Wikipedia talk:SOPA initiative/Action/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

US only

The format of this question has been changed since it was first added. While the new format is better, it seems some people were moved in to what was felt the appropriate section but were not informed of this. For both me and Mike Peel, while technically we were supporting [1] with what we were moved to, in practice our desire was to express the view we did not want something affecting non US users. It's possible we are not the only ones, so I would suggest those who commented before the change be notified to ensure that they actually prefer the option they have been listed as prefering. Nil Einne (talk) 22:07, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

You are saying you vote was moved to another section without your prior consent? Aaarrgh! I know that this was probably done in good faith, but it completely invalidates any vote count. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:56, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes and no. When I indicated support [2] initially the option was support or oppose US only which had this statement "Consensus appears to be emerging that this proposed action should target only users of the English Wikipedia. The blackout component would apply only to users geo-located to the United States. The banner component would display to all users, regardless of location." I indicated support because I wished it to be US only. Not that long later it was changed to the current format where there are 6 options, the first one of which is 'Blackout US only, banner for all users'. Technically no votes were moved around, the section was simply modified and people had indicated support for the renamde options, but of course one of the problems is people may have chosen the least worse option (or I admit in my case, I didn't actually notice at the time the plan was to include a banner for non US users, although I probably would have done the same thing excpet left a clearer indication I would prefer to have it not affect non US users at all). In any case, the number of users affected is fairly small, and now I have more time I will notify anyone who is not clearly aware. Nil Einne (talk) 13:58, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I've notified Mathias Schindler, AlisonW, Swatjester, Night w, Jehochman & Bulwersator. I did not notify Andrew Hampe, Mike Peel, FT2, Stephan Schulz and Dcoetzee as they appeared to have either modified their comments, or left additional comments after the change. (Well I screwed up slightly and notified FT2 then reverted myself.) Nil Einne (talk) 14:18, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Noted, thanks; I'm fine where mine is at. SWATJester Son of the Defender 15:08, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

I am confused by the wording of this section title, "US only", in the article. It implies that all subsections would refer to US-only measures, while in actuality, they refer to a mix of U.S. and non-U.S. measures. Please clarify. -- Dandv(talk|contribs) 05:49, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

A vote?

Why? --MZMcBride (talk) 04:06, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

  • WMF decision is only (and worse) alternative Bulwersator (talk) 14:39, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Because it's difficult to gauge consensus for a whole string of options (not just yes/no, but the details of a protest) on very short notice (if we're going to aim for the 18th). If you've got better ideas I'm all ears, but it seems reasonable :) -- phoebe / (talk to me) 22:07, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Muddying the water

All sections should have the same voting instructions. Right now some sections say "To avoid clutter, please Support only your favorite option (do not Oppose)" while others have support and oppose subsections. This will make it difficult to determine consensus. For example, what if the first proposal has 200 very visible support votes and 2000 invisible/suppressed oppose votes, while the second has 100 support votes and 10 oppose votes? In that case, someone counting the votes would come to a wrong conclusion about what consensus is. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:08, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

English vs US-only

There's a useful comment in the vote that US-only =/= English-only; other language Wikipedias get used plenty in the US, particular the Spanish Wikipedia but also others. If there are other language discussions that are relevant, please do link them here. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 22:18, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Good Idea. We from Germany did this quite fast, but how can other people from lets say Hungary, Japan or South-Africa know about this discussion if they do not read the english community portal and if we do not tell them something about our discussion? -- Andreas Werle (talk) 22:30, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
The WMF should ask the other Wikipedias if they would support the protests with a banner. ACTA will cause the same problems in Europe, it would be great, if we could not only inform the people in other countries about the dangers of SOPA, but create awareness for the importance of the free internet. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 22:49, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Proposal to clear up page

I think as written it isn't clear to voters they can comment on section 1.2.1 AND section 1.2.3 OR 1.2.4, but not 1.2.2. I propose removing section 1.2.2, and rewording 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 slightly to make it clear that the full or soft blackout will only be shown to the users voted for in 1.2.1. I believe, per WP:ANI#SOPA blackout, that all voters in 1.2.2 have been notified by bot to vote in 1.2.3 or 1.2.4 already, so removing that section shouldn't remove anyone's views. Prodego talk 06:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Could you restate the portion that says "make it clear that the full or soft blackout will only be shown to the users voted for in 1.2.1."? Being the weekend, some of those voters have probably not come back. If they haven't moved their support yet, then we should assume they haven't made a more specific choice. Badon (talk) 06:41, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
As I read it section 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 serve to define the term "blackout" in 1.2.1, but do nothing else. Is this an incorrect reading? We would move 1.2.2 somewhere off the main page, so that it will still be looked at later, but should stop people from commenting there by mistake. Prodego talk 06:43, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh yes, I think that is a reasonable thing to do, to prevent additional commenting in that section. But, what will people see when they come back from their weekend vacation, and they act on the bot notice for them to comment? Will you leave the section in place, but empty it except for a link to the new location? Badon (talk) 06:46, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
We could move it with a link, or move it and just leave text behind. Whatever you think is better. Prodego talk 06:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Hopefully this will clarify a bit in 1.2.1 [3]. Prodego talk 06:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I attempted to clarify a lot of things, and moved the 1.2.2 section to a subpage. Should we transclude and protect it? I'd rather discussion still be possible on it. Thoughts? Prodego talk 07:01, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


"Consensus appears to be emerging that this proposed action should target only users of the English Wikipedia. The blackout component would apply only to users geo-located to the United States. The banner component would display to all users, regardless of location."

Is it enwiki/global question? Or maybe it is supposed to be enwiki/users geo-located to the United States question? Or maybe it is question about banner Bulwersator (talk) 17:45, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Multi-component, actually:
  • Project: en-wiki only
  • Location: Only US (for the blackout); Worldwide for the banners.

Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 18:04, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

So, if I oppose any action at this time am I an oppose or a support to this Q - or is there no position to that Q in my position? Youreallycan 18:21, 13 January 2012 (UTC)

Please vote on main page, not here

==== Time and duration of the action ====


Because the bill is a US bill, it makes sense to use a US timezone, such as Eastern Standard Time. There are a few different reasonable time periods that we could use. Longer periods have more impact, but risk more annoyance and damage to reader goals. I propose that we conduct the blackout for 24 hours, which will expose all readers around the world roughly equally. I also provide three alternatives:

  • Three days (72 hours). For maximum impact.
  • US daylight/evening hours (16 hours, about 8am-12pm EST / 5am-9pm PST); this will reach most US people at school/work and at home while they are awake, while not affecting Europe/Oceania as heavily.
  • Just afternoon/evening hours (7 hours, 5pm-12pm / 2pm-9pm). This targets US readers at home. Students get home at about 3-4pm, while adults get home 5-6pm, typically.
  • OBJECT to this being on the talk page while everything else is being voted on on the main page. --Guy Macon (talk) 04:15, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Please note, that I have deleted an IPs vote because this very IP has votes three times in one edit,, even without signing. Liberaler Humanist (22:01), 14 january 2012 (UTC) ==== Same hours as Reddit, Cheezburger Network, Minecraft, etc. ====

==== 24 hours ====

  • Support per above. Dcoetzee 19:22, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support, Note Please note, that one day or more would give other Wikipedias the chance do synchronize protest in a sensefull way. Liberaler Humanist 21:57, 14. January 2012 (UTC)

==== 72 hours ====

  • Support because Occupy Congress starts on the 17th and this would make us look better than everyone who waits for the 18th. Selery (talk) 23:13, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Even 72 hours are barely enough as a large part of the population don't visit Wikipedia every day. Make it one full week! Urbanus Secundus (talk) 07:59, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

==== 16 hours ====

==== 7 hours ====

==== No blackout ====

Why is this poll on the talk page where nobody is seeing it?

