Blackout January 10, 2012 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Reddit will be blacked out for 12 hours on January 18th in protest against SOPA. Will Metafilter be doing similar?
posted by Artw to MetaFilter-Related at 4:17 PM (352 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

100% support for this idea.
posted by vorfeed at 4:24 PM on January 10, 2012 [35 favorites]


We haven't discussed any plans to do so. I don't know if Matt is secretly contemplating something.

To some extent, on a personal basis, I feel like it'd be punishing people we like—the Metafilter userbase—while not inconveniencing the folks who are actually the bad actors here. It's not mefites' fault that SOPA is an issue, and I like the logo-munge-and-metatalk-thread thing we did previously a lot better than just shutting everybody out, if we were to do something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:24 PM on January 10, 2012 [33 favorites]


I'm not sure if I'm for or against something like this, but I don't see it as punishment. I see it as increasing the chance that the MetaFilter userbase will read and learn about SOPA, and possibly contact someone with the power to make some (small) change.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:29 PM on January 10, 2012 [16 favorites]


You could at least bring back the black ribbon so casual internet users who didn't know about it might be clued in.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:30 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm in favor of doing it.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:30 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just please don't do it on the same day. I might have to go outside or something.
posted by Bron-Y-Aur at 4:31 PM on January 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


i think metafilter is probably better educated than most when it comes to SOPA.
posted by nadawi at 4:31 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


it'd be punishing people we like .... while not inconveniencing the folks...

...while being informative for the approximately bahajillion people that glide in and out quietly thanks to AskMe's prominence in Google results.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:32 PM on January 10, 2012 [29 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see it as a punishment.

It's a warning.
posted by vorfeed at 4:32 PM on January 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


people who just glide in and out due to google results will stick around for about 2 seconds to see that the result they wanted isn't there and move on to yahoo answers.
posted by nadawi at 4:33 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Metafilter actually wants to protest against SOPA, then I don't think it should be done in a half-assed manner. Just make sure you have plenty of counsellors and Prozac available.
posted by gman at 4:35 PM on January 10, 2012


I will be wearing a hair shirt and self flagellating.
posted by found missing at 4:37 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


nadawi et al, I think you might be underestimating the size of the bully pulpit that Mefi has. This sounds like a great idea, though cortex is right that it is an indirect, educational, "awareness-raising" action.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:37 PM on January 10, 2012


I have a deadline I would appreciate this.
posted by The Whelk at 4:38 PM on January 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


Worrying about the inconvenience of making a recreational time-wasting site unavailable for a few hours just seems like the most depressing lack of perspective. It's like not voting because you might break a nail. Oh well, that's enough from me.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:39 PM on January 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


i don't find bully pulpits to be terribly useful when they're used to preach to the choir.

so awareness gets raised. i'm aware already. what now? i live in oklahoma with representatives that don't give two shits about my liberal, pro-internet freedom demographic. they have all the votes they need through fear and regression and making terrible laws about abortion and banning sharia law. furthermore, what about someone in australia or greece or kenya - they can write their government to put pressure on the US about laws they're making, but the US has pretty much been shown to not give two shits when the world doesn't like us doing something.

this has nothing to do with inconvenience - it just strikes me as wearing yellow livestrong bracelets to a bike race. ok - awareness in a mostly aware space - so now what? we all pat each other on the back for taking a stand?
posted by nadawi at 4:43 PM on January 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


Efficiency consultants across the world will be pondering that spike on their graphs for decades to come.
posted by griphus at 4:44 PM on January 10, 2012 [12 favorites]


I am 100% on the fence about this.

On the one hand, it would make some people pause. On the other hand, would it really DO anything? I'm not seeing it, unless it was done on a more massive scale, say in conjunction with Google, MeFi, Slashdot, Reddit, Digg etc. It sounds like something that'll make people feel good 'cause something was done, but it'll be the smallest of gestures, sort of like changing your Facebook status.

What if we occupied a building, wouldn't hat be a better protest? I vote for Dunkin' Donuts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:46 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


...while being informative for the approximately bahajillion people that glide in and out quietly thanks to AskMe's prominence in Google results.

I don't feel like that's a particularly engaged group. In the mean time, people who visit Metafilter with a bit of intention and value the site enough to have a sense of a stake in it being here would be reasonably likely to notice something cosmetic but striking like a big banner up top or a conspicuous logo change.

My opinion. I get the idea, I don't think Reddit is wrong to decide to do it if that's what they feel is the best compromise between raising awareness and shutting out their regular readership, but I also don't think that refusing to let the people who like your site to visit your site at all is the sole or obviously correct approach to making an informational stand.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:46 PM on January 10, 2012


And is there a particular reason you chose the phrase "blacked out"? That can read as racist and offensive.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:47 PM on January 10, 2012


████████ ███ ███ █████████████ ████?
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


That can read as racist and offensive.

Are you kidding?
posted by thedaniel at 4:50 PM on January 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: And is there a particular reason you chose the phrase "blacked out"? That can read as racist and offensive.

Same reason he uses the profesional white background.
posted by gman at 4:51 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


████████ ███ ███ █████████████ ████?

Someone wants to hang with the dirtiest dudes in town.
posted by griphus at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dammit.
posted by griphus at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please don't.
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:56 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And is there a particular reason you chose the phrase "blacked out"? That can read as racist and offensive.
*darkens stage*
posted by unliteral at 4:56 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


people who just glide in and out due to google results will stick around for about 2 seconds to see that the result they wanted isn't there and move on to yahoo answers.

Which is a punishment that borders on abuse.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:57 PM on January 10, 2012


Where is the professional African-American background?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:00 PM on January 10, 2012 [19 favorites]


I am a lurker on metafilter, but I'll come out from under my stone to say this. Please consider following reddit's lead. The more who do, the more the momentum will build.

I am astonished by how many people I work with who have not heard of SOPA. And I work with tech staff. It's simply not being covered by news sources that many people pay attention to, so the more avenues to fill people in, the better.

It's not punishing metafilter users, just ensuring you're around for us later.
posted by instead of three wishes at 5:02 PM on January 10, 2012 [59 favorites]


I think there is 0 chance sites doing this will have any effect. People who care enough to actually take action already know, other people will be confused or just not care.

But of course it's not like there isn't other stuff to do, so I guess I don't care either way.

(This is not to say I am 100% convinced SOPA will become law, but if it doesn't it certainly won't be due to stuff like this)
posted by wildcrdj at 5:06 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


the cynical side of me wonders if reddit is partially doing it to get bloggers to blog about it so they all mention what's-his-nuts from reddit is testifying at the hearings.
posted by nadawi at 5:07 PM on January 10, 2012


The consequences of SOPA are bad enough without having to jump on a bandwagon.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:10 PM on January 10, 2012


...while being informative for the approximately bahajillion people that glide in and out quietly thanks to AskMe's prominence in Google results.

Unless Google joins the blackout, in which case, well...
posted by Toekneesan at 5:13 PM on January 10, 2012


Are you kidding?

That's the thing about black guys. You can never tell when they are joking.

I think taking down metafilter is not a good idea. It's not just a "time wasting site." It's also an information resource, a support system, entertainment, etc. etc.

Taking it down would serve little purpose.

SOPA will be like every other law I don't agree with...ignored.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:13 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, let's see, the AFL-CIO, SAG, AFTRA and a few other unions support SOPA, and Rush Limbaugh is against it. Sure, black out the site. Do it for Rush.
posted by Ardiril at 5:18 PM on January 10, 2012


I wrote a big "what librarians need to know about SOPA" post yesterday but I don't feel like blacking out the site is going to have as much of a measurable effect as some sort of awareness-raising thing that we could post ON the site instead of just closing it. That's my vote, if we're noting, but I don't know if mathowie has his own plan.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:20 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Are you kidding?

Just the tip!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:26 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was amazed at how effective Tumblr's thing (where everything was covered with censor bars for a minute, and then you could turn it off) was. Silly little teenage girls who only think about Justin Bieber and Glee were calling their congressmen.

So, anyway:

1. Figure out how to make a bunch of silly teenage girls who only think about Justin Bieber and Glee come to MetaFilter. I propose three days of limiting everyone to questions and FPPs about such things. It doesn't have to necessarily be that narrow: questions about Nick Jonas in Les Miserables or Selena Gomez's career plans now that The Wizards of Waverly Place is over would also be acceptable.
2. Do that thing that Tumblr did, with the link to the phone bank and all.
3. ???
4. World saved, thanks to MetaFilter. And easily led young women.

Fun fact: I had to Google to figure out if I was spelling Bieber right.
Not fun fact: I only had to type "ju" before it was the top entry on the suggestions list.
Harsh reality: We're all doomed, whether or not SOPA passes.

Guilty admission: I did not have to Google Selena Gomez to remember the name of her show. In my defense, there was totally an article in the WSJ about it like, yesterday.

posted by SMPA at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


What about some kind of symbolic blacking out of the site? Change all the backgrounds or something. It would have to be a suitably large gesture to be effective, something more than a little banner but not really interfere with the usage of the site. A stark reminder of sorts.
posted by pmcp at 5:28 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I see it as increasing the chance that the MetaFilter userbase will read and learn about SOPA, and possibly contact someone with the power to make some (small) change.

Please don't forget a large proportion of the userbase is located outside of the US, and thus this is unhelpful for them. I'm not arguing against doing it, per se - I understand Mefi is US-based, but that argument on behalf of a diverse userbase is not a strong one; for example it would irritate me, and add nothing to forces arrayed against SOPA.
posted by smoke at 5:32 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


The power of any sort of collective action is magnified by the number of people who participate. Even if it's non-critical participants. It's true, I think no regular MeFi user will be unaware of SOPA, but some may be unaware of the strength of collective action, others may be moved to thought, and many people stumble here based on search engine results.

The more people on the picket line, the better. I'd love to see Matt replace the site with a static article on the implications of SOPA/PIP on the date in question
posted by tyllwin at 5:33 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm leaning towards blackout. Hmmm.
posted by rtha at 5:35 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


1. Figure out how to make a bunch of silly teenage girls who only think about Justin Bieber and Glee come to MetaFilter.

Camgirl Invasion 2: SOPA On A Rope
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:35 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


pmcp: What about some kind of symbolic blacking out of the site?

I support this kind of Affirmative Action.
posted by gman at 5:35 PM on January 10, 2012


I support this kind of Affirmative Action.
Genuine or sarcasm, I can no longer tell.
posted by pmcp at 5:43 PM on January 10, 2012


No one has mentioned it, but there would be a financial impact on the Metafilter Corporation if it lost its ad revenue for a day. I'm willing to support this, I'm also willing to kick in my share to offset the lost revenue.

I agree with the thought that collective action is necessary.....as stated by tyllwin.
posted by HuronBob at 5:43 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be behind a blackout on the same day as reddit. Most of the time, the best way to get an important point across is to inconvenience ourselves and other people.
posted by saturnine at 5:47 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


maybe next we can all post our bra colors to facebook to raise awareness about breast cancer! or change our icon to a cartoon character to show our support for child abuse victims! woo, collective action!
posted by nadawi at 5:48 PM on January 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I think a better protest would be to leave the site up, but have everybody read it and post with their eyes closed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:56 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"To some extent, on a personal basis, I feel like it'd be punishing people we like—the Metafilter userbase—while not inconveniencing the folks who are actually the bad actors here. It's not mefites' fault that SOPA is an issue, and I like the logo-munge-and-metatalk-thread thing we did previously a lot better than just shutting everybody out, if we were to do something."

Block access from .gov.
posted by klangklangston at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2012 [20 favorites]


"maybe next we can all post our bra colors to facebook to raise awareness about breast cancer! or change our icon to a cartoon character to show our support for child abuse victims! woo, collective action!"

Guess you missed that whole "civil rights movement" thing, eh? Or, those little protests about the Viet Nam war. I'm thinking there were a few other instances where it proved useful.
posted by HuronBob at 5:57 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"have everybody read it and post with their eyes closed."

Actually, this wouldn't be a change for a certain percentage of folks.... I'm not naming names...
posted by HuronBob at 5:58 PM on January 10, 2012


Good, 'cause I couldn't read them.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:00 PM on January 10, 2012


Guess you missed that whole "civil rights movement" thing, eh? Or, those little protests about the Viet Nam war.

