Talk:Protests against SOPA and PIPA/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Potential DYK?

Once the formalities are out of the way, of course? —WFC— 07:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Why not, but be prepared to be trumped by ITN! Mjroots (talk) 07:34, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Better to have it on DYK during the blackout ;-) It gets you a speedy-keep (if it's not, already). Alarbus (talk) 09:20, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
In the 00:00 UTC queue: Did you know... that Wikipedia is about to be blacked out for 24 hours?WFC— 09:24, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
That's brilliant. Make is so. Alarbus (talk) 10:30, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Background

I'm a bit out of my depth here, US politics not being in my sphere of interest. I've started a background section, with a link to the SOPA article. This section needs to cover the proposed acts (SOPA, PIPA), the background to the protest, and how the decision was reached and implemented. Before anyone argues that Wikipedia is not a source, that applies to using other Wikipedia articles as a source. The debates etc are not articles, and thus are useable by applying WP:IAR (IMHO). Mjroots (talk) 08:16, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Clarify blocking of sites like YouTube

This sentence does not source properly: "A common criticism of the bill addresses broad language like what entails "deliberate actions to avoid confirming a high probability" for a website; sites that support user-generated content, such as YouTube would likely have to be shuttered to comply with the law as written."

This is cited with the CNN/Money article (http://money.cnn.com/2012/01/17/technology/sopa_explained/) where Google public policy director Bob Boorstin is quoted as saying "YouTube would just go dark immediately. It couldn't function." But this quote is taken out of context. The CNN/Money article sources this quote to this article (http://sociable.co/web/youtube-would-just-go-dark-immediately-if-sopa-passed/) where the context shows that he wasn't actually talking about SOPA.

The article says:

Bob Boorstin warned of dire consequences if sites were required to monitor content users upload prior to publishing. Boorstin painted a dramatic picture of the web in the event that such a law were to be passed, “YouTube would just go dark immediately. It couldn’t function,” he said.

Also, the text should clarify that the sponsors of the legislation have stated that they are dropping the DNS blocking provisions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.150.188.2 (talk) 03:45, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Fixed both; the CNNMoney sorta grouped the two thoughts together, I resplit them. --MASEM (t) 04:00, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

DYK hook?

Statistics on this are phenomenal and it's current. Can we prioritize a DYK on it while people will have exceptional interest? FT2 (Talk | email) 05:19, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I believe we're getting a ITN for this. --MASEM (t) 05:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
We did, and ITNs are worth more than DYKs if you ask me. Getting a DYK is easy; Getting an ITN means having/creating the right article at the right time. Mjroots (talk) 05:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Reaction > Pre-blackout :An other newspaper reporting blackout

Reaction > Pre-blackout sub-section : French newspaper Le Figaro (one of the most read in France) reported the story here : (retrieved 01/18) http://www.lefigaro.fr/hightech/2012/01/17/01007-20120117ARTFIG00609-la-version-anglaise-de-wikipedia-fermee-mercredi.php 81.80.104.101 (talk) 08:03, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

You are free to edit the article and improve it yourself. Don't be afraid of making a mistake. Good faith attempts to improve any article are welcome. Mjroots (talk) 08:22, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I've now added Le Figaro to the list. Mjroots (talk) 08:26, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

A collection of notable quotes regarding the blackout

meta:English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout/Quotes might be useful for citations. Kaldari (talk) 10:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Shutdown

The word shutdown should not be used when, at no point, was wikipedia shutdown. All articles could still be accessed very easily.--ZincBelief (talk) 11:55, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Interwikis

Are any other language Wikipedias covering this? Mjroots (talk) 09:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

spanish wikipedia did it too. As far as I saw, must of the wikipedias had a black banner talking about sopa and the blackout of the english one — Preceding unsigned comment added by 190.164.17.29 (talk) 03:51, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
The article has been translated into 17 languages already, and presumably many if not most of those Wikipedias had featured banners in solidarity. kencf0618 (talk) 06:19, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Unblock

It was so easy to unblock Wikipedia. I only needed a script for adblock and the message was gone. you could just have disabled the javascript. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 147.174.61.242 (talk) 16:41, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Guys, it was temporary frustrating, but the block was so easy to undone. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Erik1100 (talkcontribs) 06:35, 19 January 2012 (UTC)


I think the primary purpose was to raise awareness, with people clicking the link provided on the blackout page. It wasn't supposed to be a complete block.

Shīrudou ōru (talk) 06:43, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

  • It wasn't blacked out at all for me all day. I was wondering what was going on. So Javascript had to be enabled for the website to be blacked out? I always keep mine disabled by default. Are you ready for IPv6? (talk) 06:54, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, it required Javascript for the reason that if somebody needed to access Wikipedia, for whatever reason, they could easily do so by disabling Javacript. Shīrudou ōru (talk) 07:17, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • In one way or another, the methods used to counteract the blackout should be acknowledged in the article. Although, as others noted the main reason for the blackout was to raise awareness, there seemed to be a few developers who created add-ons for browsers to bypass the blackout.

Also I think the method to blackout the site was altered midway through the blackout. I would imagine a few of you with slower internet connections decided to hit the stop button to prevent the blackout page from loading up, that did not work during the latter part of the blackout as the message appeared before the page started loading. It wasn't my cache as my browser doesn't save webpage elements. YuMaNuMa Contrib 07:09, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Indeed, unblocking was trivial. In Opera I simply disabled javascript in my site preferences. I was a bit puzzled that editing was disabled as well, so literally nothing happened here during the day. But it did get the message across in the media, even though they didn't seem to really understand what the issue was, at least here in the UK. '

Yeah, the purpose was to raise awareness, not to 100% block access. Also, the mobile site operated normally the whole day. –Jopo (talk) 08:53, 19 January 2012 (UTC)


You could get around the block by simply hitting the stop button while the page was loading. talk:ksekuterski|talk]]) 13:22, 19 January 2012 (EST) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ksekuterski (talkcontribs)

The block/shutdown was on all aspects of Wikipedia with the exception of articles still being viewable. Editing for example was down with or without JS. Belorn (talk) 13:40, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

You could also avoid the block by using the http://simple.wikipedia.org URL to access the site without any special browser changes. 74.103.134.50 (talk) 15:17, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

