Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Proposed Messages

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We're bringing the current proposed messages and copy from the main project page into this section to share the text in progress. This text is intended to be used for the message landing page, banners, and 'More things you can do to help' page. Original commentary on these sections can be found on the main project page.

Important points about this text

In the case of the main landing page and banner text, designers will have limited space to provide a clear message. The main message should be short enough to fit on one screen. Without getting into a description of average screen size, I'd say we need to keep the messages to maximum 400 words, and ideally less. The banner messages should be one sentence - sizes similar to those from the fundraising campaign.

Please also note that text added by myself or anyone else from the WMF staff (using a staff account) have been reviewed by our SOPA team, including a legal review. We encourage optimization and improvement, but the final text will get a legal review to make sure what we're saying is fully accurate and safe. JayWalsh (talk) 02:04, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Please use the discussion space below to add comments.

Landing page message[edit]

Working Draft (Please Comment/Edit Here as of 22:24, 16 January 2012 (UTC))[edit]

NOTE ON DRAFT: This has been pulled from below and is the current working draft that we are using at the Wikimedia Foundation to sketch up with the design and tech team. Thanks, Matthew (WMF) 22:24, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi all - further to Matthew's note, I'm trying to narrow this down into a shape/format that's going to be helpful to the team building the main pages. They've given us the general shape of the blackout page based on feedback from the design page, and it will have three sections:
  • Main blackout page
  • Learn more page
  • Look-up congress/senator office page
The Learn more page is where the majority of the text will live - including a QA, social media tools, background information etc. Users will either be sent to a separate page where the Learn more text/content will live, or that info will be hidden on the main blackout page until clicked and revealed. The Look-up page will be where readers end up after entering their U.S. zip code. This page will simply contain links and contact info, including a web-email contact form if relevant. We should supply simple talking points on this page. The Main blackout page is the most simple of the three - the very simple two to three sentences telling people what is going on and what they can do. This section will also include the basic social media/sharing buttons.
NOTE: Only U.S. readers will see the Zipcode look-up. Non-U.S. readers will simply see the Learn More link.
Also FYI, the questions and answers on the page below have been reviewed by our legal counsel and are accurate based on current affairs and our general positions. JayWalsh (talk) 07:40, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Blackout Page Text

WE NEED YOU TO PROTECT FREE SPEECH ONLINE

The Wikipedia community has decided to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours in protest of proposed legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, will harm the free and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, potentially setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.

Today we ask you to take action.

Landing Page for U.S. Readers / Congress look-up page

For maximum impact, please consider calling your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and explaining that you are a constituent and that you oppose these bills and similar future legislation. If you'd like to get more informed on SOPA/PIPA, please click here.

Things you may want to say to your Senator or Representative

"As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose SOPA and PIPA or any future bill that would censor free speech and damage the security of the Internet."

Regarding censorship

“The Internet has become an important communications tool allowing the free flow of ideas. As introduced in the House and the Senate, SOPA and PIPA would give the Justice Department and courts tremendous power to shut down entire sites. These bills ignore the principles of the First Amendment that require tailored solutions in lieu of across-the-board censorship. Unfortunately, these bills represent terrible precedents for the United States and the world.”

Learn more about SOPA/PIPA


Learn more about SOPA/PIPA below[edit]

The Wikipedia community has decided to black out the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours on January 18th in protest against proposed legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, will harm the free and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, potentially setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world. You can take action by visiting XXX (URL for main action splash page).

Share your view and tell the world[edit]

Template:SOPABlogShare

More information[edit]

Blog post from Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director, Sue Gardner:

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2012/01/16/wikipedias-community-calls-for-anti-sopa-blackout-january-18/

Official Wikimedia Foundation press release:

http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/English_Wikipedia_to_go_dark

Statement from the community affirming blackout:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action

Electronic Frontier Foundation blog post on the lingering faults in SOPA/PIPA:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/01/how-pipa-and-sopa-violate-white-house-principles-supporting-free-speech

Questions and Answers[edit]

What exactly is Wikipedia doing?

On January 18, 2012 the English Wikipedia community will be protesting SOPA/PIPA with a global English Wikipedia blackout. U.S. readers who come to English Wikipedia will see a message from Wikipedia about SOPA/PIPA that tells them to contact their Representatives or Senators to act. This protest will last 24 hours -- from midnight to midnight EST.

Why is this happening?

The English Wikipedia community is opposed to SOPA/PIPA. In an unprecedented decision, the Wikipedia community has chosen to blackout the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours, in protest against proposed legislation in the United States — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate. If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and establish new tools for censorship of international websites.

Wikipedia can only exist in an open and uncensored Internet. SOPA, PIPA, or any future legislation that censors free speech, damages Internet security, or inhibits innovation will hurt and undermine the Internet and the work of the Wikipedia community.

Isn't SOPA dead? Wasn't the bill shelved and didn't the White House declare that it won't sign anything that resembles the current bill?

No, SOPA/PIPA are not dead. On January 17th, SOPA's sponsor said the bill will be discussed in early February. There are signs PIPA may be debated on the Senate floor next week. The threat of SOPA/PIPA remains and the English Wikipedia community wants to send a strong message that such attacks on the free and open web are not welcome.

Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a great post about this here. SOPA/PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. SOPA/PIPA are still alive, and they’re still a threat to the free and open web, which means they are a threat to Wikipedia. For example, in its current form, SOPA would require U.S. websites to take on the heavy burden of actively policing third-party links for infringing content. And even with the DNS provisions removed, the bill would give the U.S. government extraordinary and loosely-defined powers to take control over content and information on the free web. In its current form the bill would also require U.S. websites to take on the duty of actively policing links for infringing content. Taking one bad provision out doesn't make the bills okay – these bills are still an attack on the free and open web.

What about OPEN?

The OPEN Act is different piece of legislation from SOPA/PIPA, which we're monitoring it, but SOPA/PIPA are the focus of this protest.

Why is the Wikipedia mobile site still available?

In its blackout decision, the community has asked us to preserve emergency access options to Wikipedia. We've preserved access via the mobile site, and via a small number of backdoors to the main site.

Did the Italian Wikipedia’s protest action last year achieve its goal of stopping the Italian law in question?

It seems likely that the efforts of the Italian Wikipedia community around a similar Internet censorship bill compelled the Italian Parliament to announce that it would modify the proposed law to include only large online news sites -- meaning that any information outlets that don't fall into that category, Wikipedia among them, would be excluded from the law's reach.

Do you think U.S. users will respond to this action?

The English Wikipedia blackout is a call for action. We encourage U.S. citizens to get in touch with their Congressional representatives and voice their opposition to SOPA/PIPA. This extraordinary collaborative effort will hopefully reach a wider public audience and help bring attention and spark discussion amongst those who are familiar with the issue and those who have not heard much about it as well.

What is the significance of acting in concert with other major sites? Will this really produce a politically effective message beyond acting in isolation?

The Wikipedia community has selected January 18th because that was the date the U.S. House of Representatives had contemplated hearings and other actions around SOPA. Although those hearings are not occurring today as planned, they will likely be rescheduled to a later date to avoid the increased public opposition to the legislation that we see today. Further, it appears PIPA is moving forward in the U.S. Senate. The community feels this is the right time to act.

When many organizations and projects align and protest like this, there’s clearly a big net effect. There’s no question this makes the story bigger than if one site, say Wikipedia, protested alone. Ultimately though it doesn’t look like we’re just following in the steps of others. Our community has strong views about this - and has from the beginning. It doesn’t simply look like they’re viewing activism in terms of how other sites are responding. Conversely, a lot of those other sites are very much looking to Wikipedia to see how our community is responding.

How can I get around this blockout to access Wikipedia?

