Wikipedia to go offline tomorrow, Jan. 18

Wikipedia will be going offline tomorrow, Jan. 18, in protest of the SOPA and PIPA Acts that are currently proposed in Congress. All links to Wikipedia on SI will not work for one day only.

Wikipedia Admin/Mod discussion page:

Over the course of the past 72 hours, over 1800 Wikipedians have joined together to discuss proposed actions that the community might wish to take against SOPA and PIPA. This is by far the largest level of participation in a community discussion ever seen on Wikipedia, which illustrates the level of concern that Wikipedians feel about this proposed legislation. The overwhelming majority of participants support community action to encourage greater public action in response to these two bills. Of the proposals considered by Wikipedians, those that would result in a “blackout” of the English Wikipedia, in concert with similar blackouts on other websites opposed to SOPA and PIPA, received the strongest support… Therefore, on behalf of the English Wikipedia community, the Wikimedia Foundation is asked to allocate resources and assist the community in blacking out the project globally for 24 hours starting at 05:00 UTC on January 18, 2012, or at another time as determined by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Why we’re blacking out Wikipedia

My hope is that when Wikipedia shuts down on January 18, people will understand that we’re doing it for our readers. We support everyone’s right to freedom of thought and freedom of expression. We think everyone should have access to educational material on a wide range of subjects, even if they can’t pay for it. We believe in a free and open Internet where information can be shared without impediment. We believe that new proposed laws like SOPA and PIPA, and other similar laws under discussion inside and outside the United States — don’t advance the interests of the general public. You can read a very good list of reasons to oppose SOPA and PIPA here, from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Why is this a global action, rather than US-only? And why now, if some American legislators appear to be in tactical retreat on SOPA?

The reality is that we don’t think SOPA is going away, and PIPA is still quite active. Moreover, SOPA and PIPA are just indicators of a much broader problem. All around the world, we’re seeing the development of legislation intended to fight online piracy, and regulate the Internet in other ways, that hurt online freedoms. Our concern extends beyond SOPA and PIPA: they are just part of the problem. We want the Internet to remain free and open, everywhere, for everyone.

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There are 12 Comments

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I think this is a good thing. I only wish Google, Yahoo, and Bing would go offline as well for the day, so that people would see what the eventual result of SOPA/PIPA will look like.

We have "due process" for a reason, and trying to circumvent it in the name of "stopping piracy" is an attempt to get around the protections of the constitution for the supposed greater good.

Dave Barnhart

Jay's picture

Google will not go dark, but it will have http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/204585-google-joins-... ]a prominent message expressing their concern about SOPA/ProtectIP:

Quote:
"Like many businesses, entrepreneurs and Web users, we oppose these bills because there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking American companies to censor the Internet," a Google spokeswoman said. "So tomorrow we will be joining many other tech companies to highlight this issue on our U.S. home page."

SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, are designed to go after foreign websites that offer illegal copies of music, movies and TV shows with impunity. The legislation would empower the Justice Department and copyright holders to demand that search engines delete links to sites “dedicated” to copyright infringement. Ad networks and payment processors would be prohibited from doing business with the sites.

Other sites that I've read about include http://sopastrike.com/ Reddit, Wordpress, Tucows, and BoingBoing . I'm curious to see what Bing (my preferred search engine) or Yahoo do.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Paul J. Scharf's picture

glad that Wikipedia is going dark for the day.
It is not a trustworthy source of information on critical matters.
If you are searching for a '70s sit-com, fine.
If you are looking for serious information, do not trust Wikipedia. It has a liberal, non-Christian bias, and in spite of the idea it promotes that you are able to write the information and contribute to it yourself, that is not ultimately how it works.
Teachers are correct in not allowing students to use Wikipedia as a source of serious information. We should not be promoting Wikipedia.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

DavidO's picture

Wikipedia has been demonstrated to be, on average, as reliable as the Encyclopedia Britannica. I'd link the study, but I'm afraid of the goons.