While it's true that removing the block was trivial, following the #Wikipedia hash tag yesterday in Twitter made it abundantly obvious that thousands of users didn't have a clue how to access any of the articles. Rklawton (talk) 16:48, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Various methods to bypass the blackout were shared on the "whitelisted" Technical FAQ page. One of them was to simply type "?banner=none" after the URL in the URL box, and the blackout page would go away. 74.109.212.251 (talk) 03:59, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

12 a.m. (sic) used to represent — midnight apparently

In contrast to MOS:TIME the lead of this article mentions "(12 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) on January 18.". Unfortunately time specifications like "12 a.m." and "12 p.m." are ambiguous and should not be used because of their ambiguity. "midnight" and "noon" are not ambiguous and may specify a time of day more accurately. 69.115.42.244 (talk) 12:28, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

It's not ambiguous, 12 a.m. = midnight, 12 p.m. = midday. Because some people get confused, I wikilinked the time to the relevant article. Of course, we could use the 24-hour clock, but people get confused over that too. Mjroots (talk) 12:30, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Which is exactly why we should follow the MOS and say 'Midnight' instead of 12 anything. Achowat (talk) 13:06, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
"12 a.m." can be ambiguous - 12-hour clock#Confusion at noon and midnight. 203.176.108.99 (talk) 07:47, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Undue weight to opposition

I'm concerned that the article is giving undue weight to the opposition of the blackout. The undue-inline was previously removed by WFCforLife[1] arguing, "I think it is important to make clear that support for the blackout was widespread but far from universal" which sounds reasonable enough to me, but simultaneously there were thousands of Wikipedia users who commented on the subject through the course of the discussion and the only one we're quoting in the article is from the small minority of that position. The result is that we're just repeating the bias of a biased source, which isn't good. In particular, I'm concerned that the isolated quote makes it sound like the quoted position was considered true but the Wikipedians decided to go ahead in spite of it, when in reality that argument was significantly refuted (including by many long time contributors) and the effort probably wouldn't have gone ahead if the Wikipedia users believed it to be true. Is there a way this could be better contextualized? --Gmaxwell (talk) 13:34, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree, there were thousands of members in favour of the action. Giving a tiny fraction of members a paragraph would be undeserving. Besides, is the argument of any importance or weight? He says that it "...puts the organization in the role of advocacy...". I don't see why Wikipedia as a democratic organization shouldn't be able to advocate free speech. It is my opinion that: To do otherwise would be to give in to laziness and let politicians/corporations corrupt the system. As an organization built upon our fundamental freedoms, it should be free to defend itself against any attacks. It isn't always due to use the slippery-slope argument, we all know that if the corporations could have their way they would censor the internet to hell. It is the duty of the people, and of the organizations that rely on the same freedoms, to oppose any infringements. DukeTwicep (talk) 14:28, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
While I personally agree with you— and the arguments you just presented were among the ones used to refute this position where it was advanced— I was more hoping to figure out how best to cover this neutrally, without getting into a big discussion of the subject itself. It is important that the article should say there was some opposition but how best can it say this without painting a lopsided picture? Perhaps it would be helpful to hear some thoughts on this from Wikipedians who were opposed. --Gmaxwell (talk) 15:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I do not agree. More than just a couple dissented. See here for an explanation for why of those who dissented, they were disproportionately veteran editors relatively familiar with the WMF's recent history. We are talking one or two lines here. As it is, there is no mention of the fact the vote for global blackout was only 55% (relative to only for US users).--Brian Dell (talk) 18:35, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I counted the votes and yes, more than a couple "dissented", that is, more than just a couple was opposed. On the first series of questions (blackout no banner, blackout banner, etc.) those for any blackout at all were 1093, and those opposed were 116 (many of these wanted a banner). It is a blatant lie what you say about the 55% (unless you are saying that the majority of those in favour were non-US-users, it still doesn't matter as Wikipedia isn't US-user-only, and the bills - were they to go through - would have repercussions far beyond the borders of US). Percentage of the votes in first series: 90,5% for, 9,5% against. Percentage of the votes in the "Full blackout": 88% for, 12% against.
Reading your posts I see that your arguments often consists of the notion that Wikipedia wouldn't be affected. Even If that were true, what does it matter? Did you know that Wikipedia is only a tiny fraction of the Internet? And, lastly, referring us to a blog post that is as long as a university essay seems... rather unfriendly (although realizing I'm a hypocrite for calling you a liar). DukeTwicep (talk) 20:36, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
This is veering off the topic of the content of this article such that I've responded on your Talk page.--Brian Dell (talk) 03:45, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree we need to be wary of undo weight. However, without the paragraph in question, readers would have no clue that the decision wasn't unanimous, nor would they get a feeling for the sorts of internal arguments (regardless of merit) put forward against the blackout. Perhaps as compromise, we could move this paragraph down to the pre-blackout response section? Here's why: the AP was quoting me from an interview and not from my "Oppose" vote, and the interview and its publication pre-dated the blackout and was obviously conducted in anticipation of the blackout. Thus I think it would be fair to classify the article/quote as a pre-blackout response. But back to the "undo" argument - I also told the reporter that I didn't think going forward with the blackout was a big deal, in spite of my opinion, and that the blackout wouldn't affect my participation one way or the other. By leaving this view out of the article, the reporter made the quote appear more weighty. So yes, we don't want to give undo weight to a quote that was given undo weight. Rklawton (talk) 16:25, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Alternatively we could have a section or sub-section dedicated to the arguments for and against the blackout. We wouldn't give the oppositional side undue attention by putting it in contrast with the, in my opinion, stronger arguments for it. DukeTwicep (talk) 17:32, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I absolutely do think we need something there with respect to it being non-unanimous, my concern was mostly the presentation of an isolated argument against without contextualization. I also expected Rklawton's comments with respect to the quote. I think treating it as pre-blackout response is reasonable.
I'm not keen on the idea of having a "sub-section dedicated to the arguments for and against the blackout": Writing fair coverage of that would be very difficult (since our decision process is nearly inexplicable to outsiders), doubly so because we're all involved parties to some extent, and at least today we could only do it through extensive original research. Not a good mixture. If people think there is need for better summary of the arguments than the text of the closure then I think it would be best to create it as a community work in project space (and thus without the same standards of verifiability) and then simply cite it from the article for readers who are interested in knowing more.
For the purpose of the article I think we should just stick to WP:NPOV and state the simple facts: Discussion started informally in December (this part is covered), in the final discussion several options were considered. I'd avoid giving percentages— but instead it should speak generally e.g. "many people supported this and that, a few supported this and that"— because percentages may mislead the reader into thinking we were limited to those options and/or conducting a vote... and then it should link to the closure message as (a primary source) for the fact the the ultimate decision. Basically just stick to the simple, completely uncontroversial facts of the matter. Primary sources aren't ideal, but NPOV/NOR would prefer we quote language from a primary source, with attribution, rather than draw our own conclusions here. --Gmaxwell (talk) 19:28, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you can get into this without really getting into it. As my long blogpost argued, or attempted to, there is a backstory to how this initiative got off the ground, namely, in my view, an expansion of what the WMF thought to be its mission as it expanded its staff and budget. re "Many supported this..." what sort of many? Editors with years of experience discussing policy on the Talk pages of WP Policy pages? Or persons who apparently created brand new accounts for the purpose of voting? There was some dissent. The dissenters were primarily concerned about a precedent being set concerning advocacy. Done. I fail to appreciate the problem with just stating that simply and quickly. If you want to quantify the current text and say "strong majority" instead of "majority" and "a few" dissents instead of "some", I would not bother trying to dispute minor changes like that.--Brian Dell (talk) 03:57, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. Rklawton (talk) 19:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, a quote I gave on the action was used in the closing rationale at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Action ("American law is America's business, but law that affects Wikipedia worldwide is an issue of worldwide interest"). If the concern is balancing out the quotations, that might be a relevant one to use. Despite my personal position, I do strongly feel that a quote from a Wikipedian opposed to the action needs to be in the article, for the reason I gave when I removed the tag. —WFC— 07:46, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Special case

