia and the Congo.--Peter cohen (talk) 23:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
  • Except with en.wikipedia the workers are the managers; which leaves the hackneyed and largely incorrect exegesis of industrial relations above stripped of its explanatory metaphoric value. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:03, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
    • Indeed, and as perhaps a closer analogy, when a worker-owned cooperative votes to suspend operations in protest of something, operations are suspended, full-stop. --Delirium (talk) 22:04, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
      • And those who don't agree can leave, full stop. Is that what you are saying?--Scott Mac 22:41, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
        • That's how cooperatives work, yes. There are some limits to what extent WP:BOLD can override consensus. --Delirium (talk) 22:54, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
          • I didn't join a political cooperative. I joined an editing community. If Wikipedia is changing into something else, then a number of us may not wish to be part of that. But I suppose that's how it goes. At an rate, this is premature. It doesn't look like there's any consensus at all.--Scott Mac 23:28, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
            • It would be helpful if the WMF would issue a formal statement clarifying its position on this matter and on if Jimbo is really speaking for the WMF or not. Don't hold your breath for it, however. Cla68 (talk) 23:35, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
              • In fairness, it seems that Jimbo has stated clearly that he's trying to get information on how the community feels, not indicating that he or the WMF support this position (though it sounds like he does support it, at least). Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

This section is, of course, a total distraction, brought on by Jimbo himself referring to possible action as a "strike". If we can move past this inappropriate metaphor, then we may all benefit from further coherent discussion. Geometry guy 00:18, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

The English Wikipedia is, arguably, WMF's flagship project. Does Jimbo have the authority to solicit opinions on temporarily shutting the thing down without mandate from the WMF? Cla68 (talk) 06:02, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Of for crying out loud... are you still riding that bicycle? It's brain-dead obvious here that this is Jimbo-as-part-of-the-community. Would any of use need permission or mandate to solicit this input? --Errant (chat!) 09:26, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
No comment on whether Jimbo has authority (he says he's in contact with Sue - so that's certain), however when the Founder and senior board member comes and postulates a strike in support of his personal negotiations with US government (negotiations on behalf of the WMF), it is complete nonsense to maintain the pretence "he's just a community member having a discussion". Any action is intended to get publicity - the publicity will be "action called for and lead by Wikipedia founder Wales" not "this is just something the community spontaneously decided to do".--Scott Mac 10:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
As I've said elsewhere on the page, neither Sue nor the Board has ever suggested in any way that I need permission from them to ask a question of the community. The would frankly laugh at the notion, to be honest. It's a fantasy of people like Cla68 who has no business commenting on anything given his track record. Sue and I have been in constant communication and we're completely happy with the way we are progressing on this issue.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:03, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not doubting a word you're said. All I'm saying is that if your "question of the community" results in some form of public action, it will be impossible to project that as anything other than action initiated by the Founder of Wikipedia, and the only well-know face of the WMF. Whatever the reality, that perception is a no-brainier/.--Scott Mac 21:48, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I agree, Jimbo. For you to state otherwise really takes a lot of nerve, and most of the other editors here should, imo, feel insulted that you think their intelligence is low enough to actually believe this assertion of yours. Cla68 (talk) 22:51, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Huh? I don't even know what you are talking about. What assertion of mine takes some nerve? What did I say that should be viewed by other editors here as an insult to their intelligence? As for what Scott Mac said, it is absolutely true that if my opening this question to the community results in some kind of action, then it will be true that the action was initiated by me. I mean, I started the discussion. I'm not sure what I may have said that would have suggested anything other than that. Cla68 in his persistently bad-faith bad-attitude way asked if I had authority to ask the community. And I pointed out that no one has ever suggested that I need authority to ask the community. Sue certainly has never suggested in any way that I ought to get permission from her before starting a discussion - it would be strange and silly. That sort of idea is something that only a handful of people would ever think up. Cla68 is one of them. I find it entirely unhelpful and uninteresting when there is actually an important conversation going on here that he is disrupting.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:07, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Cla, you are saying you agree with me, and then saying something I don't recognise. I'm not accusing Jimmy of any type of bad faith. I'm happy to accept all he saying. I'm just saying that whatever the intention, if he starts a discussion, it will not be seen as a spontaneous community act - it will be seen as lead by the leader/Founder/WMF official that he is. I don't think he's insulting anyone. I'm just suggesting he can't escape obvious impressions, even with honest intentions.--Scott Mac 00:20, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I'm taking what you're saying further. Cla68 (talk) 00:30, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
?By adding some sort of evil conspiracy theory to it? I'd say that's like saying the the Apollo Programme was exactly the same as the invention of the skipping rope, only it went a bit further.--Scott Mac 01:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Let's face it though, if you or I had started this discussion, or any discussion like it, it would have ground into the dirt, regardless of the merits, whereas if Jimbo starts it at least it has a chance of going somewhere. Maybe Jimbo is correct about WP being a monarchy. It's something we probably ought to be ashamed of, but whose fault is it at the end of the day? While biding your time until the revolution, might it not be best to respond to the current proposal based on whether it is a good or bad idea? --FormerIP (talk) 00:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I've already said it is a terrible idea. For someone who doesn't care for the politics, a revolution is a bad idea, whether lead my a monarch or not. (Although if led by a monarch, it is strictly speaking a coup d'etat not a revolution.)--Scott Mac 01:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Cross post, Scott, sorry. I was replying to Cla86. My point is that it may suck that there is a leader on this type of thing, but its a bit juvenile just to oppose something because it comes from the leader. Oppose it because you think it is a bad idea, by all means. --FormerIP (talk) 01:57, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Many users who do not esteem or possess the (irrationally?) accorded rights to play around with process and consensus that Jimbo possess; like myself, might float the idea of an economic boycott action or symbolic protest on their talk page, form a cohesive body of editors interested in presenting a proposal, workshop a proposal on the Village pump page for workshopping (including workshopping the case against), then bring a proposal to pump and formally notify a bunch of other projects and wikipedians. This user could have easily noted on their well-watched talk: I'm going to workshop proposals around a wikipedian strike at this or that village pump to present in a few days. There is a little bit of a behavioural problem where this user perceives their own involvement in running a straw poll to be more decisive than developing community consensus around putting a proposal and then putting it. Process does matter as well; process especially matters where some people believe that a user ought to have the capacity to act outside of process. Fifelfoo (talk) 02:12, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I have realised after discussion that people may be able to misread my last comment in this section (02:12, 14 December 2011 (UTC)) as a reflection on Jimbo's personal conduct; or, as a suggestion that Jimbo behaved out of process in this instance. (Jimbo does possess reserve powers by community consent, see Wikipedia:Role of Jimmy Wales for details and for commentary on some administrative actions taken by Jimbo; they are characterised by a benign nature, and the most recently documented case indicates Jimbo's respect for community opinion). I was suggesting above that the community itself distorts actions by this user that would be normal (though in my view of this straw poll less than optimum process) in any other editor. I was suggesting above that the community itself is responsible for this process being atypical, because of the cultural position the community places Jimbo in by according him an atypical position in terms of Bourdieuian social capital. Jimbo is aware of this effect, and acts responsibly, and some members of the community observe his actions for continuing responsible action. The community needs to judge Jimbo's ideas on their merits, and when doing so, take collective responsibility for its own opinion for the ideas that Jimbo shares; the ideas that through sharing become community ideas. I apologise if I spoke unclearly, or poorly, and want to make very clear that the behavioural problem above is a behavioural problem in the community itself that can result in atypical process outcomes due to community ideas and action. Fifelfoo (talk) 20:51, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


One of the big policies around here is, don't disrupt things to make a point. In that regard actually physically modifying tens (hundreds?) of thousands of pages individually sounds highly disruptive.

And even so, due to the "anyone can edit" environment, there's nothing preventing people "out of the loop" coming along and reverting hundreds of pages back to the original state, resulting in an edit war of epic proportions by those in favor of the proposal and those opposed to it. The vandals would have a field day in the midst of this.

Whatever this is, it would need to be done at a level above the wiki, something that only the foundation and the site programmers can manage and control. Possibilities:

  • Database lock, read-only access for all editors and regular admins
  • An interstitial whole-page message or effect, inserted into every first-access and tracked by browser cookie so that regular users don't keep getting "hit" with it over and over (or at least, see it less frequently).
  • A huge vertically tall ad-banner similar to what is done already for donation drive, but the ad is taller than the browser window (or 2500 pixels tall if you can't read the browser window height).

    This does not damage the article content but pushes it waaaaaaaaaaaay down the screen, so that people can simply scroll down to view the "hidden" article content. The advantage is that infrastructure for this is already in place, and it can be hidden the same as the regular donation ads.

I still think it's stupid to drag the encyclopedia into this. But this implementation would at least do the least damage. DMahalko (talk) 15:08, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

The Italians implemented it through some Javascript; I do not know the details, but the site was still there, just not visible for the most part.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 15:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Oversized banner ad is the Occam Razor of all the ideas suggested so far. Allowed access if highly desired and the easiest implementation ever. Alatari (talk) 16:39, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

non-US points of view

This talk has been publicized on the French language Wikipedia today at fr:Wikipédia:Le_Bistro/12_décembre_2011#« La Wikipédia anglophone en grève ? ». My view is that if US users who are perhaps most able at understanding what is happening or what might happen decide that something should be done, I am in favour of extending the movement on the French speaking Wikipédia, accessed from France, as well. Some users expressed disagreement with both the Italian movement and what was understood to be something similar being proposed for the English language Wikipedia. I guess some newbies don't even know who "Jimbo" is, and I tried to explain as I could that he is not an obscure activist, but someone important for Wikipedia. I would be glad to know how other language communities are reacting. Teofilo talk 20:29, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

See #Blanking all Wikipedias? below. Americans won't care much if other language Wikipedias are hidden. But if passed this bill could affect the entire Internet and encourage other countries to censor once the U.S. does so. —innotata 14:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
There is also a discussion on Swedish Wikipedia: sv:Wikipedia:Bybrunnen#Föreslagen nedstängning av Wikipedia för att stoppa amerikanskt lagförslag. --Stefan2 (talk) 16:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
And on German Wikipedia too: de:Wikipedia:Kurier#SOPA: Wird die Wikipedia gesperrt, fragt Jimmy Wales and discussion page. The Italian Wikipedia protest had overwhelming support (+800 signatures) on de-wiki and I expect similar support for protest against SOPA. Remember, was actually blocked in Germany in 2008 (because of 1 article!) and only escaped full blocking because all Wikipedia language versions are hosted in the US. This is serious, and it concerns not just the US.--Atlasowa (talk) 17:55, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Think about what you are trying to accomplish

You are trying to send a message that the SOPA is crossing the line for the internet, because it gives too much power to corporations to shut down websites and cut off their funding -- even if Wikipedia is unlikely to be among them. Shutting down wikipedia can *illustrate* this, but consider the consequences. First of all, Wikipedia content is replicated elsewhere, so people would be able to get at least a recent copy of Wikipedia articles somewhere. But before you take such an action, consider when you will "pull your troops out". Certain countries have started "military campaigns" due to a very controversial reading of their constitution (ahem, [[8]]) , and it always became unclear when to pull out. I am worried that if Wikipedia goes down this road, it will likewise be unclear when to revert back. Suppose the SOPA is passed anyway. Will Wikipedia voluntarily be its first casualty? In that case, be aware that your attempt at a protest may very well get Wikipedia permanently removed from the internet. If you are supporting this action, please explain below what it will take for Wikipedia to go back online, or else why you think it is OK for Wikipedia to never reopen for business as a result of this brinksmanship. I would oppose because if we all know Wikipedia will be back whether or not SOPA passes, then it's not a credible threat at all, merely a protest -- which at the end of the day is worth shutting down the site. EGreg (talk) 23:21, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree. However, Jimbo has inadvertedly unleashed an army of IPs so I am uncertain what we can do about it.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Ah yes, it isn't WP:SOAP if you do it, now is it Jimmy? You can use your website for whatever you want. I don't care how many people advocate doing this, if they want to protest, let them set up their own website. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, let's just do what we do and leave the political grandstanding to someone else. Prodego talk 21:38, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Real metaphors from industrial relations

en.wikipedia is a large production unit, run on a community organisation model with features of the Firm, industrial democracy, consensus decision making and leadership cult. In the normal practice of production consensus rules. At the funding level, the Firm mentality, outside of en.wikipedia itself, dictates large scale budgets. Policy is developed through a system of !votes that amount to something between consensus and industrial democracy.

en.wikipedia's workforce is largely volunteer, with "paid" workers being paid by external agencies with specific agendas. The volunteer workforce predominates. Volunteers have responsibility for almost all management decisions, such that the workforce is effectively management. en.wikipedia can be seen as a self-managed worker's cooperative like Mondragon. One difference between en.wikipedia and other worker's cooperatives is that en.wikipedia editors are not paid.