Just curious. Selery (talk) 15:47, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

It shouldn't be. I just added a notice, struck out the text and collapsed the section. If anyone has voted only here, please go to the main page and vote again. Thanks! --Guy Macon (talk) 10:20, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't see the poll about duration on the main page. Did it get removed (again)? There is a comment in the Other comments section of the main page that suggests this poll was removed from the main page by the WMF. I think the duration of the action is worth discussing/polling, unless the WMF has decided that the duration of the action will not be open for discussion, but I don't see words to that effect. Saveur (talk) 04:39, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Mention the OPEN Act as an alternative to SOPA as well
  1. Darrell Issa is one of SOPA's most important opponents. He, along with Congressional colleagues from both parties, created the OPEN Act as a viable and saner alternative to SOPA. The OPEN Act is revolutionary in that it allows the average Joe to suggest changes. See [4], [5], and [6] for more information. As I've stated previously, I don't believe that most visitors will want their representatives to adopt a "do nothing" approach to fraudulent, overseas products. They need to know that SOPA isn't the only bill available that offers protection from such products. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 20:42, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
Providing more information, via our own pages or the EFF's or whatever, is fine; but we need to be careful not to imply that the projects/WMF are endorsing any particular bill. OPEN is better, but I don't know that it's perfect; and I don't want us to inadvertantly give the impression that it's a binary choice between the two. -- phoebe / (talk to me) 22:13, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
The main message we need to send is a giant NO to SOPA. What to do instead is a bigger conversation best left for another day. SOPA is the focus right now. --HectorMoffet (talk) 19:50, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA discussion

  • Wikipedia should avoid becoming involved in politics. However, if a law is proposed that would destroy project, we must inform the public. It would be much worse to say nothing. Jehochman Talk 22:04, 13 January 2012 (UTC)
    • But SOPA fails that test, miserably. "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours.". I'm deeply bothered by this politicization of Wikipedia. It's the template for turning the community into a lobbying arm of the WMF - just feed the masses the propaganda "Protest (whatever), it'll destroy Wikipedia!", regardless of the truth (I know, in politics, how naive). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:22, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Seth - those supporting don't seem to feel they are anyone's "lobbying arm". Maybe you didn't read the big print but the heading says "Free Knowledge" - not just "Free knowledge in our small part of the world". What on earth do you think happens to our ability to engender that worldwide, if the largest exemplar of free speech passes laws allowing anyone to have takedown rights over anything without due process. Reckon similar laws won't be coerced or encouraged elsewhere? Reckon other countries won't jump on the filtering bandwagon? If it were just copyright breach nobody here would blink - we're copyright fanatics as a culture. It isn't. And never, ever, assume a law will only be used for what it's intended - if the wording allows it, it will happen. Enough from me, you decide what you think. I agree with the massive support on this issue and am proud to see it. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:45, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
A population led into war often doesn't feel it's playing the sport-of-kings, but rather defending freedom. But that feeling may be different from the reality. If you base your argument on not "assume a law will only be used for what it's intended", then where does it stop? Haven't you just created a grotesque Wikipedian version of the terrorist-scaremongering The_One_Percent_Doctrine, where "If there's a 1% chance that (a proposed law can be used against Wikipedia), we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response.". Obviously, that way lies madness. So what would determine when there's a protest? Practically, when those in power start beating the war-drums. Hence, "lobbying arm". Now, I understand the emotions here, trust me on this, I do. It's one reason (among many) I'm not writing my own long OPPOSE section. But I think this is bad from many angles, not the least of which is all the manipulation taking place. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:59, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Re: "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours", nowhere on the Wikipedia SOPA page (other than claims by politicians who provide no sourcing for the claims) or in the text of the actual bill is there any such exemption. See The Myth That SOPA/PIPA Only Impact 'Foreign Sites' --Guy Macon (talk) 15:54, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
The article you cite is out of date. A more recent article, same site, in fact, same author, goes through the reasoning - "If SOPA's Main Target Is The Pirate Bay, It's Worth Pointing Out That Is Immune From SOPA". You should now wonder why you are not aware of this updated information - especially given the supposed mission of Wikipedia. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:06, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Please do not assume that I am ignorant. I am well aware of the manager's amendment and about techdirt's rather convoluted logic about what it means. I am also well aware of this discussion:

I find that the conclusion they came to ("Yes, it would impact us negatively.") has far more evidence supporting it that your "we are exempt" conclusion. --Guy Macon (talk) 12:01, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Well, no offense, but if you cite an article where the author has recently come to the exact opposite conclusion, the most charitable view would seem to me to assume you were simply not up-to-date on the latest developments. Otherwise I'm really at loss to explain your reliance on the author who has written the opposite now. Similarly, do you reject the the WMF counsel's concurring "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours."? I'm actually impressed, in a negative way, at how little textual argument the protest proponents are able to muster. The best seems to be that if Wikipedia is deemed a search engine (a very expansive construction, though I suppose it's theoretically possible), then it might have to remove some links (note this provision will certainly be challenged if it is ever used). While I agree this is bad in principle, in practice, it hardly justifies the unprecedented politicization of Wikipedia. Note this is safely on the "talk" page, where it can have no effect on the panicked mob voting based on misinformation that Wikipedia is about to be placed in moral peril. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:21, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Rep. Issa has postponed the January 18 hearings on SOPA

I have the news that Rep. Darrell Issa has postponed the January 18 hearings on SOPA's DNS provisions! This is sweet news... for now. Story --Angeldeb82 (talk) 18:50, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

(ec) actually not so much. spiking the testimony by reddit. i'm sure he wants to avoid firing on his own party, with which he disagrees, and change the subject to those trashy occupy people. [7] Slowking4 †@1₭ 21:12, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I am not glad about Smiths turn. He tries to get out the communication network operators out of the coalition against SOPA and to get forward with his other evil plans. The restrictions for search engines have always been our main problem. The fact, that Wikipedia is a search engine in SOPAs terms shows, how little SOPAs creators know about the internet. Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation says: These bills need to be killed altogether. Our view all along has been they are not fixable. ([8]). This actual statement by Smith on his intention to take away some of his strikes against the internet to improve the chances of his other terribilities is far away from beeing acceptable. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 20:56, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
i would commend analysis of eric goldman: " Unlike SOPA's disgustingly blatant rent-seeking, which was such an over-the-top abuse of the legislative process that it did not (and could not) support a principled or even intelligent conversations about it, OPEN provides a useful starting point for a sensible conversation that could actually lead to acceptable compromises..."[9] Slowking4 †@1₭ 03:59, 15 January 2012 (UTC) – I'm starting to believe that Shii might be right. This latest delay is a sign that SOPA is fated to die without further pressure from the Wikipedia community. Also, the Reddit blackout was meant to coincide with the House hearing. Now that the hearings aren't going to happen on January 18th, should we have the blackout on a different date? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:20, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