This article is one of those special cases in which the sourcing of the situation requires for us to go beyond the traditional media. Although there was some coverage in my opinion the black out was portrayed as second nature. One good example is Anderson Cooper 360, if you analyze his record of coverage of news, Cooper has been extremely keen to cover any kind of abuse or attack against freedom of speech or the internet in countries like Egypt, Libya or Syria, this kind of topics are paramount in his nightly show. Cooper is known to go to great lengths to cover such issues in foreign lands by interviewing your average protester in many cases protesters that put their lives on the line just to talk to him, interestingly, there was little to no coverage of the Wikipedia blackout in his show. I mention this because I want to bring attention to the rest of editors how in this particular case major media outlets downplayed the blackout making it a background news story basically making us relying in foreign media and non traditional media sources to source the importance and impact of the situation. In addition to "not much of our problem" kind of attitude is the fact that CNN (not sure other channels) have been playing a pro-SOPA commercial, without doubt a serious conflict of interest that I ask editors to pay attention in order to improve this article. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 14:22, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

We can easily turn to tech-heavy RS sites that likely noted the lack of mass media coverage prior to this. We have to be careful as to why that's the case (in general, we know traditional news media is pro-SOPA/PIPA) but we can't say that's the reason for the lack of media coverage until know; that's OR without sourcing. --MASEM (t) 14:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree, but I definitely think we need to pay attention to sources that see this blatant lack of objectivity from news sources that most Americans and people "trust". To live in a world where corporations can so easily dictate what should be covered or not is as much as living under the rule of a dictator. It is important for Wikipedia users to be able to reach to the depths of this double standard in which is ok to cover attacks against freedom of speech in other countries but not in the US when it goes against the interest of corporations. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 14:54, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
The corporations in favour of the bills obviously pay a Lot of money to get the news agencies to run news and commercials in favour and to prevent any oppositional messages to get through. The media is far from objective or unbiased, especially when there are droves of money involved. DukeTwicep (talk) 15:02, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Precisely, so this obviously leaves us in the dilemma of neutrality in the articles that the community thrives for. We see ourselves in the position of sourcing biased sources when we had the belief (I did at least) that there was some level of impartiality in their coverage. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 15:08, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh come on. Is it just possibly conceivable that major news outlets did not report this because they did not consider it as newsworthy as, say, the local economy or the Costa Concordia to the majority of readers? If we can write notable content that comes from reliable secondary sources then it's fair game. Ritchie333 (talk) 15:22, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
You are entitled to your opinion, I am just saying that if this protest had taken place in Egypt or Syria CNN probably would have covered it much more. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 15:27, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
And this is why we need RS's to express their opinions as to why it wasn't covered before. There's endless speculation that without sources directly stating that, puts us as push original research. --MASEM (t) 15:56, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

The discussion above is a good example of how longstanding Wikipedia policies are going to be harder to maintain as a consequence of this blackout. Once the editing community has been politicized, all sorts of things can be rationalized.--Brian Dell (talk) 04:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Error in Date?

It says the blackout occurred January 18-19, but that's an error considering it started at 12:00:00.00 AM January 18th, and ended at 11:59:59.99 on January 18th, meaning as soon as it became January 19th, at 12:00:00.00, Wikipedia was not blacked out....so just take out the January 19th part. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Macintoshkid (talkcontribs) 16:09, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

It likely depended on your location of when it happened; eg, those in the UK would have seen the blackout for some time on the 19th. (Technically, this extends to the 17th, for those on the west coast of the US for example). --MASEM (t) 16:18, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Also I like to mention Wikipedia's defualt clock setting is UTC which means that according to wikipedias clock, the blockout happend at January 18th 5am to January 19th 5am. Pro66 (talk) 16:33, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
That's correct, the blackout was started at 12:00:00 AM January 18th Eastern Time. Kaldari (talk) 10:49, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Policy

This article should also link to the Foundation's policy on Blackouts as it's highly relevant to the subject of this article and will better help readers understand how this all came about. Does anyone know the link? Rklawton (talk) 17:13, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

The German Wikipedia could well be shut down. I would greet it. It has partially become a political instrument.--88.70.26.64 (talk) 17:49, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Didn't the German government directly pay editors to create articles? Rklawton (talk) 17:51, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
The German Government didn't pay me a eurocent for the nine lists I wrote over on de.Wiki. Mjroots (talk) 06:17, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Projects that chose to run a banner included the..