TBD

Discussion, Comments[edit]

I think it looks great. It is clear, brief, and informative. It invites readers to take action. (I will still hold hope for a soft blackout, however. And I will still wonder if this is the right time for this protest). Thank you for your neverending work of piecing suggestions together, creating drafts, and sincerely listening to the community's thoughts. Petersontinam (talk) 23:10, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

  • I think a "stock script" landing page is plain wrong. The reply will be stock answers, and far worse, there are easy good replies in "It stops piracy, fake meds, etc" which we don't prepare users for and they will be left in doubt that maybe the acts are good, because those are valid issues. People won't then be motivated or have ammunition to continue as they won't know more than "It's bad because Wikipedia says so" and they'll be told the good things about the acts when they call.
The other approach ("What's good, what's bad, what's awful, please help!") is so much more powerful precisely because people will understand, can see how huge it is, will feel motivated longer term, requires no technical knowledge, can devise their own questions from it, and it's fair, short, but utterly unanswerable. Please reconsider! FT2 (Talk | email) 23:15, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The wording from the other approach. Just compare as an explanation
  • Good:  Reduces copyright theft and piracy by attacking their funding.
  • Bad:  Allows anyone to remove anything from your search results secretly. Allows anyone to get a site shut down completely for copyright breach however small. Goes against almost every expert's advice by breaking internet security.
  • Awful:  Removes 'safe harbor' provisions. Requires massive armies of censors. Destroys sites that rely on on user contribution and participation. No proper hearing, notice or due process. No free speech. No proof needed. Affects every .com, .net or .org in the world. Encourages other countries to also destroy free speech online. Just one bad link on millions of pages can get a site taken down, even if the site owners would remove it on request. Destroys the key laws that make Wikipedia and other huge American successes possible.

Compare these. "State the facts and let the reader draw conclusions" is right. Users can now see it's huge, cannot get "fobbed off", and will know exactly what they want to say.

Hi FT2. I'd suggest that if we're talking about the volume of calls we hope to generate, the offices of the representatives are going to be inundated with calls and the staff members attending the phones will merely be annotating how many calls come in. Likewise, any time I've made these kinds of advocacy calls I've always been attended by a very polite person who takes my name, maybe my city, and says thank you for calling. I think it is pretty bad form for them to try to convince one of their constituents that they are wrong about an issue. And again, if they are getting hundreds or thousands of calls suddenly in one day, they will be particularly overwhelmed with the clerical work of keeping track. When we've put any more text than what's in the "stock" landing page box, it starts to cramp the design. Matthew (WMF) 00:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Non-issues - they'll get the calls either way, and text can be condensed (or secondary points skipped). The issue is the first draft doesn't educate at all, it just says "Wikipedia says it's awful, call and complain". No awareness, no knowledge why - nothing. Even if just 3-6 lines and very terse, if we name the wrongs these laws allow, people will run with them, and will understand them in future. If they don't, the media will and they'll read or watch that way. Wording when they call? They'll make their own phone/email wording (very firmly!) if we inform them of the issues. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:51, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Hey FT2 - thanks for putting so much thought into this. I know this is sticky stuff, and things we need to be thoughtful and careful about. Check the above version. We've now added some good QA to the 'learn more' page, which I know is -not- part of the current user pathway for users who just click on Zip code look up. If we add more (or incorporate some of your edits below) into the Learn More we ask those who want to take steps to make a more informed call or email to go there first. In other words, once they put in their zip code and get to the page with info about their Congress/Senator they can see a link to 'get more info to inform your response.' Would that help? We really cannot overload that page (where the reader sees their congress/senator contact info) with too much instructions and strategies on making the call. Although we want them to be thoughtful, we also want them to feel like this is something they can do without putting huge amounts of thought and time into this. So let's give them the options and make sure the info is available, but also make sure the path is somewhat short... JayWalsh (talk) 07:54, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

I think the (current) message is clear and concise, including for non-U.S. readers (which is my viewpoint). While I agree that Wikipedia exists to provide information, in this specific case I don't think the landing page should have any "read more", links to EFF, "who else is doing a blackout" etc., or (if full blackout) allow you to read the article about SOPA. The blunt impact of Wikipedia doing this will be big - and very much underlines the point of the first line of the blackout screen. Also, I am quite confident that during the subsequent 24 hours of websurfing, most users will have learned what SOPA is. Let Wikipedia raise attention and then let news outlets provide perspective and commentary. Katana (talk) 03:58, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Hi Katana - I agree that overloading the very first page readers see (the blackout screen) with links and redirects is bad - we don't want that. The 'learn more' page we're proposing above will hold everything that the reader/user might want in terms of more info. Per above, to encourage them to get more info for an informed response to Congress/Senate - to use social media better, or generally to just feel more compelled by the cause. JayWalsh (talk) 07:57, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

On the Landing Page for U.S. Readers / Congress look-up page, make the appeal for action more direct: remove the words "please consider" and change the rest of the sentence accordingly. ElKevbo (talk) 20:18, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

In the section Aren’t SOPA/PIPA as they stand not even really a threat to Wikipedia? Won't the DNS provisions be removed? It might be nice to include a link to this post, made by Wikimedia Foundation General Counsel Geoff Brigham. It addresses how SOPA/PIPA would threaten Wikipedia specifically, and I found it particularly elucidating. Regards. Braincricket (talk) 22:10, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

At this point, I think every single concern was addressed. It couldn't be more thorough for readers...especially where it explains that SOPA and PIPA are not "dead", technically. An amazing job of putting all the information together. It's almost time...we will soon see if all of the hard work done by so many brings the results of legislator contact. No matter what anyone's stance is on if there should have been a blackout or not, you really have to admire how this all came together and the talented people who pulled this off. Petersontinam (talk) 23:52, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

First draft from WMF[edit]

DRAFT MESSAGE: SOPA and PROTECTIP will kill the open Internet, and hurt Wikipedia

Users of Wikipedia are deeply familiar with the vast amount of information held within our projects. For over ten years, Wikipedians from around the world have been building this project, compiling millions of facts, references, and citations to make the Wikipedia you enjoy every day possible. Wikipedians are unpaid volunteers contributing millions of hours a year to this project because they are passionate about sharing free knowledge. Today Wikipedia is available in 282 languages and in total it comprises over 20 million articles. According to comScore, Wikipedia (the most visited property of the Wikimedia Foundation’s projects) is the fifth most-visited website online, with over 480 million unique visitors.
All of this has been possible because the Internet is a free and open space, a fact that Wikipedia is absolutely dependent on. Our editors and our readers must have access to websites hosted around the world to verify and add facts, to research articles, and to offer critical context for encyclopedic articles. Maintaining and improving security on a fully functioning Internet has become an ever more important goal for Wikipedians and our users. On Wikipedia, collaborators from almost every part of the planet can add new information, remove vandalism, upload freely-reusable pictures, engage in wide-ranging debates and discussions, and work to ensure that readers have access to the highest-quality, neutrally written, and factually correct information anywhere on the web.
Right now, the United States House of Representatives and the Senate are considering two new bills—the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECTIP Act—that, if passed, will harm the free and open web and bring about new tools for censorship of foreign websites here in the United States. These bills endanger our Constitutional guarantee of free speech and provide a frightening model of Internet censorship for more repressive regimes around the world.
How you can help
Today we ask you to take action and oppose SOPA and PROTECTIP. If you appreciate Wikipedia, then you appreciate the free and open web.
The links below will take you to an advocacy portal hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Through this portal, you can contact your local Representative or Senator. Tell them that you oppose SOPA and PROTECTIP—and that you value free speech, the unrestricted exchange of ideas, security, and open collaboration on the Internet. Protect the values and ideas that Wikipedia stands for, and protect the Internet.