The other difference, is that en.wikipedia gives away its product. The product differentiation between en.wikipedia and those who "clone" the database, is that en.wikipedia supplies:

  • currently updated articles, guaranteed to be the "original" product as edited by the community
  • community editing, that acts as a quality control (to a varyingly acceptable extent)

As en.wikipedia doesn't pay wages, and doesn't charge for its product, it can be seen as a "post commodity" economic unit. en.wikipedia is either the largest current economically socialist productive organisation in the world; or, the largest civil society volunteer project. Politically (as an object and practice; but not as a "supporter" of anything) this places en.wikipedia firmly in the heart of the "Enlightenment project" in either of its liberal-capitalist or democratic-socialist forms. This is not unusual: encyclopaedism has long been part of the Enlightenment project to popularise and democratise knowledge.

en.wikipedia's product is widely consumed, in particular by other information industry bodies such as newspapers, schools, Galleries Libraries Archives and Museums and politicians. We could effectively withhold currency and quality in wikipedia content from these bodies as part of an action.

Of use here, is William Foote Whyte, Kathleen King Whyte "Coping with Internal Conflict" in Making Mondragón: the growth and dynamics of the worker cooperative complex (pp. 91–102); which discusses strikes from internal causes in Mondragon.

Encyclopaedists may feel, reasonably, that this situation threatens or does not threaten the encyclopaedic process. Encyclopaedists may feel, reasonably, that taking action or not taking action would threaten the encyclopaedic process.

Drawing on the conversation above, I'm going to suggest there are three types of action en.wikipedia can take in the face of external threat from corporate apparatus or state apparatus:

  • symbolic action that pleads with the other to resolve the problem
  • economic or political action that directly affects the other and places immediate material pressure upon them to force them to resolve the issue with us
  • direct action that ignores the other and solves the problem

I would argue that direct action is the most effective solution to the current problem. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Symbolic action

Symbolic action is much like protest: it attempts to plead with a powerful other for them to change their mind. In the case of en.wikipedia's products (currency and quality) we could:

  • Advertise via:
    • Front page messages
    • Top of page messages
    • Black borders
    • Click through advertisements
  • One day "strikes":
    • Blankings or selective blankings

All of these actions assume that the state apparatus wants to listen to us and incorporate our views. These techniques closely relate to the protests, community meetings, petitions, letters to the editor or politician, symbolic one day strikes, or symbolic work bans that people may be familiar with from their general life. Many editors who have taken such actions will have a preformed opinion on the efficacy and efficiency of pursuing such actions when facing a government that does not wish to listen to the people. My suggestion is that lobbying by WMF, public figures, and other information industry organisations is already sufficient for this; and, that the state does not wish to negotiate with us. Therefore: taking symbolic action would be self-defeating if the aim is to prevent a US law affecting the quality of the encyclopaedic project. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't agree there. Your analysis posits a monolithic state which has already made up its mind and which does not wish to listen to the people (also implied to be a monolithic entity). But what we have is a bunch of congress critters with various motivations who are trying to figure out what to do. They don't know a lot about the subject and aren't particularly committed to an ideological position on this. They want to be re-elected, want the esteem of their peers, don't want to look foolish, want what's best for the United States and their party, and who knows what other motivations. They will tend to favor big business, but the industries pushing this bill are not Wall Street banks, they're small potatoes (relatively) and do not have unlimited clout. I think that symbolic action is the best and probably only avenue. lobbying by WMF, public figures, and other information industry organizations are not sufficient, every additional bit helps. Congress critters do pay attention to their mail, of that I am certain, and symbolic action by the Wikipedia is mainly a way (and possibly a good way) to generate volumes of this. Herostratus (talk) 07:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't need to posit a monolithic bourgeois position. However, the limited capacity of the bourgeois institutions opposed to this to substantively change the law means that either: the bourgeois opposition is limited in its lobbing capacity or economic clout. As far as what popular opposition (ie opposition from the working class in the broadest sense of people who work for a living) can do to prevent immediate US laws from passing can do I am highly doubtful. In addition to this, I don't see symbolic action by en.wikipedia as capable of inspiring the mass of popular opposition required to make the capacity of popular opposition to overturn law an issue. I therefore believe that economic or direct action is required by the section of the working class involved in providing en.wikipedia. Such action may inspire heightened symbolic opposition by a larger popular group as a side effect. I do accept that two rational analysts such as ourselves can reasonably come to different conclusions from the evidence placed before us, and you present your case ably here, thank you for doing so. Fifelfoo (talk) 07:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Economic or political action

Economic or political action is hitting them where they hurt, over an issue of policy, that we want to force them to change. Evaluating the successfulness of this strategy would depend on the amount of "harm" we could inflict. It could comprise:

  • Indefinite blankings or selective blankings called off by:
    • Win or fail
    • Community reevaluation of cost
  • Periodic, selective or rolling blankings selected by:
    • Topic
    • IP range
    • Random
  • Restricting viewing the encyclopaedia to:
    • Non-logged in users
    • Certain IP ranges (US government for example, or corporate supporters of the bill)
    • All those except users who meet certain criteria ("active" editors, etc.)
  • Increasing the economic cost to outside agents of using wikipedia:
    • Click throughs or hassles with a 20–30 second timer on the click through. The additional time cost of this would have an economic effect on institutional uses of en.wikipedia (I am indebted to user TParis for this suggestion)

These techniques rely on disrupting the flow of capital, or the capacity of other institutions to function. They resemble the sit-down strike, lockout, political boycott, voluntary restriction on trade and work-in in many ways. Many editors may not be familiar with taking these actions. They can win. They are often very costly for the organisation or group taking action, as well as their "opposition," and have the potential to divide communities permanently as words like "scab" or "illegal striker" get thrown about. Even when conducted creatively with periodic actions, or selective actions, the cost can be high. en.wikipedia would need to sufficiently damage the political esteem of the responsible state apparatus, or the economic value of its opposition, more than the cost of their bill not passing. Given that the bill is about the long term survival of information as a saleable commodity, the time-cost horizons of en.wikipedia's opponents are very very long indeed; and, in fact may comprise the "survival of capitalism as such" in the final analysis. If our opponents perceive this as a survival issue, then I would suggest we are far less powerful than they are. If they perceive this as a 2% profit issue over 20 years, we may be stronger in this domain. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Very insightful analysis. Whatever action is taken needs to get the maximum people pissed off enough to contact their congressional representative and say vote against SOPA. Thus only restricting to certain government and corporate domains will not be effective. Restricting to only logged in users maybe the right move but will need some empirical data on it's effect and adjustment made mid protest if it's not effective. We will certainly encourage more sign ups! Alatari (talk) 12:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
If the protest goes on too long there is a small chance of a Wikipedia competitor gaining enough power to become an alternative to WP. Alatari (talk) 12:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Generally, if parliament listened to constituent complaints (pissed off people contacting their representatives), we'd be able to use symbolic action only. The injury to the economic system of withdrawing wikipedia's use, or ease of use, would be intended to directly influence profitability or other accumulations of value in the agents supporting the law affecting the encyclopaedic project. I very strongly agree with you about setting aims in terms of effectiveness, and revisiting things on a set schedule. Allowing your opponents to trap you into a hypermilitant position is not a good thing. Particularly when the point of the action is to form a negotiated agreement or acceptable situation without destroying one's opponents. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Direct action

Direct action means solving the problem at its source while ignoring, dismissing or routing around the problem of your opponents. Given that the problem is US law in particular, and the attempt of states to intervene in general, a direct action solution would mean:

  • removing en.wikipedia's domain name, servers and IP routing from any possibility of state intervention against it. This may include supplying suitable proxies to our primary editor body (editors in the US). This would require expert legal and technical advice.
  • removing en.wikipedia's funding stream from the potential threat of state seizure or interference. This would require expert legal and organisational advice at a level above en.wikipedia.
  • other long term alternatives are available but do not directly relate to defending the encyclopaedic process from outside attack.

While these techniques have a high pay-off (freedom from interference from US, or any state's laws) they similarly impose high legal, organisational and potentially technical costs which en.wikipedia editors themselves cannot directly action with en.wikipedia. We could "symbolically" request that our allies in WMF, and other related projects, look at how to achieve these in a cost efficient, and a legally and technically effective way. It does, however, mean abandoning individual editors to the US law. I would suggest integrating these techniques with elements of the techniques above, if other encyclopaedists feel that the encyclopaedia is threatened. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:59, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, we can deny the current version. We cannot deny recent past versions which in most cases will satisfy the customer. How effective is that?--Wehwalt (talk) 09:52, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Depends. There's a lot of lag time for institutional uses of wikipedia where they can barely scrape together the programming money to serve dynamic content; they serve out of our site. I expect that a significant portion of "added content" is derived in this way, and not from db-dump based mirrors. Correspondingly the kind of users who could confuse a computer with a teletypewriter will experience upset—my assumption is that this demographic includes a number of politicians and their advisors. Competent users will experience a greater offence and upset. The chief risk would be alienating users: locking ourselves out of editing would be bloody stupid. Editing wikipedia is not part of wikipedia's use in the circulation of value, it isn't commodifiable, it isn't commercialisable. Whether removing the guarantees of currency and quality would be sufficient economically to force a government down is a matter of debate. I have suggestions on that front, which is why I'd suggest following some of the Italian Fiat plant industrial strategies from the 1970s including "checkerboard strikes" that desynchronised production, for example, blanking all US government related content for one week, and all Hollywood content the next, etc. States are highly resistant to strikes that directly threaten their capacity to make law. Then again, symbolic protest ends with people lying down and never getting back up because they're missing the back half of their head as they believed that cops were their friends. Fifelfoo (talk) 10:07, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the 1949 strike worked out well for Labor, didn't it? They won the election. Oh wait, they didn't. But they won the next one. Oh wait, they didn't either. But they won the one after that. Um, no. I could go on with this for quite a while, Fifelfoo. We are already seeing unintended side effects, people flooding into Wikipedia with an agenda of A) support the strike and B) (we don't know yet).--Wehwalt (talk) 10:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, but the CPA also got fucked by the 1949 strike, massive membership losses, entire unions lost to groupers or protestant labor "rights." Another example of taking on the state and losing is of course the British General Strike, the social ramifications of scabbing in that one continue to today. As you've noted well above—the talk page of a somewhat inactive editor isn't the best place to develop policy to defend the encyclopaedia. And as you noted immediately above: watch the trots come into the meeting shouting with their newspapers as soon as someone says the "s" word. They've no investment in the economic or cultural life of the community, want to engage in pigheaded confrontationalism without strategy or withdrawal, and fuck off as soon as its time for hard work. Fifelfoo (talk) 10:44, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Very true. I believe this falls under certain statutes relating to unintended consequences. And let's face it, the music companies do have a point, they are playing whack a mole. I expect that this will wind up with some compromise and we, the committed editors of Wikipedia, will be picking up the pieces while Jimbo's off sailing with Tony Blair.--Wehwalt (talk) 13:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