The Greek Wikipedia is missing.. Βικιπαίδεια:Διαμαρτυρία κατά της SOPA και PIPA — Preceding unsigned comment added by 78.87.76.60 (talk) 19:00, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Is it still missing? Pseudoanonymous (talk) 19:29, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I visited every Wikipedia listed on Meta Wiki, both the main page and the language page where applicable, and took screenshots of every one that ran a banner except the English WP, for obvious reasons. (It's a good thing I went through twice, as I missed the Tamil Main Page and the Sakha-Sakha page.) I uploaded all those screenshots except the Malayalam WP ones here; unfortunately, computer doesn't have proper Malayalam rendering, and it's just a black banner with a bunch of squares. But I saved the webpage source in both cases, so if someone who has Malayalam rendering wants to, it's reconstructable.
I'm not sure if this counts as WP:OR, but it is verifiable (even if you think I have the language skills and patience to doctor these, it should be easy for anyone who speaks the language to find the relevant discussion on that particular wiki); These are the Wikipedias that ran banners (The Polish, Indonesian, and Chinese banners are small, but there.)
During the English SOPA protest, the Navajo Wikipedia ran a floating image that blocked some of the text
  • Albanian
  • Arabic
  • Aragonese
  • Bengali
  • Bosnian
  • Bulgarian
  • Catalan
  • Chinese
  • Croatian
  • Danish
  • Dutch
  • Estonian
  • Georgian
  • German
  • Greek
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Malay
  • Malayalam
  • Navajo
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Sakha
  • Serbian
  • Serbo-Croatian
  • Slovak
  • Spanish
  • Swedish
  • Tamil
  • Turkish
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese
Regards, --Quintucket (talk) 00:47, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm working off this list, as it has the URLs, etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Actions_by_other_communities kencf0618 (talk) 05:21, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Requested move

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was moved to Protests against SOPA and PIPA. Jujutacular talk 21:03, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

2012 Wikipedia blackout2012 SOPA and PIPA blackout – In line with what I put on my comment in this page's AfD page, I feel this page really should become a page about the 2012 website blackout in general, not just the Wikipedia blackout. I don't feel it's particularly notable if it just covers the Wikipedia blackout, after all, an article on every prominent website to blackout would be silly. I do, however, feel that an article on the blackouts in general would be notable (and more interesting to read). I don't necessarily feel my proposed title is the best one, it's a little clunky, so other suggestions would be good, but I do feel the page title does need to be changed to one covering the blackouts in general. Xmoogle (talk) 11:23, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

An alternative would be to create that article, covering the blackout worldwide and leaving this article to specifically cover the Wikipedia blackout. I'm not against a rename, but my gut feeling is that we will be able to sustain two articles. Mjroots (talk) 11:40, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm just not sure what the point of two articles would be, though. Wikipedia (as a topic) isn't more notable than a lot of the other sites participating, and it would seem to me to be a pointless division of information. Xmoogle (talk) 11:43, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a move would be good - there is no reason that the Wikipedia-related content would be "too big" to cover in an umbrella article along with other stuff. --Errant (chat!) 11:48, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
As another supporter of a rename, may I suggest moving to 2012 SOPA protest blackout?  BarkingFish  12:07, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
If this blackout is protesting SOPA and PIPA, would 2012 SOPA, PIPA protest blackout be a more accurate title? Xmoogle (talk) 12:13, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I think most recognize this was rallied around SOPA (prior to the House committee postponing any more discussion on it). as long as the lead's clear that PIPA's involved, I'd go with the SOPA only title. --MASEM (t) 14:02, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I suggest 2012 US Anti-Piracy Law Protest. "Laws" plural could also be used, but I note that the House and Senate bills would eventually become one law if enacted. "Protest" is broader than "blackout"; - with only "blackout" in the title, banner-only actions are arguably off topic. I'm not sure if there is a titling style guide but I highly suspect that if there is, it would discourage the use of acronyms when a more straightforward title can be used. Also, not using an acronym avoids a SOPA vs PIPA vs both debate; the fact is that SOPA is basically dead right now, while PIPA is moving ahead on schedule, such that while SOPA is the instigator, PIPA is more prominent now.--Brian Dell (talk) 19:35, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Count me in the "rename/merge" camp. I think that title sounds fine, although I can't help wondering if there will be more protests this year regarding anti-piracy laws. Would there be a precedent for calling it "January 2012 US Anti-Piracy Law Protest"? Or would that be overkill? --Jay (Histrion) (talkcontribs) 17:23, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I think that two articles are appropriate: the first being 2012 SOPA, PIPA protest blackouts, relating to the coordinate protest effort and being the main article, with a small section on Wikipedia participation; the second being 2012 Wikipedia blackout, relating to Wikipedia's specific role and the internal community process leading to participation as a more detailed article.  Jim Reed (Talk)  14:54, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The internal workings of how the blackout came to be hasn't been covered (as best I know), so a separate main space article to highlight that seems inappropriate. Certainly there's a meta-page regarding that for Wikipedia. But in the larger picture of things, it's all part of the same effort. Maybe that will change after the event has occurred and there's clearly "here's what WP did" and "here's what the rest of the Internet did" dichotomy to it, suggesting two articles. Right now, it's clearly one single topic headlined by WP's participation. --MASEM (t) 15:02, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Good point. I wasn't planning to act on this until after the blackout because of several reasons, this being one: any action at this time is premature.  Jim Reed (Talk)  20:04, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

A merge into an article about the global blackout makes sense. If a separate Wikipedia-specific article remains, it should be clarified as 'English Wikipedia', to match the article on the Italian Wikipedia protest. 66.31.200.47 (talk) 17:14, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Google's just announced they'll be modifying their page tomorrow to coordinate with the other sites. I strongly suggest renaming this now since it's no longer just going to be WP in the spotlight. (we can still have a big WP section). --MASEM (t) 18:55, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Agree, speed is good in this case. The faster we do the renaming, the quicker we will have a good article on the whole event when people go and look for it. Belorn (talk) 20:10, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, unless the pending AFD is speedily-closed, moving this page at this time probably won't happen. But I do think that as soon as possible after the blackout, that we can speedily close and enact on both the AFD and this move as to tie in with what is likely to be an WP:ITN blurb. --MASEM (t) 20:14, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

re blackout, Seems like it'd be more appropriate for this article to be about the protest in general rather than Wikipedia's specific contribution to the protest. That way we could get a list of other major pages (Reddit, Google, Facebook) who will be participating in the blackout and include press responses to that. 173.166.109.49 (talk) 14:05, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I'll wait for now and after the blackout ends, I'll summarize the basic options and create a structure for building a Support/Oppose consensus. I don't expect this to be as controversial as the decision to blackout itself but I'm sure that we're not the only ones with constructive input.  Jim Reed (Talk)  20:06, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Automatic Translation: The English Wikipedia outage is significant enough to have its own article. strike since Wikipedia is more relevant to people than any other strike that can do other internet sites. Greetings. --186.63.10.223 (talk) 21:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