Woah there, champ. No doubt about it, SOPA is a bad thing, but the Hyperbole Police are gonna put a warrant out if you keep that up.
posted by smoke at 6:02 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


yes. you're right. how could i be so blind? blacking out a website for a couple hours is exactly like direct action and civil disobedience. it has way more in common with lunch counter protests than stupid things posted to facebook.

oh, wait. no one's getting arrested or hosed or protesting in front of people of power. i guess they aren't very similar after all.
posted by nadawi at 6:03 PM on January 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


You forgot to mention Hitler.
posted by crunchland at 6:05 PM on January 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't see how blacking out the site would raise awareness BETTER than having a ribbon. Against.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:06 PM on January 10, 2012


you mean, hitler
posted by found missing at 6:07 PM on January 10, 2012


He was mild mannered in person.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:08 PM on January 10, 2012


I think this will accomplish as much as non-violent protests usually do: precisely bupkis.
posted by MattMangels at 6:08 PM on January 10, 2012


This has already accomplished making me want to black out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:10 PM on January 10, 2012


I support this.
posted by naoko at 6:11 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I just saw the Reddit notice, and had come to post this if it had not already been posted. If the site blackout is too much, make the FPP's have to be about SOPA aspects. I think something drastic needs to happen though, because I don't care if only 5 more people learn about it, one of those 5 might be in an instrumental position to do something.

Because unless I'm mistaken, SOPA would seriously mess up metafilter. So it's either do something drastic for the site, or have something drastic done to the site.
posted by cashman at 6:11 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


This has already accomplished making me want to black out.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:10 PM on January 10 [+] [!]


I support this.
posted by naoko at 6:11 PM on January 10 [+] [!]


That seems insensitive.
posted by found missing at 6:12 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


or change our icon to a cartoon character to show our support for child abuse victims! woo, collective action!

I see a difference between actually blocking access to something and adding a cartoon icon. No, it's not as strong a statement as forcing them to drag you out of a congressman's office in cuffs, but it's better than doing noting.

And actually, reading some of the comments above, could access be blocked (even imperfectly) only from the US? I think that makes an even sharper point and without inconveniencing non-US MeFites
posted by tyllwin at 6:15 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would support this. The more sites that participate in actions like this increase the chances that the media will write about SOPA/PIPA. It's not just about educating visitors to the site.
posted by missmerrymack at 6:16 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


You mean the media that supports SOPA, right?
posted by Ardiril at 6:18 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think this would be a good idea, especially if it's done like this: "we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action. "

Even if you just put that up and added an additional click through or something.
posted by the young rope-rider at 6:21 PM on January 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


If anything is done I think the young rope rider's idea and related ones - a simple message saying what it is- is the right way.
posted by The Whelk at 6:24 PM on January 10, 2012


How about the best of both worlds? All of the text on the site is obscured like it is in Artw's comment, but would be legible to anyone running a specific greasemonkey script --- thereby demonstrating a) how knowledgeable people will always find a way around stupid attempts at legislating the internet and b) the standard answer to any modification to Metafilter is always going to be a greasemonkey script.
posted by crunchland at 6:24 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Block access from .gov.

Some government employees already have it blocked, thank you Websense.
posted by SMPA at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2012


I think the only way to really protest SOPA would be to bring back the IMG tag for just one day.

If you take MeFi offline, the bastards win--with the img tag, everyone loses--and isn't that what SOPA is about?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 6:26 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


"And actually, reading some of the comments above, could access be blocked (even imperfectly) only from the US? I think that makes an even sharper point and without inconveniencing non-US MeFites"

Eh, we're all Mefites here, and we're all equally affected if Metafilter is harmed. If there's going to be a protest action it should be the same for everybody.
posted by Kevin Street at 6:34 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


To some extent, on a personal basis, I feel like it'd be punishing people we like—the Metafilter userbase...

Cortex, just think of it as punishing me. Now isn't that better?

My suggestion is to just close down AskMeFi. It attracts more of the kind of people who are likely to do things like write to their congresscritter. And keep it down for at least three days.

On the other hand, if you shut down the blue, I'll probably get a lot more work done.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:36 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


maybe next we can all post our bra colors to facebook

What are you wearing, nadawi?

Actually, if you were really serious, you'd post your bra sizes to facebook. (Too bad I don't use facebook.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 6:37 PM on January 10, 2012


maybe next we can all post our bra colors to facebook to raise awareness about breast cancer! or change our icon to a cartoon character to show our support for child abuse victims! woo, collective action!

I think the difference is that everybody is already aware of cancer and child abuse, and everybody thinks they're bad. Those gestures are close to meaningless because just about anyone who was going to donate money to the causes already has.

Granted that MeFi and Reddit users are more tuned in than the typical person, I still think there are a ton of people out there haven't heard of SOPA -- many of them might be casual MeFi readers or people who will be directed to Ask by Google.

I know the first I heard of SOPA was when Matt put a banner over the front page logo.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 6:39 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


the cynical side of me wonders if reddit is partially doing it to get bloggers to blog about it so they all mention what's-his-nuts from reddit is testifying at the hearings.

You mean what's-his-nuts from MetaFilter?
posted by scalefree at 6:46 PM on January 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the site blackout is too much, make the FPP's have to be about SOPA aspects.

First Post: Today, Metafilter Presents Our First Theme Day. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R. 3261, is a bill that was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011. Click here for more information.

Second SOPA Post: Deleted. Double. ~mathowie

Third SOPA Post: Deleted. Activism posts don't work well here. Why not reframe this and try again tomorrow? ~Jessamyn

Fourth SOPA Post: Deleted. I ACCIDENTALLY PIRATED THE WHOLE POST ~cortex

Fifth SOPA Post: Deleted. Quintuplets! ~ taz

SIxth Post: (Not about SOPA, but instead a SLYT link to cute snuggly bunnies. Deleted. I know one of them was wearing an eyepatch, but this doesn't fit today's theme. ~Restless Nomad.


This'll wendell.
posted by zarq at 6:52 PM on January 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


Third post there would be about SOPA and libraries.
posted by Artw at 6:53 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would support shutting down for the day to bring more attention to SOPA.

But I don't make my living on this site, so I'd also understand if it didn't happen.
posted by inigo2 at 6:54 PM on January 10, 2012


Me gusta sopa. Sopa de tomate. Sopa de cebolla. Sopa de tortilla.
posted by birdherder at 7:08 PM on January 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I just think if the site can have color fading and other fun silly stuff for April Fools, I would hope something creative can be done for this situation.

Right?
posted by cashman at 7:14 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's Raining Florence Henderson: "I think a better protest would be to leave the site up, but have everybody read it and post with their eyes closed."

Am I the only one who immediately tried to type with my eyes closed after seeing this?
posted by IndigoRain at 7:18 PM on January 10, 2012


Why not just have an anti-SOPA interstitial page on any inbound requests? Something that explained, high-level, "write your congressman about the harm of SOPA" or some-such. People would see it once, but could then proceed to the site as normal.
posted by Jacob G at 7:28 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think the banner and useful links at the top of every page informing people what they can do about SOPA would be good. Keeps the practical aspect of MeFi running while educating people.

I'm not in the US and I support some action.
posted by arcticseal at 7:39 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just for you, BB:

Metatalk professional African-American background.
posted by misha at 7:48 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ardiril - I guess I should have been more clear for you and said news media. The Online News Association finally came out against SOPA.
posted by missmerrymack at 7:49 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where's the professional female African-American background?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 PM on January 10, 2012


Where's the professional female African-American background?!

Hear Hear. Or here here. I don't do toasts, I don't know which one it is.
posted by cashman at 7:55 PM on January 10, 2012


I fully support a full blackout protest on as many sites as possible, including site-wide on MetaFilter.

If you think going 8 or 24 hours is an inconvenience and pain in the ass, I strongly suggest thinking about what it'll be like if SOPA and/or PIPA pass.

Bored? Use the time to get involved or contact your representatives. When you get done with that spam your friends and family and get them to do the same. We should be making so many phone calls that it crashes the phone system.

Less extreme protests could also include partially disabling the site and just putting up information about SOPA/PIPA, how it directly adversely effects all of us. Maybe a managed discussion thread. Maybe use it as a base to rebroadcast the hearings.

Not just websites, not just independent content creators, but how it will make it impossible for sites like flickr, facebook and youtube to exist or start up at all. It means no easy sharing pics of the grandkids. It means dismantling fair use to remix, appropriate or even discuss arts and culture.

This must be stopped, or we run the very real risk of not being able to (legally) use the internet (as we do now) in the future to organize effectively to make things better.

This isn't a slippery slope - it's a black diamond ski run covered in glare ice. This isn't a few more degrees towards the boiling point - it's a steam explosion.

Cross reference this with the NDAA and the scenario is omnious.

Yeah, I've been saying the water in the pot is a bit too warm for a while. It's now getting a bit too hot. Something smells like frog soup. I want out, but I don't know where to go.
posted by loquacious at 7:55 PM on January 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


People who are not American; what America does often simply leads the pack (has Australia not already got a SOPA-analogue? Other nations are more likely to follow this, than to side-step). The internet is an interconnected beast. Sure, the web "routes around damaged nodes"... well curated links are State-blind. Canadians, for example would be well off knowing more about SOPA.

I heard people speak about SOPA after the previous multi-site campaign, people who didn't otherwise mention weird stuff, laws, or politics, or anything like that (not that it was seen "here", but when things are on a "bunch" of places, they are less "niche-community", and more like news. Speaking about things is a powerful force multiplier. Realizing that others are 'aware' of this 'thing' can have a powerful effect, akin to a shame for not being 'aware' of some 'current event'.

I think of the dynamic around "news of the day" junk... like, round here, it's termed "news filter" for a reason, it is ephemeral, page-click generating, pop-news or whatever, but somehow, everyone in the world is all "oooo, yeah, did you hear about... XYZ" - and then it is sort of "attempts at shaming one-upmanship" - (a dynamic that is examined fairly comedically in "community" episode 3 of season 2, psychology of letting go, it isn't really dwelt on, so I might be reading social commentary into something that was just a gag, but, eh).

Anything that can take advantage of this human need, to be "one of the people in the know about the newest news"... would seem to be useful towards getting people speaking -- and shaming each other at the paucity of their knowledge of the subject.

The whole "raising awareness is pointless", or "preaching to the choir is useless" idea misses something... sure, we all may go to the same "congregation", heck, we might all be in the same CHOIR... but... well, some of us are basses, some Tenors, altos sopranos... that analogy grinds my gears, but I always forget to say something like that. Basically, even if many people seem to be faceless and interchangeable (some ... there are differences, and not everyone is on the same page.

I like White on Black webpages... I turn on display color inversion, wherever possible, to get strong contrast facilitating reading digital. I would support a tactic akin to Mr. Blatcher's subverted chromatic inversion-version of the "white background" option.

Make the whole site a variation a few shades deeper than MeTa for a few hours or a day... along with a banner, or closable thing; it is eye catching, doesn't close the site down, a down site might just get a "hmm, guess servers are down, o-kee" next...
Speaking of top-of-page close able, awareness raising campaigns... Jimmy Wales/Decani, right?
posted by infinite intimation at 7:59 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes, count me in for a blackout. This is bigger than an inconvenience - it might change things. If Metafilter joins Reddit, then other sites will follow. Who knows? Kottke, 4chan, maybe DailyKos, BoingBoing, the list grows on. If this persuades Facebook to create a banner, Google to change their logo, etc -- then it's worth it.
posted by suedehead at 8:02 PM on January 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bron-Y-Aur: "Just please don't do it on the same day. I might have to go outside or something."

Just go out and STOMP!
posted by Splunge at 8:02 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


SMPA"Silly little teenage girls who only think about Justin Bieber and Glee..."

This seems a bit sexist to me. Sorry, it just bugs me a little when people talk about "silly teenage girls," as if the silliest thing you could possibly be is a girl who's thirteen years old or something.

Not a huge deal, I guess. Just saying, is all.
posted by koeselitz at 8:05 PM on January 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


Worrying about the inconvenience of making a recreational time-wasting site unavailable for a few hours just seems like the most depressing lack of perspective, he posted on his own blog?

Ah, right.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:12 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where's the professional female African-American background?!

*sigh*

I try so hard to please you, Brandon, but you're never satisfied. One of these days I'm going to find a Mefi spouse who really appreciates me!

And then I'll go all Kardashian on your ass.