This discussion in the news

Just FYI, see what others are saying about a potential Wikipedia blackout, in this Huffington Post article. Read the comments to see what their readers think about the discussion here. First Light (talk) 04:04, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Oh it is all over the web! And since we can't stop IPs from coming in, this means that this poll means ... it means ... um, nothing.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:10, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
It means, maybe it did exactly what Jimbo wanted it to do? Crazynas t 10:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
You think a handful of IPs is bad? Just wait until the Ron Paul fan club finds out about this. I'm surprised they haven't flooded this page already... Vyvyan Basterd (talk) 11:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
All the new influx voters are putting their name first under the poll heading in order to be seen and in violation of normal talk page etiquette. This could be the largest talk page growth in WP history... Alatari (talk) 12:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
With all respect to Jimbo (serious), I am uncertain that he thought through all the consequences of summoning spirits from the vasty deep, when they came when he called.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:57, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Nothing is a greater problem than an unexpected success. Fifelfoo (talk) 21:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Nothing in the German press, by the way. They are still occupied with the Bell Pottinger case. In the Dutch press now De Telegraaf seems to be the first who mentions the possible blackout of en.WP. Ziko (talk) 16:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
small note on Spiegel -- Cherubino (talk) 17:49, 13 December 2011 (UTC) PS Stern, Intern


We can't let failing industries (movie and music distributors) take away internet freedom to protect their walled gardens. While originally not a horrible bill in its original intent, SOPA goes way to far. The EU and other places are already putting laws in place to protect sites in their own countries from SOPA action. The US does not get to dictate the laws of the internet. The citizens of the internet get to decide this. I strongly support the blanking of wikipedia to stop SOPA from being enacted and even something akin to what Tumblr did by making it easy for people to call/email their representatives and tell them to oppose this awful bill. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:00, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

SOPA versus Wikimedia's new terms of use

Isn't there a possibility of double standard between what Wikimedia is expecting from US lawmakers to provide for itself: to provide legal certainty, legal predictability, and freedom to do its activities on the internet, and what Wikimedia is imposing to its users: the new terms of use. If Jay Walsh is right in calling the SOPA "reckless", then should we not study whether we have to call the Wikimedia Foundation's new terms of use also "reckless"? Until October the draft terms of use had a section called Indemnity imposing every single user to indemnify and hold us [Wikimedia] harmless from and against all costs, including any expense or liability arising from all claims, losses, damages. That section was removed. But I don't know if the latest version is better. Because I am not a lawyer. As far as I know, we have not seen a single lawyer studying the new terms of use and saying if those terms of use are good from the point of view of the contributing user. Perhaps the Wikimedia Foundation is feeling insecure because of what US lawmakers are doing, but I am feeling insecure because of what the Wikimedia foundation's lawyers are doing. The Wikimedia Foundation is increasingly taking the shape of an army of lawyers, and the unarmed contributing user cannot help but have a feeling of fragility and danger. Teofilo talk 09:23, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't think there is anything for users to fear from the new terms of use, which are not revolutionary in any aspect. They mainly codify and clarify what has already been the case for a very long time. There are many lawyers in the community, and I (and the Foundation) invite feedback. Can you be more specific about what provisions you think are frightening to you?--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:37, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Will we have to agree to the Terms of Use before every post? How will you determine if any IP reader of the encyclopedia is agreeing to the TOS? -Alatari (talk) 12:40, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo, it's hard to believe that you understand how concerned users feel about the new Terms of Use when you haven't participated in the discussions on meta:Talk:Terms_of_use. Instead of asking, "Can you be more specific about what provisions you think are frightening to you?" how about you take a trip to that talk page, answer questions, and leave comments? That'll give you the insight you need. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:30, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Get your own house in order first

and allow users to remove the thousands upon thousands of copyright violations (not valid fair use, actual copyright violations masquerading as fair use) that exist on enwiki without people (including a not insignificant number of admins and even people on ArbCom) wikilawyering about it. Anything else is complete hypocrisy. (talk) 19:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Feel free.--v/r - TP 20:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm interested in seeing some of these violations. Could somebody point some out for me? Tom Reedy (talk) 23:50, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
There are pages of possibly unfree files. Frankly I'm baffled by this discussion, the poll, etc., which just came to my attention. I had been under the impression that Wikipedia takes a strong line against copyright infringement. We clamp down hard on that. While I understand the passion against that new law, does anyone really think that it endangers Wikipedia? ScottyBerg (talk) 04:50, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Our general counsel has given his opinion on it at the Wikimedia blog: [9]. Summary: Yes, he sure does. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:04, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the link. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:12, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
[Approve of Wikipedia warning] Isn't there already a formal legal process (DRM take-down notice) for requesting material be taken offline? Wikipedia has made it easy for rights holders to find works that in the opinion of the "world" might be in violation, so we provide a free service and easy path to following legal procedures, right? I think it is very reasonable to believe that in fact the rights holders do want those pictures up, as it is free advertisement to a huge audience. If they aren't submitting a take-down request, why should anyone else believe more than they what their wishes are for those works? And it's rather clear that the vast majority of many thousands of contributors to Wikipedia like to share their digital creations with everyone under share-alike liberal terms. Considering the vast quantity of very useful information posted here attracting lots of both pens and eyeballs, we certainly have a great argument that there is much value to contributing to Wikipedia and being featured in Wikipedia. These very important points aside, fair use possibly allows educational use of any particular copyrighted material in whole or in part, especially for essentially noncommercial purposes and as a public service to help educate, record history, and promote further creation, just as intended by copyright law. Even this aside, with SOPA we are talking about educating the public and warning them about consequences of possibly imminent changes to the law that could truly disrupt and destroy this Wikipedia public service. As a user of Wikipedia, I would love for them to warn me about such important pending legislation. Hozelda (talk) 21:30, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Tracking new edits in this discussion?

(Side comment, not related to the issue at hand.)

Wiki talk is commonly hard to follow. This very vigorous discussion in particular is very hard to follow since edits may occur anywhere from start to end and anywhere in-between. Is there some programmatic way to make page reading easier to find the newest content without having to scan the entire page, such as highlighting of newest edits, with a color fade effect for progressively older edits?

Maybe have a different color for highlighting each previous day's edits? (Blue = today, red = day-1, orange = day-2, magenta = day-3, green = day-4, black = all else)

DMahalko (talk) 05:21, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

How to kill SOPA

If we want to take a stand that defeats SOPA, all we have to do is this: promise to blank Wikipedia the day Obama signs the bill into law. That would firmly link SOPA to him, alienating an important electorate in the middle of a tough reelection campaign. The media would have a field day with it, and Obama's team knows he can't afford that kind of bad PR. That would likely spell SOPA's doom (at least until 2013). --JaGatalk 17:19, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I wouldn't support this. Targeting a new law is one thing, targeting any candidate or person is a completely different subject. --v/r - TP 21:51, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Besides, from what I can remember, we do not know which side is on, for the act or against it. In addition, doing it on the day he signs it would mean that SOPA would still become a law if he is for the act. (talk) 14:13, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Doesn't SOPA at all take copyright owners consent into account?

I've just glanced through the suggested text, and there was one thing I didn't find. This may be due to to reading too fast; if so, please correct me. However, I found nothing about there being a prerequisite that the copyright owner does not allow the dissemination of copyrighted material. If the material has commersial value, but is not yet distributed commersially, and you distribute it, then the commersial value of each copy is estimated, and multiplied with the numbers of copies made available, in order to decide whether to take action or not.

I found nothing that said that you shouldn't be equally guilty, whether or not the copyright owner permitted the dissemination of the material. There are some caveats, but they concern whether or not you may make a financial gain by the dissemination. Have I missed something obvious, or do the proponents just consider CC licensing as non-existent?

PS: If Wikimedia were not US-based, but that were the only thing preventing action against it under SOPA, then it by definition were a foreign infringing site and as such anyhow due for sanctions. JoergenB (talk) 22:43, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


Jimbo, above you mention lobbyists working on behalf of Wikipedia and/or the WMF. Could you please give the name of the lobbying firm or the registered lobbying agent who is doing this work? Is the expense for theses lobbyists itemized in the WMF's annual report? Thank you. Cla68 (talk) 01:24, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

I also ask for answers to these questions.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:22, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

This may be only in the EU at present.[10][11] (talk) 10:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Most interesting. However, Jimbo referred to paid lobbyists in the context of an American bill, so I would imagine that is DC-oriented.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:53, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Before I answer, I'd like to spend a moment, as usual, and likely without positve result as usual, calling Cla68 out for his persistent tendency to be hostile in his tone, and to assume bad faith at every possible opportunity. The name of the firm is Dow Lohnes, and they were recommended to us by Mike Godwin. And of course all the accounting will be done properly and reporting done according to the best practices of our accountants.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 11:16, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

What hostility? I note a please, and a thank you - so it cannot be tone. It must be the subject of the questions, although I would be hard put to see what of itself is objetionable - as they seem legitimate ones (and have been answered as such). Perhaps it is the habit of one or two editors to ask questions regarding the conduct of the business Wikipedia; one which I think is laudable, if transparency is to be maintained. I am pleased to see, however, that the query was answered (and I would not attempt to guess in what manner of tone). Very disappointing. LessHeard vanU (talk) 13:50, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I think it is hostile and juvenile to ask "Is the expense for these lobbyists itemized in the WMF's annual report?" As if we're running some kind of secret slush fund or something. The answer is that we follow the law carefully, have a top notch financial staff and a top notch auditing firm. Cla68 is no newcomer - he knows or should know what the answer to the question is going to be.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
What you've done is assumed bad faith on Cla68's part.--Cube lurker (talk) 16:15, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
It's not an assumption. It's a fact proven multiple times over a long period of time.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:32, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
FWIW, I agree with Jimbo on this one (even if I disagree entirely with his proposal) -- I don't really see where all these suspicions of untruthful or misleading information are coming from, and Jimbo has been very clear about the parameters of this discussion and how they relate to his believes and the WMF Karthik Sarma (talk) 01:33, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
That's strange. I contacted Dow Lohnes and asked them if they were representing wikipedia. Their response was "no." Is there some sort of mistake? (talk) 15:34, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I read the query the same exact way as Wales. Aggressive. Then again, I read Wikipedia Review, so I don't need a scorecard... Carrite (talk) 03:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I can't think of a single reason why I should think that you're telling the truth. --Jimbo Wales (talk) 16:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
I was just looking through Dow Lohnes's registration records with the House and Senate. They do have a few clients, though I'm sure they would like to forget Bernard Madoff Investments! I didn't see WMF, but I understand there is a 45-day grace period after hiring. I can't get a stable URL, but it's all public record and searchable.--Wehwalt (talk) 18:07, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