It's now speedy-kept. I support the move for better coverage of protests from other parties. -- Sameboat - 同舟 (talk) 01:27, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

What time is the blackout meant to be? It is already 18th in Australia, and I can see all of wikipedia clear as day 140.168.79.1 (talk) 03:21, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

05:00 (UTC)  Jim Reed (Talk)  03:27, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose move - I realy dont think that 2012 SOPA and PIPA blackout will be the common name for this event. "Wikipedia blackout" is thus far is the name "news header" seem to used. That said this article (thus its title) name could easily be an overview article and we may need 2012 English Wikipedia blackout to cover the event in just English Wikipedia vs 2011 Italian Wikipedia blackout etc.Moxy (talk) 03:31, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

And now that we're back...I think it's very clear this article needs to be moved off being Wikipedia specific and instead focus on the overall blackout, since it was the combined efforts of all sites involved that led to 6 Congresspersons flipping their stances, plus countless media coverage. We *still* need a Wikipedia-specific section, since there was definitely some commentary on WP's specific blackout, but it should be as part of the larger coverage. --MASEM (t) 05:04, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Note from the article's creator: I would support a move to a title that expands this article's scope, such as the title proposed. I have no opinion on the precise name.WFC— 05:10, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I still think that the event is big enough to justify two articles, one on the global protest, and this one covering Wikipedia's protest as part of the global protest. Let's give this at least a couple of days to pan out before we make any hasty moves. Mjroots (talk) 06:00, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, there's a lot of news -- but it's a lot of repetition in the news as well. I've been watching articles all day (yay for snowpocalyse in seattle) and I really can't see us justifying a second article on WP's response alone without COI/bias. An internal article (or one hosted by the Foundation) on the process, sure. But the WP part really can't be separated without neutring the other responses (none which easily fit in the SOPA article). --MASEM (t) 06:30, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it would be hasty to move this article. On the contrary: for as long as the article remains here, one of three things will happen. We will either not give due weight to protests by other sites compared to Wikipedia, the article's content will not match the title, or someone will go along and create a second article which will almost definitely need to merge with this one down the line. I stand by both my decision to create this article and the timing, but in hindsight I made a mistake on the title. The sooner we correct that mistake the better. —WFC— 07:12, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I see no harm in creating a second article and considering such a merger (for which there might or might not be consensus). It would be less disruptive than renaming this article before its scope is expanded. —David Levy 07:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
An inevitable AfD and the strong likelihood of having to merge two articles would be less disruptive than the title temporarily being a bit off? —WFC— 07:30, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Why is another AfD discussion inevitable? If there's consensus that this shouldn't exist as a standalone article, a simple merger (which needn't be disruptive in the slightest) is an obvious solution. The matter should be discussed here (or on the talk page of a hypothetical merger target). —David Levy 07:42, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
If two articles exist for more than a few hours, there will be an AfD. I'd put a mortgage on it if I had one. But I think we're both using "disruptive" in the wrong context. More accurately, less energy would be wasted moving this article and adjusting its content to meet the new scope, than in creating a second article in the knowledge of the inevitable duplication and discussion that would ensue. —WFC— 07:51, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
1. Such an AfD listing would be inappropriate and should be speedily closed. "Merge" sometimes is an outcome of AfD discussions, but it isn't a valid rationale for initiating one.
2. As noted below, I don't oppose the idea of expanding this article. But that's something that should be discussed before deciding to change the title. If we're to take that course of action, we should at least have a rough outline prepared before the trigger is pulled. Renaming the article and waiting for it to fill out accordingly would confuse readers. —David Levy 08:10, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support alternative name. News sites give Wikipedia prominent billing, but the title misleadingly suggests that only wikipedia was blacked out whereas it was in fact a multi-party coordinated affair. I would suggest simply renaming it the SOPA/PIPA blackout. --Ohconfucius ¡digame! 06:55, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support this alternate name or some other similar name, and I'm semi-reversing the opinion I expressed at the related recent AFD. While the lion's share of coverage of the blackout led with and/or devoted outsized exposure to Wikipedia's participation -- which is natural, given that Wikipedia was by far the largest site to implement a blackout -- the truer topic of most of this coverage was the overall blackout, and not simply Wikipedia's role as the largest full participant.

    I say "this alternate name or some other similar name" because I might change the name "blackout" to "online protest" or similar, given that there were a number of protest efforts -- Google's, most notably -- that weren't actually blackouts. But that's splitting hairs, and I suspect that the word "blackout" is going to be the most commonly-accepted name for the event. ɠǀɳ̩ςεΝɡbomb 07:07, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