There is another listing named House Judiciary Committee Markup for January 18 on the legislative timetable. However SOPA is not going to stop itself. The actual anouncement by Lamar Smith intends to calm the telecommunications lobby. Smith does not see any need to step away from the restrictions on search engines, that will cause damage to us, The DNS-Censorship would not have affected us primarily. This does not change anything for us. Reddit seems to have the same position, craigslist has announced, that it will join the blackout after Smiths statement, I do not see the point, that would change the situation. Liberaler Humanist 21:35, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action#SOPA.2FPIPA_Hearings_Postponed – I'm glad to see this topic back on the main page. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:03, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

A note about full blackout

A US only full blackout should not be a possible option, as it will prevent US based stewards from doing anything on enwiki, it would knock out a good chunk of the administrators, crats, oversighters, and other functionaries, while still leaving the site open to active editing that may require their intervention. Prodego talk 01:23, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Not to mention, if we want a full blackout, it has to be worldwide. Otherwise, we're implementing essentially a clickthrough—we're just making the "click" be to set up a proxy. Any major web browser supports proxies and TOR. Seraphimblade Talk to me 04:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Luckily, we've got tech resources thinking about this. :) My bet is that these questions are on the roadmap, but I'll be sure. (Besides, what would US based stewards need to do on enwiki? I can't think of anything right offhand that couldn't keep) Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 05:38, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Would you be so kind as to mention the issue of false positives to them? I have had the experience of websites insisting that I am in Canada when I am actually in Los Angeles. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:40, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Absolutely. Are the banners that you typically get from us appropriately targetted? We're using the same db. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 23:19, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Interference by the WMF

I feel that the WMF has too much control over these discussions. They're basically manipulating what topics are discussed by moving those topics to a talk page that sees less than .01% of the activity of the parent page. Here are some of those removals:

I feel that the moderation of this page should be left to the Wikipedia community instead. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 03:45, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Those moves were legit. The main page is for answering the specific question they asked. The talk page is the right place for complaints about not enough time, suggesting they ask a different question, or suggesting that they move the servers overseas. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
They own the website, so they can do whatever they want. Prodego talk 03:46, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Wrong. --Yair rand (talk) 00:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
We create the content. They're looking for our consent in order to have the blackout. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 03:48, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
They can clean up the main page just like any other editor. Were any of those actions objectionable in their own right? Protonk (talk) 03:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Sure, but they don't have to. Perhaps a less snarky answer for me to have said would be that the WMF needs to have some specific questions asked so that they will know what the community wants from them. There is a relatively short amount of time to figure this out, and if this discussion sprawls out of hand they will not be able to judge what to do. Then no action will be taken. While I would love if this happened, that doesn't seem to be the prevailing view. Prodego talk 03:52, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
The WMF shouldn't feel threatened by any form of information (providing information is our job), even if that information leads the discussion down a road the WMF can't predict or control dictate (i.e. what you call "sprawls out of hand"). It's a matter of principle. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 04:02, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
i didn't find it objectionable, merely confusing. not even an edit war. Slowking4 †@1₭ 04:07, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I honestly don't understand this stance. This is an editor moving content from a project page to a talk page. If they were revision deleting material or removing comments or rewording statements or anything even remotely objectionable I would be concerned. This is housekeeping. Really just bizarre. Protonk (talk) 05:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I found it an extremely ill-considered action on the part of WMF staff. I expect the reply will be that it was a good-faith effort to clean off-topic material. I also expect that further oppositional comments would be similarly cleaned as off-topic. I decided this was poor battle to fight, given the territory. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:18, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Accusations of interference by an encyclopediadramatica admin and GNAA defender. Lol. Selery (talk) 04:25, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

  • If anything is actually done about SOPA, it will be the WMF that does it, and we do not have 30 days to thrash every corner of every horse, and it makes sense to me that the main page should be strictly focused on the questions posed. If someone wants to pose other questions, let them do so elsewhere rather than (possibly unintentionally) hijacking the page here with a lot of noise on miscellaneous issues. Johnuniq (talk) 06:17, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, the problem is "strictly focused" can shade into "no criticism of the premises, no consideration of intervening changes" - and if the premises are indisputable because to do so is "noise", that can effectively determine the outcome. Now, I'm fully aware of the opposite problem, so feel no need to explain it to me. I understand it. But by the same token, please do understand the potential for effectively being marginalization of dissent. It's "bad optics", as the phrase has it, in any case. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:22, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

What is "Soft blackout"?

It's not clear what a soft blackout is. It appears to be identical to one of the US-only options. Badon (talk) 07:58, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

1.2.1, 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 relate in ways that are ambiguous. It is not clear if the 1.2.1 options is basically 1.2.4 with more options, or if 1.2.1 would apply to the result of 1.2.3, and if not whether 1.2.3 is US only or not. We cannot figure out how to fix this, so just leave the section explanations alone and let whomever closes this try to sort it out. Prodego talk 08:19, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Somebody screwed up the poll by removing the original blackout section with its explanation. The replacement soft blackout section has no explanation and a broken link. Those who already voted for a clearly explained soft blackout have had their votes removed. This is very wrong. Jehochman Talk 11:13, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

[10], [11], [12] – I hope that this will clear up some of the confusion. Unfortunately, I cleaned this up 6 hours after the issue was created, so the damage is already done. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:30, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Do the !votes on Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Action/BlackoutSection still count? --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 13:38, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course they do. The original section was very clear in what it meant. The removal was a highly disruptive action, whether intended that way or not. One cannot assume that these people will pay attention to a bot message. They might not even come online against before the RFC closes. Jehochman Talk 14:28, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Actually the trouble occurred when the 1.2.3 and 1.2.4 sections, which seemingly contradict, were added (which was many hours earlier). At that point instructions were added instructing people not to comment in 1.2.2. By the time I saw this it could not be undone. So I opted for removing the 1.2.2 section since users were commenting there by mistake, and since having a section you cannot vote on was even more confusing than having no section at all. Obviously that section will not be ignored. Prodego talk 17:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
The trouble started at the very beginning when the WMF didn't offer any alternative to the "soft blanking". --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:08, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Again, Wikipedia shows it can't hold a RfC without changing the question three time throughout. ASCIIn2Bme (talk) 14:26, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

What a mess!

A think this page is getting a little chaotic and I believe a lot of people are not getting what is being proposed here. I think the page should be protected for a good half an hour and have someone (an admin maybe) reorganize it. Also, a lot of people don't seem to understand that the blackout will be for a few hours as a sign of protest, this too should be clarified. I would like to propose the following:

  • Organize the page and require people to reduce commentary or have a section added for such purpose.
  • List the proposals on top of page with a small description of what such proposal means.