My gawd...Cla68, is there ever any end to your baited questions?MONGO 18:11, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

MONGO, Cla68 is orders of magnitude nicer than a couple of the people Larry Sanger had to deal with when he was here, and yet Jimbo never seemed to have a problem with that. In fact, Jimbo has a history of not assuming good faith and disrespecting the projects most important editors, like Giano and Bishonen, and now Cla68. These editors have created dozens of featured articles - they are vested in the project and care deeply about it. Jimbo simply cannot expect the project's top contributes to behave like sycophants. If Jimbo wants respect, he might consider giving some where due. --PumknPi (talk) 18:51, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
No one doubts the contributions of the contributors you mention. However, I stand by my comment.MONGO 20:07, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

Interesting that Dow Lohnes is a redlink, there are quite a few hits for them on Google news. Mark Arsten (talk) 21:22, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

It wasn't always a redlink. Given the "Bell Pottinger affair", the history of the article is interesting too. --SB_Johnny | talk 22:18, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Ahh, silly me, I should have noticed that. I can't see the history, but there is a bit of irony considering the closer's comments. Mark Arsten (talk) 22:45, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Yeah, that's not fair. Article restored (since they're presumably notable), so you can see the history now. --SB_Johnny | talk 23:21, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Hey thanks, I'll take a look at the history and maybe try to improve the article a bit. Mark Arsten (talk) 06:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
  • If the WMF has hired a professional lobbyist, then there should have been some mention of it in this year's or next year's publically-released budgets. Jimbo, how much has the WMF allocated for lobbying expenses for 2012, and will it be increasing that amount in order to fight against the SOPA bill? If so, how much? Cla68 (talk) 23:06, 12 December 2011 (UTC)
Given the above discussion, allow me to add a few points. The Wikimedia Foundation has been considering a number of approaches with respect to the proposed SOPA legislation. As one would expect when troublesome pieces of legislation are pending on the Hill, we are working with an established Washington firm, Dow Lohnes, to advise us on the status of the different bills and the political environment surrounding those bills. They are invaluable for understanding the political processes and timing of the different pieces of proposed legislation. We may hire other firms as well, depending on our needs (e.g., PR). We have considered the possibility of seeking to influence the legislation by discrete amendments, but, in the end, we have chosen to launch a strong public opposition to SOPA.
Just this afternoon, we received a 71-page new version of the bill ("Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to HR 3261"). Mark-up on the bill is scheduled for Thursday.
We are reviewing the new bill with our Washington firm. There may be significant changes from the original version. I intend to report back after our analysis is done (and welcome any analysis from the community).
The primary share of the budget for this comes out of the legal budget, which I will allocate according to our needs re SOPA. We of course are complying with registration and reporting requirements.
Needless to say, we applaud the community’s opposition to this legislation as it sees fit, and we, at the Foundation, look forward to supporting all efforts to strike down any version of this legislation that attacks the Internet so directly.
Geoffbrigham (talk) 00:53, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
An interesting article. Geoffbrigham (talk) 01:42, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
This just in from Washington: Although no guarantee for accuracy, it is reported that the Judiciary committee plans on voting on the new version of SOPA Tuesday morning. Geoffbrigham (talk) 02:08, 13 December 2011 (UTC) Correction/Update: With no guarantee for accuracy, we received a new report that the vote will in fact be after the Thursday markup. If I hear differently, I will post here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 12:25, 13 December 2011 (UTC) Now told there is a 50/50 chance of the vote taking place. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Geoff, a slight correction. The community does not oppose SOPA, or support it, pending a fair process in a neutral forum. Individual members of the community have expressed opposition for SOPA in the context of a poll on Jimbo's talk page. It may be impossible to have any process on this given the widespread publicity. However, do not characterize the community's position based on three days' polling on Jimbo's talk page, with him breathing down the neck of the opposers. That's enough to chill debate, far more than SOPA.--Wehwalt (talk) 09:27, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
"breathing down the neck of the opposers"? What does that mean? I'm not breathing down anyone's neck.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:41, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
@Wehwalt. I probably could have been clearer when I said "as it sees fit," and I appreciate your calling that out. The Foundation did not agree with SOPA in its original version (and we are reviewing the new version of the bill released yesterday). That said, at the Foundation, we believe that any decision to stage a protest on-wiki, such as shutting down the site or putting a banner at the top, is completely a community decision, which the community is free to endorse or reject obviously without pressure from the Foundation. We will defer to the community on whatever decision, if any, it makes with respect to an on-wiki protest. To the extent there is a need, we at the Foundation are happy to provide support, such as posting summaries of the implications of SOPA and explaining the next legislatives steps as we learn more about them. As I understand, Jimmy is seeking to lead the community in making a thoughtful smart decision about whether and how to protest SOPA, and we intend to play a support role in whatever the community decides. Geoffbrigham (talk) 11:14, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
@Jimbo, I'm referring to your "hostile and paranoid" comment, your comments to Cla68, your comment to TCO, and the comments you made to the first opposer, whose name escapes me. If I called other editors hostile and paranoid, I probably wouldn't be blocked, but I'd probably attract some highly negative talk page comments. I will simply say that it didn't improve the tone of the discussion, and placed you in a poorer position than if you had remained above it (something which is difficult, I admit). I gather that you and Cla68 have a history, but it would have been better to simply address the content of his comments and leave it at that. TCO can be provocative, but he did make valid points. It can be very confusing, sometimes you are Joe Editor, sometimes you speak ex cathedra, but it is hard to know which is which. You have to realize, Jimbo, that from your bully pulpit, everything you say is magnified. Your expressed disapproval can have a chilling effect. That being said, you are far more accessible (and I am sure take a lot more crap from the community) than most people in your position, and I'm grateful for that. (@Geoff, I need to think about what you wrote before any response, although I may leave it at that)--Wehwalt (talk) 11:19, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
If I've ever had any chilling effect on the stuff coming out of Cla68's mouth, it's been imperceptible.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 14:58, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The man is allowed to have an opinion on his own proposal (just like any of us), you know, and he's certainly allowed to challenge others (again, just like any of us if we submitted our own proposal). Basically, you are asking him to remove himself from discussion where he might disapprove of an editor's opinion. Why does it matter who Jimbo is if he forms a reasonable counterargument to someone's opinion on this (or any other) matter? I, Jethrobot drop me a line (note: not a bot!) 19:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
Jimbo is hardly the only one who expresses a strong opinion on Cla68. I used much stronger words when he came to my talk page. [12] This seems to have had a small effect, in that he shut up for 36 hours. [13] On the other hand, Jimbo's comment above doesn't appear to have troubled Cla68 much. [14] My own experience with Jimbo reacting graciously when I criticise him in public also makes me sure that you are completely on the wrong track here, Wehwalt. Hans Adler 09:17, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

For those who may be interested: In hopes of providing some help to the community as it considers these issues, I have posted a blog on SOPA, including a summary of the new amendment as well as an outline of the legislative process. Geoffbrigham (talk) 06:31, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks for making this available, Geoffbrigham. Fifelfoo (talk) 09:23, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Many thanks also. I'm gathering that the burden would not fall on Wikipedia, as it is not a non-US site, and only under unusual circumstances could we have legal difficulties (and that assuming we are found to be an internet search engine, which I'm rather dubious about). --Wehwalt (talk) 10:09, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Yepp, thanks. I amended my !vote accordingly; nonetheless, the prospect of having to regularly scrape the entire site for illegal external links is kinda daunting. If that really becomes law, someone should start thinking about building some sort of global bot; I doubt anyone would want to do this by hand... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 10:52, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
That is true, it would be inconvenient. However, it is certainly feasible and OTRS could handle any specific complaints. That would keep us on the straight and narrow. However, this thing now has momentum, and I suspect it will take time for it to burn itself out. What I fear is that there are enough people who like the idea of a strike and aren't too particular about the issue.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:27, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I fully support your move to black out Wiki to protest the horrendous perversion of American rights that is SOPA.

I thought that SOPA was a joke, an online hoax when I first read about it. What a complete and total travesty. Anyone that disputes the Wiki blackout clearly doesn't have two feet on the ground, and takes things for granted way too much. I'm sick and tired of losing rights as a law abiding American. I won't even start in with how few rights I have as a white male American to begin with...

Blanking all Wikipedias?

Hi Jimbo,

I am an editor of huwiki, and I don't understand precisely if your proposal concerns enwiki only or all of different language Wikipedias? However, I support the idea for defending our freedom. Bináris (talk) 10:32, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

I think that whatever might happen in each Wikipedia language, it should be up to that community. Having said that, I think that making an effective public point to the US Congress could be done mainly via English Wikipedia. Sad to say, but our politicians are traditionally barely even aware that the rest of the world exists, and probably don't care a bit about Hungarian Wikipedia. I also think, to be clear, that whether and what to do here depends on a lot of thinking about impact and timing, about a particular end goal and measures of success or failure.
I had a great conversation with Larry Lessig yesterday. As many of you probably know, he has turned his attention increasingly to the problem of corruption/money in politics, particularly US politics. He is excited about the idea of a strike here, in the sense that it is important that somehow, some way, we begin in the US to get a bigger voice for ordinary people as against moneyed interests. At the same time, he wisely cautioned that we not get into the problem that "Occupy Wall Street" faces in which there is no particular end goal, no particular "victory" (or loss), so it is difficult for people to join a protest that they aren't sure will be effective.
Can we galvanize literally hundreds of thousands of people to call their Congressional representatives to demand that SOPA be killed, in favor of OPEN as an alternative? If so, if we can get the timing right, that's very interesting. If not, if we can't really make something happen, then there's less of a point to it.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 10:54, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Thank you and good luck! Bináris (talk) 11:20, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Hi Jimbo,
I work on our Occupy Wall Street articles. Through my work on the articles I'm familiar with Lawrence Lessig, and I have edited his article as well. While you say that you recently spoke with him and believe that he has offered wise words about the "problem" that has beset OWS (no end goal, hence no particular "victory"), I hope that you will keep an open mind about the possibility that it is the very lack of a predetermined goal that has caused the movement to grow from a few hundred, to a few thousand, to where it is today: a world-wide Occupy movement. I have worked for some time in work-place problem solving and the first stage to successful problem solving is brainstorming, which is essentially where the movement is today. I can hardly say how important it is to not skip this first step when one is looking for successful and lasting solutions. It is during this stage that each personality has the chance to be a Somebody not just anybody, and the group begins to come together and learn, almost instinctively, how to work as a team. Only then are they ready to start setting specific goals that have been discussed and decided on by the group as a whole. This is where the movement is today - see our article Occupy Our Homes, the first "official" group to come out of the OWS General Assembly. It is important to note that that these initial goals and victories are not at all the lofty Lessig- type goals, but rather one home rescued and one mother and child with a roof over their heads, etc. Please take the time to read this article written by Douglas Rushkoff: [15] It's a new age Jimbo, and as the inventor of Wikipedia I'm sure that you know that better than most! Gandydancer (talk) 14:57, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
They've made some noise, and a bit of ruckus - and the media loved it ;) but without a firm goal there is nothing for them to achieve but disruption. Because if it gets to the point where a politician turns round and says "so how do we appease these people" the answer is "you can't". This is the point of anarchy. OWS got big not because of being non-specific, or by capturing hearts and minds. It was big because it made the news. You might call me a cynic for that, but unfortunately it is true :) --Errant (chat!) 15:07, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
A quick glance at the articles he mentioned makes me feel that the articles would benefit from being looked at by other editors. However, YMMV.--Wehwalt (talk) 16:50, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it's a bit of a whitewash that is going on there. But honestly I simply don't have the energy for that fight :) --Errant (chat!) 09:57, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

