Thursday, January 12, 2012
It’s on — at least partially: Reddit has announced that it will be going dark for 12 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has said that he hopes to coordinate with the site so that Wikipedia does the same. Will other sites join in? Should we prepare for the Great Internet Strike of 2012?
Writing that it’s “not taking this action lightly,” Reddit announced on Tuesday that it will blackout its site on Wednesday, January 18 for 12 hours, starting at 8:00 a.m. Eastern time. During that period, the site’s content will be replaced with “a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action.” The company will also run a live video stream of that day’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on Internet security, intellectual property and economic growth.
On the site’s blog, the Reddit team admitted that “We’re as addicted to reddit as the rest of you,” but explained that “We wouldn’t do this if we didn’t believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it. Blacking out reddit is a hard choice, but we feel focusing on a day of action is the best way we can amplify the voice of the community.” The company admits that support for a blackout isn’t unanimous among the Reddit community and it’s asking for the community’s input as it decides what to do next.
If support isn’t unanimous within Reddit’s community, it’ll be interesting to see how things go for Wikipedia if that site follows suit. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales writes ”it would be great if we could act quickly to coordinate with Reddit,” thought adding the community needs a “thumbs up/thumbs down vote” on whether or not to participate, and “we don’t have the luxury of time that we usually have, in terms of negotiating with each other for weeks about what’s exactly the best possible thing to do.” I suspect the ratio of those in favor of a blackout to those opposed would be greater for a more activist site like Reddit than one that’s more mainstream (and let’s be honest, passive) like Wikipedia.
This article was posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 9:27 am