Wikipedia protest is noted as a brief inconvenience
The day of protest at English Wikipedia brought measurable results, the site’s administrators reported: 4 million people used the tool that Wikipedia had provided to find their member of Congress by entering their ZIP code; 90 million came to the site and learned about the antipiracy legislation that Wikipedia and other websites are protesting.
But a visit to the fourth floor of New York’s Mid-Manhattan Library,where dozens of people were at computers or using the free Wi-Fi, was to witness the hurdle Wikipedia faces in trying to urge offline action.
Most people using the Internet there said they had not given much thought to Wikipedia or Internet regulation. Instead, they were writing email, watching YouTube clips, poring over sports statistics.
Among the few who knew about the blackout was Tony Nilsson, 35, a student and dancer from Sweden who lives in Manhattan.
“I chose to do reading today,” he said, putting off essay writing until tomorrow when he could use Wikipedia.
Similarly, a Brooklyn copy writer, Yasheve Miller, said he was able to put off using Wikipedia for a day. He said, “I’m not going to die in 24 hours; if it had been PayPal or Google. a(euro) [” And as a content creator who believes in a “free Internet,” he said he was not sure what he thought about the legislation, known as SOPA, for Stop Online Piracy Act.
Jimmy Wales, the public face of Wikipedia, addressed schoolchildren and students when he announced the blackout on Twitter: “Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!”
Wikipedia’s decision spurred discussion at the Pathways to Technology Magnet High School in Hartford, Conn., where all 330 students carry HP Netbooks. The 15 juniors
and seniors in a sound production class learned about the blackout firsthand when they visited Google and saw the blacked out emblem, said Kelli Cauffman, the media teacher.
She said the students then tried to get onto Wikipedia and some other sites, which led in turn to a lively class discussion about Internet censorship.