This has already made the news

Doing a Yahoo News search for SOPA and Wikipedia,[16] Wikipedia has already become the story in some parts: SfweeklyYahooYahooYahooYahooThe InquirerThe RegisterTorrentfreakWebpronewsITNewsThe AtlanticThe Atlantic WireZDNetThe TelegraphMashable I think we're already at the point where this RfC is notable enough for a stand-alone article! ;) (But I think SOPA has room enough for now) Wnt (talk) 21:18, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Yes, after all it was just between Jimbo, you, me, and his 2,500 other talk page stalkers!  :) Seriously, I suspect the threat has had whatever affect it has had, and the effect of actually doing it would be marginal.--Wehwalt (talk) 21:34, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
I still think we should address the blacking-out of words of whole pages during this suspected blackout. As I mentioned before, I think people should still be able to get to Wikipedia during that time, but I feel like there should be an option to turn off the blacked-out or blocked words without having to go to farther lengths (a.k.a. mirror sites (by the way, I'm not that big of a technology expert, so I have no idea what those are)). I feel like it is important to address SOPA and how it might affect websites like this if it is passed, HOWEVER, please do not take Wikipedia offline and/or block and/or blackout words at the expense of others. Jim, if you are reading this, I hope you will take this into consideration. Also, another idea I was thinking about. How about a modified Wikipedia logo (blacked-out, of course), and state an urgent letter at the top of the page. I think this will attract more people without distracting them from their business and/or searching the website. Please take these ideas into consideration before Thursday, PLEASE. Also, one other concern I have is the length of this event. Please let me know how long this event would be scheduled for, if it takes place. Again, I am pleading you to consider the preceding and at least have any of these options available to your website if and when this takes place, PLEASE. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 23:15, 13 December 2011 (UTC)
The Italian Wikipedia just had all articles to go a message explaining what their bill was, why it was going to hurt the site, and that was it. You couldn't access the articles in any way, shape, or form; only the message in different languages. I don't know where you're getting the idea that the blackout refers to covering over random words (which would be a pain to implement). The main debates appear to be whether we're going to follow the Italian Wikipedia's method completely (as it worked wonders) or allow people to go to the site after seeing a message explaining the bill, whether this would affect registered users, and whether this would affect US users only or the entire planet. Mirror sites are other sites that had the same set of data at a certain point. However, sites that mirror Wikipedia usually copy our articles to their site, and don't synchronize after that first copying (it'd be too much trouble, even if they weren't just creating a POV coat rack). The content of Wikia sites and so forth won't be affected. Ian.thomson (talk) 04:13, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Like I said, I'm not a tech expert. I'm just expressing my concern over articles not being accessed during this protest (which I'm hoping will only be for a day or less than a day). --Radiokid1010 (talk) 17:33, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Support; whack-a-mole

I use Wiki every day, but will gladly forgo it a while to show Congress we are serious about SOPA. (talk) 07:58, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

If we were serious about SOPA, we would be going for public campaign finance because otherwise SOPA will just keep coming back as new bills, amendments, or riders until it passes or the entertainment industry lobbyists run out of money, with less and less lead time until it gets rammed through. Going on strike doesn't work against whack-a-mole. (talk) 08:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The whack-a-mole has already begun: from -- everyone can go celebrate now that SOPA is defeated. (talk) 19:30, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Supreme Court challenge inevitable if SOPO passed

Though it is certainly preferable that the SOPO bill fails, I would not worry too much. If it passes, there is certain to be a First Amendment (Freedom of speech for non-Americans) challenge which I believe from other Supreme Court challenges, would be successful. Freedom of speech is one of, if not the most important freedoms we hold dear and brings together almost every group of Americans, even those groups otherwise opposed to each other, to defend it. See Supreme Court website and also and List of United States Supreme Court cases involving the First Amendment. Mugginsx (talk) 12:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC) Here are more. They are legion in number:

Well, not even counting that a challenge to the SCOTUS is beyond the reach of most victims of a bill like this – let alone those in foreign jurisdictions – that's a little like saying "Don't worry if he breaks your legs, you can always use a cast to fix them afterwards." That the bill is likely to be challenged in court will not prevent its damaging and chilling effects to be felt for years while the battle goes on, and does not guarantee that the court will eventually rule on the substance. — Coren (talk) 14:24, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Not necessarily years. Since the bill is Federal and not State - it will not go through all the lower courts. Also cases like this often get tagged with the other cases closer to be heard or if they are deemed important enough they are "fast tracked'. As to your analogy, I am talking reality not wishful thinking and as to foreign countries, sadly, they will have to fight their own battles and without looking, some like England, probably are already doing so. The reality is this is a proposed U.S. bill. I do think we should all vigoursly call and/or write our Congressman and indeed everyone on the Committee that proposed it - also the ACLU. In fact, it would be great for Wikipedia to align with the ACLU who is on top of this Internet freedom issue already. I will give this site again for convenience. and within that site: (talk) 14:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The Supreme Court had its share of good decisions, but it also had Dred Scott v. Sandford, Schenck v. United States, and Korematsu v. United States. It's the court of last resort, and the less often we need to rely on it, the better. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 14:54, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Another way to fight a bill is to request "Congressional Hearings" on it through contact with the committee involved House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and your individual Congressman. The ACLU is before Congress all the time discussing proposed bills. If you head an Organization or are a person of interest, you can directly contact Congress and ask to be a Witness. It is really quite simple but not a sure thing. I do not know if hearings are planned for this bill or not but it certainly can be ascertained and then we would have to find people likewise aligned to our cause. Sometimes such allegiances create "odd bed-fellows" but one must unite for strength. One person can be ignored but an organization and its leader cannot be ignored. Looks like they held a ONE DAY hearing Nov 16. Would have to press for more if possible. Evidently they want to force this down our throats with as little discussion as possinle. As to the horrible Dred Scott decision mentioned, unfortunately, so far, no one has found Utopia, if anyone does let me know and I will pack my bags.Mugginsx (talk) 15:08, 14 December 2011 .(UTC)
I remember when idiots passed the Communications Decency Act. It was hit very quickly with an injunction - no serious effort was ever made to ban people from saying dirty words, not even for a day. The principal danger here is to president Obama - if he were dumb enough to sign the thing, progressive supporters could be so disgusted that they stay home or vote Nader like in 2000. Wnt (talk) 15:23, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
That makes good sense as to both statements. Right now we should find out where the bill actually is, i.e., is it out of committee and ready for a vote, or still floundering for support. Will see what I can find though I am not a lawyer and somewhat rusty as to legal research, I did create and give Congressional Testimony in 1973 for veterans' court which eventually passed though highly contested sadly by some of the leaders of the Veteran's Groups who received and still receive millions every year because they are Congressional chartered. They came through in the end. Others in the law, and not retired like me, should be recruited to the cause.Mugginsx (talk) 15:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
"Freedom of speech is one of, if not the most important freedoms we hold dear and brings together almost every group of Americans, even those groups otherwise opposed to each other, to defend it." You're right. I heard even the Occupy Movement was coming to the Tea Party's defense over those tax audits.--v/r - TP 15:36, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Strange bed-fellows indeed. OK SOPO has received significant static as has been "revised" according to this Dec 13 news item so now we have to go farther and find out if there is still a chance for hearing. That is very important. Will keep checking. Mugginsx (talk) 15:41, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
According to this: there is another hearing TOMORROW. Here is a COUNTER-PROPOSAL: It states that the Motion Picture Industry - which is the prime mover and shaker on these kinds of bills do not like the proposed compromise. Also, far be it for me to tell anyone how to vote but since he can't be voted out since he was not voted in - this guy should surely go: Mugginsx (talk) 15:54, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
That counter-proposal is now known as the OPEN Act. Wnt (talk) 17:35, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Conclusion to my Comments:

What could help now is 1) for wikipedia lawyers to call House Judiciary Committee and ask to be heard either tomorrow or at another hearing created which would be also open to the public. They could also enjoin with ACLU and other organizations involved.
2) Individual Wikipedians can call there individual congressmen plus House Judicial Committee Head Washington Rep. Lamar Smith R. Texas D.C. Office 2409 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 202-225-4236 202-225-8628 fax and compromise proposer: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), . I already did.
If all that fails and the bill passes then we are back to the intial discussion.
Now I must go. Her Majesty, Queen Melissa, my dog, beckons me. She is hungry. Mugginsx (talk) 16:35, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Huh. I look at the recent edits of Mugginsx and see this standard-bearer of uncensored information deletes the official website of person in that person's article. He says it fail the rule that "The linked content primarily covers the area for which the subject of the article is notable". The official site of the person. I don't believe he is an honest person. (talk) 17:48, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Don't embarass yourself further, you are mistaking me for another editor here on this page whose name I am not going to mention. Check the edit history again to see who you really mean. I never touched that article nor did anything you stated above. I edit only one name and always have, unlike you. Concentrate. Mugginsx (talk) 10:38, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I've already made my call and e-mail and I am willing to support Wikipedia's decision to close if necessary to fight it. - (talk) 17:14, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't agree that every single article should be taken offline just because of this. I understand it's important. But remember, people have to use Wikipedia to work and/or study. By taking every single article offline, even for just one day, it can, maybe will (if we're not careful), cause controversy to the millions of people who will visit the page tomorrow, and find only one single page is open for everyone to see. I agree on a page we can visit to hear and learn more about SOPA and what it might do if passed, but I don't want it to interfere on people's lives and/or businesses. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 19:34, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


Perdonen si escribo esto en español pero es la unica manera de expresar mis ideas, no se redactar en ingles.

La iniciativa SOPA es un atentado para todos en la red, quieren imponer nuevamente sus leyes en un lugar que de verdad es de libre albedrio.

Estan tan desesperados por hacerlo desde hace tiempo, (antes de que nosotros "la gente" nos salgamos de control o mas bien de su control), no es por copyright es por la libertad en la red.

Les gustaria que nuevamente unos cuantos decidan que debemos y que no debemos ver?

Es eso lo que quieren?