--Camilo Sanchez (talk) 17:27, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

A few things are clear

  1. There is dominant support for a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout, with the same sentiment expressed in more than 1 section.
  2. There is weaker, but still significant support for a US-only "blackout" that is not actually a "blackout" at all, but instead is just a click-through splash banner thing, with a less noticeable banner being applied globally. Note that the results of this section may be skewed positively because:
    • It was present from the beginning (unlike the much more popular "Full blackout" option).
    • It is the one at the top of a very large page.
    • There is much confusion because "blackout" was redefined for this section to mean "splash page and banner ad click-through", which differs completely from the actual meaning of the word "blackout", and may have been overlooked by voters thinking they were voting for a blackout.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Instead of "blackout", "ad campaign" would have been one of many possible correct descriptions.
  3. The most common reason mentioned for not supporting click-through splashes and banners is that it too closely resembles advertising that people are already conditioned to ignore. The people voting for a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout want to shake things up more aggressively by completely denying access to most or all of Wikipedia for the duration of the protest (1 day, 12 hours, or less).
  4. No one wants a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout to be done for more than 1 full day.
  5. A small minority of the people voting for a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout have expressed that they would accept a less aggressive form of blackout.
  6. A large fraction of the people voting for a less aggressive form of blackout have expressed that they would prefer a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout. Those people seem to be mostly people who voted before a "full blackout" option was available, or people who did not read far enough into the massive page to find the "full blackout" option.
  7. Indeed, it also appears that most of them are unaware that "blackout" has been redefined in those sections where they voted to mean a common "splash screen". If their votes are combined with the votes in the "Full blackout" section, then there are about 1000 votes in favor at the time of this writing, at more than 3 times the quantity of the closest competing section (US-only splash screen "blackout", global banner).
  8. The "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout option has the most adamant opposition, despite being a comparatively very small number of people.
  9. The primary opposition reason against a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout is the disruption it would cause, and that the disruptive incitement of protest should be delayed until AFTER SOPA/PIPA is positioned to be enacted.
  10. The secondary opposition reasons against a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout are that SOPA/PIPA does not affect Wikipedia, and it would be a violation of Wikipedia neutrality policies (there is super-majority disagreement about that, which is supported by expert legal counsel).
  11. The primary support reason for a "full", "global", "unequivocal", "total" blackout is the disruption it would cause, and the immediate protest it would incite BEFORE SOPA/PIPA is positioned to be enacted.

Badon (talk) 18:40, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

It is clear to you, and that's ok, what I am asking is a little bit of housekeeping, you know, organize stuff around make it more legible and reduce commentary. A lot of people are adding extra comments that are turning into positive feedback and will create even further controversy. Also, the blackout means no service at all and just one page in front with red letter protesting SOPA. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 19:54, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Can you please describe the positive feedback mechanism that you see developing? As for housekeeping, we've been discussing it on IRC, and we've concluded that to make major changes after the vote has begun would be more problematic than just letting it run its course and analyzing the data for what it's worth later. Badon (talk) 20:11, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
By the way, my list isn't directed at your comments, which is why I put it into its own section. I moved it back, and renamed it so it does not appear to be directed toward your comments anymore. Badon (talk) 20:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Who have you been discussing with? your two friends? Why not discuss it here. I am not asking for a major change, I am requesting a reorganization so people know clearly the options, there should be a summary in the beginning stating the options. What's the point of collecting data if the inquired don't have it clear to begin with?. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 20:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Please understand, I agree with you 100%. But, we're already up against the deadline, so we need to make the best of what we have. Starting over and reorganizing things at this point would do more harm than good. We can certainly discuss ideas of things that can still be done within the few hours remaining before deadline is reached, if you want. Maybe there's something you can suggest that would work out OK? Badon (talk) 23:05, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
To clarify your point about the effect - "there is super-majority disagreement about that, which is supported by expert legal counsel" - you do mean that expert legal counsel has agreed that the recent changes exempt Wikipedia from (my rhetorical phrase) mortal peril, correct? Quote "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours.". The only legal argument is on a (again my characterization) relatively minor practical matter if Wikipedia could conceivably be deemed a "search engine" and if so would have to remove links (which, note, is not a new legal issue). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:26, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
There are numerous legal issues involved, and I am not aware of all of them. The breadth of the law itself as well as the breadth of the potential applications of the law a few of the problems I'm aware of. Most of those issues filter down to ultimately granting powers that no one should have, regardless of the finer details. Badon (talk) 02:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Wait a minute - you made a statement above in your summary, "that SOPA/PIPA does not affect Wikipedia". I assume that this was a colloquial phrasing, that you did not mean to have it be technically trivial, meaning that if there was the smallest, most inconsequential, effect, that would falsify it. I presume this was directed at what I've termed the "moral peril" argument, that Wikipedia is in dire danger here, so it must act! (which is false, per WMF's own expert legal counsel). What did you mean? If you meant that there might be some effect somewhere, that's hardly a justification for the major action being pushed in this context. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry for the confusion, that phrase was just one of many that I used to briefly encapsulate one portion of the many opinions expressed in each category I listed (for and against, mostly). It is not my opinion. Badon (talk) 04:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

On-wiki implications of a US-only full blackout

For disclosure I'm a non-US editor in favour of a full, global blackout, but I'm not here to debate opinions.

The purpose of this thread is about the on-wiki implications of applying a full blackout in the US, while the rest of the world continues as normal, and I raise it because it looks a distinct possibility. Could/would that situation be used as an opportunity to do things or make decisions that might not be reached if the editors who can't access the site were online at their usual times? Can we do something to mitigate against this, or is the possibility of this happening considered part of the point? —WFC— 21:53, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree, that could be a problem. I support complete blackout for all Wikipedia sites. But, the issues you raise could be dealt with by delaying global decision-making until 1 day after the blackout is completed, if it ends up being US-only. Badon (talk) 23:07, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I support a US-only blackout, but I acknowledge the point being made. I think non-US editors should be encouraged to support the action by not editing (although, of course, it is unlikely that everyone will do that). I would say that the issue is substantially dealt with if there is a simple understanding that it will be bad form to attempt to take advantage of the absence of US editors. I really think that is all it will take in most instances. On a more formal level, we could have a rule that no editorial disagreements may be resolved during the blackout. Overall, though, I don't think its a major issue. Wikipedia also gets edited while people in certain timezones are asleep, right? --FormerIP (talk) 23:15, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh, don’t worry, I only make spelling corrections anyway — like, fixing the common misspelling “color” into the correct form “colour” and all that. :) — Timwi (talk) 23:34, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course that's all fine. And I don't see any reason why anyone would seriously object to a complete re-write of articles such as, say, United States Declaration of Independence or Canada–United States border. --FormerIP (talk) 23:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Intended scale of the action seems off

I would propose whatever action taken (if an action is taken) should only apply to countries where SOPA would have jurisdiction. There is no point in preventing access in non-US places where people have no influence (number of en.wikipedia viewers outside of English speaking countries is known to be relatively small, particularly if the local language has a developed wiki). Conversely, if the aim is to create diplomatic pressure, all language editions would need to have the same action as en wikipedia. -- A Certain White Cat chi? 23:09, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA "has jurisdiction" over every wikipedia. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:35, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

What about PROTECT IP?

This article and the entire initiative appears to be focussing almost entirely on SOPA. However, it seems to be the opinion of political observers that SOPA is a decoy: a bill designed to fail, but to detract enough attention from another bill (PROTECT IP) to allow it to pass. Your focus on SOPA, and the resulting relative detriment to publicity against PROTECT IP, will allow this scheme to succeed. — Timwi (talk) 23:30, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

SOPA and India

Wikipedia is under threat by the courts in India: (Economic Times) (NDTV) (Economic Times) (Economic Times) (Hindustan Times) (IBN Live) (PTI)

Perhaps, SOPA can be coupled with this. Related to this, Internet censorship in Australia is an ongoing issue and many have expressed disapproval of Australian censoring. The Blackout, if it is going to be done globally, should also condemn censorship in other parts of the world and lobby for changes to take place. India being in the news recently should be highly included.