    If the article's scope is broadened, I would support a title along the lines of Protests against SOPA and PIPA. There have been some noteworthy non-online protests as well. —David Levy 07:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose as premature. The article currently focuses on the English Wikipedia's involvement. It should be renamed if and when it's expanded to include substantial coverage of other websites' participation (for which consensus might or might not exist). Let's not put the cart before the horse. —David Levy 07:20, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
    As there now is clear consensus for an expansion of the article's scope (and work to revise its prose has begun), I no longer regard the proposal as premature. I support a move to Protests against SOPA and PIPA. —David Levy 10:17, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    It doesn't make sense to expand until the rename is affirmed, otherwise, we'd just have to take out all the broader stuff elsewhere. I purposely arranged some aspects of the article to make the expansion easy, but it just needs consensus check-off to start. --MASEM (t) 14:23, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
    My point was that it doesn't make sense to rename until the expansion is affirmed. However, it now seems clear that it has been (despite that not being the exact question asked). —David Levy 22:25, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support a move to a more general, less-navel-gazing title. Having read many news articles myself, even those found with a google news search for "Wikipedia," I am convinced that the vast majority of the sources covered this as part of a larger blackout/protest. Savidan 07:22, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, reliable sources mention Reddit every time, and the others sporadically. Speciate (talk) 08:21, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support echoing the rationale of ohconfucius. Eusebeus (talk) 10:03, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support move to more general article. I think actually we should have two articles: one on the shutdown in general, and one that lists all notable sites that participated. Having an article only on Wikipedia's role seems a bit self-obsessed. (I was going to say navel gazing, but someone beat me to it.) We're the largest site to be sure, but we didn't start it, and I imagine the cumulative weight of other sites affected more people than did WP. (Personally, I think the shutdown of xkcd and SMBC affected me more than the Wikipedia blackout though to be fair, I planned on the WP shutdown.) --Quintucket (talk) 11:18, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
    • A separate article to list the supporting sites is likely going to be inundated with random drive-by additions ("I blacked out my personal blog, too!"). Blackouts noted by RSs but without a good deal of discussion (like Boing Boing, Wired, Flickr, etc.) can be identified in a sustinct manner within the larger relevant topic article easily. --MASEM (t) 13:45, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per ohconfucius, Quintucket and WP:SELF. Like many others, I'm pretty relaxed about what the name should be, but SOPA/PIPA blackout, 2012 or something similar seems like a reasonable suggestion to me. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 12:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support It wasn't just us. AIRcorn (talk) 13:44, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support for name move. Notable in global technology in the English language world. ApprenticeFan work 14:24, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support for name move. Even though reactions both favorable and critical are included, as long as it focuses on Wikipedia it just sounds more like a press release than an article. --Jay (Histrion) (talkcontribs) 17:35, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support The motivations and methods for the various sites' blackouts are largely similar, it is more descriptive of the event(s) to discuss them together rather than separately. LukeSurl t c 19:50, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Endorse This is a wider issue than Wikipedia. SYSS Mouse (talk) 22:15, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

If you want an outsider's perspective, seeing "Wikipedia takes part in a 24 hour protest" as an article on the front page, really sounds like Wikipedia is tooting its own horn. I know that it's actually unbiased (seeing the huge media frenzy over Wikipedia specifically) but it comes across as being extremely biased.

As for the article itself, just because the media focused more on Wikipedia doesn't mean that Wikipedia's blackout was the SOPA protest. It wasn't. The event was the SOPA/PIPA blackout, and Wikipedia is just one of the many sites that took part in it. Whether Wikipedia's own blackout is notable enough to have its own article is up to debate, but imo this article definitely shouldn't exist if there isn't a larger article on the Jan. 18 SOPA blackout in general.

One last point: Wikipedia is probably getting substantially higher page views right now, partly due to the fact that lots of people desperately want to read their Wikipedia articles, and partly because of the publicity generated by the blackout. Seeing "The English Wikipedia, along with many other websites, takes part in a 24-hour shutdown in protest against SOPA and PIPA", as an article, spot centre on the front page, does not leave a good impression. It might sound fair and unbiased to Wikipedians, but I can guarantee you that there are a lot of people who will view that as extremely biased. It also doesn't help your case that you want to prevent the Wikipedia blackout from looking like a publicity stunt.

Anyways, my two cents. --99.236.18.156 (talk) 02:17, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Of the titles I've seen, Protests against SOPA and PIPA strikes me as being neat and all-inclusive. —WFC— 09:13, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    As there now is clear consensus for an expansion of the article's scope (and work to revise its prose has begun), I support a move to Protests against SOPA and PIPA. —David Levy 10:17, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
    • If there are no objections/if someone doesn't move it first, I'll request that this discussion be closed in the early hours of tomorrow (UTC). —WFC— 12:11, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
      • I think we can justify doing it earlier. Consensus seems pretty clear. LukeSurl t c 19:31, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Proposed lead

In my judgement, the body of the article is drawing closer to the point at which a broader title would be suitable. However, one of the largest remaining hurdles is the lead. I would therefore like to propose that the existing lead be replaced with something along the lines of the following, immediately before or after the move:

On 18 January 2012, there were a series of coordinated protests against two pieces of proposed legislation in the [[United States Congress]] – the [[Stop Online Piracy Act]] (SOPA) and the [[PROTECT IP Act]] (PIPA). Supporters of the acts argued the legislation was needed to protect content producers such as musicians and filmmakers from [[copyright infringement]] (colloquially known as piracy) on websites based outside of the United States. Senator [[Lamar S. Smith]], who introduced the SOPA bill, argued that "[t]he Stop Online Piracy Act helps stop the flow of revenue to rogue websites and ensures that the profits from American innovations go to American innovators."<ref>[http://judiciary.house.gov/news/HR%203261%20Introduced.html Press Resources]; Commitee on the Judiciary; October 26, 2011</ref> Opponents argued that provisions in SOPA and PIPA could undermine online freedom of speech, and that there were insufficient safeguards in place to protect search engines and sites with user-generated content. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said that "if you want to combat piracy then measures that ask search engines to delist things or DNS services that block things are the wrong approach."<ref>{{citeweb|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16604990|title=Viewpoints: Sites go offline in US piracy laws protest|publisher=BBC News|accessdate=January 20, 2012|date=January 18, 2012}}</ref>
Some internet sites, including [[Reddit]] and the [[English Wikipedia]], locked down their content entirely, redirecting users to a message of opposition against the proposed legislation. Websites of other organisations, such [[Google]], [[Mozilla]] and [[Flickr]], featured protests against the acts, but kept some or all of their content available. In addition to the online protests, there were physical demonstrations in several U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco and Seattle. The protests were reported by news organisations across the world.
On the weekend prior to the action, the White House stated that it would not support legislation with provisions that could lead to Internet censorship, squelching of innovation, or reduced Internet security. On the day of protests, some politicians that had previously supported the bills expressed concerns with the proposals in their existing form, while others withdrew their support entirely. Some media outlets were critical of the pressure placed upon supporters of the bills; the ''[[Boston Herald]]'' described the withdrawals as evidence of "how very powerful these cyber-bullies can be."<ref name=heraldresponse/>

Please treat the above as wiki content – feel free to edit it, or to propose changes below. The text as I initially proposed it can be seen here. —WFC— 07:12, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposed split

Withdrawn by nominator - desired result was achieved with rename.   — C M B J   08:18, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

It has been proposed by CMBJ (talk · contribs) that this article is split.