Por fin encontramos un lugar donde podemos de verdad ser libres ¿vamos a dejar que nos lo quiten? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:06, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Translation of above:

Sorry if I write it in Spanish but is the only way to express my ideas, not writing in English. The initiative is an attempt SOUP for everyone in the network, again trying to impose its laws in a place that truly is free will. They are so desperate to do it in a while (before we "the people" we get out of control or rather of his control), it is no copyright is freedom in the network. They would like a few back and decide that we should not see? Is that what you want? We finally found a place we can truly be free are we going to let us take it away?

Calabe1992 17:10, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

If I understand you correctly, yes, this law is an attempt to control our words and what we create or see on the internet.
Si he entendido correctamente, sí, esta ley es un intento para controlar nuestras palabras y lo que podemos crear o ver en internet. Mugginsx (talk) 17:33, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I don't know Spanish very well but I took a shot at translation:

Sorry if I write this in Spanish but it is the only way to express my ideas; I don't know how to write them in English.
The SOPA initiative is an attack on everyone in the Internet, that seeks to newly impose their laws in a place that is truly free.
They are so desperate to do it while there is time, (before we "the people" get out of control or rather out of their control); it is not because of copyright, it is because of the freedom of the Internet.
It pleases them to begin sometimes to decide what we should see and what we should not see?
Is that what they want?
We finally found a place where we can truly be free - are we going to let it be taken away from us?

Wnt (talk) 18:35, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Weird idea:

If SOPA passes, blank and block wikipedia for all US-goverment IPs (Congress, Library of Congress, the White House, Department of Defense, the whole list)... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 17:41, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Whoa whoa whoa...let's not get crazy here. That'd effectively ban me (I mostly edit at work). I'm not the one pushing this law.--v/r - TP 21:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
You could still edit, just have your account set IP Block Exempt. I assume those agencies would be blocked via IP, so if you're block exempt, I can only imagine you'd be able to circumvent that.  BarkingFish  13:07, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
You're a government employee, and you edit at work? *sigh* That's where our tax-dollars go... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 16:42, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

More help from Spain

Perdón, pero yo tampoco sé redactar en inglés y las traducciones online comenten muchos errores.

Luché en España contra el canon establecido por la SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores), he luchado recientemente por la Ley Sinde y no quiero dejar de sumarme a esta lucha internacional por la Libertad en todos los países y para todos los sitios en Internet y especialmente en este momento para una Wikipedia LIBRE.

Resite, Wikipedia!!! Somos muchos los que apoyamos!!! --Aylaroble (talk) 17:41, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


Sorry, but I do not know write in English and translations online comment many mistakes.

I fought in Spain against the canon established by the SGAE (General Society of Authors), have struggled recently by Law Sinde and I do wish to join the international fight for freedom in all countries and for all sites on the Internet and especially now for a FREE Wikipedia.

Resit, Wikipedia! Many of us support!

--Radiokid1010 (talk) 18:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Organizations supporting SOPA

By far the most powerful advocacy I've seen for SOPA is at Forbes, which attempts to isolate opponents as being Google and a few free speech crazies, and claims "In addition to having strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate and strong backing from the Administration, SOPA/PIPA enjoy the political support of: The Fraternal Order of Police, the National Governors Association, The National Conference of Legislatures, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, The National Association of Attorneys General, the Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, hundreds of businesses, the AFL-CIO and 22 trade unions, the National Consumers League, and over a hundred associations representing industries throughout the economy which are harmed by online piracy." Above I suggested we might want a Wikiproject for this, and this is an example of where that matters. For example, how did the AFL-CIO come to support this, and who at the AFL-CIO was for or against? We need hundreds of people - people who are members or associated with all these groups and organizations - to dive deep into the specifics and bring fire and sword to each and every individual office holder in them who decided to acquiesce to this, until they take the opportunity to reconsider their position. It should not be difficult for them to do so, because probably most of them supported some vague idea from PROTECT-IP in principle without necessarily saying that they back companies doing "deep packet inspection" of (i.e. reading) everything you access online. But we need numbers here, diversity, outreach. Can we get there? Wnt (talk) 17:43, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

I do not doubt you for a minute but could you find links which show this other than "political websites'? If that is your source I believe it might just be political posturing. I know that the Justice dept., has tried to make it a "terroist" issue and the Motion Picture Industry is bleeding money, but what about these others you mentioned. Who states these organizations are for SOPO? Thank you. Mugginsx (talk) 17:50, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't have reason to think that Forbes is being especially inaccurate here. Some of these organizations are listed at the SOPA article already (which also lists some companies omitted above). I would of course welcome any counter-evidence. I was thinking to update the SOPA article with information from the Forbes article sometime fairly soon, if someone doesn't beat me to it. Wnt (talk) 17:58, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Yes, the link to Forbes has individuals links which do, indeed express their individual support for SOPO, the primary sources. Mugginsx (talk) 18:07, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I hate to say this, but what is SOFO? I did a Yahoo News search for it and came up with nothing likely, and Google's top hits don't inform me either, and we don't have anything here on Wikipedia about it. Wnt (talk) 18:14, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Oops! Corrected it. Mugginsx (talk) 18:23, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Another view

The possible problem is that many people in the U.S. see SOPA as being admirable in principle - the issue is what many on Wikipedia see as being an attack on Wikipedia in some way. For Wikipedia to say "It is bad so we shall hold our breath until we turn blue" (the "strike" system) actually will not make any legislator change his or her mind.

Wikipedia and its lobbyists would be far better advised to point out the unintended consequences of the proposal which are undesireable from the view of Wikipedia, and work on reasoned amendments to prevent what is opposed, rather than engage in what would appear to be histrionics to those legislators. "Oppose it all" is not a winning position in politics. This is a statement of fact as to how legislation is formed. Collect (talk) 17:55, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The weird thing is, a person in the U.S. is indoctrinated about how fundamental and self-evident and important free speech is, and yet the moment someone wants it to go away, these beliefs become "histrionics" and "technotopianism" and the object of mockery. There's no small amendment to make to SOPA, because either you believe that Internet providers should be given the task of making sure you don't read the wrong thing, or you don't. The OPEN Act is the closest viable alternative, and even that is something I don't want. Wnt (talk) 18:19, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Histrionics is a somewhat of a judgmental term but yes, as I said in the beginning, the First Amendment is probably the most cherished one and in the wording of the constitutional challeges "a slippery slope" or something which means the same thing, is often found. It is also used in media outlets and in casual converations by individuals. Coincidentally, Daniel Ellsberg is on my TV right now talking about free speech and the Pentagon Papers.Mugginsx (talk) 18:27, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Nope. and you appear to conflate what the First Amendment does and does not do. Copyright violation is not protected under the First Amendment. Nor, per SCOTUS, does it permit one to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Nor does the First Amendment protect pornography, nor libel, nor a host of other issues (including "hate speech" and "commercial speech" inter alia).
The case of John Peter Zenger shows the antecedents of the amendment. I suggest you familiarize yourself with that person, and the discussions abot the Bill of Rights made at the time of adoption of that First Amendment. And if you want no laws at all regarding the Internet, you are quite likely to be disappointed - there will be laws, and the way to work is within the normal legisative process. Cheers. Collect (talk) 18:32, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't know if you are aware of it, but the "Shouting fire in a crowded theater" example is from the Schenck v. United States decision, which nowadays is generally regarded as one of the low points of the supreme court, and certainly not compatible with the current interpretation of the First Amendment. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 21:11, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Copyright Law violations are subject to the First Amendment see one of many: . Everyone knows the exceptions to the First Amendment. They are notable because of their rareness. The Supreme Court decision you mentioned and your interpretation of whether or not the decision was wise is immaterial as it is the law unless and until it is overturned - Your points only proves how free speech is historically cherished and that there are very few exceptions to the First Amendment. This discussion is all about working within the law. Mugginsx (talk) 18:34, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The First Amendment should protect all of these things (as I said above, I even agree with the Citizens United decision). It is all too clear that abandoning any point to censors, however small or peculiar, is always a mistake. It isn't just that there is an ideological "slippery slope" because either censorship is wrong or it isn't; the problem is more than censors are of genuinely evil intent and will find no moral qualm in exploiting any possible loophole for any purpose they can. For example, the current scheme is being "justified" because Google and some others "voluntarily" developed "filters" to block child pornography; their willingness to give a little on an issue where censorship has not been properly opposed by the ACLU and other activists has left them now where they could be legally required to let any joker with a story block them from telling people what any site says. And the only "benefit" they have to show for that is that they didn't infringe on the $4 billion black market for child porn and put kidnappers and rapists out of a paying business. Likewise the infamous "fire in a crowded theater" was just a ploy to put draft protesters in jail - there were since cases where they did catch kids who yelled "fire" (or "Black Hand") in a theater and they never managed to prosecute them because they always said they'd seen/smelled something and there's no way to prove them wrong. The real answer was to have enough exits for people to escape theaters. Every justification ever given for censorship - even those the ACLU is afraid to argue against - is just plain wrong. And so it is vital that we don't accept any new loopholes for censorship, things never accepted before, things you could drive a truck through, out of some foolish notion of being consistent with those erroneous instances. Wnt (talk) 18:53, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The exceptions you mentioned are few and narrowly expressed. If anyone really thinks that pornography is forbidden they need only to go to the newstand or the red-light district of any large city. Child pornography is another matter of course. As to copyright laws, I photocopied a book recently which translated a fourteenth century chronicler and they would not do it for me for fear of copyright violation, and they were correct. The translation was in copyright, not the chronicle itself. The violation would have been not to photocopy but to publicize in some way. The reality is that these exceptions are few and narrowly expressed as you have clearly defined. If, however, you are saying that there should be no exceptions to the First Amendment I would have to respectfully disagree. Mugginsx (talk) 19:05, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
I really think "Congress shall make no law... abridging freedom ... of the press" is a clear and correct principle. "...except if they think they have some good reason" is not in the constitution, except as presently interpreted. Whether or not people have the courage to argue to every logical conclusion right now, we certainly must not consent to forfeit the debate. If we have faith in ideals that work whenever and wherever we allow them to work, we will not be disappointed with the outcome wherever they lead us. Wnt (talk) 16:32, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

How long will Wikipedia shut down tomorrow for?

I'm very curious. How long will the English Wikipedia be shut down in protest of SOPA tomorrow for? A day, maybe? Because I can't survive or work here in Wikipedia while it is shut down. I don't know how long. --Angeldeb82 (talk) 18:44, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Same here. I'm even trying to see if there is some agreement we can all come too, where every article can be accessed without being blocked/blacked-out. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 19:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)


I'd like to see a clear strike for reasonable copyright and a strike against unreasonable law.

Reasonable law is that which the 99.9% normal netizens, worldwide, can live with; though it will have to be decided country by country to start with. I would wish my work to be paid for and would keep my prices down to what can be afforded. I expect the great monopolies to do the same or go away with the dinosaurs if that proves to be their mentality. Our next strike could be a limited time strike against monopoly branded media. It would not be an earth shattering revolution but would show that netizens are to be taken seriously. We create content and consume it.

Wikipedia could post some trial 'On Strike' screens that would give notice and example to other sites that are interested in standing up for morality in business on the net. Then Go on STRIKE hard and firm if it becomes necessary to deter the overdose of censorship and regulation that SOPA wishes for. If the Web gets watered down to the status of network TV nobody will want it and it will dry up. We are protecting the great media monopolies, too, by considering well planned strike action to enforce responsible behaviour by them, aren't we?Geo Wade (talk) 18:51, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

This is somewhat of an aside, but look here: Mugginsx (talk) 18:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

YES! Protest SOPA by blocking all English Wikipedia!