/hamburger
posted by misha at 8:13 PM on January 10, 2012


MetaFilter: Kardashian on your ass.
posted by loquacious at 8:19 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I totally promise to blackout at the appointed time if someone buys me enough scotch.
posted by gingerbeer at 8:23 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Compromise: Blackout for American users, non-Yankee fun for everyone else!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:30 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


mmm: Who?
posted by Ardiril at 8:31 PM on January 10, 2012


Kardashian: Metafilter on your ass
posted by HuronBob at 8:35 PM on January 10, 2012


Double!
posted by Splunge at 8:43 PM on January 10, 2012


Please don't.
posted by Trurl at 8:45 PM on January 10, 2012


I dislike the SOPA legislation greatly, I think it's really bad law, written to protect Hollywood's dying business models. Last month we helped draw attention to it by censoring out our logo and making that a link to the stop SOPA site with more info and ways to contact your senators & representatives. That is pretty much the only way to actually help steer this law away from happening. One of my senators in Oregon helped combat it and he lead the filibuster against SOPA.

Anyway, I would be in favor of blacking out our logo again, but I feel like blacking out the site is taking it a bit too far. I'd much rather every US member of the site at the very least send an email to their congress people opposing it, but better yet, try calling their offices to register your opposition to it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 8:54 PM on January 10, 2012 [14 favorites]


I was just going to suggest blacking out the logo again and now I feel like it was a particularly clever idea.
posted by maryr at 8:57 PM on January 10, 2012


I suggested it way upthread, but people were too busy wiping the Kardashian off their asses to notice. Story of my life.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 PM on January 10, 2012


Opaque black overlay over full page, simple explanatory text about why, big button. Press button, div is revealed with blurb about SOPA, links for more info, ways to take action etc. Press new button, overlay goes away.

Cookie it so it appears only once, on first visit to the site.

That's what I'd do if I had time.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:07 PM on January 10, 2012 [37 favorites]


Eh, feels cleverer agreeing with Matt, Burhanistan.
posted by maryr at 9:09 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, if you want to be clever with CSS... have pages start out as per normal, then slowly fade the colors of all elements to #00000, then display a message explaining that this is what Mefi will end up like post-SOPA with a button to clear underneath.
posted by Artw at 9:11 PM on January 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thanks for posting, Matt.
posted by cashman at 9:18 PM on January 10, 2012


I like stavro's suggestion very much!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:22 PM on January 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was going to suggest something along the lines of stavro and Artw's suggestions. It seems that the relevant points are:

--MeFi members and frequent lurkers are probably already aware of SOPA issues, or at least there are better ways to educate more committed community members.

--MetaFilter (and especially Ask) does have a bully pulpit when it comes to Google searches, so there's lots of people who are casual passers-by that might not know about this issue.

--If things are just blocked (and I would add to this, if there are spammy/obnoxious barriers to Getting The Answer I want), people will just close the tab and go back to Google's next promising-looking result, as noted above.

Based on those, I think Artw's is the best solution so far (with the caveat that I have no technical skills beyond making manual links in HTML so I have no idea whether that is a feasible solution for PB et al.) Stavros' is okay but reminds me of clickthrough ads for Salon magazine or whatnot and I think that people would probably not even register what the text was saying.

Maybe some common words (like 'the', 'in', 'to' could be blacked-out CENSORED style (as done in a few comments above), and there could be a sidebar or something explaining? The ideal, I'm thinking, is something a bit eye-catching but also creative, which allows people to get the information they are looking for but also gives them an opportunity to learn more about SOPA. Yes?
posted by tivalasvegas at 9:48 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also like stwc's suggestion.... someone wake up pb
posted by HuronBob at 9:50 PM on January 10, 2012


I like stavrosthewonderchicken's idea too. No point in annoying / scaring people if there aren't also idiotproof and clear directions on what actions would be useful to prevent it from happening.
posted by oneear at 10:45 PM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The askme wanders who stumble in from google respond to ads - why wouldn't they respond to this, if it's well done?
posted by Pants! at 10:47 PM on January 10, 2012


wanderers
posted by Pants! at 10:47 PM on January 10, 2012


Stavro and Artw are on the right path. It's needs to be something bold... enough to catch the attention... and dammit, make people think...
posted by PROD_TPSL at 12:55 AM on January 11, 2012


I vote for something similar to Artw's idea if a total blackout is not an option.

There have been numerous instances of me being prodded into action on something that I supported but wasn't pro-active about. I guarantee there are many that will finally decide to take the effort to contact their representatives if they find something here asking them to. Not to mention the rippling effects stuff like this can have on the Internet community.

And I'm still of the mind that contacting representatives in large numbers can be effective, even if you think your representative would be a SOPA supporter. You never know who is on the fence about something like this and just needs a few thousand calls and emails to tip over to the other side.
posted by Defenestrator at 1:17 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only thing that actually got me to do something about SOPA was when tumblr "censored" its dashboards, as seen here. I think blocking out the text with the same color, so everything is boxes of white and yellow (or whatever the professional people see), would make a huge statement but also make it clear to the AskMe clickthroughs that there is content to be seen on the page, if only they take a second to get to it.
posted by Mizu at 1:48 AM on January 11, 2012


A blackout (either total or Stavros/Artw-style) wouldn't just be about spreading awareness. It would be a very bold reminder to people who already know about the threat to go out and do something about it.

I'm definitely in favor.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 1:59 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I disagree with the assumption that people know about this--I didn't have much information or awareness about it until this Metatalk post. This is probably more true of people who peruse AskMefi or who generally don't follow news all that much (because important things like this are generally buried under 500 stories about people getting dead and hurt in a million ways).

The internet can be a fragmented place and makes it seem like the things you're interested/informed about are universally known even if they aren't.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:52 AM on January 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


This seems a bit sexist to me.

No, little teenage girls who only think and talk about Justin Beiber and Glee are pretty silly. Usually, like more teenage stupidity and silliness, it's just a phase. The "problem" is that you never know how long it's going to last!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:31 AM on January 11, 2012


Shut it down. The fact that this even needs to be discussed is the reason why we don't have freedom anymore. We don't deserve it.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 3:52 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Totally. And people can use their new found "free time" to write a letter to their congressperson, which Matt can then post on the cat-scan.com site. Letter with the most thank yous wins an iPad or some shit.
posted by gman at 3:58 AM on January 11, 2012


Do it. It makes a statement.
posted by imjustsaying at 4:22 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wearing white after Labor Day makes a statement also.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:28 AM on January 11, 2012


What this smacks of is "Hey, Matt, I can't be arsed, can you protest SOPA for me?"

If you are a US citizen, you need to call -- not email, not sign an internet petition, call your senators and representatives office and politely make your opposition clear -- and that your vote depends on it.

Then you need to talk to those you know who seem to care about this and get them to do the same.

That's what will STOP this bill. Internet protests are a dime a dozen, plus, you won't convince anyone who either loves or hates SOPA, and you'll only annoy those who don't know about it. Otherwise, well, "...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

If you're advocating Matt black out the site and you have not called your congresscritters, you are doing it wrong.
posted by eriko at 5:21 AM on January 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you are a US citizen, you need to call

Unless you live in DC, that is...then you get to pay taxes and still have this stuff handed down to you from on high!

Don't forget us is all I ask. Call your Congressman for me, please. Despite the fact that he sits less than 4 blocks from where I am right now.
posted by zap rowsdower at 5:58 AM on January 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm with zap rowsdower. Calling my "shadow" Congresspeople is futile. Can anyone familiar with the legislation point out which representatives are potentially critical swing votes, so I can call them instead?
posted by argonauta at 6:29 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just black it out to non-logged in users.
posted by smackfu at 6:29 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm in favor of a black out as well.

Mostly because if Reddit and Metafilter are both blacked out, I might get some work done.
posted by empath at 6:36 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another DC resident. I contacted Eleanor Holmes Norton asking what her stance on SOPA was, since there is zippo on her website about it. A full month later, I got a response thanking me for contacting her, and telling me she'd take my thoughts into consideration. Didn't once mention her stance on the bill. Not that her stance matters at all in any way, but I wanted to know.
posted by inigo2 at 7:08 AM on January 11, 2012


I've already spent my charity budget on Mothers Against the Advancement of Colored People.
posted by Meatbomb at 7:11 AM on January 11, 2012


WHY DO YOU HATE PURPLE-AMERICANS?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:15 AM on January 11, 2012


CautionToTheWind: "The fact that this even needs to be discussed is the reason why we don't have freedom anymore."

um... what?
posted by zarq at 7:18 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


freedom zarq, FREEDOM! Are you just going to stand by and let it be taken from up or are you going to join the call for a blackout of website to show the overlords we mean business.

Time to pick a side!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:21 AM on January 11, 2012


I'd be for closing the site down one day a year for no reason whatsoever. Mod's day off. It would also allow people to realize there are other things in life.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:33 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be 100% clear, I was expressing support for a blackout for MeFi, not for our beloved IRFH.

Anyway. For what it's worth, I spent a lot more time on MeFi than I should have when I was a congressional staffer (your tax dollars at work, folks), so I certainly would have noticed something like this. I like Artw and stavros's ideas.
posted by naoko at 7:44 AM on January 11, 2012


I'm pretty much a regular here, and I never heard of SOPA before. I don't like on-lone piracy, but that bill looks pretty draconian to me. So I would support doing something to raise awareness.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:16 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


On-line, even.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:17 AM on January 11, 2012


CautionToTheWind: "The fact that this even needs to be discussed is the reason why we don't have freedom anymore."

um... what?
posted by zarq at 4:18 PM on January 11 [+] [!]


If a few hours without metafilter to make a stand against immediate, 100% insane law is too much inconvenience for the sheep, well, then don't complain about the wolves' uncontrollable laughter.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:33 AM on January 11, 2012


My objection is to the premise that it's some sort of binary where it's either Shut Down The Site or People Are Doomed Sheep. It's a terrible way to frame it; you insult and make antagonists of people who you could instead be trying to reach by some middle path.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:47 AM on January 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Some of us are neither activists nor sheep. Some of us are moderately annoyed old goats. We take a stand by careful deployment of excess methane.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:51 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Shutting down metafilter isn't making a stand. Nobody who matters would even notice. All it would do is raise a little bit of awareness and maybe encourage a few people to call their congressman.
posted by empath at 8:51 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


CautionToTheWind: " If a few hours without metafilter to make a stand against immediate, 100% insane law is too much inconvenience for the sheep, well, then don't complain about the wolves' uncontrollable laughter."

This is an important cause, and I've sent letters to my Senators and Congressional Representatives.

I am not particularly convinced that a site shutdown will make any difference in the long run. Metafilter isn't going to be the fulcrum, the tipping point for any campaign. We have a small, active userbase. Daily site visitors don't number in the tens of millions. We don't have reddit's audience. The list of organizations supporting this bill have a great deal of money, power and motivation to make sure it passes. The organizations that might have the money, power and motivation to stand against it (Google, Facebook, etc.,) are doing nothing to raise awareness.

If we want to make a difference, we'd be far better off asking them to do something. I'm all for symbolic gestures, but wouldn't it be better if they actually had an impact?
posted by zarq at 8:56 AM on January 11, 2012


My objection is to the premise that it's some sort of binary where it's either Shut Down The Site or People Are Doomed Sheep. It's a terrible way to frame it; you insult and make antagonists of people who you could instead be trying to reach by some middle path.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:47 PM on January 11 [+] [!]


Well you can do all sorts of partial shutdown, technically. In practice, people come to metafilter looking for stuff. If I come here and find my stuff, metafilter is working. If the stuff I want is not here, metafilter is shut down. Or are you planning to disenvowel?

I only insult dead weight. You only have to look at american politics to understand how weak the "middle path" plan is, how well it was manipulated by evil people to drag the middle to the side they favoured. Evil people all you "middle-pathers" serve.

This is how we lose.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 8:57 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really hope Google and Facebook kill operations for a day.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:57 AM on January 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


What do you congressperson-and-senator-calling people usually say when you call?

I just tried it - never done it before - and was taken aback by the requests for name, phone number, email address, mailing address, etc. I got barraged by. (Sen. Durbin's office, to their credit, only asked for a zip code).

Is just saying that you're calling to register your opposition enough?? Are they just keeping a giant tally? Would it be better to call and ask, "Can Sen. Durbin [or whoever] reassure me that my website will be safe?"
posted by bubukaba at 8:59 AM on January 11, 2012


Well, isn't stavros's suggestions a reasonable "middle path"? In addition, I don't quite see how staging a symbolic community-level protest and individually contacting one's political representatives is mutually exclusive.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:59 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


zarq I understand what you are saying. No single gesture makes a significant difference in the end.

Metafilter is visited by more than the registered posters. To those that do not know the stakes, metafilter can either shut down and say "Hey, this site you would like to visit has a very serious problem etc" or we can put up a gif and call it a day.

I say we do that that we will regret the least when SOAP is law.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:01 AM on January 11, 2012


SOPA too.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:02 AM on January 11, 2012


What do you congressperson-and-senator-calling people usually say when you call?

