Why is Wikipedia blacked out? (A complete idiot’s guide)

Wikipedia (and other sites) are blacked out today to protest two bills in Congress, SOPA and PIPA.

If passed, these laws could cause sites like Wikipedia, YouTube, Tumblr, and even Google to be blacked out FOREVER in the U.S.

They want you to contact your senators and representatives and tell them to OPPOSE the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate.

SOPA and PIPA could CENSOR the internet in America JUST LIKE it is censored in CHINA and IRAN.

If you’re still with me at this point, go actually read what Wikipedia has to say about its blackout. I’m also going to assume that anyone who reads beyond the big, simple print is not going to be offended if I speak badly about the sorts of people who don’t read beyond the big, simple print.

I often forget that, even on the internet, I live in a bubble of very informed people. Andrew showed me a Twitter account, @herpderpedia that is dedicated to retweeting all of (or at least the best of) the tweets by people who are very upset and confused about Wikipedia going dark for 24 hours today, and I was reminded that there are a lot of people on the internet who still live in caves and under rocks. For their benefit (and because I’m not above trolling for pageviews), I’ve spelled it out as simply as I can, since they can’t be bothered to read the explanation on Wikipedia itself, and I just know people will still Google it while also being confused about today’s Google doodle. I don’t usually like to reward this kind of behavior, but I care about the internet enough to make an exception, and I also know that I somehow manage to show up on the front page of search results for things like this a LOT. Consider it my good deed for the month.

If you REALLY need to get your free information, and if getting your homework done is so vitally dependent on accessing the free information on Wikipedia that depends on an un-censored internet, five extra minutes of reading so that you can learn how to get around the blackout (!!!) isn’t going to kill you. And if it does, you deserve every failing grade you get.

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