Comment The Draft message does not give a reader any idea on what potential harm the SOPA act can do. If a person considers taking the action of contacting their representative, they would most likely want to be clear about what they are protesting. They would want to be confident that they have gotten the whole story and are in the right if they put themselves out on the political limb. There needs to be language explaining exactly how SOPA has the potential to shut a site down, more info on the "guilty until proven innocent" aspect of SOPA, and very clear and direct points from the Bill that back it up. This site is all about verifiable references, yet it may be asking people to believe information without proof the way the draft is written. I'm very new here, but I don't agree that doing a blackout is going to be free from backlash of readers. I'm afraid it may do more harm than good. What you really need is Wikipedia representatives who are willing to attend committee meetings and hearings. But since it looks like a blackout is happening, I think you should be very careful about what results you think it will bring, good and bad. Also information, whether in banners or full page messages, should leave the reader feeling confident that they understand how SOPA may harm. You can't just tell them it will, you have to explain exactly how it will. Even though it has to be brief, I think it can be done. A radical may jump on any bandwagon without thought, but an intelligent reader will not put their neck out for vague reasons. Petersontinam (talk) 07:23, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

(Correct. Editing “Censorship” section accordingly. Justification below.)
“Everyone has the right to the protection of the … material interests resulting from any … production of which he is the author.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights art. 27(2).
“Content-based restriction. A restraint [based] on the substance of a particular type of speech.” Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009) (emphasis added).
SOPA would seem to indiscriminately restrain a particular type of speech (‘stolen’ speech?) without regard to substance. And it would indiscriminately restrain all speech on the associated domain — again, without regard to substance. Does it in fact violate the First Amendment? --Dervorguilla (talk) 07:50, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Is there a clear and simple way to explain the "guilty until proven innocent" rationale of SOPA? How posessing enough money is the difference between legal defense or not, which in turn becomes the difference between a website exisiting or not? How some companies may look at SOPA as a ticket to take down their adversaries with a mere accusation? Petersontinam (talk) 08:25, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Comment and work to ensure that readers have access to the highest-quality, neutrally written, and factually correct information anywhere on the web. isn't quite grammatically sound. Mentally strikeout "highest-quality" (as I've done here) and then read the result to see what I mean. Either "neutrally written" and "factually correct" need additional modifiers added, or the clause needs to be recast a bit. --Cybercobra (talk) 08:37, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

As mentioned in my previous comments; the first paragraph is sappy, whiney and pointless. It detracts from the point and confuses readers. Brain dead simple is the key :) Perhaps get a professional with experience in writing major publicity releases to have a go? Also; this is an English Wikipedia action and should only reference English Wikipedia. We are not here to impose any viewpoint on other language Wiki's, or to speak for them. Finally there is absolutely no explanation in the proposed text as to what is "happening" (i.e. "there is a voluntary black out"). I'm afraid it's not a good starting point to my mind. --Errant (chat!) 14:04, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

TL;DR. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:51, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Alternative draft[edit]

English Wikipedia is currently undergoing a voluntary blackout in protest over legislation being debated in both the United States House of Representatives and Senate. We believe these laws, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECTIP Act, will kill the open Internet and impede the process of creating the encyclopaedia you know and love.
These laws allow for court action against websites accused of hosting copyrighted materials; including directing search engines to remove links to them. According to Wikimedia Foundation legal counsel Geoff Brigham:
Wikipedia arguably falls under the definition of an “Internet search engine,” and, for that reason, a federal prosecutor could obtain a court order mandating that the Wikimedia Foundation remove links to specified “foreign infringing sites” or face at least contempt of court sanctions. The definition of “foreign infringing sites” is broad and could well include legitimate sites that host mostly legal content, yet have other purported infringing content on their sites. Many international sites may decide not to defend because of the heavy price tag, allowing an unchallenged block by the government.
The English Wikipedia has a policy of not deliberately linking to websites or hosting content that infringes copyright. Volunteer editors spend many hours a year enforcing this policy. However, we feel that the new laws are too broad in their definition of "infringing websites"; in a way that would materially impact our ability to create neutral, high quality content. Our editors and our readers must have access to websites hosted around the world to verify and add facts, to research articles, and to offer critical context for encyclopedic articles. Censoring that access in such a broad way is not a positive step.
How you can help
Right now these bills, which would endanger Constitutional guarantees of free speech and create a frightening model of Internet censorship, are being debated in the U.S. government. Today we ask you to take action and oppose SOPA and PROTECTIP. If you appreciate English Wikipedia, then you appreciate the free and open web.
The links below will take you to an advocacy portal hosted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Through this portal you can contact your local Representative or Senator. Tell them that you oppose SOPA and PROTECTIP—and that you value free speech, the unrestricted exchange of ideas, security, and open collaboration on the Internet. Protect the values and ideas that English Wikipedia stands for, and protect the Internet.

I suppose as I am criticising the above it is only fair I try for a counter example. Please remember that this protest is intended to pack a punch and give a clear message about the issues at hand. Too many words is going to kill that. Ditto getting sidetracked. Failing to explain what is happening also destroys the message. So I added an alternative option above. Thoughts?

Key points:

  • Clearly explains what is happening to Wikipedia at this time
  • Explains what we are protesting
  • Shows how it would affect Wikipedia, along with the explanation from Geoff
  • Affirms our stance against copyright infringing material

I figured out my main problem with the initially proposed message; it spends the majority of the time telling people about us and not actually saying anything about SOPA - except some vague reference to "it is bad". Please be aware this is a 10 minute draft which could definitely be improved! --Errant (chat!) 14:39, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

By the way; the reason I am riding this unusually hard is because, although I am opposed to the idea of a blackout I am also opposed to SOPA. If we do blackout it is likely we will be the biggest internet property to do so - and millions of people will read our message. This means it has to be absolutely the best possible explanation. Focusing on U.S. (as the original does) is pointless, we need to focus on what is being protested - as the aim is to raise awareness of the issue. Hence; beyond anything else we do, this message should be our main focus. --Errant (chat!) 14:51, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree with you. Your key points are very good. Would you consider writing a message that includes them..kind of putting an example draft out there? I don't mean to take away from the obvious work and time that was put into the original draft, but I also am trying to look at this from the eyes of someone going to Wikipedia without any knowledge of SOPA...someone who is just there to look something up, yet who is also valuable in that they may contact their legislator if inspired to do so. Petersontinam (talk) 16:20, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Yeh, I put an example up with the original draft, see #Alternative_suggestion. I too appreciate that significant time went into the original draft, and don't want to be too critical/harsh. But I also think it is not the right approach. --Errant (chat!) 16:58, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I hope they take from your example. It is much clearer in how SOPA impacts, and also more clearly addresses the thing I find really disturbing: The "guilty until proven innocent" rationale of SOPA. Your example is also clarifying what Wikipedia's intentions are with a blackout. You did good. Petersontinam (talk) 17:24, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

TL;DR. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:52, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Ultra-snappy version[edit]

Target upper limit: 100 words / 4 sentences

Jdforrester's initial draft[edit]

  • 5 paragraphs, 139 words, 825 characters

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have done this because we love to share knowledge with everyone. We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

But right now, Congress is considering two bills that would hand repressive censorship tools to large commercial lobbyists.

If SOPA or the PROTECTIP Act pass, they would destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is. We have blacked-out access to Wikipedia for today to show what might happen.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something you, too, care about. Use the tool below to contact your local representative or senator. Tell them that you oppose these acts. Tell them to protect the Internet.

Jdforrester's draft, revised[edit]

  • 4 paragraphs, 98 words, 596 characters
  • Inadvertently derived from Jdforrester's draft - see here.

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

But right now, the United States Congress is currently considering legislation that would hand repressive censorship tools to large commercial lobbyists, which could destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is today.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something that you, too, care about. Use the tool below to take action. Help protect the Internet.

FT2 version[edit]

SOPA (FT2).png

Others will oppose DNS filtering. We need to focus on free speech, due process, and safe harbor. We can make the strongest case as unlike facebook, twitter etc our posts are worldwide reference works not "chat".

