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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Wikipedia Blackout Didn’t Apply To Smartphones

A few days ago, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales decided to take his online encyclopedia offline in protest against new copyright legislation and did it right away. However, this move has angered his team of experts acting as the company's editors, even though users were still able to access the service from their smartphones.


According to the local media, the editors, whose job is supposed to be making people they don't like disappear, insisted that protest of SOPA bill could really threaten the credibility of their work. For example, Robert Lawton, a computer expert from Michigan, claimed that he was too worried about the outfit suddenly being in the role of advocacy, since that was a very slippery slope. He suggested that the next move taken by Wikipedia is to be blacked out for saving the whales.

As you know, the encyclopedia has shut down access to its English-language version of website for 24 hours a couple days ago. Instead of Wikipedia articles, the users were offered to read information about a couple of controversial congressional bills (SOPA and PIPA) regarding copyright. The service also detailed about how to contact with legislators. By the way, you wouldn’t know all that if you were using a smartphone.

Nevertheless, the online encyclopedia finds itself having to make such stands as the US politicians try harder to filter the web. For example, Wikipedia’s Italian version of the encyclopedia went offline once in protest to a web censorship legislation put forward by the Berlusconi government. In fact, statements like that managed to force the authorities to backtrack on their efforts to filter the Internet.

However, it seems that the editors didn’t like the idea of shutting down for a day. They showed this by blacking out their own user profile pages (like someone reads them!) and resigning their administrative rights (like someone cares!). Some of the editors believe that the website’s decision to tackle filtering with filtering is simply daft. Meanwhile, Wikipedia founder insists that the service is able to maintain neutrality in content even while taking public positions. Jimmy Wales said that Wikipedia will always be neutral, but its community need not be – at least not when the service is threatened.

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