I usually say something like "I'm calling to urge Senator/Congressman Soandso to support/oppose SB/HB [number], and to ask that they encourage their colleagues to do the same. This bill is a [terrible piece of shit]/[necessary piece of legislation] that will hurt/support blahblahblah."

They really do track this stuff. Calls are better than emails which are better than internet petitions.
posted by rtha at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I only insult dead weight.

To the barricades, comrade!
posted by empath at 9:13 AM on January 11, 2012


Emailing your senators and reps in congress is easier, but they supposedly give more weight to a telephone call. Which is ludicrous, really.

Last year, I ended up sending letters to everyone on the banking committee back when there was a chance they weren't going to renew the first-time homebuyer's credit, and I was in the middle of negotiating a short sale. I think I got one response, although the credit was extended in the end, even though the short sale fell through. (Stupid Bank of America.)
posted by crunchland at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2012




but Google and Facebook Must Follow

What, we don't even get a mention? We're published authors!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:50 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


dumb question: Does this new law come with any new regulatory agency? Who is going to be processing the, presumably, millions of copyright infringement complaints that will be bandied about? Or will it just be the big guns like Universal demanding that google include special coding in their search function that will automatically filter out unofficial content?
posted by Think_Long at 9:55 AM on January 11, 2012


This seems a bit sexist to me. Sorry, it just bugs me a little when people talk about "silly teenage girls," as if the silliest thing you could possibly be is a girl who's thirteen years old or something.

Oi. These silly little girls are people I actually know. One of whom converted her online diary to a full-time exploration of Taylor Swift, and another of whom posts ten Glee photos a day. They're females in their teens, unabashedly silly, and, I know from their personal statements that they called their congressmen. I was, at that age, a silly teenage girl who couldn't stop yakking about Star Trek.

And come to think of it, one of the few things that penetrated my silly teenage brain at the time was the gray-out campaign for the CDA.

(I'd have said teenage boys, or teenagers in general, but alas, I don't follow any of them on Tumblr. I also don't follow any shockingly mature teenage girls, or very serious teenage girls. I don't think it was worth mentioning that one 30-something libertarian who also called his congressman.)
posted by SMPA at 10:12 AM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


cortex: It's a terrible way to frame it; you insult and make antagonists of people who you could instead be trying to reach by some middle path.

CautionToTheWind: I only insult dead weight. You only have to look at american politics to understand how weak the "middle path" plan is, how well it was manipulated by evil people to drag the middle to the side they favoured. Evil people all you "middle-pathers" serve.

me: ...
posted by joe lisboa at 10:13 AM on January 11, 2012


So let me get this straight: the Conde Nast site is going dark in opposition of SOPA and MetaFilter is not?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:32 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've sent a couple congress-critter letters but whenever I've done it I've always put it off and felt a little uneasy like "eeeeh this probably won't get read" or "my congressperson generally agrees with me on this issue anyway, what's the point" or "now I'm just some bitching constituent being a squeaky wheel, I bet nobody else is doing this" but if metafilter blacked out for the day I'd be all WHOA WTF THIS IS MAD SERIOUS

I mean I see the fact that reddit is going offline as Mad Serious but they go offline a lot of days amirite

*presses refresh*
posted by ghostbikes at 10:39 AM on January 11, 2012


I'd never heard of SOPA before mefi. I almost never go to reddit. Obviously I still don't understand the law because I don't see how mefi is affected. I thought linking to pirated stuff was against the rules anyway. If a copyrighted YouTube video is linked, isn't that Youtube's problem and not ours? How would mefi know it's a violation?
posted by desjardins at 11:00 AM on January 11, 2012


> Shut it down. The fact that this even needs to be discussed is the reason why we don't have freedom anymore. We don't deserve it.

See, this is bizarre to me. I speak as someone who participated in the usual '60s protests, I presume I don't have to list them, and I'm all for meaningful protest. I don't understand how closing down a website for a day is in any way meaningful. By all means call your congressfolk and buttonhole your friends; do something that has a chance of making a difference. But this is not that. "The fact that this even needs to be discussed is the reason why we don't have freedom anymore. We don't deserve it": Are you serious? Try to have some perspective.
posted by languagehat at 11:06 AM on January 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


CautionToTheWind: " I say we do that that we will regret the least when SOAP is law."

I'm fine with mathowie doing whatever he wants to here. It's his site. Shut the place down. Put up a page. Put up an interstitial. Put up a gif. I'm personally well informed and think that whatever mathowie wants to do to raise awareness is fine, as long as it's the site owner doing it and not a member setting up their own personal soapbox.

But at the same time, I do think it's worth thinking in terms of what effect any action mathowie takes will have, and keeping that in perspective. Mashable reported that last month Reddit got 2 billion page views. 35 million unique visitors looked at an average of 13 pages each. Metafilter does not have that audience. We never will.
posted by zarq at 11:07 AM on January 11, 2012


i don't find bully pulpits to be terribly useful when they're used to preach to the choir.

It's not a bully pulpit. Metafilter is prominently placed in many, many Google searches. The more of these links that become dead for a period of time (or better yet, link to information about SOPA) the better for everyone.

I'd venture to say that MeFi going dark is a much larger statement (for the average person) than Reddit going dark, because I have yet to come across a Reddit link while googling some random item. OTOH, I get AskMeFi results ALL THE TIME.

I'd never heard of SOPA before mefi... Obviously I still don't understand the law because I don't see how mefi is affected.

SOPA allows copyright holders to have a site shut down under the guide of "piracy", with the burden placed on the site to prove that they are not infringing. This means that any IP holder can complain that a MeFi post has stolen his intellectual property (or LINKED to someone who stole his intellectual property) and the site gets shut down until MeFi can prove they haven't. It's a disaster for everyone who runs a website.
posted by coolguymichael at 11:10 AM on January 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


desjardins: "If a copyrighted YouTube video is linked, isn't that Youtube's problem and not ours? How would mefi know it's a violation?"

The way the bill is framed, if someone posts a link to copyrighted material, Metafilter could be sued by an intellectual property holder for enabling or facilitating copyright infringement. They could have the DOJ shut the site down temporarily, or stop PayPal from dealing with MeFi.

This would be the end of MeFi. Every link in every post would have to be vetted for copyright violations prior to being posted.
posted by zarq at 11:14 AM on January 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


At least, it would be the end of MeFi as we know it.

Most posts here link to some sort of copyrighted material. I know a bunch of mine do. A post like this one, for example, would never make it past a copyright censor.
posted by zarq at 11:31 AM on January 11, 2012


I see no reason whatsoever why Metafilter would be any more compatible with SOPA than Reddit - maybe it would get away unnoticed for a while by being smaller, but as soon as it gets noticed it's doomed.
posted by Artw at 11:33 AM on January 11, 2012


Every link in every post would have to be vetted for copyright violations prior to being posted.

The easy way around this is to only allow self-links! How awesome would that be? /not awesome at all, really
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on January 11, 2012


Many, many YouTube takedowns are of videos users believe they "own", of course.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on January 11, 2012


coolguymichael - the line of mine you quoted was a response to this: I think you might be underestimating the size of the bully pulpit that Mefi has
posted by nadawi at 11:47 AM on January 11, 2012


So every website that people use would get shut down by this bill.

I bet that would get it repealed pretty fast.
posted by smackfu at 11:49 AM on January 11, 2012


Just like a bunch of hippies to protest SOAP.
posted by banshee at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2012


Every link in every post would have to be vetted for copyright violations prior to being posted.

Or we'd ignore the stupid unenforcable law and say "Take us to jail you fucking idiots, you broke the internet and I'd be happy to be a test care for this nonsense not getting any further than it does right now" which is the path I'd be going down personally. There are many ways to take useful stands against terrible pending legislation. This is where we talk about them. Hassling and harassing other people into Your One True Way is counterproductive, generally.

I think we'll work on some sort of interstitial "This is what you can do" page for next Wednesday
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:33 PM on January 11, 2012 [29 favorites]


Was I the only one who pictured jessamyn saying that while rifling in the closet for her pike and phalanx shield?

Metafilter: Take us to jail you fucking idiots
posted by griphus at 1:35 PM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I took Jessamyn as more of a sniper myself.
posted by The Whelk at 1:38 PM on January 11, 2012


Nah, Jessamyn has a krull, natch.
posted by cashman at 1:40 PM on January 11, 2012


I read it in the voice of Jane from Deadwood because I just finished watching the third and finale season.
posted by Sailormom at 1:59 PM on January 11, 2012


I seriously want to spend my golden years getting hauled off to jail for doing copyright civil disobedience like playing a movie at the library and listing the title in the newspaper, or showing a movie at the community center using our library's license, or scanning a book from the fifties and making the digital copy available for checkout online, or showing library patrons how to burn a CD to their laptop or copy an audiobook MP3, or making our library databases available to people outside of our service areas. It's really crazy the sort of contracts we sign and the things some companies get away with just because people don't really know better sometimes. We ignore technology and the implications of technology+big business at our peril.

In order to really understand SOPA you have to understand things like how DNS works, what the current legislation and enforcement environment is, what they're proposing to change, and how this legislation would/would not affect people outside of the US. People who works for cultural institutions should be crystal clear with legislators that this can affect how culture is shared in the US and is basically putting the needs of businesses' profit margins ahead of the ability of most people in the US (and elsewhere) to use the internet for what it was designed to do. It's unreasonable. It's bad legislation. It's short-sighted and it won't even actually solve the problem. Embarassing.

So I wrote this blog post to get the word out to my professional group, such as they are, and I'd encourage people to not wait for Wednesday but go do this thing in your own affinity group space right now. No reason not to. Go. And come back here and show us what you wrote.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2012 [31 favorites]


jessamyn: " Or we'd ignore the stupid unenforcable law and say "Take us to jail you fucking idiots, you broke the internet and I'd be happy to be a test care for this nonsense not getting any further than it does right now" which is the path I'd be going down personally.

My personal rule of thumb when posting copyrighted material to the blue is actually yours:
Our policy is don't link to stuff that might make people come after mathowie. So, we prefer if you don't link to torrents of copyrighted material or blatant copyright violations (full scans of comics or books, more because they're likely to go away than we're afraid of the boogeyman) but linking to stuff other places is not necessarily an issue if you have every reason to think that the material/link will stay up [i.e. isn't some fly-by-night scribd thing].
I think we'll work on some sort of interstitial "This is what you can do" page for next Wednesday"

Awesome. Thank you. :)
posted by zarq at 2:08 PM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


nadawi - I saw your post. My point was more that it's not preaching to the choir when outside people (googlers) are being directly affected.
posted by coolguymichael at 2:16 PM on January 11, 2012

To some extent, on a personal basis, I feel like it'd be punishing people we like—the Metafilter userbase—while not inconveniencing the folks who are actually the bad actors here. It's not mefites' fault that SOPA is an issue, and I like the logo-munge-and-metatalk-thread thing we did previously a lot better than just shutting everybody out, if we were to do something.
Punished with increased productivity. Obviously if metafilter went away forever, it would be horrible. But a one-day break wouldn't be so terrible.
posted by delmoi at 2:49 PM on January 11, 2012


What about jamming the ads with supplemental ads against SOPA, noting how easy it is to contact congresspeople to complain against it. That is, under or next to the regular ads, make the anti SOPA statements.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:17 PM on January 11, 2012


Thanks for the link to your post, jessamyn. I sent it to a few librarians I know in a couple different states. I'm fairly certain only one of them has heard of it.
posted by cashman at 3:22 PM on January 11, 2012


Or we'd ignore the stupid unenforcable law and say "Take us to jail you fucking idiots, you broke the internet and I'd be happy to be a test care for this nonsense not getting any further than it does right now" which is the path I'd be going down personally.

The way SOPA works is that they don't take you to jail. They just seize your domain name. Then you have to sue to get it back. And they have more money than you.
posted by empath at 3:32 PM on January 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blacking out the site is only meaningful to people who already get it. Black border would be good.

Matt & the ModGang & the MeFi community - would you be willing to encourage posts on SOPA and Electronic Freedom, Privacy, Civil Liberties, etc. on January 18th?
posted by theora55 at 7:24 PM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's really really hard to give any sort of explicit nod to theme days. We have a few people here who already post frequently about civil liberties and related issues who I expect will still do that, but I'm concerned that if we say "Today is the day we post about Topic X" it implies that any posts about Topic X are okay, no posts about Topic X are doubles, and people who don't like posts about Topic X are out of luck for a day. And I think people would be riffing about it in AskMe which would be annoying.