The Internet needs you to protect free speech

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

Free speech is in peril like never before. The United States Congress is currently considering striking out rights of free speech and other laws which made Wikipedia possible, forcing us to censor our editor discussions and the information we show you.

If passed, it would destroy the freedom of Americans to write without censorship, on every website we have, in any language, everywhere.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something that you, too, care about. Use the tool below to take action. Help protect the Internet.

Collaborative version[edit]

  • Merciless editing encouraged!

The Internet needs you to protect free speech

For over a decade, global volunteers have compiled billions of facts and contributed millions of hours to build Wikipedia.

We have only been able to do this because the Internet is free and open.

At this moment, free speech is in peril like never before. The United States Congress is currently considering striking out major rights of free speech and other laws which made Wikipedia possible, forcing us to censor our editor discussions and the information we show you, for the benefit of lobbyists. If passed, it would destroy the freedom of individuals to write without censorship, on every website we have, in any language, everywhere in the world.

Please, consider whether a free and open Internet that includes Wikipedia is something that you, too, care about. Use the tool below to take action. Help protect the Internet.

Collaborative 2.0[edit]

Keeping Wikipedia and the Web open for business—

Since 2001, volunteers have spent millions of hours building Wikipedia.  They’ve compiled nearly half a billion facts.  They’ve been able to do so without interference because the Internet is free and open.

The U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could let interest groups employ censorship tools capable of destroying that freedom and openness.

• If you’d like to help protect the Internet and let volunteers throughout the world continue compiling uncensored information, take action.

--Dervorguilla (talk) 03:12, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

[Based on consensus, adding “The U.S.” = “The United States”. --Dervorguilla (talk) 05:02, 16 January 2012 (UTC)]

[“and they’ve …” -> “They’ve …”; “would” -> “could”. --Dervorguilla (talk) 06:42, 16 January 2012 (UTC)]

Discussion[edit]

  • 1/ "But right now" has a really strong immediacy and tension (call to action) that "however" doesn't. Of the three so far, no question that "Jdforrester revised" works for me. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:18, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
That's true, but it's also a saying that has been epitomized and beaten into the dirt by smear campaigns and shiesty infomercials. The question is whether we want to take that kind of tone. Regardless, you're more than welcome to modify anything as you see fit.   — C M B J   13:29, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
As I'm not a media watcher or social media type in that sense, I wouldn't be so aware if a particular wording has or hasn't been overused in the popular eye. Let others decide on that. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Changed to "But now", and removed the "currently" (since now is currently). --Sbp (talk) 23:01, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
2/ The words "free speech" should be in there (see "tag line" section for reasons). This is important: - DNS filtering is probably dead (and others will address it), we need to draw attention much more to free speech, safe harbor, and due process essential for any true mass collaboration. We can make that case far stronger than most since our website dialog and hosted pages - uniquely compared to many protesting sites - aren't perceived as social chatter.
  1. "Right now, free speech is in peril like never before. The United States Congress is currently considering legislation that would hand repressive censorship tools to large commercial lobbyists, which could destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is today."
  2. "But right now, the United States Congress is considering legislation that would remove the legal rights that made Wikipedia possible, making it illegal not to repressively censor our work and editorial discussions for the benefit of large commercial lobbyists. It would destroy the freedom and openness that has made Wikipedia what it is today."
  3. "Right now, the United States Congress is considering new bills which would destroy free speech on the internet, and the freedom every American has had to make Wikipedia what it is today."
FT2 (Talk | email) 13:18, 15 January 2012 (UTC) (edited to add a 3rd 13:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC))
Or...*"At this very moment, free speech is in peril. The United States Congress is considering detrimental legislation (SOPA) without having all the facts: Large commercial lobbyists may be the only benefactors of this Bill if Congress does not hear directly from the masses. Censorship, Freedom, and Transparency would essentially become illegal.
.......Get the facts on SOPA Here, and make your voice heard."
Petersontinam (talk) 20:33, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Too wordy (see also Jimbo's note below). Also 1/ there are 2 bills; 2/ they do have "all the facts" (they just don't want to heed them); 3/ they may not be "the only benefactors" (tax revenues? economy? jobs?); 4/ who benefits isn't the point, it's who and what may be harmed; 5/ "transparency" will not be made "illegal". Short, compelling and accurate is paramount. What's up, why does it matter, what can I do. FT2 (Talk | email) 22:40, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • “the United States Congress” -> “Congress”.  “Congress” (capitalized) means “the legislative body of the federal government of the United States.”  Black’s Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2009); The Bluebook (19th ed. 2010).  There is no entity named “United States Congress.”

--Dervorguilla (talk) 21:18, 15 January 2012 (UTC) --Dervorguilla (talk) 06:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Aside from that, what do you think? I feel it is simple and to the point, which is a good thing to catch attention. Invites those who want to get info to do so...doesn't hijack them. Also offers a sense of urgency in the first sentence and doesn't bog a reader down with sentences that are too intellectual(wordy). Petersontinam (talk) 21:42, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I think it may be helpful to include "United States" here, for international users' benefit. — Pretzels Hii! 00:47, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Same conclusion. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
FT2 and Pretzels are right.  But substituting “The U.S. Congress …” for “The United States Congress” is equally correct — and more concise.  (And it sounds better when read aloud.)
See The Bluebook Rule 6.1(b):  “Some entities with widely recognized initials, e.g., CIA, are commonly referred to in spoken language by their initials rather than by their full names.…  United States may be abbreviated to ‘U.S.’ only when used as an adjective.”
U.S. history but not history of the U.S.
--Dervorguilla (talk) 06:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
“U.S. Congress” is preferred in running text.  (I think “United States Congress” is more likely to be used in stand-alone phrases like document titles.)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
Gregg Reference Manual ¶ 525 (11th ed. 2011)
The name “United States” is usually abbreviated when it is part of the name of a government agency.
    U.S. Department of Agriculture; U.S. Air Force
Chicago Manual of Style ¶ 10.33 (16th ed. 2010) (periods added)
“U.S.” versus “United States.”  In running text, spell out “United States” as a noun; reserve “U.S.” for the adjective form only (in which position the abbreviation is generally preferred).
    U.S. dollars; U.S. involvement in China
Associated Press Stylebook (44th ed. 2009)
“Congress”.  Capitalize “U.S. Congress”.
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
--Dervorguilla (talk) 12:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Tempted to remove "for the benefit of lobbyists". 1/ unprofessional sour grapes, 2/ skepticism if phrased that way, 3/ distracts from key words preceding it, 4/ doesn't add enough to justify extra words, 5/ alienates big business supporters. Thoughts? FT2 (Talk | email) 00:10, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree, I used words that were swift and clipped, but not the appropriate words. How Matthew did it below is excellent. Petersontinam (talk) 02:54, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • "Tools", plural? Possible links: "Congresspeople and organizations opposing these laws"? (Essential info) And a very simple "Read more" link ("What are these bills?" "What would they mean?" etc)
FT2 (Talk | email) 00:25, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Totally agree that there should be a separate page with details in description of Bills, their impact, etc. Something very easy to understand. Petersontinam (talk) 02:54, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • “ … to forge Wikipedia”?  Where’s the real WP?? --Dervorguilla (talk) 00:46, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree and removed. Hyperbole. KISS principle. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
File:Mockup 2a.png
Updated mockup for review

Arbitrary break 1[edit]

As time's short, my effort at an updated mockup to test some words and buttons. Main changes:

  1. Shorter wording than "current consensus"
  2. Simpler buttons per Jimbo's point (should have very minimal links - an "action" link and a "proceed to Wikipedia" link)
  3. Some contentious or wasted words removed
  4. Tone/wording of buttons fits with message. Very brief.
  5. Button ties in with tag line, call to action.

The action link leads to a page which has 2 or 3 FAQ (no more) so people can comment intelligently, and helps the reader on how to protest, who is opposing, and how to find what your representative is doing -- all direct action tools, no "talk" or "chat".