Also, it would be FANTASTIC to couple the censorship discussion with an RfC supporting the re-organisation of WMF in a country with better laws that protect WMF's mission. It will show WMF is really serious about this and are going to leave if this continues. --LauraHale (talk) 23:40, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

wikipedia is under U.S.-jurisdiction; what India is doing is none of our concern. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:46, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
We should be aware of censorship everywhere. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 23:49, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
We have been, for years, and we don't give a shit, to put it bluntly. Wikipedia has been blocked in China, so what? You misunderstand the issue: whether or not wikipedia is blocked by any given government at any given time is not worth a protest. This is solely about wikipedia's content, not its accessibility. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 23:53, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
That is correct. The people most affected by SOPA are actually Wikipedia's sources, which number in the billions or even trillions, while Wikipedia itself is merely just one (big) client of those sources. Badon (talk) 05:20, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Discussion on the italian Wikipedia

The Community at the italian Wikipedia is discussing about actions at it:Wikipedia:Bar/Discussioni/Stop SOPA initiative. --Liberaler Humanist (talk) 23:49, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

Protect IP - Virtue Word

I know this might distract from the voting, but please, consider this short article explaining what a virtue word is :

The point I am trying to make is that Stopping Online Piracy has a clear meaning. Anyone reading the title knows what the Act is supposed to achieve. However the protect IP act not only contains a technical notion of which most users aren't quite clear about, but also a virtue word like protect.

It is only my personal opinion that by omitting the protect IP act we are fighting an uphill battle and also losing half the war. An average reader might be hard to persuade that 'stopping online piracy' is a bad thing, but convincing him against 'protecting an IP' is something even harder.

On a similar personal note, I would like to point out that the Protect IP act has nothing to do with protection unless Search Engine censorship can be defined as such.

Please, I know that I am just a small voice in a very loud crowd, but whether you agree to what I've said or not, if you feel this topic would be worth a discussion, let your voice be heard. Kharazyr (talk) 00:21, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Summary too long

The summary is a lenghty narration of the decision-making process and put the resolution at the end. A synopsis about the resolution should precede the summary. 02:38, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Why already closed

Also why all the conversations were closed while the debates are still living and the date still due? 02:38, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Full blackout option

Why is there no option for a full blackout, instead of a clickthrough? The proposal submitted (#2) at the main page includes full blackouts at several points, and was gaining significant support. I do not see where support is forming for "click through only". Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:48, 14 January 2012 (UTC) --Guy Macon (talk) 06:50, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I added a full blackout option and I'm quite surprised that it is gaining support at a much faster rate than any other option, despite only beginning to gather support much later than the other options. It would be easy to forecast the full blackout option as the most desired option, if given more time or if it had been available from the beginning. Although the full blackout is the most extreme response reasonably likely to be implemented, it appears that support for it is equally as potent as the SOPA threat. Badon (talk) 18:40, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Now that the vote is near its end, it is clear that the full blackout option is by far the most supported, even if the "global" blackout option is not added to it. Badon (talk) 17:49, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Display links to a SOPA wiki on the 18th?

Assuming we will go full- or soft-blackout on the 18th, what do we show instead? Half of the equation will be a statement TO our readers. But the other half will be capturing our reaction FROM our readers to SOPA. That is-- if we blackout Wikipedia for 12 hours, we should try very hard to catpure that energy and redirect it constructively. To that end, perhaps we need a , not unlike ten., where all the readers can collaborate on discussing and forming consensus on how to stop SOPA. ---HectorMoffet (talk) 19:44, 15 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm sure that for many, this will be the first time they have heard about SOPA. I believe that leaving the SOPA page open to view (and linked) would be very helpful. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:38, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

This user has made very few edits outside this topic...

Do we really need this tag on this page? It's a discussion linked to from a wiki-wide banner. Of course new accounts/people who think they need an account to !vote will edit this page soon after account creation. It's highly unlikely someone's creating sock's just to vote for their favorite option. Buggie111 (talk) 18:41, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

There are some users from the german-speaking organisation team on this site, we are informing the other Wikipedias at the moment, so we will have some people from other editions here. Liberaler Humanist 19:21, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
No, we don't need it, and it should be removed wherever it was added. The folks at Wikimedia are quite capable of determining how many edits each person has made if that matters to them. --Guy Macon (talk) 19:31, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Of course we can and should add SPA templates - more need adding as we speak - anyone who has time please add them - this page should really have been semi protected to stop people coming from outside and attempting to influence a massive thing for the project to be doing. If users are not autoconfirmed their vote should be discounted. I have requested semi protection at the RFPP noticeboard. Youreallycan 19:42, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I can find no evidence of any such request at [ ] or at [ ]. I believe that if you were to make such a request it would be rejected. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:13, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
We distribute Information about SOPA in order to engage people from outside the USA to support the english community and you should not discredit this colleagues. -- Andreas Werle (talk) 22:21, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
They can use their home base for action - only users that are active here have the right to vote in such important issues. Youreallycan 23:10, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
You think en-User have the right to decide wether WP will have a blackout and worldwide-banner but user from outside the US have no right to participate in this process? -- Andreas Werle (talk) 00:32, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
This is the en wikipedia that is considering blacking out - only users that as a minimum are auto confirmed and contributors to it have a right to vote, or have any weight in their vote. Youreallycan 00:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
@Youreallycan: You are wrong. Edit-count on en doesnt matter in such cases. This action has consequences for every wikipedia-user in the world. So every User has the right to participate. -- Andreas Werle (talk) 00:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
If you want to black out the wiki you edit at then go there and do that - leave this wiki alone. Youreallycan 01:10, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Try to stop me. You really can not. :-) -- Andreas Werle (talk) 02:47, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
I will point at you and the others as I am required to defend the project from outside POV influence, it might not stop you but it helps a little in reducing the weight of such users contributions to the discussion. Youreallycan 02:54, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Btw, you've been here barely 7 weeks; by your own standards, you should just go away. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:16, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
If you look at my talkpage you will see I have been here three years. Youreallycan 03:22, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Oh, it's YOU! Sorry... nevermind then. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 03:37, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
No worries at all. I am only of a mind here that, a lot of unconfirmed accounts are weighing in here, and this is a really big discussion - like, a WP:RFA - unconfirmed users aren't even allowed to vote for or or against a request for administrator, never mind something so massive as this. Youreallycan 03:42, 15 January 2012 (UTC)