I think blocking all English Wikipedia will show an example of just how damaging SOPA would be if passed. An email I received had this to say: From: Fight For The Future

Want a window into the minds of our opponents? Former Senator Chris Dodd -- head of the Motion Picture Association of America -- says that China censors its Internet, so we can too:

"When the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites or they couldn't do [business] in their country, they managed to figure out how to block sites."

These are the voices our lawmakers listen to. If we're going to win, we need to drown them out before TOMORROW's committee vote on SOPA.

First, and most importantly, please click here to make a call or send an email -- it'll really only take a couple of minutes. (actual link: )

Even if you've called already, call again. Today is that important. The House Judiciary Committee will likely pass the Stop Online Piracy Act tomorrow, and once the bill moves out of committee, the House can pass it at any time. We could be just days away from seeing internet censorship pass in the House.

Second, urge your friends and family to call Congress today. END OF EMAIL

"It works for China, so we can do it too." The problem with that is China is a Socialist/Communist country, they have taken and held extreme control of its people. Has our government forgotten our history of fighting (granted not always justly so) that ideal of government rule? This country supposedly prides itself on being so called revolutionary in being a free country, a Democracy. This to me is an attack on privacy, the 1st Amendment, worldwide social networking, and internet businesses currently existing and start-ups. Mr. Wales, by all means make a statement! We need voices like yours to show and tell this government that SOPA is not ok.

I agree that we must do something to stop SOPA from passing, but blocking ALL of the website from access to people I feel is a little extreme. Though it may sound reasonable to the majority of people seeing this, I still don't believe it should be fair for those who use Wikipedia for instructional and/or business purposes. And it would cause alot of confusion to people visiting the website. I'm hoping we can all work on a reasonable agreement so people can see full articles on English Wikipedia without blanking/blocking pages from access. Please make it reasonable for the benefit of everyone. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 19:25, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, the blanking/strike wouldn't work if it /didn't/ interfere with the normal use of people who wouldn't normally be involved in this debate. I mean, it's not as if we're thinking about blanking the page to remind ourselves that we're protesting... I, for one, am counting on high-school papers not being turned in on time, employees killing time at work finding their usual infotainment missing, and a whole lot of IPs who don't really consider themselves part of a broader Internet community (much less part of the WP community, though they really are, by virtue of their use) stopping and thinking about what is going on and why. US Congress, as many people have pointed out, wouldn't care less if one website shuts itself down in protest if it were not for the fact that /a whole lot of people/ will notice something is going on - something bad enough to engage a large-scale project like WP.
How many IPs visit Wikipedia every day? How many people depend on it - and take it for granted - as a banal information resource that have never heard of SOPA or PROTECT IP? No, congress does not give a flying f-k about some dorks/experts who advocate for a free Internet (as with any issue - congress despises logical argument or "brainy talk"), but they really, really depend on dupes and IPs being unaware that this legislation exists - or at least unaware that anybody opposes it. When it's our word (backed up by several huge companies they know and trust, for better or worse) against the US Congress, I'm pretty sure the IP masses will take our side. DigitalHoodoo (talk) 21:33, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

NEW Wikipedia Protest Idea

I have an idea for *tomorrow's* protest. Now, keep in mind, people rely on Wikipedia for educational, instructional, informative and business purposes, so I feel that this would cater to both sides, those who agree to have the website taken down, and those who use it in daily life. My idea is simple. Create a huge banner on the homepage of Wikipedia, with an explanation of SOPA and list of reasons why you should oppose it and tell people to contact their local congressmen. While this protest is still taking place, we also keep all of Wikipedia's articles online (may I also suggest a banner at the top of the page?). I feel like this idea would be much better to everyone than shutting down and/or blanking out the whole website. I understand SOPA is an issue we need to tackle, but it shouldn't infringe anyone from visiting the website to search for an article. Also, keep in mind that the issue of SOPA hasn't gotten that much mainstream media attention, so my feeling is that people would get confused as to why Wikipedia is offline, and it could cause a negative up-stir, even to ordinary users like myself who use the website for informational and/or busineese purposes. Please keep an open mind to this. I think this suggestion would work. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 19:54, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Is the protest really tomorrow? Was there an announcement? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 00:32, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Well, this is just in case it actually happens. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 00:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)


Hi Mr. Wales, Would you be willing to do a short interview over IRC about SOPA, and the possibility of enwp shutting down for OpenGlobe? Pilif12p 20:47, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Another Point

I have not been able to access or read the whole SOPA/PIPA bill, but from what I am seeing, this is a bill made up of several hundred pages filled with enough slight-of-hand, double-talk language that to make a carnival barker green with envy. This bill is very closely tied to the National Defense Authorization Act, and gives control of the internet as "open and without warrant" access to everything, including Internet, web, SMS, email, and text, in order to gather evidence against anyone at any time for the purpose of anti-terrorist investigations. Anything posted to the Internet/Web by any user, which uses any transmission medium under US jurisdiction in whole or in part, is subject to scrutiny, reverse engineering, disassembly, seizure, and submission as evidence in any arrest for any reason. The very same people who criticized the warrantless wiretapping have not only extended the same program of intrusion, but they now want control of the internet.

One of the talking points the administration uses is that the bill "only effects the US jurisdictions. Another is that the legislation intended to stop online piracy. Under the name of the PIPA, it also intends to prevent real online threats to economic creativity and theft of intellectual property, according to its title. The problem is that all these provisions already exist under copyright law. If, for some reason, there needs to be an update in the law to reflect the newest and brightest in technology, the law should be updated there, not with a freedom stripping bill like these.My question is this: How much of all internet traffic, regardless of where it is generated or received, passes through computers, servers, mirrors, or any other media the internet/web uses that are under either US jurisdiction, properties, protection, territories or laws?

The same greedy billionaires are supporting both of these bills. When that happens all too often the one bill they are pushing is so egregious that the legislators will pass the other before realizing how destructive it is. Looking at the list of organizations supporting this draconian legislation I am not surprised to find that, with the disturbing exception of Forbes, all of the proponents have two things in common. That they support SOPA/PIPA, and they supported the massive Socialist rally on the Mall 2010, which was sponsored by the CommunistPartyUSA.

Is this bill political posturing? In the sense that it puts certain politicians in positions to further their careers, probably not; In the sense that this puts certain political idealogy into place for future political administrations to turn the United States of America, a nation of rights into a nation of laws, where the government, not nature, hands out privileges as opposed to rights to the people, and the government of the people becomes the people of the government, you better believe it is.

If there is a total blackout of WikiMedia, or even a total blackout out of the entire internet, the government won't care. In fact, it will be doing them a favor. It is well within the capability of Congress to pass a bill such as this to take significant control over the internet, and in another bill hide a provision that will effectively nationalize the internet as we know it. As long as the ICC and the President's Communications "adviser" are making the laws, congress has little to say about it.

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to assemble, and redress of grievances are the cornerstones of a Republic. Fascist, socialist, communist, democratic or any form of totalitarian governments will not work as long as any one of those cornerstones are in place. Pursuit of happiness means ownership of property, and that includes intellectual property. If one writes or creates something, then posts it to the internet, the ownership is retained. Under SOPA/PIPA the government assumes ownership of uploaded property. What we are developing here is an inverted totalitarian government. Until the inertia toward this form of government is stopped, we will continue to compromise away our freedoms.

"The most dangerous witness in a court of law is precedent." - John Adams Precedent has evolved from one of the most carefully sheltered forms of latitude in court cases to the point where lawyers can't seem to substantiate charges without it, and using great license in bending it around their motives has become a necessity and an artform. Once this law is passed, there will not ever again be a time when someone couldn't bring charges based on the precedent of "We've used the internet before, and with the SOPA/PIPA laws on the books there's nothing we can't restrict or control."

Please understand that I'm not a theorist, nor am I trying to turn this into an opportunity for a polical rant. I'm bringing up some points that have not been addressed to this point. Davjohn (talk) 21:10, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Davjohn, having now read a little on the subject, I can understand the concerns that have been raised. A "strike" of Wikipedia is simply a publicity gesture, to draw attention to the dangers raised by the bill. I think it's a good idea. ScottyBerg (talk) 21:14, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Is this a protest... or a necessity?

We all know wikipedia occasionally suffers from plagiarized material and copyrighted content... some people work to clean this up but many are content with changing a few words, or adding a section or two.

So the question here is if wikipedia is shutting down in protest... or because they know that under the new law they'll be responsible for their content; and as such will have to clean up. Possibly even implement a method of preventing illegal content from making it's way onto the servers.

Honestly though, this is rather funny. There are MANY people who only use wikipedia because it's the first result that pops up. Who wouldn't be affected in the slightest if wikipedia went down (though they'll complain about it). And I'd dare say that the majority of you all wouldn't be affected either (other than losing your massive toy sandbox) because wikipedia isn't the world. The internet is quite expansive, you could use the SECOND link that pops up to know what some random thing was that you'll forget in 5 min.

That Jimbo would consider himself so important as to have more power than the government... it's just funny XD — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:49, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

What do you mean "more power than the government"? The American government is elected (and essentially run) by the people. Granted, the theory of the U.S. government's operation is different from the practice, but your statement reflects an ignorance of how politics works in the country.--WaltCip (talk) 23:29, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
Hm.. IP tracks to Florida... where one guy won and the other became president. So... Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:35, 14 December 2011 (UTC)
The 2000 Fla election is a dead issue. If you want to be taken seriously, please come up with a more substantial argument. There are far too many important things happening for us to be concerned about than wasting our time on this. Gore lost, conceded, then reversed himself. We're facing a point in our history where the 175 year shift from being a Republic to a Democracy is being railroaded into a shift into an oligarchic form of socialism within one administration. That's part of the danger of SOPA/PIPA and the forthcoming bills this would give teeth to. SOPA/PIPA is not only a crushing of personal rights, it will become a far reaching political, legislative, and judicial weapon. Perhaps it isn't intended to be used to support charges of "crimes against the state", "political prosecutions", and many other totalitarian tactics, but once these laws are on the books, it's only a matter of time before someone reaches for the "availability of last ditch drastic measures" and uses them as such. Once that door is opened, that will never close. Our government is no longer run by the people. It hasn't been for a long time. Oh, and just for further clarity, the party that changed the electoral process from Representative vote to the candidate collecting all electors from the state is the party that lost when the Supreme Court was forced to decide the 2000 election. If you would like to address this further, let's take it off list. Davjohn (talk) 16:37, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

It's now Thursday where I am

Am I right to think that the extent of our protest has been to hold a pointless discussion? I hope not. --FormerIP (talk) 00:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

While there was a quite bracing little straw poll, nobody has shepherded a discussion with a concrete proposal through a consensus process; so, currently, the extent of our protest has been to hold a pointless discussion and get some media on it. If you've got the time and energy you could take a proposed action to a village pump. Fifelfoo (talk) 00:17, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I don't, sadly. --FormerIP (talk) 00:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Okay I've had a go at village pump. Let's see. --FormerIP (talk) 00:36, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

As Wales has stated:

To be clear, this is NOT a vote on whether or not to have a strike. This is merely a straw poll to indicate overall interest. If this poll is firmly 'opposed' then I'll know that now. But even if this poll is firmly in 'support' we'd obviously go through a much longer process to get some kind of consensus around parameters, triggers, and timing.