Comments? FT2 (Talk | email) 01:31, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I think that the social media interactions are functionally essential at every step of the process, as they greatly increase our potential audience.   — C M B J   02:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree, if FB/Twitter etc are working on the day, add small icons bottom right. If not leave out. Easy to do, left out for now but not saying to ignore them if valid on the day. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:15, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I'd go so far as to say that we should plan to include them irrespective of their working status. If one or more of them don't work, then the encounter is just that much more real for the reader.   — C M B J   07:41, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree/Comment, Please consider adding a +1 button, as a great deal of anti-SOPA momentum has been propagating on Google+ - Caseyburkhardt 06:42, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I also came here to suggest this. Twitter, FB, G+, etc are powerful ways to reach more people and recruit them. People are far more likely to participate if friends directly ask them to make all least 3 phone calls. Let's not turn our backs on this very powerful recruitment tool. 1-click to share is expected nowadays, let's use that if we can. --AlecMeta (talk) 17:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

"Billions" of facts[edit]

———————————————————————————————————————

Math error:  “Global volunteers have compiled billions of facts …”

->

Correction:  “Global volunteers have compiled nearly half a billion facts …” 

———————————————————————————————————————

--Dervorguilla (talk) 03:04, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Calculations:  A series of 12 ‘Random articles’ (genuine articles only) in the English Wikipedia contained a total of 370 citations.  370/12 = 31 citations/article × 1 fact/citation = 31 facts/article.  31 facts/article × 20,000,000 articles = 620,000,000 facts.

--Dervorguilla (talk) 03:33, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

More calculations:  A new series of 20 substantive ‘Random articles’ in the English Wikipedia contained a total of 443 citations.  443/20 = 22 citations/article × 1 fact/citation = 22 facts/article.  22 facts/article × 20,000,000 articles = 440,000,000 facts.

--Dervorguilla (talk) 07:22, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Pooled data:  (813 citations)/(32 articles) = 25.4 citations/article ≈ 25.4 facts/article.
25.4 Facts/article × 20,000,000 articles = 508,000,000 facts.
--Dervorguilla (talk) 07:57, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Dervorguilla is right – "Billions of facts" is an inaccurate overstatement. With 20,898,490 articles across all languages (source), for there to be "Billions of" (i.e., at least 2,000,000,000) facts, there'd need to be an average of over 95 facts per article. Click "Random article" on even the English Wikipedia a few times and you'll see that's not the case. Perhaps "compiled billions of facts" should be "created millions of articles"? Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:43, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Call to action button[edit]

Can we get some ideas for the text on the blue call to action button at the end? — Pretzels Hii! 22:47, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Tag line[edit]

I'm not sure this is our best shot for a tag line. "Free" has multiple meanings and ostensibly SOPA targets piracy only, so it's not at all clear the internet wouldn't be "free". Try these:

"The internet must protect free speech"
"The internet needs you to protect free speech"
"The internet needs your help to protect free speech"
  • Everyone can immediately relate – they all post on social sites or email, or chat;
  • Accuracy – all SOPA issues come down to impact on free speech;
  • Blatant obvious relevance – anyone can see how harming free speech harms Wikipedia;
  • People care massively about that right, and it taps into that mass support;

- FT2

  • That's way better. I prefer the second option. In fact, any option that starts with "The internet needs YOU to protect..." is a good option in my opinion, as it includes a "call to action", which is important. The issue I see with "The internet must remain free" is it's a bit ambiguous as to the meaning of "free" and, with the fundraiser only a couple of weeks behind us, I'm afraid people will think we're again asking them for more money. -- Orionisttalk 17:30, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • The headline really needs to be 4 - 6 words to have a strong visual impact and be memorable. — Pretzels Hii! 22:42, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
    "Defend YOUR right to free speech online"? —WFC— 02:44, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
    As a non-native english speaker, I really liked the "The internet needs YOU" approach. Appropriately dramatic. :) Maybe break this into two lines? "The Internet Needs You ... to protect free speech"? Just a probably late idea ... Thomas 1:33, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • As an aside, if SOPA is killed off, I would suggest the line "SOPA is dead. The threat to free speech lives on." —WFC— 02:44, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • PROPOSAL: "The Internet Needs You to Protect Liberty" --Insilvis (talk) 03:55, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

Draft Banner messages[edit]

Draft messages on click-through (short FAQ + what you can do)[edit]

When users click the "help" button, they should see a brief (very short) FAQ ideally 2 - 4 items that's action-directed, so they act. There should also be specific things they can do.

  • The bills:
SOPA (House) and PIPA (Senate) are being considered by Congress.
  • What they will do:
  • The good: reduce copyright theft and piracy by attacking their funding.
  • The bad: Allows anyone to remove anything from your search results secretly. Allows anyone to get a site shut down completely for copyright breach however small and whoever by. Goes against almost every expert's advice by breaking internet security.
  • The ugly: Removes DMCA safe harbor provisions. Requires massive armies of censors. Destroys sites that rely on user contribution and participation. No proper hearing, notice or due process. No free speech. No proof needed. Affects every .com, .net or .org in the world. Sets a precedent and a means for other countries to follow us and destroy free speech online. Just one bad link on millions of pages can get a site taken down, even if the site owners would remove it on request. Destroys the key laws that make Wikipedia and other huge American successes possible.
  • Who is affected:
You and every American. Any site you visit or enjoy that has user contributions or comments. Any social sites you visit. Any videos or photos you've watched that parody or include popular images or music. [optional, may be a poor focus:] Web businesses employing thousands and paying hundreds of millions in tax dollars.
(Copyright thieves and pirates aren't affected. They have known how to get round these issues for years.)
  • Who else opposes:
Think of your favorite big website you use every day. Google. Facebook. Twitter. Reddit. Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia sites). ACLU. EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). {Long list of others}. Many of these are also protesting by going dark today, in the biggest and most unprecedented shutdown of the internet ever.
With your help, maybe we won't have to go dark forever.
  • What can we do:
Congress is slowly getting the idea this is bad legislation and starting to backpedal. Even the White House is starting to get the message. Now we need you to send a stronger message, now and forever, to oppose it. That America wants to be free. That free speech matters.
  • [optional/talking point] What else can be done:
The sites affected carry almost all the promotional media, marketing, sales, and social networking for the bill sponsors, and all their search results. All of that is potentially at risk if web businesses are jeopardized.
You can do it. Please help the internet. Protect free speech.


 (Contact your congressperson) (Other help you can give)

Notes:

  1. Ideally each section would open when clicked.
  2. The "what else" doesn't say action will take place. It points out the real position, raises awareness, provides a talking point, and may get serious attention of a completely different kind, or start a different ball rolling. It will get media attention on the sponsoring businesses' dependence on those who will be harmed. Hence worth mention to add a different kind of concern to awareness of bill supporters. As some have said, we get just one day to make this impact, the risk is very serious to us, we need to show the full impact that's possible.

FT2 (Talk | email) 10:04, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Note that this will most likely be a global blackout. So "Contact your congressperson" doesn't really make much sense for a large part of our readership. --Tobias (Talk) 13:57, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Draft Ways to oppose SOPA messages[edit]

Follow the advice of btjunkie.org . As soon as you enter the site, they ask you to call your senator. This is displayed as a pop out window that allows you to input some information and find out who your senator is and how to reach them. Armed with this information, you can try to get an appointment with them to discuss SOPA. If you get one, then you should alert btjunkie.org and they'll put together additional people to go with you and show support. They're only going to get the picture if their confronted in masses. I don't know about you, but my senator is in an older age bracket, which shows a lower percentage of computer savvy users. Then you add to that, the campaign, meetings and voting on bills. This all adds up to someone that's not really eligible to take our internet freedom away. The only thing they see, and the only reason this is even an issue being voted on, is big business that pays their campaign expenses. We need to let them know that money isn't the only thing that will get you elected. You also need the votes. If we can show up in masses with a sign that says something to effect of, "Feel free to take away our internet freedom with SOPA, just don't expect to have your job next election." or, "You wanna see the younger generation show up at the poles. Vote yes to SOPA and watch that number dramatically increase." GaryLCarpenter (talk) 21:12, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

People don't exactly love pop-up windows. Especially when they aren't expecting it, they equate pop-ups with ads, often with malware. There are people (not many, but some) who would equate that "Wikipedia gave me a virus". - SudoGhost 23:06, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Draft Things to say to elected Representatives[edit]

Cybersecurity

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would damage the security of the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  A safe and secure Web is vital to our privacy and to commerce.  Over a hundred established authorities on the Internet believe that the required blocking of Internet sites is badly thought out and threatens Internet security.  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.