So, as I said we'll encourage people to contact their reps and inform themselves, but I personally would draw the line at a theme day because it changes the existing and longstanding ruleset of what goes on the front page and that's likely to be as problematic as the posts would be useful. I'd rather encourage people in general to think about good posts on those topics and make them here on any old day.

The way SOPA works is that they don't take you to jail.

This is the part that I need to know more about, mechanically. If my domain is registered in another country, does this domain seizure work via some sort of DNS override mechanism or something else? How? People need to know to not use US-based DNS servers? Or browser add-ons that will do this for them, or modify their hosts files? I sort of get it but I still feel like I'm missing some crucial part. How are they going to get Google to remove links to "infringing" sites? I've read this white paper (pdf) and it just seems almost non-possible.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:41 PM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll back either side that gets me my online poker back.
posted by Ardiril at 10:27 PM on January 11, 2012


I really like the idea of an interstitial with useful links to info on what the problem is, and what people can do about it, simply because of the large amounts of Google traffic MeFi gets from searches. Regular users who've already done something can just click through, and non-members can still get at whatever they were looking for.

I've seen at least one site that had a petition for non-US people, which is apparently going to the State department (I'm not 100% sure I've got the name of the department right). I'm not usually in favour of online petitions, but since this will affect the whole internet but I have no US representative to contact, it seemed better than nothing so I signed it.
posted by harriet vane at 12:47 AM on January 12, 2012


I just don't see why raising awareness of sopa is suddenly an issue. Hasn't it been around forever? I use it at least twice a month in the bath to help scrub the dirt off.
posted by item at 1:48 AM on January 12, 2012


I would love if MeFi could go completely dark in protest, but an interstitial would be a good compromise as i'm sure being down all day could have quite a big financial impact. Then again, it would be a lot more financially devastating to have the Metafilter domain name seized, so I guess I still wish Metafilter could choose the nuclear option to stress the importance of this issue, especially for those who might dismiss the interstitial as just another ad. I'm not convinced that the MeFi userbase knows about SOPA -- apparently even Jon Stewart didn't know about it.

I don't view it as "punishing" the Metafilter userbase - it's just giving us a taste of what might happen if we don't take (more) action.

(yes, i've phoned, e-mailed, and written my congresspeople)
posted by ukdanae at 5:02 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really wish I had more time, to post more than a link, but this is what has already started happening to sites.

The domain was simply seized. There was no oversight or due process, and the documents were all declared sealed. The dockets were never made available. For an entire year, without explanation or justification that I can see. The site was simply taken.
posted by Phyltre at 5:13 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


We should stay online, and offer discounted accounts to anyone left out in the cold by Reddit.
posted by crunchland at 5:20 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This "should we blackout or not" debate going on over dozens of websites reminds me of the sound and fury over GoDaddy.
posted by smackfu at 6:34 AM on January 12, 2012


crunchland: "We should stay online, and offer discounted accounts to anyone left out in the cold by Reddit."

matt, thanks for the links to EFF. I've contacted my reps and sent it off to my son's college with instructions to spread the link around to the 18+ year-old new voters there. That feels more like actually doing something that making Mefi go black, though I do like stavros' idea, too.

And if you know of any orgs that are actively anti-SOPA and want to offer them discounted ad space on Mefi to say so, I wouldn't be bothered by that a bit.

Anybody know what possibly-running-for-President-and-making-an-announcement-today Stephen Colbert's stance is on SOPA?
posted by misha at 7:23 AM on January 12, 2012


Are there talking points for calling your congressperson? I get tongue tied as it is, plus I sound like I'm 13 on the phone. I want to make sure I sound like an intelligent adult instead of an awkward teenager who commandeered her mother's cell phone.
posted by desjardins at 8:14 AM on January 12, 2012


The folks at americancensorship.org suggest this

"I am your constituent, and I urge you to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act. These bills will kill jobs and stifle innovation, undermine cyber security, risk censoring the American Internet, and provide cover for totalitarian regimes that want to undermine Internet freedom abroad."

At some level, you're not going to get into a conversation with a staffer about it, they will either put a check mark on a tally list or something similar. Most of these things, sadly, don't even get into the subtleties of why specifically you are or are not in favor of something.

And here's a paragraph from a letter signed by some of the major online players including facebook, AOL, Mozilla, Yahoo, Twitter and Google.

"We support the bills' stated goals--providing additional enforcement tools to combat foreign 'rogue' websites that are dedicated to copyright infringement or counterfeiting. Unfortunately, the bills as drafted would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action and technology mandates that would require monitoring of Web sites"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]




"Hi, my name is _your name_, I live in _your town_, and I am a registered voter in the _[number]th/nd/st_ district. I am calling today to urge congress(wo)man _[your representative's name]_ to oppose H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Thank you."
posted by crunchland at 8:46 AM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think you don't really need to be armed for debate when calling your congresscritter to tell them you don't like a particular bit of legislation that's up for a vote. More you just have to say "I'm against X and will support candidates who share my position" in a nice way.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:50 AM on January 12, 2012


Jessamyn: "This is the part that I need to know more about, mechanically. If my domain is registered in another country, does this domain seizure work via some sort of DNS override mechanism or something else? How? People need to know to not use US-based DNS servers? Or browser add-ons that will do this for them, or modify their hosts files? I sort of get it but I still feel like I'm missing some crucial part. How are they going to get Google to remove links to "infringing" sites? I've read this white paper (pdf) and it just seems almost non-possible."

There is a single DNS root. It is controlled by the US Department of Commerce (NTIA) and managed by the IANA. The IANA is an arm of ICANN. ICANN only has this management job because it is contracted to do so by the Department of Commerce.

So, in short: the U.S. Department of Commerce can order your domain name removed from the DNS root. Your domain name will no longer resolve to anyone in the world who is using the traditional DNS system (which is, to a first approximation, 100% of people). It doesn't matter with who you registered your domain: the resolution of name to IP address happens within a different system, one controlled by the U.S.
posted by introp at 8:51 AM on January 12, 2012


If you can, it may be better to call your congressman's local district office, rather than their Washington office. Washington offices tend to be busier, and you'll be more likely to speak with a staffer who won't sound bored or try to rush you off the phone. Do not expect a conversation to develop. Basically, you're simply calling to be added to a list of names for or against.

BUT, on the off chance a staffer might ask you questions about why you oppose the bill, be sure you have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the bill in question. (Got the shock of my life a couple of years back when I called my NYS rep's office to ask him to vote for the gay marriage bill and wound up on the phone for 15 minutes explaining why I felt it was important to one of his staffers. It does happen.)
posted by zarq at 8:53 AM on January 12, 2012


(I admit I did some hand-waving there to get from the DNS root zone to an individual domain, but regardless of the steps required, the point is that when you control the root zone, you can indirectly control anything that happens within the DNS world.)
posted by introp at 8:54 AM on January 12, 2012


when you control the root zone, you can indirectly control anything that happens within the DNS world

Okay thanks. I had somehow presumed that DNS was actually using a distributed model I wasn't aware that it could all come down to one root server that was controlled by one group of jerks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:02 AM on January 12, 2012


DNS is theoretically distributed, and there's nothing but inertia and convenience stopping anyone from configuring their own root servers and starting a parallel network, should the government start being overly obnoxious about it.
posted by empath at 9:30 AM on January 12, 2012


Alternate root servers and domains.
posted by empath at 9:37 AM on January 12, 2012


<pedant> There's isn't one root server, but one root zone that has 13 servers all serving up the exact same records. There's mechanical redundancy there, but changes to the actual DNS records those 13 serve up are all done via the IANA. They make a change to the master zone record and push the changes out to the 13 root servers. That's what people mean by the "root zone."</pedant>

As empath correctly points out, you can just use an alternate root. It's beyond the vast majority of users to do so, but certainly not beyond a pirate, criminal, or other ne'er-do-well. Thus the simultaneous futility of SOPA (trivial to circumvent, requires an ever-tightening regulatory grip trying to squeeze the doughman, etc.) and the tragedy of it (your average person who just plugs into Comcast will suffer the pain).

(Of course, using an alternate DNS root comes with its own set of difficulties, like who controls the DNSSEC keys, who decides what's a valid TLD, etc., but those things may be tolerable to you if you want to circumvent root zone shenanigans.)
posted by introp at 10:03 AM on January 12, 2012


So, in short: the U.S. Department of Commerce can order your domain name removed from the DNS root. Your domain name will no longer resolve to anyone in the world who is using the traditional DNS system (which is, to a first approximation, 100% of people). It doesn't matter with who you registered your domain: the resolution of name to IP address happens within a different system, one controlled by the U.S.

Sounds like this is something to be changed tout de suite. I don't trust the US government with control of this important shared reesource.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:11 AM on January 12, 2012


It's beyond the vast majority of users to do so, but certainly not beyond a pirate, criminal, or other ne'er-do-well.

I imagine that once enough sites get shut down, someone is going to write an app to handle it for you automatically.
posted by empath at 10:24 AM on January 12, 2012


I'll support whatever, logo, blackout, etc.

My only suggestion is a sort of April Fool's color thing, where the screen fades to dark with a message of solidarity and the link to the "how to contact your Representative" thing, and an ability to X out and continue, or click the link. Just on that one day (Jan. 18th).

The issue I see with the logo thing is, well, we are all pretty savvy about ignoring banners and side ads, etc. by now.

Maybe my suggestion is too over the top, and someone has something better.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 11:21 AM on January 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mashable reported that last month Reddit got 2 billion page views. 35 million unique visitors looked at an average of 13 pages each. Metafilter does not have that audience. We never will.

Matt has asked and answered, but I would comment that it make a big difference whether you get folks who aren't regulars. My understanding is that Metafilter gets a sizable amount of one-off traffic from searches. Preaching to the choir is pointless but if you get a lot of random folks and can get their attention then you accomplish more.

MeFi already has a detection system in place for this sort of thing - logged in vs non-logged-in - so certainly a more aggressive pop-over/bar/whatever is possible for them.
posted by phearlez at 12:44 PM on January 12, 2012


I come down on the side of a heavy, intrusive protest to generate complaints to Congress. The whole idea to me is "this is how effing annoying your life might get under SOPA and/or PIPA. Doesn't this suck? Yes, it really does. Please let's work to keep this from becoming a day-to-day reality."
posted by introp at 12:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


If we want to really get Congress' attention shut down Adultfriendfinder for a day.
posted by The Whelk at 12:53 PM on January 12, 2012


SOPA Blackout JS Utility
posted by Artw at 5:02 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]




PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide from your friends at the American Library Association's Washington Office.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:50 PM on January 12, 2012 [8 favorites]




I support metafilter going dark in protest.

At this point, the only way to reach the next slice of people who can be convinced to take position on the issue is wide scale media coverage.

A protest like this where a number of important site across the internet coordinates their action has a good chance of obtaining that media coverage. The entire design of the event should be directed towards giving mainstream media anchor people something to talk about. Consider all their biases for pretty picture and easy narratives and feed it.

Sure, the blackout would inform the visitors of metafilter that day, but that isn't the main point.
posted by gmarceau at 9:08 PM on January 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the part that I need to know more about, mechanically. If my domain is registered in another country, does this domain seizure work via some sort of DNS override mechanism or something else? How? People need to know to not use US-based DNS servers?

According to the legislation [relevant section], it works by requiring any ISP that runs a resolver, or anyone who runs a search engine, (or processes payments or serves ads) to cut off access. It doesn't involve modifying the actual DNS information in the way that ICE seizures do— it requires your ISP's resolver to spoof the response. It's unclear if it would also require your ISP to filter or spoof other DNS traffic, for example if you ran your own resolver, which is easy. A SOPA-censored website would (absent workarounds) become invisible to anyone within the US, but people outside the US would still be able to reach it by name (probably wouldn't be able to find it in Google, though; they'd have to use a non-US-based search engine).

(Other details of the implementation are really vague; I assume that the Attorney General would have to publish some kind of index prohibitorum.)

The design of SOPA seems to be centered around being able to censor foreign websites. The DNS root is effectively controlled by the US, yes; but the only control it has over, say, foo.co.uk is in telling people where to look up .uk domains. The root could, of course, redirect everyone in the world to a fake .uk server, etc., but I don't think the US could get away with a wholesale exercise of power like that. The iTLDs, .com and the like, are US-hosted and so the US has the ability to seize individual subdomains of those, and for the past year or so has been doing so regularly. But don't confuse those seizures with what SOPA is trying to put in place.