Originally proposed article title: United States Internet blackout Added by WFC at 09:26, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per my comments in the discussion on the proposed move of this article. Mjroots (talk) 08:29, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
As the BBC puts it' "Wikipedia was far from the only website taking action, but without its involvement the whole protest would have had a much lower profile in Washington and around the world." This is why I believe two articles are justifiable and sustainable. Mjroots (talk) 12:04, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I believe consensus is emerging in the discussion above that this article should be moved to a more all-encompassing title (either now, or after work to expand the article's scope has taken place). —WFC— 08:34, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support move, split or anything else that quickly allows drive-by editors to incorporate information about the other protests while this is still in the news. We'll have plenty of people paying attention to the minutiae of Wikipedia's blackout over the long-term, but that won't be the case with the others.   — C M B J   13:39, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose One broad article covering the event is more useful at this stage. Maybe a split can be considered if size becomes a issue further down the track. AIRcorn (talk) 13:48, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose We need to consider the broader profile of the article, not individual sites unless coverage warrants them. (Hence the broader section on WP's action). Just because some random blog went dark is not mean we need to mention it. --MASEM (t) 13:53, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
See Mjroots' quote from the BBC above. We're not talking about some random person's blog; we're talking about a phenomenon of protests including (if I'm not mistaken) full blackouts at Boing Boing, Firefox, Greenpeace, Minecraft, MoveOn.org, Reddit, Wired and WordPress that I see right away, as well as confrontational activism of other kinds on a large number of major sites (i.e., those we have articles on) across a wide spectrum. Obviously, we don't need a series of articles on the individual incidences, but we do need at least one on the general subject. Ideally, this needs also needs to be worked into the ITN blurb while it's still relevant enough to solicit contributions.   — C M B J   14:11, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
My point is that we need to rename this to cover the broader actions rather than split off the broader section and leave WP's response as it is. The probably is that while WP's response can be discussed on its own, the broader actions can't be (since WP represented a middle-step in the process). We'd also be heavily duplicating the background and response sections. Covering the broader actions in one article with a WP-heavy subsection is the right way to treat this topic than to have separate articles. --MASEM (t) 14:21, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Date format

I note that normally MOS says to follow first-author choice which appears to be the European approach (Day Month). However, given this is about US laws, even though the response was worldwide, I really believe this gives the topic a strong national tie and that we should be using US date (Month Day) format for this article. Is there consensus to make this change? --MASEM (t) 13:58, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

I totally agree. This article is about primarily a US event. I realize the internet is worldwide, but the blackout was precipitated by US legislation, primarily covered by the US media, and is centered on a US political event involving a US based website. Per the MoS, American English should be used in the article. I have gone ahead and made the change. Rreagan007 (talk) 18:56, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I started the article with European dates out of habit. Had I put thought into it I probably would have done the same anyway, as frankly the whole basis of this article's notability is that it is of global interest. I removed {{American English}} on the grounds that that tag makes the variation of English a bigger deal than it need be; provided that the tag stays off, I'm content with the status quo of American dates. However, I note that the user involved has contributed nothing else to the article or talk page, and would encourage them to muck in. —WFC— 08:09, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what bearing the amount of my edits on this article have on Wikipedia policy as to which standard of English should be applied. The article clearly centers around US legislation as evidenced by the move of the article to "Protests against SOPA and PIPA" and, therefore, American English standards should be used in the article according to Wikipedia policy. Rreagan007 (talk) 22:27, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Accessing Wikipedia during the blackout

I want to put ways people accessed Wikipedia during the blackout, in the Response; During the blackout section. Since it is a response of what people did in reaction to the blackout. Though it is not a political response; it is what happened. I know it wasn't meant to be a complete blackout; and by telling people the methods they could have accessed Wikipedia, and by stating it wasn't meant to be a complete blackout we can inform them. Here is the part I want to put in :

During the blackout

The Wikimedia Foundation reported that...

During the day of January 18...

Many people who needed access to Wikipedia, was able to access its contents by disabling Javascript on their brower, trying to hit the Escape key before Javascript loads. There were other methods such as accessing a moblie version Wikipedia, using Google cache, or going to a mirror such as The Free Dictionary Encyclopedia.

I have source from extremetech. Pseudoanonymous (talk) 21:56, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

We've already mentioned that the site was accessible by other means. The "how" no longer really matters, nor appropriate (per WP:NOT#HOWTO among a hint of POVness.) The ability to access was intentional by the Foundation so it wasn't "omg, we found a loophole!" --MASEM (t) 21:59, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
CTV News in Canada reported on all those methods as a national news story, during the blackout. They also seemed to take a tongue-in-cheek tone towards the protest and WP itself. I agree the exact methods fail the WP:NOT#HOWTO test but CTV's response - a national news site basically saying "if you really need to know whether or not a chinchilla is a rodent, just do this" - was significant, if only as an example of a major media organization not taking it all so deadly serious.139.48.25.60 (talk) 22:31, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
There is probably a section worthy for the discussing some of the tongue-in-cheek "wikipedia's down , what do we dooooo?" responses that came out, this would be part of it. --MASEM (t) 22:33, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

There are several claims being made by editors to the article that the ability to circumvent the ban was "deliberate". Yet I don't see any references to this anywhere. The ability to hit ESC, disable java, etc., does not mean there was a deliberate intent for this to happen. Was that aspect ever discussed in the "war room", and is there a record or transcript of those discussions? Is anyone from Wikimedia on record as saying they wanted users to be able to circumvent the ban? If not, I don't think editors should be altering the article to suggest that the ban's porous nature was somehow "deliberate" if in fact no one really knows that to be the case. It could just be a case of it being poorly instituted.139.48.25.60 (talk) 16:33, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

[2] "The community has asked us to preserve emergency access options. The following methods will remain available to access content:". --MASEM (t) 16:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Painted Black

I wanted to add that many sites were using black, or being "Painted Black" after the Rolling Stones song Paint it Black. Couldn't find any sources to back that up, I heard people talk about it as such, but only in blogs and such... Oaktree b (talk) 16:29, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, why was that? I liked very much the new Wikipedia_blackout logo for this historic event, and Google, I hear, had a black band across their logo reminiscent of NBA players. Charles Edwin Shipp (talk) 23:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

What to do about Web Blackout?