This process was meant to have a long deliberation period concerning implementation after the polling concluded. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 00:53, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

But time waits for no-one. --FormerIP (talk) 01:30, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
WP:JIMBOSAID isn't a good argument behind particular processes in an encyclopaedia ruled by the quality of argument and the consensus process. The proposal FormerIP put needed to be put. It was part of the actual result of the straw poll and consensus development (I won't say building, as a consensus was not built) here. There were three or four mentions of Thursday, and an emphasis on the process occurring within the state apparatus today in the extensive discussion above—a proposal about action today needed to be put. And it was defeated. Whether the results of this are a "long deliberation period" or anything else depends on which editor/s begin workshopping or proposing concrete actions. We cannot rely upon this talk page's owner for the cultural and process stewardship of this: a very large community of editors stepped forward to intelligently support and oppose, and most importantly comment on, the idea of taking action in general. This community of interest has a responsibility to move the 4:1 feeling in favour of some kind of action forward in consensus building or intelligent opposition. I admire FormerIP for stepping forward when no-one else did and putting a position that was one of the natural results of the extensive discussion above. FormerIP's behaviour has been exemplary, both in the BOLDness of FormerIP, and in their magnanimity in accepting the community's discussion. It was an especially important thing to do because of some of the time pressure expressed above, and it is good that the community has chosen to clearly reject time pressure based actions. But now, another editor needs to step forward and start a workshopping process, or produce a concrete proposal. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:57, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Fifelfoo. You know, I didn't really expect the proposal to succeed, but I thought that rather than just being lame, we should at least drag ourselves up to the level of being decisively and democratically lame. --FormerIP (talk) 15:05, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
The time for a protest was never going to be this week - that's much too fast for us to make a decision. The vote on Thursday, if it happens, is a vote of the House Judiciary Committee. This has been one of the best shots at getting it changed substantially, and it has changed substantially already. There are many more steps to the process, and we'll be mapping those out and looking for ideal moments to have maximum influence on the process. There is time to build consensus around what is going to be done.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 09:32, 15 December 2011 (UTC) (talk) 18:53, 15 December 2011 (UTC)Can someone post a link to further discussion and help clean this up? Other than overwhelming strong/firm support, hard to glean much
See Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative and Wikipedia_talk:SOPA_initiative. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 19:33, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Concrete proposal - please vote all over again

Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)#Turn_Wikipedia_off_RfC--FormerIP (talk) 00:40, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

"English Wikipedia articles will be made inaccessible to everyone geolocate-able to the United States from one minute past midnight EST on Thursday to midnight PST on Thursday."

Did you really create a RfC that'll last less than five hours? More time and deliberation is needed to plan this out. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 01:13, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

This lacks any credibility as a consensus building process, as no result of a "5 hour" RFC would be considered meaningful. Could someone take the bold move to pre-emptively close it on that basis? -- (talk) 01:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
You could do that. --FormerIP (talk) 01:58, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Not really, going back to bed is more important at the moment. -- (talk) 02:00, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
May I propose that if we decide to block Wikipedia in protest of SOPA, we only make it 24 hours or less (the last proposal was a 27 hour block). It just doesn't seem fair or make much sense doing it any longer. I'd also like to see this discussion be expanded to social networking to spread the word (may I also suggest trying this again after Christmas, when things are at least less stressful for all of us). Forgive me by the way if it sounds like I'm rushing things, but I'm hoping that I can get some of these questions cleared up just in case this topic comes up again in the future. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 04:03, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Last time I checked the world's day either lasted 24 hours in UTC or around 27 hours midnight to midnight in all timezones, this was back in the 1990s when I last recall checking. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Well, I guess I'll have to see you Friday, then, because I won't be here tomorrow. I hope that the other sites in Wikimedia (i.e., including Wikiquote and Wiktionary) stay open tomorrow. Well, goodnight. --Angeldeb82 (talk) 02:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I support the idea of blanking the english wp to call attention to this legislation. My best idea for it is to wait until after the markup, and unless it comes out of judiciary completely revamped or rejected (it wont), we blank wp for 24 hrs, then place a banner for a week or so (maybe longer, if it rotates with donation banners) after the blanking, offering links to WFoundation to readers to help oppose the bill. I have no experience with proposing things at the pump, or anywhere, but would support any reasonable proposal.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 04:42, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

So workshop this at the appropriate village pump. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Different Calls for Action

For those who are interested, here are some other calls for actions by other organizations. (To state the obvious, we probably should not redirect our traffic to any of these sites if they do not have the technical capacity to handle the volume.) Geoffbrigham (talk) 02:15, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Neat. I like what I'm seeing, but I disagree with the proposed trigger. I believe that we should send a message to Congress, not the President. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 02:44, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Understand. BTW that was not my idea. I only authored the section called "Calls to action against SOPA." Geoffbrigham (talk) 03:54, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I've noted above that the system that is threatening the encyclopaedia isn't just a state apparatus, but also corporate lobby groups; as have others. Segmenting our blame, for any reason other than tactical (IP blocking or blanking: White house and all executive branch apparatus one day, all legislative apparatus the next, all judicial the third, all corporate the fourth, etc) is segmenting our power to force those threatening the encyclopaedic process. While there may be media related reasons to specifically time action; action needs to cover all forces causing this. Fifelfoo (talk) 04:51, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Alternate proposal : Let users opt to not view wikipedia

Instead of striking, how about displaying a screen every time the user access a page telling them that that Wikipedia is asking for their support not to access wikipedia today to support the fight and give them two buttons: one to agree and will direct them to a thank you page, and another to decline and will show them their requested page.

At the end of the day and on the thank you page, may be a comparison statistics to see how many users support wikipedia stance.

The beauty of the approach is it is not wikipedia that is protesting SOPA, it is wikipedia's users. What wikipedia does is simply turning itself into a platform for net users to protest. For a site as large as popular as wikipedia, it will counts. (talk) 13:25, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Another idea I am also suggesting is that the home page be a full screen explanation of what SOPA is, and list of places to go to protest the action. All of the articles can still be accessed, and each page would have a banner (similar to that of the donation ones) which will take you to the full page banner. In my view, this is a more reasonable way of rotesting, and everybody gets what they want. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 15:06, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Strongly Support

SOPA is nothing short of a direct declaration of war against the internet. A general "Internet Strike" by some of the largest web presences will help raise awareness amongst regular (non-geek) people that their rights are being sold off to the highest bidders in corporate America. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

SOPA markup participation – I'll just leave this here. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 14:14, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Power to the People

ABSOLUTELY SUPPORT Power no longer rests with the people in America or in the rest of the world. SOPA is merely one example of how our political system now serves corporations and industry rather than the interests of the people. It's high time the rich and their bought politicians are reminded where power should truly rest in our society and the broader world. A Wikipedia: English strike would be the beginning of the modern day "strike." Further "strike" action by more or less "non-evil" corporations like Google would also serve this end. All it would take would be a voluntary disruption of service for a day or so to wake the sleeping giant. Through this type of service disruption hundreds of millions of people would "get the message." Once SOPA and other government attacks on the freedom and rights of the individual are laid bare to these untold millions, the backlash against these politicians and corporations/associations/lobbying groups would be immense and effective. The modern day "strike" has now been defined. Its effectiveness is without question even in the "what if" stages. This type of action isn't governed by watered-down, hobbled and marginalized unions and the laws passed by corrupt politicians to de-fang them. This is the age of the modern day strike. Shut it down!

We the people run this country. We are citizens, not consumers. We are Americans, not subjects. We are human beings, not numbers. We will not be ignored. -- (talk) 15:13, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

I do support some form of protest, but NOT one that shuts down Wikipedia for an over-expanded amount of time. I say we wait and see what happens today in Washington. If the bill is passed down, then no protest. If something else happens, we should discuss our views on here. I feel like it should be a fair and reasonable protest that caters to both sides rather than just one. Even the minority should have their fair share and discuss how they feel. But again, let's wait and see what happens before we go any farther. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 17:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
does anyone else find it funny that he said "we are human beings, not numbers" and then had to sign his comment with his IP address? Writ Keeper 17:23, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I'm, sorry, I know this is a serious subject but my immediate thought to the above IP's remarks is "resistance is futile!" Face-grin.svg. It's hard to take one purpose IPs seriously. Mugginsx (talk) 18:59, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
There's nothing wrong with levity. But, what the OP said is indeed serious despite his/her not being a normal Wikipedia editor and should be taken seriously as s/he represents one of the populace Wikipedia ostensibly purports to embrace. All that aside, I think the strike would be less about Wikipedia taking sides and more about using its popularity to get the message out to the general public to let THEM decide and act if they so choose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

SOPA hearing livestreamed

The hearing has been streamed live since 10 am at . I just tested this and it works.

For example, just now, genius "Mr. Watt?" repeating "no university operates a foreign site" (!) My ass! Like he never heard of field studies and international collaboration! Maybe he didn't. Wnt (talk) 18:13, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

[for example, I just quickly found that the U of Chicago anthropology department ( ) points people to a site - which appears to be a joint project of many researchers from all over, and which contains an article about Anonymous versus Scientology. Such articles might easily reference, directly or indirectly, certain very well known copyrighted Scientology documents, opening the site to enforcement action by Scientology as a private complainant. Thus infringing academic freedom. Wnt (talk) 18:20, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

John Adams may have put it best: "In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress." GabrielF (talk) 18:22, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Watching carefully. HurricaneFan25 — 19:47, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
I just found this online. --Radiokid1010 (talk) 20:24, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Open letter to Washington...

Hi Jimbo, just thought I'd make you aware of this which I just found from a link on - No actual signatures on it, so I wasn't sure if you'd intended to be on the letter or not :) My mind is just too suspicious these days!  BarkingFish  18:17, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

The letter was published in a number of major newspapers today. Looie496 (talk) 18:20, 15 December 2011 (UTC)
Odd, the letter mistakenly calls Jimbo Wikipedia's "founder" instead of "co-founder". --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:02, 15 December 2011 (UTC)


Links to this page and section seem to be making the rounds with dozens of sites redirecting people here. Consensus is not going to be determined by a vote and I think it is a bad idea to welcome floods of people with no understanding of the issues to clutter up the page with single "votes" and then leaving.AerobicFox (talk) 00:54, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Wikipedia doesn't just belong to those who've done a little or a lot of editing. It belongs to everyone and everyone should have a voice if they want to speak up. This affects us all and you should welcome all comers. Frequent wiki editors don't own Wikipedia. Stop acting like you do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:19, 16 December 2011 (UTC)
Dude, this is an encyclopedia. we report significant events in history, we do not try to influence them. SOPA (IMO) sucks, but it's not up to us to challenge it, and if it eventually comes to a place where it starts interfering with the act of writing an encyclopedia… well, that's why the Foundation has lawyers.
I applaud your efforts at political activism, but can you please do it somewhere else? We have far more boring stuff to take care of here. --Ludwigs2 18:08, 16 December 2011 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:37, 16 December 2011 (UTC)