Censorship

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would censor the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  The Internet has become the most important communications tool for the free flow of ideas.  This bill would give the Justice Department power to shut down entire websites — even if the website or its information is not the subject of a complaint.  It could provide a model for repressive regimes (who could promote it as the ‘American’ model).  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.

Innovation

As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose a bill that would chill innovation on the Internet (in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act; in the Senate, the PROTECT IP Act).  The Internet has created successful multi-billion-dollar businesses — and it has benefited thousands of small businesses by providing them a previously unreachable worldwide market.  This bill would put unreasonable burdens on Internet Service Providers and search engines and would threaten to suffocate our Internet economy.  I respectfully urge you to oppose this bill.

Donation box[edit]

How about adding a page that lists organisations fighting SOPA and could use your donation, like the EFF. As Domas once said "Down time used to be our most profitable product". People will want to take action after reading the text, not only by calling their congressman, but also by donating. --Tobias (Talk) 16:10, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Bad idea. If you put such a link it is "wikipedia approved" donation which can be exploited by third parties. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 18:37, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
    • I do want to point out there are plenty of us who wants to only educate people. That is the point of wikipedia, we offer free knowledge NOT free money to people who have had no association with us prior to SOPA draft. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 03:17, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Conversely, our desire to educate could also be cited as a reason why such information should be made available by us. It's an interesting dilemma to say the least.   — C M B J   09:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support - Assuming that the listed organizations are all nonpartisan, I think this would be a decent idea. We need to make the situation as actionable as reasonably possible for laypersons.   — C M B J   00:35, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose - While I see the value in it, I can easily see people saying "Oh this is just another plea for money" and dismissing the intent of the blackout/whatever happens. - SudoGhost 00:38, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
That complication can presumably be avoided with proper presentation. It could indeed alienate people to say "Please donate to help stop SOPA", but I think that something along the lines of "for a list of charitable organizations working to stop the legislation, see here" would have a different effect.   — C M B J   01:23, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I don't think the problem would be with the presentation, it's the perceived intention. If money is mentioned in any way, shape or form, that's all some people see. - SudoGhost 01:52, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, I too think this is not such a good idea. The intention is not to garner donations for us or anyone else (and in doing so we risk taking the political side of this too far) but to raise awareness of an issue. We should stick to that. --Errant (chat!) 01:01, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • It has one merit - money speaks, a congressperson picking up donations for opposing has impact. Even so, the big concern is, would we come under fire for using the website to solicit political donations, rather than just to inform and seek support? A safer option might be "Want to donate? See our list of congresspeople and charitable bodies opposing these free speech restrictions". FT2 (Talk | email) 15:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. An effort to raise money here would be easily misconstrued and thus runs counter to the intentions of this endeavor. --Tim Parenti (talk) 21:17, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This issue isn't about Wikipedia's funding. It is much bigger. Axl ¤ [Talk] 11:27, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I was not talking about Wikipedia's funding, but funding of organisations that fight SOPA. Campaigning costs money and part of the support needed is the necessary financial means. --Tobias (Talk) 18:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • In this situation, there is a very clear distinction between a call to action and a call to donate to a cause backed by the WMF. Anti-SOPA action has and will cost the WMF and others time and money, but while the suggestion that the WMF is trying to profit from this would be a patent lie, by adding a donation box we would be inviting that accusation. Bearing in mind that there are influential people and organisations that would be happy to jump on an anti-Wikipedia bandwagon, under no circumstances should we give them the opportunity.WFC— 02:39, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Not appropriate, and per WFC. This action should not be confused with any fund raising campaigns or activities. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:59, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. On paper it seems like a good idea, but a lot of people strongly disagreed with the blackout in the first place. Out of respect for them, and all the fuss we're stirring up, let's not get carried away - The blackout is going far enough. However, we can link to organizations like the EFF or other resources that might eventually link the reader to potential donation opportunities - just as long as we're not DIRECTLY doing anything more than our blackout protest, and referring the reader to more information. Badon (talk) 06:45, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The people who are more than just minimally interested and want to do more than contact their representatives (donate), will (hopefully) do so with care. They will therefore seek out information of what else they can do, and that seeking will lead them to EFF and the like anyway. Katana (talk) 13:00, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support in a low-key form. Don't ask for money, don't be forceful about it-- but I think it's okay to tell people that EFF is taking donation, so long as we don't endorse them or have a donation box right on the page. People will be looking for that information, after all-- we should INFORM them but not PERSUADE them to donate (like we do during donation drives). --AlecMeta (talk) 16:49, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Synthesizing Messages and Talking Points (DRAFT)[edit]

NOTE ON DRAFT: Hi all, my name is Matthew Roth and I'm an employee at the Wikimedia Foundation, working with Jay Walsh in the Communications Department. I recently worked on the 2011 Wikipedia Fundraiser as a Storyteller. I'm offering up a synthesized message that attempts to address a number of the issues raised above. This draft synthesis has been reviewed by the Foundation's legal team. I would echo Jimbo Wales and Errant in arguing for action-oriented text and a clear explanation of what exactly is happening. If a reader is coming to EN WP and finding a blackout, they are likely going to be quite confused and I think it is incumbent upon us to quickly and clearly explain what is happening. The first two paragraphs in this draft seek to explain briefly why the page is black. The next paragraph gives an actionable item, which is to contact U.S. representatives and senators.

In order to maximize the number of phone calls that people make to their representatives, I think it is essential that we provide talking points, as Petersontinam mentions.

In terms of design, when we look at Brandon's design mock-up, imagine the first two paragraphs as the primary message that is seen when you arrive at the blackout screen. The third paragraph, "What you can do" will be above a field where users can enter their U.S. zipcodes. As I understand it, though design questions haven't been finalized, the talking points (what is titled below "What you can say to your Senator and Representative) will then come up once you enter the U.S. zipcode.

Some of the specific details below may change (such as time, how geographically widespread the blackout is, etc) but this best reflects my current reading of the votes on the project page. This is clearly not meant an endorsement of details the community hasn't yet decided upon, merely a placeholder. Happy to try to explain my thinking further if any of this is unclear. Thanks, Matthew (WMF) 00:45, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

FYI Matthew and other WMF folks working on SOPA are making some changes to this text now, based on some conversations. Also trying to factor in comments on the page. We intend to use this text to further develop our press materials as well - including a press statement. JayWalsh (talk) 20:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)


Blackout Screen Text

WE NEED YOU TO PROTECT FREE SPEECH ONLINE

The Wikipedia community has authorized a blackout of the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours in protest of proposed legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, will harm the free, secure, and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.

Today we ask you to take action.

Landing Page for U.S. Readers

[Text below will appear once zipcode is entered and contact details are revealed]

For maximum impact, please consider calling your Representative and Senators and explain that you are a constituent and that you oppose these bills and similar future legislation.

Things you may want to say to your Senator or Representative

"As one of your concerned constituents, I urge you to oppose SOPA and PIPA or any future bill that would censor free speech, damage the security of the Internet, or chill innovation."