  • ...I am required to defend the project from outside POV influence...[23] This is an interesting assertion. Do all editors have the same requirement, or is this a special requirement that only applies to one editor?   Will Beback  talk  07:15, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Youreallycan is completely off base here. I am sure he means well, but his reasoning is flawed. The reason we don't let someone who has never edited Wikipedia before vote on admins is because what admins do only has an effect on editors. An ordinary editor rewriting a paragraph on a high-volume page has a much larger direct effect on readers who do not edit than the entire body of Arbcom decisions does. A blackout, on the other hand, will have a large effect on readers, and thus they should be encouraged to participate in the discussion, not discouraged. --Guy Macon (talk) 09:43, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Please excuse my off-topic remarks in my last edit above. But the situation ist difficult in many ways. en:WP is used by a lot of people from small wikipedias. I am shure, that they feel as part of the en:WP-community even if they do not have many edits here. SOPA will perhaps have consequences for every wikipedian in every language-version. In this situation participation in central discussions is most fundamental. You can not say "Read our discussion, but do not vote and accept our decision whatever it will be." This is not the spirit of participation. Greetings from Germany -- Andreas Werle (talk) 11:39, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
@Guy - Readers, are here to read not use the site as a free activism tool. Youreallycan 12:51, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
@Andreas - I don't think this wiki should be voting on anything to do with your wiki. As I see it we have a lot more to lose here that any thing a blackout or a global template will achieve. A lot of readers and editors are here for the content and have no interest whatsoever in being involved in a political activism organization, especially one that claims to be an educational focused charity.. Youreallycan 12:55, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • To quote User:Lagrange613, "this will be a different place after we do this. We'll still be "Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" but also "Wikipedia, the crusading encyclopedia", expected to take stands in future debates. I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering whether I will want to contribute to that encyclopedia." - Youreallycan 14:03, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
  • READERS ARE THE MOST AFFECTED. Readers do not have an edit count. This vote is not just for editors. There are far more readers than editors, and since they are the most affected, their vote needs to be known. That is why I added a line of code to instruct readers and novice wiki-code editors on how to add their vote. Badon (talk) 19:08, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Readers are the most affected by what? The possible affects of SOPA? This vote is, or should be for editors of en wikipedia only and it is the project they are contributors to that is taking action - not, drive by anyone with an axe to grind from the internet. Youreallycan 20:07, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
Readers far outnumber editors, and they will be the ones most affected by any change or disruption to the operation of Wikipedia. Badon (talk) 20:49, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
That doesn't give drive by new unconfirmed accounts any weight to their vote at all. I will be looking for any admn closure to take such votes out of their closing rationale and not to consider them at all. Youreallycan 23:12, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
There is no consensus for that position, and considerable opposition to your position. I have removed the SPA tags you added. Please don't add any more without first getting a consensus that they should be there. We should be encouarging those who have never edited before to participate in this discussion, not discourage them. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:05, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
There does not need to be consensus for that position - it's the standard wikipedia RFC position. Youreallycan 00:11, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
This is not a standard RfC. If you insert any more SPA templates against consensus I will bring this up at ANI. I strongly advise you to discuss it here first rather than edit warring over this. --Guy Macon (talk) 00:25, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
This is a completely standard wikipedia poll - drive by SPAs have no say in the outcome. I just added another one - more should be added. Youreallycan 00:29, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

It is not "completely standard" because there is a big banner displayed at the top of the main page asking "Should Wikipedia protest SOPA on January 18? Make your voice heard." Clicking that banner takes readers to a message from Philippe Beaudette of the Wikimedia Foundation asking people to support or oppose various options. That is an invitation to every reader, not just registered accounts or active, experienced editors, to state their opinion. There is not a hint in that banner or that message that new contributor's recommendations should be deprecated. I urge Youreallycan to stop the SPA tagging. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 02:27, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Youreallycan, there is currently a discussion at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents regarding Your recent SPA Tagging. The thread is SPA Tagging at Wikipedia:SOPA initiative/Action. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:39, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm not entirely opposed to the SPA tagging, because it can help identify abuses early. It's a lot of work to find those, and I'm grateful it is being done by someone. I want the results to be valid, and even though all votes are welcome and should count, some reasonable, if modest, effort should be made to find accounts that are fraudulently trying to sway the vote. The SPA tagging will aid quickly scrutinizing anything that doesn't look right, and it does not necessarily mean or even imply that the vote is invalid. Don't take my word for it though, you guys decide what you want to do. I just wanted to weigh-in that I think the SPA tagging could turn out to be helpful if somebody sic's their botnet on us. Badon (talk) 05:28, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Problem solved at ANI. Youreallycan has agreed to stop SPA tagging. I encourage the votetakers to evaluate his concerns as if the SPA tagging had not happened and to evaluate his position that non-autoconfirmed users should have no say on its merits. --Guy Macon (talk) 10:29, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
One final note: We now have an official ruling from WMF on this: "We're inviting any and all of our readers to comment, and we do indeed give equal value to comments of readers-only and established editors alike." See --Guy Macon (talk) 14:02, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, score 1 for the little guy! Great work everyone. Badon (talk) 17:46, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I think it's a good idea to give equal value to the comments of readers-only, but I also am concerned that the poll has attracted an unrepresentative sample of our readers, skewing towards the "yippee, let's protest!" demographic, and raising the danger of a backlash from other readers. I can't prove that I'm right about that, of course, but I doubt anyone can prove that I'm wrong either. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:38, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Breach of NPOV