I had somehow presumed that DNS was actually using a distributed model I wasn't aware that it could all come down to one root server

It is using a distributed model, but like pretty much any practical naming system, all naming authority still devolves from somewhere. If two people both think they own foo.com, something has to arbitrate. (There are abstruse ways around this but not really applicable here.) But in DNS, the root authority only has really, really coarse control over the system; and other countries are unhappy enough about the US's control of the root that if the US did something like seize another country's namespace, I think you'd see a parallel system in place in days if not hours.
posted by hattifattener at 10:59 PM on January 12, 2012


Oh, and I very much support the idea of a Metafilter blackout (possibly click-through-able). Yeah, it would be inconvenient, and yeah, MefiInc. would lose revenue, but to a far, far smaller degree than would happen if MeFi were shut down by SOPA.
posted by hattifattener at 11:01 PM on January 12, 2012


I support this...
posted by LakesideOrion at 7:41 AM on January 13, 2012


I still don't understand how this would affect Metafilter, Tumblr, Twitter, reddit, Facebook etc. if they are hosted in the US. The reference guide above says:
All three bills take aim at any website beyond U.S. borders that distribute counterfeit or copyright infringing products.
posted by desjardins at 7:59 AM on January 13, 2012


1. "The fine print of the law says sites that distribute copyrighted content could be subject to summary censorship, ie Torrent sites and the like. But it also encompasses any sites that LINK to copyrighted content, which is the bomb that blows up any semblance of sense this bill might have had."

Also:

2a. "The bills apply to the many American sites that have domestic and foreign domain names. This means Google.ca, Amazon.co.uk, and all the other foreign sites registered to American companies."
2b. The bills’ anti-circumvention provisions don’t even pretend to limit the bills to foreign sites, and clearly the provisions apply to American sites. Any tool that helps anyone “circumvent” the bills’ remedies are illegal. Since the bills’ remedies include domain-name breaking and removal from search engines, any American sites that permit you to search for, or find, The Pirate Bay’s new domain name is potentially liable for circumvention. At least some people will tell you where to find The Pirate Bay, and they will use their Facebook status, their Twitter posts, their Tumblr, their blog on WordPress or Blogger, a Youtube video, or a webpage indexed by Google to do it. That means all of those American sites displaying the information might be subject to SOPA and PIPA as anti-circumvention tools. The language is pretty vague, but it appears all these companies must monitor their sites for anti-circumvention so they are not subject to court actions ”enjoining” them from continuing to provide “such product or service.”"
2c. Beyond [2a and 2b] the enforcement provisions regarding even The Pirate Bay obviously impose a burden almost exclusively on American companies. Search companies have to remove links from their search engine, imposing compliance costs.

The EFF is writing about SOPA extensively:

SOPA: Hollywood Finally Gets A Chance to Break the Internet.

What's On the Blacklist? Three Sites That SOPA Could Put at Risk

]
posted by zarq at 9:59 AM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was also on local public access tv here in Vermont talking a little bit about SOPA. I think the trick in a lot of ways is going where people really haven't heard about it before and making sure they know 1) what it is 2) why it is bad news for reasons they understand 3) what they can do right now about 1 and 2.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Mozilla going dark now too. I still believe it would be good for Metafilter to do the same.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:06 PM on January 13, 2012


Ars Technica : Under voter pressure, members of Congress backpedal (hard) on SOPA : The public outcry over the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act seems to have gotten so loud that even members of Congress can hear it. On Thursday we covered the news that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was expressing second thoughts about SOPA's DNS provisions. He said he changed his mind after he "heard from a number of Vermonters" on the issue. On Friday, several Republicans started backpedaling as well.
posted by crunchland at 7:11 PM on January 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been writing that motherfucker every week.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:18 PM on January 13, 2012 [12 favorites]


...and metafilter does nothing.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:10 PM on January 13, 2012


The plan at this point is for Metafilter to do something fairly visible, actually. The plan is not to shut the site down. Only if "nothing" is defined as "anything other than the nuclear option I prefer" does that statement even work semantically, and that's a curious stretch.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:22 PM on January 13, 2012


I asked for tea, and was given water from the faucet. It isn't what you asked for, but here, have some tea.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:43 PM on January 13, 2012


Quit yer whining and drink what you're fucking given.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:11 AM on January 14, 2012


You asked for tea and were told the restaurant is not selling tea, but here, have this cool glass of pure Vermont water. Then the waiter was nice enough to agree to show everyone who walks in a tea pamphlet. Eh - Take what you can get and enjoy your dining experience.
posted by cashman at 4:43 AM on January 14, 2012


I asked for tea, and was given water from the faucet. It isn't what you asked for, but here, have some tea.

Now is a great time to realize that the site isn't about you personally, that there are multiple ways to approach issues like this tactically, that we've discussed them both in public and in private and made some decisions, and that this is the place where we discuss those things. You can make your decision about how you feel about our decision up to and including trying to be the change you want to see in MetaFilter or just walking away and not looking back. Your choice to make.

We try to effectively set expectations here. We can not and do not try to please everyone. People who believe that shutting the site down on Wednesday is the only appropriate response will be disappointed. Sometimes you ask for things that you don't get, we all do.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:47 AM on January 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I asked for tea, and was given water from the faucet. It isn't what you asked for, but here, have some tea.

What if someone doesn't want tea and is happy with tap? You have your own kettle, go brew what you like.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2012


I asked for something and when I didn't get what I wanted I constructed a long and tortured metaphor which quickly took over the discussion.
posted by phearlez at 11:35 AM on January 14, 2012


A neighbor came and asked for sugar -- she was baking a cake -- "no" I told her, I have salt. "Sugar" she said, "I need sugar to bake a cake". I nodded my head as I poured salt into her outreached cup.
posted by Shit Parade at 12:15 PM on January 14, 2012


Some neighbors were discussing what to do about the price of sugar. "Pour out all the sugar we have in protest," one said. "Keep the sugar but do a bake sale to raise awareness," another countered. "The bake sale sounds pretty good," the person who actually owned the sugar opined, "it'd be a nice compromise in addition to the stuff folks have been doing individually to address the pricing issue."

"Hey," shouted another neighbor who had just shown up. "It's bullshit that you refuse to do anything about the price of sugar." The other neighbors were confused. Did he miss the whole conversation?

"PUT SALT IN MY TEA", the late arrival insisted.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:34 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


So the committee of reasonable people, which wasn't really a committee, had a bake sale "to raise awareness on the rising price of sugar". "It's terrible" a lady said as she stirred her coffee with sugar, "how people are suffering because sugar is becoming more and more expensive". "Yes" another said, "This bake sale is marvelous though" taking a bite from a piece of cake, "Isn't it?" she replied, "We all do our part, and the weather is marvelous today, just perfect for a bake sale".

And everyone congratulated each other on the fine bake sale because they were doing something about the awful rise of sugar prices, and really wasn't it grand for them to be doing something? Of course there was that awkward faux pas of some tea drinker shouting about salt and tea, which really made no sense and had nothing to do with sugar and bake sales. "What a brute" the lady said, "He gave me salt and said it was sugar, and it would of ruined my cake if I hadn't tasted it first". "I know" the gentleman said with nodding approval, "and who drinks tea with salt anyway?"

But it was a fine, marvelous, wonderful day, and much sugar was had by all -- even the tea drinker who was surreptitiously given sugar instead of the salt he had been shouting on and on about.
posted by Shit Parade at 2:27 PM on January 14, 2012


Take a hike.
posted by crunchland at 2:32 PM on January 14, 2012


so if SOPA passes we will get tea and cake? or something? I've lost the plot.
posted by desjardins at 2:34 PM on January 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is an outrage , i asked for death.
posted by The Whelk at 2:36 PM on January 14, 2012


I put a Green Peace bumper sticker on my Prius. Also, I own an acre of Amazonian rain forest -- I bought the certificate from Amazon.com
posted by Shit Parade at 2:37 PM on January 14, 2012




Actually, their definition of black out is more like an interstitial:

"Consensus appears to be emerging that the community wishes to blackout the site using a click-through process, which would present the following work-flow: when a user attempts to access the English Wikipedia for the first time on the designated date(s), they are presented with a notice describing the SOPA threat and suggesting that they take action (see below, section “What action should users take?”). They then have the option to “click-through” the screen. Once they’ve clicked through, everything is normal: no content is removed or obscured, and normal editing applies."

(from the same page linked by Shit Parade above.)
posted by pmcp at 4:17 PM on January 14, 2012


If you actually look at the votes the summary above is currently incorrect.
posted by Shit Parade at 4:27 PM on January 14, 2012


I think an interstitial for Wikipedia is the way to go. It's too important to black out completely.
posted by empath at 4:29 PM on January 14, 2012


Boing Boing will also go dark on January 18th. And here's a list of other sites taking this action.
On January 18, Boing Boing will join Reddit and other sites around the Internet in "going dark" to oppose SOPA and PIPA, the pending US legislation that creates a punishing Internet censorship regime and exports it to the rest of the world. Boing Boing could never co-exist with a SOPA world: we could not ever link to another website unless we were sure that no links to anything that infringes copyright appeared on that site. So in order to link to a URL on LiveJournal or WordPress or Twitter or Blogspot, we'd have to first confirm that no one had ever made an infringing link, anywhere on that site. Making one link would require checking millions (even tens of millions) of pages, just to be sure that we weren't in some way impinging on the ability of five Hollywood studios, four multinational record labels, and six global publishers to maximize their profits.
posted by gman at 4:47 PM on January 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think an interstitial for Wikipedia is the way to go. It's too important to black out completely.

"Too important" is exactly the sort of site that needs to go dark, to actually cause some pain beyond the nerd choir that would get a real conversation going. Non-techie people will get their day disrupted but the only real harm would be all the book reports getting filed one day later & bar bets waiting an extra day before they're settled. It needs to cause pain or it won't amplify the message over the din of daily life, it won't reach the people that need to be reached & have an impact on the national conversation that can't be ignored. And I still say we should follow suit, black the site completely, no interstitial half measures.
posted by scalefree at 8:26 PM on January 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


It needs to cause pain or it won't amplify the message over the din of daily life, it won't reach the people that need to be reached & have an impact on the national conversation that can't be ignored. And I still say we should follow suit, black the site completely, no interstitial half measures.

Agreed. This is starting to look more and more like a general strike as well as an awareness-raising campaign, and I think we should consider standing in solidarity with that.
posted by vorfeed at 9:39 PM on January 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Only three matches in the thread for "revenue" (well, now four), eh?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:12 PM on January 14, 2012


The disinclination to shut the site down for twelve hours is not a revenue thing. I'm not sure if that was somehow unclear, so in case it was: there you go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:42 PM on January 14, 2012

So, in short: the U.S. Department of Commerce can order your domain name removed from the DNS root. Your domain name will no longer resolve to anyone in the world who is using the traditional DNS system (which is, to a first approximation, 100% of people). It doesn't matter with who you registered your domain: the resolution of name to IP address happens within a different system, one controlled by the U.S.
Not exactly. The U.S can't really pull domains registered with domain names from other countries. They can't pull whatever.ir, or whatever.cn.

What the bill proposed was blacklisting domain names from US name servers. So if you have an ISP, you'd be required to block DNS queries for whatever.ir. I think that may have been removed from the senate version, although I'm not sure.
posted by delmoi at 3:08 AM on January 15, 2012


If wikipedia does something jarring, that will be big. It feels like something weird is about to go down. I am a worry wart so dont mind me, but i am worried they will screw up the internet and there is an election coming.
posted by cashman at 10:16 PM on January 15, 2012


I think [the DNS-spoofing provision] may have been removed from the senate version, although I'm not sure

Rep. Smith has said he plans remove it, but no changes to either bill show up on Thomas or govtrack right now, so we'll see, I guess.
posted by hattifattener at 10:47 PM on January 15, 2012


I've just made the decision to go dark on our little blog. It's not much, but it's the least we can do. Anything less - like a banner or something - says that we're not really willing to accept the ultimate pain of protest. To my mind making a gesture is kind of like protesting by hanging a flag on the front door, while watching the parade from the 2nd floor window.

The thing that keeps running through my brain, and which is the truly scary thing for me personally is this:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak out because I was Protestant.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do everything I could possibly do to educate and inform people about the dangers of these repeated attacks on the structure and value of the Internet, and protest them now, before it's too late.

All of this is just my 2c of course, but it's a shame that Mefites appear to feel differently.