Now that this article covers the wider scope, what should be done with Web Blackout? Clearly there needs be either a deletion or a merge of that page and/or this one, I'm just not sure which way to go (and hesitant to make the precise decision, given that I started this page). —WFC— 01:36, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I have boldly redirected that article to here. Please feel free to incorporate elements from that article into here (merging leaves the old content in the history.). --MASEM (t) 01:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
You've boldly created a circular link that doesn't make it easy for everyone to go to that article for material. If landings over there are redirected here, the "Main article: Web Blackout" bit further down on this article should be removed since otherwise it just loops people back here.--Brian Dell (talk) 02:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Propose Adding Section on Wikipedia Risking their 501(c)3 Tax-Exempt Status

Because Wikipedia has now crossed the IRS's line by engaging in direct and grassroots lobbying outside the organization, their 501(c)3 tax-exempt status is now in jeopardy. It specifically crossed those lines by attempting to sway public opinion and directing people to contact their legislators on behalf of one side of a proposed bill. The rules regarding this are defined at the following links: http://www.irs.gov/charities/foundations/index.html | http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=96099,00.html Whether or not the SOPA protest was right or wrong is not the issue to be discussed, but rather an objectionable look at whether the activities of January 18th will result in loss of tax-exempt status. 192.91.173.42 (talk) 13:32, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Is there a source for this? Specifically that the IRS (or some other reliable source) thinks that Wikipedia is in jeopardy of losing the tax exemption? Achowat (talk) 13:39, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't believe it's an opinion-based issue (a reliable source thinking they are), but rather a fact-based issue given that the IRS is very clear: "An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation." From: http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=163392,00.html 192.91.173.42 (talk) 13:54, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
This, obviously, is a WP:SYNTH argument unless you can find reliable sources that state that Wikipedia is in danger of losing its status. Additionally, you are unlikely to get such a reliable source because 501(c)3's can only lose their status if they use a certain portion of their tax-exempt revenue to lobby, see here. Because the blackout took a negligible amount of revenue to enact, I doubt the IRS is even going to look into this issue in any way. Chillllls (talk) 21:41, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
What if the IRS decided that Wikipedia had made an "in kind" political contribution? ie offered its services without cash exchanging hands? If a company happens to deal in real estate and furnishings and decides to give my pollitical campaign 3 floors of office space and outfits it with computers, telephones, and furniture as a donation would this evade campaign finance rules? Generally, it does not. If anti-SOPA interests had paid Wikipedia the market value of taking over its website for 24 hours the value would have dwarfed Wikipedia's current nominal budget.--Brian Dell (talk) 04:21, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Although this is a moot point because of the OR issue, I doubt that the IRS would look at the blackout as an "in kind" political contribution because there would be no way to quantify the value of en.wikipedia for 24-hours. As the wiki doesn't have ads, there's no reliable way to estimate the amount of revenue needed to "donate" the site. As for your "If anti-SOPA interests had paid Wikipedia the market value...," the key points there are a. no anti-SOPA organization did and b. your speculation is based on a hypothetical value that's impossible to quantify. The IRS doesn't conduct thought experiments; they require accounting evidence to revoke an organization's tax status. And, as Kaldari states, much leeway is given to political speech by U.S. law. Chillllls (talk) 21:36, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

It's WP:OR when we look at a law and say "oh, it's been broken!" Even if "we" are expert tax lawyers. By our own rules, we must have a reliable source. Rklawton (talk) 22:05, 19 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia did not in any way risk its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status. If Wikipedia had donated money to a specific candidate or endorsed a specific candidate for an election or devoted most of its resources to political lobbying they would have risked their non-profit status, but none of those is the case. American law gives wide leeway for political expression, even by 501(c)3s. Kaldari (talk) 11:00, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, but I've taken tax law and what Chillllls claims about "value" is just not true. Courts and tax collectors often make fair market determinations. You think you can make a million dollars in value and then avoid paying tax on your gain by having the "accounting" read that you sold it to some tax exempt entity you created for $1? The IRS will look beyond your books to the substance of your transactions. I asked Wikimedia counsel Geoff Brigham a couple questions and he declined to address this "in kind" contention, which suggests to me he isn't any more aware of a ready legal excuse for this one than I am. As for your comment, Kaldari, the IRS definition of lobbying is not as restricted as you claim it is. If this wasn't an effort to lobby Congress then what was the point?--Brian Dell (talk) 23:56, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
I never said that courts and tax collectors never make fair market determinations (in fact, they do it all the time). My point was that there is no way to make a fair market determination of such an intangible thing as en.wikipedia.org for 24 hours. Have fun continuing your crusade to scare people into thinking that this is going to be the death of Wikipedia and trying to rattle the cage of Geoff Brigham. As for me, I'm out of this conversation because I WP:DGAF. Chillllls (talk) 00:07, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
A fair market value estimate would be unusually easy here. We've got the click counts and the landing page. The rate per can be readily determined by reference to the well developed online advertising market. I'll stop crusading when Wikipedia stops crusading and rattling the cages of US Congressmen.--Brian Dell (talk) 21:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the fair market value is the stumbling block. That can be estimated. I think one difficult problem would be dealing with a possible "nobody home" argument from the Wikimedia Foundation, that legally it didn't do any donation itself but the "community" did. If this failed, there might be detailed arguments justifying this action that they could try. Disclaimer - I'm not a lawyer, nor am I a tax accountant. I suggest that if you're really interested, don't bother with a talk page. But pose the question to some accounting specialist publications. It's the sort of professional puzzle they might like. It might even end up producing a reliable source discussion of the issue -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:01, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

We're getting off track here. Regardless of how some editors might think Wikipedia's tax status is in jeopardy, we can't add it unless an outside source mentions it. Throughout this entire discussion there hasn't been a single mention of a source that talks about this. Citing the IRS' definition of a 501(c)3, and then making the argument that their tax status is in jeopardy, is a form of original research, which is not allowed. Unless a source can be found that talks about it, this discussion is over. elektrikSHOOS (talk) 21:48, 21 January 2012 (UTC)