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I'm not sure which source of information you can trust, since all are likely to be flawed. Back in 2005, the journal Nature enlisted a number of experts in various fields to use peer review to examine articles from both Brittanica and Wikipedia. In the end, they found 8 serious errors, 4 from each of Wikipedia and Britannica. In addition, they found numbers of factual errors, misleading statements, or omissions in each, 123 in Britannica, 162 in Wikipedia, for an average of 2.92 mistakes per article in Britannica, and 3.86 for Wikipedia.

While you would be correct in saying that Britannica came out a little better than Wikipedia, it also shows that reviewed articles in major encyclopedias are nearly as flawed as those that are user contributed and reviewed by other users.

I think it's clear that Wikipedia should not be relied on as the sole source of any information, but if you are talking about trust, the error rate in something like Britannica being as high as it is should lead one not to trust it either. In other words, serious information should be acquired from numerous sources and compared to get the whole story. However, that does not make a source like Wikipedia useless, nor does it mean it should never be used. It simply isn't 100% trustworthy, and neither is anything else other than the Bible.

Edit: I see someone posted while I was composing this!

Dave Barnhart

ChrisC's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
Teachers are correct in not allowing students to use Wikipedia as a source of serious information.
i think you are mistaken about why teachers aren't allowing wikipedia. serious papers should use reliable secondary sources. wikipedia is a tertiary source. good wikipedia articles use reliable secondary sources, but there are a lot that ignore wikipedia policies and rely on primary sources or have other problems like original research.

Paul J. Scharf's picture

ChrisC wrote:
i think you are mistaken about why teachers aren't allowing wikipedia. serious papers should use reliable secondary sources. wikipedia is a tertiary source. good wikipedia articles use reliable secondary sources, but there are a lot that ignore wikipedia policies and rely on primary sources or have other problems like original research.

???????

Chris, buddy, I think you are confused on the meaning of secondary and primary sources... Cool Cool Cool H:) H:) I am also generally confused by the extremities of your elocution! Wink

I stand by my statement. Having been a teacher, it is true at least in one case... :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile: :bigsmile:

Wikipedia is for fun, not research. It has a liberal and non-Christian bias. Do I use it for some things? YESSSSSS... But I DO NOT trust it on matters of importance and have seen firsthand how it is slanted. In my opinion, it is not an entity that serious Christians should celebrate or champion. The fact that is even a debatable question MAY suggest how our use of the Internet has the potential to shape our lifeview.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

gforster's picture

Make it better. I think a great way that teachers can utilise Wikipedia is to assign students to do the research and edit the articles. It is a much more effective approach than "Wikipedia is inaccurate, don't use it."

Paul J. Scharf's picture

gforster wrote:
Make it better. I think a great way that teachers can utilise Wikipedia is to assign students to do the research and edit the articles. It is a much more effective approach than "Wikipedia is inaccurate, don't use it."

The idea that YOU can write Wikipedia is a marketing ploy. The administrators have total control over that site. Don't be naive. This would be a total waste of time.

Church Ministries Representative, serving in the Midwest, for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry 

ChrisC's picture

Paul J. Scharf wrote:
Chris, buddy, I think you are confused on the meaning of secondary and primary sources...
i know exactly what i'm talking about. you might try something like the university of maryland's explanation: http://www.lib.umd.edu/guides/primary-sources.html

i don't know what level of education you teach, but at many levels, encyclopedias are not allowed to be used as sources because they are tertiary sources.

DavidO's picture

I recommend that kids, parents, and octopi read Wikipedia.

Obivously I do not recommend you use it as your sole basis of knowledge about the world, but it is handy and informative, and cheaper than http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Book_Encyclopedia ]World Book .

Shaynus's picture

Use the tool Wikipedia as it is intended. Read a wikipedia article for background, then delve deeper, even starting with the sources linked. I can understand Paul reacting to a poor trend of over-trusting it, but please don't overreact.