Would a blackout not be a breach of NPOV? It sounds like the foundation having a blackout on Wikipedia would take a political stance, and from MANY of the comments on the vote page, and the comments on this talk page it sounds like no one is going to be prepared to say what the good things about a SOPA are going to be to make the black out a reasonably equally sided protest. Is Wikipedia going to do something dramatic to say they support North Korea, will they dedicate the home page to the death of Hamza al-Ghamdi or Wail al-Shehri on the 9th September? Precedence is going to be set, and protest will be expected on small things if this goes ahead.--Amckern (talk) 01:35, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia articles are (hopefully ;-) neutral. But Wikipedia itself is not neutral. Wikipedia stands for the ideals of free, cooperative knowledge sharing. SOPA attacks the basis for those very ideals. That's why many of us feel the need to act. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 01:48, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
How could it be neutral when Wikipedia could become liable for just having a link to a website with piracy. To stand still would just be absurd if you ask me. Any website where a user can post a link is liable, and as the internet is today that would probably be over 90% of sites --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 01:55, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
@Stephan Schulz - People are using the phrase "breach of NPOV" to express an idea roughly that the Wikipedia site itself should not be a partisan lobbying tool. Whatever Wikipedia "stands for", that doesn't automatically imply that the site itself should be used for political advocacy - that is unprecented politicization of Wikipedia _per se_. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:06, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't follow US party policies closely, but as far as I know, SOPA is a bipartisan effort. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Sigh. I meant the word "partisan" above in the common sense of "A fervent, sometimes militant, supporter or proponent of a ... cause", not the more specialized political sense of formal alignment with a US political party. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:18, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I think this is an important clarification. This is not suport for any political party out of ideological sympathy. This is strictly part of the immune response of the Internet culture against (potential) censorship. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:24, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Even taking the metaphor on it's own terms, this could be akin to an Autoimmune disease, "an inappropriate immune response". And it's not "strictly" - again, it's being pushed for reasons that certainly aren't "Internet culture". Sorry, I can't do an ironclad proof, so let's just say due to my hard-earned cynicism I can't take that seriously as the WMF's main motivation. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
@Camilo Sanchez - You're being misinformed. Ask why. It's false that "Any website where a user can post a link is liable". I keep pointing this out and it doesn't do any good - "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours." -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:06, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
As has been explained to you before, This has been discussed at length at where Geoff Brigham, General Counsel of Wikimedia Foundation. concludes:
"Yes, it would impact us negatively."
"I do believe that the statutory definition of 'internet search engine' probably does include Wikipedia."
"I don't believe Section 103 applies to us since U.S.-based companies were exempted in the last round of amendments. I do think that Section 102 could be construed as covering us."
"the language is not clear though, which is an overall problem with SOPA."
"We can link to Pirate Bay today as long as the link is not to infringing material. But SOPA targets Pirate Bay. If we get a court order, we have to take down that totally legitimate link"
"if section 102 applies to us as an internet search engine, as I believe it might as presently written, it is possible that we link in a Wikipedia article to non-infringing information on an international site but are forced to take down that link to the international site because of a rights owner's complaint resulting in a court order about infringing material found elsewhere on that international site. Of course, not only do we have to take down the link to the non-infringing material, but we need to fix the text in the article, and may be required to delete valid information from the article because we no longer have a reliable source."
"Multiple orders could conceivably be served on us for action. None of that is predictable at this time. And, of course, there are bigger issues than our own survival: it is always in Wikimedia's interest to defend the Internet and fight regimes that sacrifice non-infringing material for a legislative goal."
"Under Section 102, we can still be obliged to take down so-called 'foreign infringing sites' ... and here is the catch. we could be linking to non-infringing material. But we could still be forced to take down the link because a rights owner had complaints about other infringing material on the site or I should say 'claimed' infringing material. the solution of SOPA is to take down the whole site ... not address more surgically the infringing material."
"Section 102(15) defines 'internet search engine.' When parsed out to relevant parts, that definition states that the term 'internet search engine' means 'a service made available via the Internet whose primary function is gathering and reporting, in response to a user query, indexed information ... [available elsewhere on the Internet] ....' I note that the language in the brackets ('available elsewhere on the Internet') may or may not modify the term 'indexed information'; it is left ambiguous. So, that said, rights owners will argue that Wikipedia has the primary function of gathering and reporting indexed information available on the Internet since we furnish a search function which takes you to indexed information (our Articles) which include links to information available on the Internet (all indexed to information in our Articles). The language is admittedly ambiguous, but it could be made to apply to us. Tighter language would be desirable, but, as I noted, the SOPA is hopelessly vague and broad."
Before you do any more "I keep pointing this out" activity, I suggest that you either accept what Geoff wrote in the quotes above or contact him and attempt to get him to agree with your "exempt" claims. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:37, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Beautifully put my friend --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 03:54, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Ahem, the phrase "The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours." is by Geoff, not me. You will note I pointed it out in response to the misconception that "Any website where a user can post a link is liable". This is widespread misinformation which I repeatedly try to correct, but people seem not to even hear the refutation (I suspect for the ordinary commenters because they are emotionally invested in the protest). If the argument were reduced to an understanding that at most if Wikipedia is deemed a search engine (a very expansive construction, though I suppose it's theoretically possible), then it might have to remove some links (note this provision will certainly be challenged if it is ever used), we'd at least be proceeding from factual grounds. While I agree this is bad in principle, in practice, it hardly justifies the unprecedented politicization of Wikipedia. There are two arguments in play 1) "Mortal Peril" and 2) "Search Engine". Argument #2, "search engine", is weak but not utterly absurd, but the effect is in practice tiny (I'd rate the problematic sexual material problem as a far greater legal issue). Argument #1, "mortal peril", is purely false at this point. When I refute #1, people switch to #2, neglecting that it's an issue orders of magnitude smaller. And this goes on and on. I'm really not the person to do anti-Wikipedia-SOPA FAQ, and I'm bad at politics (for the record, I also oppose SOPA, on civil-liberties and Internet policy grounds) -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:08, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Re: "the phrase 'The new version now exempts U.S. sites like ours.' is by Geoff, not me." your are ignoring the context, which I have quoted extensively. I can pick one phrase out of context too: "Yes, it would impact us negatively" (also by Geoff).
Geoff is approachable and helpful. Just show him your multiple "I keep pointing this out" posts and ask him to comment. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:44, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I replied to it within a certain context. Look, let's discuss with a certain amount of principle of charity, OK? This is too important to play parsing games. I didn't mean to imply Geoff stated that no section of SOPA whatsoever would have even the slightest effect on Wikipedia in the smallest manner, as it would be completely absurd to claim he meant that. Thus, assume I meant the argument where "The new version exempts U.S. based companies - including the Wikimedia Foundation - from being subject to a litigation regime in which rights owners could claim that our site was an "Internet site dedicated to theft of U.S. property." which is the legal way of describing the site take-down aspect which I colloquially term "moral peril". Are we agreed here? Why does it have to be so tedious? -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 06:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Maybe I am, but no matter how much they modify it, people don't want anymore anti-piracy laws. The American government already has a number of anti piracy laws. Anything else is corporate sponsored greed --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 02:35, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I understand your sentiment. Believe me, I do. But, as to the point here, it opens a very big can of worms to start using the Wikipedia site itself as a political lobbying tool, even for "good" (in some sense) purposes. Where does it stop? Should the site be used also to lobby for Net Neutrality, for example? If Wikipedia is a "search engine", should the site be used for lobbying against any legal liability in any context for search engines? I'm sure Google would love all that. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:42, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Well, it seems like you have a bunch of people to try to convince first buddy. LOL --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 02:45, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes indeed, being on the other side of a moral panic is not pleasant, and arguably futile. I think about that too. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 02:51, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Dude, is not panic, they slowly but surely have been curtailing the freedoms the internet enjoyed in the 90s, I am sure as hell that if this one doesn't pass you bet your ass they will keep trying. Day after day the media corporations are trying to buy the ISPs where they will be able to control content, I have been following all this closely in the last years. The internet is a cake and everyone wants a piece of it. And they know they have the upper hand. So the "panic" is very well based. This struggle will continue for many years to come and will only get worse. I can only pray Google stays on the side of Net Neutrality as it has been for long. Have you seen SOPA in any of the news? No!, the average joe has no idea of what is going on. CNN surely won't talk about SOPA, they belong to Time Warner, CBS is pushing this legislation, ABC? owned by The Walt Disney Company. So, is it moral panic? No, I would call it is a bunch of people that knows the internet as it exists is an inconvenience for some. --Camilo Sanchez (talk) 02:59, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
@Seth Finkelstein - this is fully what i am trying to ask - you never see wikipedia taking a stance against Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China, the ACMA's Black List, the threats of take down against Wikileaks, all of what stop freedom of expresion, but they take a stance against this one bill.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Amckern (talkcontribs) 03:35, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. I wonder why. In particular, why is the WMF pushing this so hard? I have some speculations, which stem from my cynicism and my tendency to think Cui bono? But if I post them, that would probably get me in trouble (not WP:AGF, etc). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 04:16, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
For what it's worth, Seth, you're not the only person who feels exactly the way you do. Lagrange613 00:10, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
@Seth, it was the SOPA supporters who are responsible for the moral panic. They attempted to regulate the Internet without inviting upstanding members of the Internet community to comment. The result was intense suspicion, and a predictable backlash, that now has to run its course. Afterwards, sensible people will come together and write a law that helps stop piracy, fraud, and other types of cybercrime that plague content creators, content purveyors, and technology producers alike. Jehochman Talk 01:42, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
The Wikipedia moral panic - that Wikipedia is in mortal peril, and we must, must, use the Wikipedia site itself as political lobbying - was blatantly engineered by the WMF because they wanted to do it. Sigh, to be tedious, this is not stating that every single person who advocated the idea is an agent of WMF. Just like when war-drums are being beaten, every single person who goes wild for invading a country is not an explicit agent of the warmongers. That this exists in the context of a big political mess over copyright with much complete nonsense (on both sides) is not a refutation. In fact, I'll even grant there's an argument it's the "right" thing to do, from a purely pragmatic standpoint. It's the ends-justifies-means issue which bothers me so much (which is why I'm bad at politics). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 01:53, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia processes that are day-dependent

So supposing a full blackout happens... there's a lot of processes here that might be affected. For example, AFD and RFA are 7 days long. Do we give them an extra day, or do we ignore the lost day? Also, whoever got TFA that day would be screwed. --Rschen7754 06:32, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