It's not just about protecting the hyperlink process from inept or sinister tampering, it's about protecting the magnificent network of information that has grown up over the past twenty years or so, the kind of network which prevents wars, fights injustice and does so much good to break down the walls between us all.
posted by Duug at 4:10 AM on January 16, 2012


The sad thing though Duug is that they have learned to spin it much differently this time. The miracle of modern marketing:

First they came for the terrorists,
and I was happy because I felt safe.

Then they came for the pedophiles,
and I didn't speak out because who can defend the indefensible?! SAVE OUR KIDS!

Then they came for some people who were probably terrorists, or pornographers, or who knows what crimes,
and I didn't speak out because better to keep your head down.

Then they came for the drug dealers,
and I didn't speak out because they are funding the terrorists! FUCK THOSE GUYS!

They won't come for me,
because I am a freedom loving white American with nothing to hide.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:32 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think SOPA/PIPA is terrible legislation, but I'm also not really comfortable trotting out Niemoeller as if shitty biz-friendly legislation is step 1 and step 3 is a genocidal holocaust. I am sorry if some folks are disappointed that we don't intend to outright shut Metafilter down for the day, I honestly feel you there, but treating it like some foregone conclusion where the only two outcomes are "go dark" or "implicitly abetting the bad guys" seems weird and unfair and based on other people's arbitrary goalposts, like everyone not protesting exactly the same way as the guys whose protest you like are jerks.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:31 AM on January 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Following the news on this over the weekend, there is some serious wrangling going on. Latest I've read this morning is the news that there won't be a vote in the House until people can arrive on some sort of consensus [which is unlikely to happen, imo]. While the White House could have come out with a significantly stronger message, this statement is not wishy-washy in terms of saying that breaking the internet is a non-option here.

So I spent the weekend reading up on this, talking to a lot of other librarians, getting the word out, writing and calling my representatives and others', and being interviewed about why this is such a game-changing nightmare of a legislative act. I totally understand that people are really unhappy about this legislation, as am I, and have decided that there is one appropriate response to it which is mass action on Wednesday. If you're seriously going to start talking about how it's like being in bed with the Nazis because we don't agree about protest tactics as opposed to actual constructive and productive response to this actual threat, I'm really at a loss for words.

There is always, always, more that any person or company could be doing while the legislation is on the table. Why not go black right now? Why not go straight to Washington and camp out on the lawn? Everyone has to make their choices about how much is enough, to find the line between the value of protest and the value of remaining around to bear witness to the protests of others. Today is a day, for me, for listening to MLK speeches and recharging my activist batteries. There are many valid ways of registering opposition to this terrible legislation.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:26 AM on January 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Then they came for me --- I'm pretty sure they come for the hyperbolic "Chicken Little's" before this happens.
posted by crunchland at 7:34 AM on January 16, 2012


Actually Cortex it's not just 'shitty biz friendly legislation' is it? And that's the point. It's the thin end of the wedge, and whether that is important or not to you is entirely your choice. I'm not trying to score points or point fingers, I wanted to simply put forward my own personal views. I find your comment a little nasty.
posted by Duug at 7:59 AM on January 16, 2012


...and other people find your comparison of legislation that is going through the (somewhat compromised, but still functional) American democratic process to slaughter of millions (including roughly 80% of an entire ethnicity) grossly distasteful and alarmist.
posted by griphus at 8:06 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


(somewhat compromised, but still functional) American democratic process

lol
posted by entropicamericana at 8:42 AM on January 16, 2012


It's not much, but it's the least we can do.

Yes. That is, just about the least you could do.
posted by waraw at 9:06 AM on January 16, 2012


Unadulterated petulance.
posted by crunchland at 9:21 AM on January 16, 2012


People using WordPress who want to join the blackout can use a variety of plug-ins to accomplish this.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:21 AM on January 16, 2012


I wanted to simply put forward my own personal views.

If you're an American citizen of voting age, please also call your congresscritters, and encourage your friends to do likewise. I'm certain that in the vast internet, there is some kind of widget you can stick on your darkened blog that will allow people to look up the names and phone numbers of their critters, so people who visit your blog can look up the information easily and quickly and call.
posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on January 16, 2012


I'm not trying to score points or point fingers, I wanted to simply put forward my own personal views. I find your comment a little nasty.

I think it's totally fine and good to put forward your own personal views. I think that "...but it's a shame that Mefites appear to feel differently..." is making unflattering claims about what other people think which is a little different and not really so great.

I think quoting Holocaust poetry regarding planned IP legislation—however deeply problematic the provisions of that legislation are as such things go, and I think this case is pretty problematic indeed—is really crappy and inflammatory. Even if you didn't intend it that way, and I'm totally willing to believe you did not.

As far as that goes, I'd suggest not doing that in the future if you don't want people to feel weird about how you're saying what you're saying. I cannot think of a way to be less nasty about this; what I think of as a nasty response to the conflation of bad internet legislation with genocide looks very, very different.

Like rtha says, like other folks have been saying: get on the phone, get your friends on the phone, work the system that actually exists, work on practical ideas to change the system so it works better, etc. The people who need to hear your opinions are the people who actually have their hands on the tiller; telling people who more or less agree with you that not agreeing with you more completely is basically inviting Hitler's reich in for tea is not going to accomplish anything useful.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:32 AM on January 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Duug: “Actually Cortex it's not just 'shitty biz friendly legislation' is it? And that's the point. It's the thin end of the wedge, and whether that is important or not to you is entirely your choice. I'm not trying to score points or point fingers, I wanted to simply put forward my own personal views.”

Wait – uh, so I'm not quite clear on this, and it seems like an important point.

You actually believe that SOPA / PIPA is the first step toward the Holocaust? That it's the beginning of the movement toward genocide?

I couldn't believe you actually thought that, and since I thought I must be misreading you I searched around for the phrase "the thin end of the wedge" to see if maybe I just wasn't right on what I thought that meant. But I guess I was right – you're apparently saying this is a slippery slope, and SOPA / PIPA is really and truly the first step toward the Holocaust.

Sorry if I'm still misreading you; this seems like something we should get clear on.
posted by koeselitz at 10:13 AM on January 16, 2012


cortex: The disinclination to shut the site down for twelve hours is not a revenue thing. I'm not sure if that was somehow unclear, so in case it was: there you go.

Since this isn't a revenue thing, and Matt only intends to make some sort of token cosmetic alteration, what about donating the ad revenue proceeds for the day to EFF or something like it?
posted by gman at 10:21 AM on January 16, 2012


That seems like you are saying "prove that it's not a revenue thing," and combined with the "token cosmetic" wording, is coming across a bit hostile.
posted by smackfu at 10:32 AM on January 16, 2012


It sounds like a simple suggestion. Hostility is often mistakenly projected into comments around here.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:35 AM on January 16, 2012


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that mathowie already gives a chunk of money to the EFF and a bunch of other civil liberty concerns. Unless you really feel like it's appropriate to dictate the charitable giving that mathowie does, or unless you're calling bullshit on our stated "it's not about the revenue" assertion, I'm also finding that request somewhat out of line.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:38 AM on January 16, 2012


Hostility is often mistakenly projected into comments around here. --- And other times, it isn't.
posted by crunchland at 10:43 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


And sometimes it is, even when it isn't, which is too much, but isn't a big problem, is it?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:51 AM on January 16, 2012


jessamyn: Yeah, I'm pretty sure that mathowie already gives a chunk of money to the EFF and a bunch of other civil liberty concerns. Unless you really feel like it's appropriate to dictate the charitable giving that mathowie does, or unless you're calling bullshit on our stated "it's not about the revenue" assertion, I'm also finding that request somewhat out of line.

Yes, I also donate money on behalf of myself and my companies to charities that are important to me. I was simply making a suggestion as a user here. It wasn't a demand, nor was it meant to be hostile. Since we, as members, generate the content that attracts ad revenue for the site, I don't see how a mere suggestion could be perceived as out of line.

I guess what I'm wondering is, what is the call-to-action behind the proposed web banner? Will it drive to a site where people can show their support in a meaningful way? And if so, why would Metafilter direct its users to demontrate their support to the cause without a meaningful show of support themselves?
posted by gman at 11:00 AM on January 16, 2012


> And if so, why would Metafilter direct its users to demontrate their support to the cause without a meaningful show of support themselves?

Jesus Christ. How about letting Matt show support in whatever way he feels appropriate, and you show support in whatever way you feel appropriate, and knock off the passive-aggressive "I'm not making demands, I'm not being hostile, I'm just letting you know that unless you act in a way that I totally agree with you're just being meaningless" bullshit? Man, Matt & Co. really do have the patience of saints.
posted by languagehat at 11:07 AM on January 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


January 18th sounds like it's going bea day the site sees an absolutely awesome post about SOPA. It'll describe what it is, where it came from, who's supporting it, what effect it'll have, both in the US and the world and finally, what steps a US citizen can take to voice their complaints about the proposed bill. A helpful list of Congresscritters, both Reps and Senators would probably help.

It'll be like a one stop education and action shop. Someone who is not me is working on this, right? Perhaps several people can break up the work and tackle the various angles of the post.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


languagehat: Man, Matt & Co. really do have the patience of saints.

That's a incredibly clichéd and sycophantic attempt to stifle conversation around these parts. Perhaps you've been away for too long and have forgotten that MetaTalk is a place for us to make suggestions about this website, and for meaningful debate. Anyway, isn't it a bit soon for a triumphant return considering your recent memorial thread?
posted by gman at 11:20 AM on January 16, 2012


I apologise unreservedly if I have given offense to anyone here regarding my previous remark. I didn't intend anything by it, and it won't happen again.

In other news Wikipedia has just announced it is going dark.
posted by Duug at 11:30 AM on January 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I dunno gman; I'm sure that in most if not all cases, people are making suggestions in good faith, spitballing ideas, etc. But from another perspective, a chunk of it comes over as hectoring 'This is what I'M doing, and it's what you SHOULD be doing,' or telling Matt how he should spend his own damn money, or favouring the great big splashy gesture du jour rather than the more lowkey, less visible, and arguably more effective, at least in my mind, methods of advancing the cause. Like I said, most of it's meant well, but given things like quirks of interpersonal communication, simple volume, and the mindset many of us bring to MeTa, in some ways it does feel like people are trying to pile on the managers in an attempt to steer MeFi in the direction they'd go if they were at the wheel of a website with the reach that MetaFilter has.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:43 AM on January 16, 2012


I just checked and there is nothing about SOPA in Projects. Perhaps someone could cobble together an brief educational site by the 18th? I'll post it if someone does.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:48 AM on January 16, 2012


And if it's a useful and helpful site.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:48 AM on January 16, 2012


Alvy Ampersand: in some ways it does feel like people are trying to pile on the managers in an attempt to steer MeFi in the direction they'd go if they were at the wheel of a website with the reach that MetaFilter has.

I really do appreciate the non-combative tone and perspective of your comment. Having said that, every suggestion or feature request is an attempt to steer this website in a direction that a particular user would if they had carte blanche. It's not my expectation that Matt Haughey will actually implement even a fraction of our suggestions, but this is what MeTa is for.
posted by gman at 11:56 AM on January 16, 2012


What you need, gman, is a good greasemonkey script.
posted by crunchland at 12:17 PM on January 16, 2012


In other news Wikipedia has just announced it is going dark.

Fantastic! The English language section of wikipedia has approximately 25 million daily users. That's a huge audience, across a very wide demographic range.

Good for them.
posted by zarq at 1:23 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be honest, any of the stuff the mods are suggesting sounds way better than what I would have expected here (probably a profile option to turn your own screen black if you want to).
posted by Wolfdog at 1:59 PM on January 16, 2012


Pirate Party of Russia will be shutting down.
posted by unliteral at 3:58 PM on January 16, 2012


> That's a incredibly clichéd and sycophantic attempt to stifle conversation around these parts.

Fair cop on being clichéd, and I regret succumbing to the easy jab. For the rest, I disagree. I have never attempted to "stifle conversation around these parts," or anywhere else; I am a firm believer in free speech, and have always said that the cure for speech you dislike is more speech. Frankly, to call my applauding the patience of the mods an attempt to stifle conversation is so bizarre that it smacks of that ad attacking Mitt Romney for speaking French, but never mind. My basic point was, and is, that it's possible to advocate strongly for the position you prefer without implying that Matt and the other mods will be assholes if they don't agree ("without a meaningful show of support themselves"). I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but as Cap'n Crunch says, there's a greasemonkey fix for that. You need never see my evil words again.
posted by languagehat at 4:44 PM on January 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's another cliché: don't feed the troll.
posted by mkultra at 4:48 PM on January 16, 2012


languagehat: I have never attempted to "stifle conversation around these parts," or anywhere else

Of course you do. When you were around more, your M.O. was to use big words and confident speech to shut people down. I actually quite enjoy your technique.

