Posted at 08:02 AM ET, 01/18/2012
Wikipedia goes dark, but is the site still relevant?
By Dominic Basulto
The Wikipedia Blackout started Wednesday as a show of solidarity with Internet companies, such as Reddit, that are protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The blackout should have been a bigger deal than it is.
The Blackout of Wikipedia — one of the most popular destinations on the Internet — had the potential to disrupt ten million U.S. Internet users, according to online research company, ComScore. Wikipedia also encourages millions more from outside the technology and Internet community to find out more about the potential impact of SOPA on free speech and innovation. Yet, coming as it does nearly a month after other leading entities have taken a very public stance against SOPA and days after President Obama indicated that passage of the House bill, SOPA, and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, would be unlikely. In light of this, Wikipedia’s decision to launch the blackout seems like a case of too little, too late.
At one time, Wikipedia was the poster child for the freewheeling, open-source mentality of the Web. Ten years ago, Wikipedia would have been leading the charge against any legislation, such as SOPA, that was perceived to be anti-Internet. Wikipedia is one of the greatest collective knowledge-gathering experiments in the history of the Internet. Yet, when it came to SOPA, which poses a very real threat to everything that it stands for, Wikipedia blinked. Only when pro-SOPA sentiment became fashionable, with sites such as Tumblr and Reddit leading the way, did Wikipedia join the war on SOPA.
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So what do y'all think? Is Wikipedia still what it used to was?