They're admin-controlled so an extra day will be given. After all, AFDs particularly don't always go for precisely 7 days - a snowball or an extension may be granted. A 24-hr blackout would have very little effect, I'd imagine. ŞůṜīΣĻ¹98¹Speak 06:48, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
12 hour blackout. All the other sites are going down on January 18th from 8am–8pm EST (1300–0100 UTC). --Guy Macon (talk) 10:54, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
However, this would have to be determined and communicated to all admins who deal with this. I can also think of some CSD criterion that would be affected. --Rschen7754 06:52, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
From fellow admins to whom I have spoken such deletion/move/... discussions are about X many days of consideration, so if the site is "offline/unavailable/unable to be edited" for a day, that isn't a day of consideration. Admins should be reasonable in their decision making process about what constitutes XXX days, and it is practical to give an extra day; it breaks nothing on what is an arbitrary time limit anyway. I believe that Risker is preparing text as suggestions to admins to how we can manage such. — billinghurst sDrewth 07:23, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I agree. Perhaps some mass distribution of this text should be considered, to all the places we can think of where losing a day would affect the process. --Rschen7754 08:30, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Losing a half-day. --Guy Macon (talk) 11:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Even losing only a half-day, I think it would be appropriate to grant a full extra day, especially if requested, because people will need some time to refresh and study the issues being dealt-with after taking a break from it. Badon (talk) 17:42, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
It appears it will be a full day - [24]. --Rschen7754 21:21, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

RfC page is busted again

The RfC page is busted again due to this edit, which duplicated most of the page. There have been subsequent edits. Can someone sort it out? (My internet connection is to slow for me to repair such a very large page without difficulty.) ~ Ningauble (talk) 16:13, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Can a sysop lock the page temporarily in order to fix this? The page is updated too frequently (i.e. edit conflicts) at the moment to sort through and implement repairs. The issue started with this revision. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 16:19, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
I have restored to the version before that since letting this drag on just makes matters worse, now need some help to save the ~15 votes lost between my edit and the revision Michaeldsuarez linked. Yoenit (talk) 16:30, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
shit, I just realized I actually have leave now. Would somebody please look at the revisions between these two edits and extract the votes? Yoenit (talk) 16:33, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Since a sysop hasn't appeared yet, I'll do it. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 16:47, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Due to the size of the page and the high possibility of an edit conflict, I'll restore each !vote / comment one-by-one. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 16:52, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Are you good? I voted, but can do any routine housekeeping. Jehochman Talk 17:35, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I believe that all the deleted !votes and comments have been restored. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 17:56, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. Yoenit (talk) 19:51, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

───────────────────────── You're welcome. --Michaeldsuarez (talk) 21:07, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Seems like it's settled

According to CBS: "Wikipedia to join web blackout protesting SOPA", according to Jimmy's Twitter feed. So do we box these discussions as closed? --Lexein (talk) 20:03, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Well the discussions here are about how to do the blackout. And the Twitter quote appears to be saying that the alleged news about SOPA being shelved won't change the plans, rather than being a conclusion of these discussions. This page is where it's decided - not on CBS :) CBS think the iPhone sparked the digital revolution judging by their banner spam for heaven's sake(!), it doesn't make it true... Mdwh (talk) 22:57, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Comment about clicking through to pages on SOPA, etc

The page was closed just before I was able to save a comment in favor of the proposal near the bottom of the discussion, indicating that, in the event of a full blackout, it should still be possible to click through to a few pages on SOPA and a few directly related topics. I want to express very strongly my support for using that approach, assuming a full blackout. I sincerely hope the Foundation folks will be able to do that. I'm going to paste here the comment that I intended to post but couldn't (snark alert!):

  • Support. Assuming a full blackout, this is a very important point. (Actually, it's a good illustration of why a soft blackout is a better idea than a full blackout, but it looks like the immature and the SPAs have taken over this poll.) After all, providing information is what Wikipedia is all about (when the discussion isn't taken over by fourteen year old boys venting their newly found testosterone). When people find Wikipedia changed from what they expected, what could be a better idea than educating them about the issue! --Tryptofish (talk) 21:06, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

I now see the counter was broken and the page isn't closed, so I'll leave this here and copy it as well to the poll. WP:NOTAVOTE, whatever. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:13, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Project Split

This project is to big and needs to be slpit into multiple sub-projects/sections. Dan653 (talk) 21:36, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Text, draft, where?

So.. where is text/draft for what it's gonna say on the page. I'd like to follow that/watchlist it. Choyoołʼįįhí:Seb az86556 > haneʼ 00:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia:SOPA_initiative/Proposed_Messages (talk) 02:08, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


Please, can an admin kindly add an interwiki to [[it:Wikipedia:Bar/Discussioni/Protesta di Wikipedia contro le proposte legislative statunitensi]] where we have translated your final statement.
The strongest support from ;-) --g (talk) 01:46, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

del is bleeding through to the end for some reason

I'm not sure what the solution is as I have not determined the actual cause, but the closing </del> is being ignored at Wikipedia talk:SOPA initiative/Action#Include a link to the IRC channel now that the closing template has been added. I'm sure and admin can preview the page until a small tweak fixes the problem. Mark Hurd (talk) 02:29, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Seems to be some odd CSS shenanigans related to the del tag itself; switching to strike (<s></s>) seems to have fixed it. — Coren (talk) 03:22, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Maintain this page accessible

This page should be accessible, or a link to an editable copy of this page, during the blackout. (talk) 02:48, 17 January 2012 (UTC)


I must thank the Wikipedia community for deciding this blackout. Sadly I couldn't vote, but I'm glad that so many people did that in my place. Good luck to everyone! --NaBUru38 (talk) 03:41, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

  • I echo the above comment. Best of luck, and I hope this blackout has a major impact. DNOMN8R3.14 (talk) 04:06, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Agree with above comment. Maybe the legislators will listen? Will contact info be provided for senators and congresspersons? JW..[ T..C ] 04:15, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Expose The Liars

Sorry I missed the discussion deadline on the SOPA blackout. Two things I didn't notice mentioned that I think people should be aware of

1- Proof that laws are bought and paid for. Here is a link to the millions of dollars given to 'our' politicians for their support and sponsorship of the bill

2 - A link that shows the movie/recording industries repeatedly lies to congress and the senate about the millions of jobs and dollars lost due to infringement. Isn't that a crime in itself? Bureau of Labor Statistics shows from 1998 - 2008, number of jobs in arts and entertainment field INCREASED by 20% and income INCREASED by 30% . And those numbers are even higher for independent artists who don't have these organizations stealing from them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:31, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Someone have to say it

I really don't think that you, from the English Wikipedia (not the Wikipedia itself) can decide whether the blackout should be global or not. (talk) 21:24, 16 January 2012 (UTC).

Agree. I think semi-protection for registered users would be adequate for this page. NeoAdonis (talk) 21:59, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
English Wikipedia is deciding if English Wikipedia should be blacked out globally.--filceolaire (talk) 23:00, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
English Wikipedia is deciding for others on a global basis? Really? And that, after English Wikipedia *specifically* and *explicitly* refused to support exactly the same protest and reason for protest from Italian Wikipedia? - Tenebris — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

What is this about?

I have no idea what this page is about, but I disapprove of anything that blacks out Wikipedia. Scientific Alan (talk) 04:38, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

Racist (talk) 01:49, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
This comment was not very scientific of you, Alan. Please do some research on SOPA first. -- Dandv(talk|contribs) 05:51, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
I would suggest it's up to Scientific Alan. If they don't wish to research on SOPA, that there choice and I don't think they have to know what it's about to oppose blacking out wikipedia. However comments in this talk page aren't likely to count for much. Nil Einne (talk) 14:20, 14 January 2012 (UTC)
Wow, very clever way of completely ignoring the fact that he clearly stated he disaproves of anything that blacks out wiki. Jersey John (talk) 17:44, 17 January 2012 (UTC)