Regarding Censorship

“The Internet has become an important communications tool allowing the free flow of ideas. As introduced in the House and the Senate, SOPA and PIPA would give the Justice Department and courts tremendous power to shut down entire sites. These bills ignore the principles of the First Amendment that require tailored solutions in lieu of across-the-board censorship. Unfortunately these bills represent terrible precedents for the United States and offer a model for repressive regimes throughout the world.”

Regarding Cybersecurity

“A safe and secure Web is vital to our privacy, our access to free knowledge, and to commerce. Hundreds of established authorities on the Internet believe that the required blocking of Internet sites in SOPA and PIPA is badly thought out and threatens Internet security.”

Regarding Innovation

“SOPA and PIPA would chill innovation on the free Internet, which has benefited thousands of small businesses by providing them a previously unreachable worldwide market. This bill would put unreasonable burdens on Internet Service Providers and search engines and would threaten to suffocate our Internet economy.”

Landing Page for Non-U.S. Readers

Legislation like SOPA and PIPA could become a reality where you live. Contact your elected representatives, your Ministry of State, your Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or an equivalent, and tell them you oppose SOPA, PIPA and legislation that resembles it.

Discussion[edit]

  • Suggestion and Comment -To me, it seems much cleaner, clearer, and easier to understand. Saying the words "frightening precedent" was very powerful; If there was any way to add that into the "template" being sent to Senators and Representatives, I think those words do capture a politician's attention. I still wish there was a way to give an example of the specific effects of SOPA as opposed to general statements, but maybe that could be at the top of the landing page after the zip code. It would help them make a decision to take action to have 2 or 3 examples of how it really affects them, and the chilling outcomes if this Bill goes unchecked. However, I do realize that space is an issue and it isn't easy to bring lists of massive repercussions down to a couple of sentences. The word "chills" may not be the best word...I know I'm being nitpciky...but would "inhibit" or "stifle" innovation be better than chills? Chills is used in two places-"Regarding Innovation" and "Things you may want to say to your Senator or Representative." Under "Regarding Censorship"; the sentence "The remedy ignores the prinicples....." doesn't seem as clear as it could be. Could be me, but I'm not sure that "The remedy" (Their remedy) is clearly identified as SOPA, and could be mistaken for an opposition to SOPA. Again, could just be my lack of reading the sentence clearly. I know there has been unimaginable hours of work put into Draft Messages, and I put forth these comments respectfully. I still hope it is a soft blackout or only a banner and don't want Wikipedia to infringe on the rights of the readers. I am still worried that Wikipedia risks its reputation of neutrality, taking the plunge into political actions that alter the site's availability. Petersontinam (talk) 02:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The draft changed somewhat before I put my comment up. Petersontinam (talk) 02:39, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I respectfully agree that "The remedy" is vague at first glance. It could mean SOPA as a "remedy" to copyright infringement, or protest as a "remedy" to SOPA. It becomes clear by the end of the sentence, but how about using "These bills ignore" or "This power ignores" instead? Or maybe even “...shut down entire sites in response to allegations of copyright infringement. This ‘remedy’ ignores...” (optional scare quotes for added irony) Anyway, I too love "frightening precedent"—it really grabbed my attention. Thanks for all the hard work! Braincricket (talk) 07:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
    • I'm just picking nits here: "badly thought out" → "badly thought-out" I think it needs the hyphen. Cheers. Braincricket (talk) 21:21, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Crucial copy editing[edit]

This is a great improvement – the right length and the right content.

Some would-be readers will feel angry at Wikipedia for taking away their content for political purposes. It's important to craft the message with empathy for that experience – in terms of feelings, not just ideas. Undoubtedly Wikipedia's critics will attack the blackout – and for the same reason. We need to keep the readers on our side.

If readers see the blackout as a battle of two ideologies, anti-Wikipedia pundits who criticize it tomorrow will easily win them over. On the other hand if readers see the blackout as an action by the Wikipedia community to defend its very existence, they're more likely to understand why it was necessary and stay on our side.

Plus, we already have their attention. They already know there's a blackout. We shouldn't lead with that. Instead, we should lead with the reason.

I rewrote the headline and copyedited the content. I can't emphasize enough the importance of this fairly small change. (I also added the phrase "harmful legislation" in the third sentence.)

Original

WE NEED YOU TO PROTECT FREE SPEECH ONLINE

The Wikipedia community has authorized a blackout of the English version of Wikipedia for 24 hours in protest of proposed legislation — the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the PROTECTIP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate — that, if passed, will harm the free, secure, and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.

Today we ask you to take action.

Revised

SOPA AND PIPA THREATEN WIKIPEDIA

Proposed legislation in the United States – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the U.S. Senate – will harm the free, secure, and open Internet. These bills endanger free speech in the United States and abroad, setting a frightening precedent of Internet censorship for the world.

In protest of this harmful legislation, the Wikipedia community authorized a 24-hour blackout of the English Wikipedia.

Today we ask you to take action.

Pnm (talk) 22:05, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Very nice. I appreciate the spaced en dashes per MOS:DASH. Good idea splitting off the "the Wikipedia community authorized..." clause into its own sentence and placing it near the end. I think it's an improvement. Regards. Braincricket (talk) 22:42, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
It's "In protest at, not of". Tony (talk) 04:27, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
How about "In protest against"? Braincricket (talk) 04:53, 18 January 2012 (UTC)

General comments or other suggestions[edit]

Variations of English[edit]

In any pages which are going to be seen globally (eg banner as opposed to blackout if option 1 is taken up), please make sure that you avoid words or spellings which are specific to one variation of English - such as "fiber" in the example screen. No-one reading the banner should be given the impression, even subliminally, that en-WP is specific to one part of the English-speaking world. The purpose of a global banner would be, I suppose, to remind readers that although the legislation is U.S., its effects of a damaged en-WP would be global. PamD 11:25, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Scope of content[edit]

The small amount of text that we produce here may soon be read by millions of people coming from virtually every walk of life: the rich, the poor, the middle class; the liberal, the conservative, the centrist; the young, the middle-aged, the old; the valedictorian, the high school dropout; the journalist, the politician, the scientist, the tenured professor, the single parent, the day laborer; the brilliant, the infirm, the typical; the top 1%, the bottom 1%, and people from every other facet of society imaginable. We are engaging in something that will become a part of history; something that will not only affect us, but also the lives of many, many others. Contribute wisely, contribute boldly, and most importantly don't lose sight of the fact that the message represents every principle and member of this community.   — C M B J   12:43, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Confrontation method[edit]

The visual designs currently proposed assume that there will be a very short intro message, followed by a "read more" link with greater detail. If we're likely to move forward with that plan, then the above detailed landing page drafts need to be superseded by one that takes this factor into consideration. Otherwise, we need to get the ball rolling on a new visual prototype.   — C M B J   13:34, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

And I'm not sure 'read more' is the right thing to send people to, since reading more will inherently compete for time/attention with most people. I think 'take action' should be the most prominent direction, and when they click it, they should get direct information about how to take an appropriate action.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:27, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
The design proposals we're thinking about (taking the ideas from here etc) would see us with a really, really short message followed by a clear call to action. With scripts would actually have other text on the page there, just not visible. One click and the text becomes visible, like a show/hide on the TOC or other sections of the wiki. This might be a nice way to keep everyone on the page and give them the power to look at text or not, act or read etc. JayWalsh (talk) 04:44, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Note from Jimbo[edit]

Let's remember that the point of the banners is action. I would like to see a million calls/emails/letters/visits to Congress. So the message needs to focus on action. We've learned a lot over time in our fund raising campaign - the call to action should be distinct, clear, and easy for the person to imagine themselves doing. Reading a long philosophical justification is possibly fine for some people, but for most people a passionate call to action will be more effective. I should add that I haven't had time to read and ponder the messages above, so this shouldn't be taken as a criticism in any way of what we already have. I'm just saying that we should emphasize this.

