Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What? You can't get to Wikipedia? Blackouts are made to be broken.

One of the arguments against Internet censorship is that censorship is ultimately ineffective, because people will always find a way to get around the censors.

This also applies when the censors are the good guys.

At 9:00 pm Pacific time, the most important protest in the history of humankind began - the protest that will ensure that the Internet as we know it will not die. Yes, at 9:00 pm this evening Wikipedia went dark.

Well, sort of.

First off, as I noted earlier in the evening, the blackout only affects the English language version of Wikipedia. If you can read Spanish, or Finnish, or any other language, Wikipedia is still available to you. And even if you can't, you can run the foreign language Wikipedia entries through a translator.

But what if you need to get to the English language Wikipedia for some reason? Mark Trapp described how to do that.

Speaking of SOPA blackouts, to get around Wikipedia's lockout, just disable JavaScript or use your favorite script or ad blocker to block the following regex:


Or just block http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:BannerController&cache/cn.js&303-4

Since we're talking about civil disobedience and all.

But there's an even better way to get to the English language Wikipedia. Peter Kafka tweeted about it, and Loren Feldman reshared it on Twitter and on Google+. Kafka:

Realize not in the spirit of the thing. But! If you have to use Wikipedia for next day, use a mobile device. No blackout there.

OK, this is highly technical, but I think that we all can master it. You know how you usually type en dot wikipedia dot org? Just type en dot m (for mobile) dot wikipedia dot org. And this is what you get:

So if you somehow feel deprived because you can't get to Wikipedia, don't worry. You can get to Wikipedia.

But the really silly part of this whole thing is that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and blacking out their avatars and praising Wikipedia and Reddit and jumping on the bandwagon for twelve hours or twenty-four hours or whatever.

And then, when the blackout is all done, and everyone feels good about the stand that they took, everything will return to normal, and people in the United States will turn their attention to the NFC and AFC Championship Games.

Yes, the NFC and AFC Championship Games.

Which are sponsored by the National Football League.

Um, remember that list of SOPA supporters that I posted on December 23?
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