If we had the time/technology, I wish that we could track results, i.e. give people the means to click and call their Congressional representatives, so we could actually measure the response rate. But I fear we are mostly going to need to wing it here, so we need to call on our experience and trust that it will work. I hope that Zack from the Foundation and some from his team will be able to issue some thoughts of guidance to us.--Jimbo Wales (talk) 20:26, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks JImmy - we're keeping this in mind too at WMF. As a note of process, WMF is holding a big team meeting tomorrow (monday) afternoon in our SF offices to hammer out the complex technical, logistical, and creative/copy aspects of the effort. We're going to be studying the final decision from the RfC and trying to take everything from the comments and support, including the messages, and making it all fit. IT won't be perfect, and in the end the goal is really to make it high-functioning.
FWIW, the design and copy considerations are likely to be distinct - so it may make more sense on this page to keep the focus on making the text as absolutely tightened as possible so the design effort can have maximum impact. JayWalsh (talk) 03:50, 16 January 2012 (UTC) Also - edits you see from Mroth are from my colleague Matthew (per above) and generally speaking these additions have been vetted by the WMF SOPA team, including our counsel from Washington. JayWalsh (talk)

Please keep it very brief[edit]

The more they have to read, the less impact it will have and the fewer people will read it.

The Foundation's text here is pretty good, although the visual design needs to be improved. I presume these examples above are displayed after the reader clicks on "Read more". I hope so. Tony (talk) 14:07, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Yes, I agree with you, Tony, but there are also people who want to read and know more immediately, for example bookworms/eater, some teachers and students, scholars, and etcetera. So, a show/hide link could do the trick. –pjoef (talkcontribs) 19:47, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
The first screen should be a brief and succinct as possible. A show/hide would be a great idea for further details/info/action, etc. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:04, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA shelved, Protest shelved?[edit]

Is it safe to assume that action on Wednesday is moot? Please read this: "The Hill" SOPA shelved until... Includes this quote: "Issa said that even without the site-blocking provision, the bill is 'fundamentally flawed.' 'Right now, the focus of protecting the Internet needs to be on the Senate where Majority Leader Reid has announced his intention to try to move similar legislation in less than two weeks,' he (Issa) said." It isn't as clear as one would hope on the immediate future, but claims that the White House has mentionted vetoing the Bill. Usually, that stops a Bill dead in its current form. Petersontinam (talk) 16:09, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

But it isn't truly dead until it's really dead. If it hasn't been linked to already, here's a thoughtful post from eff on what's left in SOPA/PROTECTIP. Part of the risk of everyone backing down is that energy returns the bill in some form later on - not far down the road. Memory can be short, and there's a risk it could manifest itself in a completely different form. JayWalsh (talk) 16:50, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Jay, that was the most informative article I have read so far on what the Bills really mean, what their impact is. However, I'm still not convinced on the timing of a protest without knowing the timing of the legislation. Isn't it possible to "not back down" by giving readers the links to their legislators, the information, without the blackout? Aggressively pursuing the educating readers on the Acts? Saving the blackout for the time when action makes the biggest statement? I understand that if other sites are going ahead on the 18th, this may not make sense. Too bad it couldn't be saved for a different time, still coordinated with other sites for maximum impact. It's hard for me to understand protesting what possibly isn't materializing at this time. If I was going into battle, I would want to make sure my opponents were on the field; not two States over, still marching toward the field. Just my thoughts. Petersontinam (talk) 18:22, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Let's not think for a minute they may in fact just be halting the bill in the hopes people forget about it and they can ram it through under the radar later. And as was stated, PIPA is very much alive in the senate. Pressure can not be taken off when you appear to actually be winning the battle for internet freedom. People need to be reminded/made aware of these bills for those who aren't, and the powers that be need to be shown we're not screwing around, we take a free internet quite seriously and we won't be placated with vague wordings of a potential halt in legislation of one of two bills. The House needs a reminder what will happen if they later decide to move forward on SOPA, and the Senate still has their bill pushing through. People as a whole in terms of coming here need to be reminded of the dangers of censorship, and to be constantly vigilant, as for a long time SOPA and PIPA passed along almost unnoticed.TheMadcapSyd (talk) 00:47, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
I hear you, I really do. But please see this page: "We the People" White House Petition Page. Please read the White House's call to offer up solutions to all that is wrong with the legislation as it is written. Please consider that angle: What if Wikimedia was part of the solution? I'm sure you will think this is a fantasy, but it is my fantasy...Jimmy Whales and the greatest minds of Wikipedia, stepping forward and offering up ideas and solutions to recreate legislation that protects who needs to be protected and does not screw everything else up. Is that really impossible to pull off? Petersontinam (talk) 00:58, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Red faced over spelling Jim Wales name wrong... Petersontinam (talk) 01:01, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
And you think that the MAFIAA lobbies will accept the Wikipedians' proposals??? Jurjenb (talk) 13:06, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Click-through to SOPA and relevant stable articles?[edit]

I'm going to bring up again a suggestion that was discussed here. As part of the content made available, we could use stable versions of a handful of related articles. There were at least two suggestions for this:

1. SOPA, PROTECT IP Act, OPEN Act, and all articles containing "intellectual property" or "censorship" in the title (My original suggestion)
2. SOPA + all articles it links to (TheCurran's suggestion)

My thinking was that this being a global issue, users ought to be able to read about censorship and IP laws in their own country, however that makes a lot of pages to create stable versions for, while SOPA links to lot of pages we don't need, which would dillute the effect. But I still think it's a sound idea, as did the people I suggested it to.

I've created a direct copy of the SOPA version as of this version on my userspace at User:Quintucket/SOPA. I'm going to try to turn into a mockup of what a stable version of the SOPA article might look like, with wikilinks to articles which might also have stable versions.

Feel free to edit it, I only ask that you not do anything other than add or remove links or remove pictures or templates (e.g. no forking except as needed to make a stable version), at least not without discussing it. I'm not sure if this is the best way to go about it, or if it will come to anything, but when I last brought it up everybody talked about the weather and nobody did anything about it.
Regards, -Quintucket (talk) 02:09, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikibooks:Intellectual Property and the Internet[edit]

I have initiated a project to create a stable, stand-alone set of articles on SOPA and related articles it links to over at Wikibooks. A stable url http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Intellectual_Property_and_the_Internet#History_and_Legislation. I encourage anyone who wants to provide friends and family (who are almost certain to have questions about the blackout) to share this link, and to help in bookifying it (getting rid of unnecessary links and bolding important terms, etc). --Quintucket (talk) 19:59, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Collection of "statements" from editors (Proposal)[edit]

Along with the votes for the blackout, and in other discussions here and there, many editors have written a small blurb about why they oppose SOPA, and in some cases why they want Wikipedia to take action. I propose that a page is created where (just) these comments can be collected. This will be a great signal to be able to send along with WMF press release(s) and of course the blackout itself.

  • The variety of reasons will be summed up and higlighted
  • Underlines that it is a community decision, by letting people explain why, in their own tongue
  • News outlets can pick quotes from here (I think non-U.S. comments will be especially interesting and potent)
  • Legacy; It helps bring forth the effort that editors have put into this, and explains why we did what we did

There is the possible debate about "what about the comments from people who opposed the blackout of Wikipedia?". Well, they can bring forth a suggestion for a page about that :-). The highlight is about opposing SOPA, and you can let your voice be heard even if you opposed the blackout.

Variations to consider ("what we want editors to write"); who you oppose SOPA, why you want Wikipedia to blackout/take action, why do you oppose SOPA even if you do not live in the U.S. Country of the poster should be included, perhaps seperated into a U.S. and non-U.S. section.

Also, when I say "collected" I don't mean that one person should copy existing comments there, but for each editor to want his opinion to be highlighted on that page. But if you think an an initial version should be made with existing quotes, then indicate so in your comment. Katana (talk) 13:30, 17 January 2012 (UTC)