> ...and have always said that the cure for speech you dislike is more speech.

This part I don't really understand considering the reason you cite in your profile for not posting here anymore.

> Frankly, to call my applauding the patience of the mods an attempt to stifle conversation is so bizarre that it smacks of that ad attacking Mitt Romney for speaking French, but never mind.

And that, that right there is the kind of hyperbolic attempt at drawing a parallel, that so few people around here are truly good at. Add in the 'ah forget about it' at the end there after you've already made the comparison, and, well, I love it! As to how applauding the mods' patience stifles conversation, it's similar to when two kids are debating something, and the brown noser of the two turns to the teacher and lays a big fat compliment on her. It diverts attention and the conversation loses its flow.

> it's possible to advocate strongly for the position you prefer without implying that Matt and the other mods will be assholes if they don't agree ("without a meaningful show of support themselves").

Yeah, no. I wasn't insinuating they would be assholes for not shutting the site down. The way the plan has been outlined thus far doesn't seem as meaningful as the statement sites like Reddit, Wikipedia, and others are making. And as a contributing member of this community, I think it's fair to question the decisions and moves its owner makes.

> I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings, but as Cap'n Crunch says, there's a greasemonkey fix for that. You need never see my evil words again.

Yeah, I have no desire to censor your words in any way.
posted by gman at 5:36 PM on January 16, 2012


Yeah, no. I wasn't suggesting a black list script. Those are stupid. Like most every other every suggestion or feature request that's presented on Metatalk, that's predominantly the solution.
posted by crunchland at 5:56 PM on January 16, 2012


Good for wikipedia. That ought to get the word out bigtime. Them shelving it means nothing to me. It seems to me they are itching to pass it. The word has to get out far and wide that this cannot happen. So it all works out in the end. Lots of people get notified, mefi's shutdown for a day doesn't need to happen, and hopefully this helps to crush this legislation.
posted by cashman at 7:57 PM on January 16, 2012


The whole purpose of the Blackout method of protest is to communicate to the casual web surfer for whom this whole issue has slipped under the radar that THIS IS A BIG DEAL. And certainly having Wikipedia go dark is going to reach a shit-ton of people who haven't been reached before, and that will make a difference, more than any other site I can think of (with Reddit a distant 2nd). And having the popular but non-political Cheezburger sites go dark will also extend the reach, certainly much more than having Metafilter do it. Because a lot of people who should know about it, don't know about it (the Jon Stewart incident being a major example - I wonder if he'll really get sonething past his Viacom corporate masters, but they haven't shown Monday's Daily Show in my timezone yet... but I digress).

If there is going to be a MegaMetaPost about SOPA/PIPA on the 18th, it should be an 'official' one, posted by User #1 (even if its content is a group effort, no, ESPECIALLY if it's going to be group effort).

If I may make a modest proposal, a separate MetaTalk post on the 17th, specifically to collect suggestions of content and links for the MegaMetaSOPAPIPAPost would not be a bad idea (saving some of the people considering doing their own post from wasting their time).
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:36 PM on January 16, 2012


So, has anything been decided about what Metafilter will do on Wednesday?
posted by lalex at 10:41 PM on January 16, 2012


While at first I was caught up in the idea of a blackout, I've come around to many of the arguments made here, and now think it's sort of problematic. I do like the idea of doing as much education as we can before and on the day of, and continuing to help people get in touch with their own Congressional representatives.
posted by judith at 10:44 PM on January 16, 2012


So, has anything been decided about what Metafilter will do on Wednesday?

The sun will rise. Matt will change the site logo somehow to include a note and link about SOPA. The sun will set. Everything elseis theory.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:00 PM on January 16, 2012


The sun will rise. Matt will change the site logo somehow to include a note and link about SOPA. The sun will set. Everything elseis theory.

Oh thanks, cool. You should get a gold star by your name!
posted by lalex at 11:24 PM on January 16, 2012


Your love and diet ginger ale is all I need.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:34 PM on January 16, 2012


Matt's comment on the subject.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:42 PM on January 16, 2012


Well, I'm still in favor of a blackout but looks like it's not happening.
posted by melt away at 3:15 AM on January 17, 2012


SOPA coverage gaining traction in the mainstream press.
posted by arcticseal at 3:44 AM on January 17, 2012


SOPA is SOUP in Spanish.

I like black soup. Usually I eat black soup made with the ink of an octopus. I hope many websites will become black for SOPA, because then people will truly understand how delicious soup made with octopus really is.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:50 AM on January 17, 2012




better yet, try calling their offices to register your opposition to it.

Just so we're clear: calling is inferior to snail mail. If you call, you get a staffer who will listen patiently and then report to his superiors that "a lot of people called about X." If you snail mail, they have to keep the letter and send a response. It's still just staffers, but the record-keeping happens differently, but numbers matter more and it registers as more serious.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:35 AM on January 17, 2012


I like black soup.

PIPA means something in Polish. It's often eaten although it isn't food but it's delicious too. I hope when people realize this they'll support the real one and not the Senate variety.
posted by hat_eater at 5:51 AM on January 17, 2012


calling is inferior to snail mail. --- Here's the hierarchy :

raging on an internet message board.
< blacking out your web page in protest.
< submitting an online robo-rage form.
< sending an email.
< making a phone call to their DC office.
< making a phone call to their local office.
< sending a snail mail.
< visiting their office in DC.
< cornering them at an event.
< cornering them at an event with video cameras trained on them.
< giving them a bag of money.
posted by crunchland at 6:06 AM on January 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


PIPA means something in Polish.

It's a Chinese lute.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:36 AM on January 17, 2012


If you snail mail, they have to keep the letter and send a response.

Really? I sent three letters (one to my Representative, one to each Senator) when the debt-ceiling 'crisis' was going on, and I recieved nothing whatsoever from any of them.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:13 AM on January 17, 2012


That's anomalous, the man of twists and turns. It's possible that the stacks were so high that they're still working through them, I guess. Things have gotten slower since the anthrax attacks. Or maybe things have changed in some more fundamental way in some offices. But this is what all those bright young Hill staffers are FOR.
posted by anotherpanacea at 8:01 AM on January 17, 2012


i'd much rather just blackout washington dc and hollywood.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 8:05 AM on January 17, 2012


My experience is that phone calls and emails are best. Snail mail gets shipped to Ohio first to be irradiated for anthrax or something.

Do not underestimate the value of your district staff, though. EFF has a great guide for doing district visits. Congress is back in DC, so you won't be able to get a meeting with your Member, but you can still get a group of people together and meet with your district staff. Many (most?) Members spend their weekends in their district, so you still have opportunities to

In general, do not underestimate the value of staff, either in DC or in district. Ask for the staff person responsible for working on technology issues. You may be told that there is no such person, which sadly may be true, but it's worth asking.

Is your Member of Congress on the Judiciary Committee? If so, ask to talk to their Judiciary Committee staffer. Their office will have someone who staffs the Member on that committee. SOPA's been introduced in Judiciary, and that's the first place to kill it.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:51 AM on January 17, 2012


...opportunities to meet with them in district, that is.
posted by gingerbeer at 9:56 AM on January 17, 2012


"That's just silly. Closing a global business in reaction to single-issue national politics is foolish." -- Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter

Not half as foolish as letting single-issue national politics close a global business in reaction to unauthorized Family Guy clips.
posted by vorfeed at 10:16 AM on January 17, 2012


I'm happy to see people who are doing something doing something, but witchhunty stuff against people who aren't seems a little off.
posted by Artw at 10:25 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's the problem with Twitter's pithiness: I thought Costolo was making fun of SOPA for closing websites over local politics, not Wikipedia. Vorfeed seems to be reading him the opposite and offering my reading as an ironic restatement. Hmmm....
posted by anotherpanacea at 10:27 AM on January 17, 2012


Searching for cause for offense in other peoples twitter conversations without context (who are @digiphile and @jayrosen_nyu? what previous conversation has been had? has every idiot on the internet been bothering him about this all morning resulting in techiness?) is a pretty good way of concluding that someone is for reals totally threatening to blow up Robin hood airport as well.
posted by Artw at 10:36 AM on January 17, 2012


crunchland: "calling is inferior to snail mail. --- Here's the hierarchy :

having Eleanor Holmes Norton as your sole source of "representation" in Congress
< raging on an internet message board.
< blacking out your web page in protest.
< submitting an online robo-rage form.
< sending an email.
< making a phone call to their DC office.
< making a phone call to their local office.
< sending a snail mail.
< visiting their office in DC.
< cornering them at an event.
< cornering them at an event with video cameras trained on them.
< giving them a bag of money.
"

Fixed that for you.
posted by schmod at 11:04 AM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]




I hope it says "FUCK YOU RUPERT MURDOCH" in 72pt.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but in a nice font, with proper kerning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:44 AM on January 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Of course, if one wants to pray sonspiracy games Re:Twitter not blacking out, a major Newscorp shareholder recently bought a big chunk of it.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on January 17, 2012


what is keming?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:10 PM on January 17, 2012 [3 favorites]




From Reddit: A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP.
posted by cashman at 12:16 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, if you really want to see a MetaFilter blackout, you're free to configure your own network to return NXDOMAIN for *.metafilter.com. Nobody's stopping you.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:39 PM on January 17, 2012


man, I can't read any more of this without thinking of sopapillas. goddamn they're good.
posted by desjardins at 2:23 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]




As a sign of solidarity with my black brothers and sisters and to ensure the battles lines are maintained, I pledge to be on MetaFilter for 12 straight hours.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:08 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, loathesome excrescent fleshbag and MPAA Chair/CEO Chris Dodd thinks the blackout is "irresponsible" and "dangerous". (pdf.) Boy, that makes me wish I owned a website I could black out just to piss him off.
posted by gingerest at 4:20 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why SOPA is Dangerous.
posted by crunchland at 6:33 PM on January 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not a good idea if everyone blacks out. Someone has to get us home.
posted by fuq at 7:32 PM on January 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not a good idea if everyone blacks out. Someone has to get us home.

I hate these mefi colon things but.
Metafilter:The Internet's designated driver.
posted by pmcp at 8:07 PM on January 17, 2012


I just want to mention that a couponing message board I frequent put up a big anti-SOPA banner & is urging their users to call. I'm starting to wonder if this is going to quietly be bigger than even The Internet had imagined.
posted by anastasiav at 8:10 PM on January 17, 2012


[Taking a deep breath and holding it]
posted by not_on_display at 8:58 PM on January 17, 2012


Hope nobody had anything they wanted to look up on Wikipedia anytime soon.
posted by Artw at 9:04 PM on January 17, 2012


"Shit just got real!"

What movie is that from?

hmm... let me just...

...


...


oh my god.
posted by fuq at 9:06 PM on January 17, 2012


Me am stoopid naow.
posted by Artw at 9:07 PM on January 17, 2012


Nicely done.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2012


I hate these mefi colon things but.

Valiant (if reluctant) attempt, but received style would be:

Metafilter: everyone blacks out.

or possibly

Metafilter: Someone has to get us home.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:10 PM on January 17, 2012


Yeah, just saw the blackout screen. Perfect solution, Matt. Well done.
posted by mediareport at 9:11 PM on January 17, 2012


Hope nobody had anything they wanted to look up on Wikipedia anytime soon.
Just disable JavaScript.
posted by unliteral at 9:32 PM on January 17, 2012


Why isn't Reddit dark? Weren't they the ones that started this whole thing?
posted by msali at 5:09 AM on January 18, 2012


Dessie is dark.
posted by Artw at 5:27 AM on January 18, 2012


Gah. Reddit is dark.

No idea how it even gets corrected to Dessie - WTF?
posted by Artw at 5:28 AM on January 18, 2012


Weird, I am not a redditor, but I went to see what the site would look like today, and it wasn't dark. I just went back now (half an hour later), and it had gone dark.
posted by msali at 5:37 AM on January 18, 2012


Yeah some of the sites went for an 8-8 sort of thing today to hit US daytime but minimize overall downtime, I think. I hope someone does a retrospective about how the different sites make their decisions and what they decided to do and how complicated it was.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:03 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's interesting how much JavaScript is being used to implement full blackouts - especially given that as we've seen it takes about ten seconds to defeat. With CMS driven sites I guess it's the easiest thing to drop in, but I'm suprised that, say, Wikipedia didn't have another option.
posted by Artw at 7:22 AM on January 18, 2012


The point isn't actually to say "fuck you, you can't get around this" to the majority of internet users out there but to say "this is important enough that we decided we're going to inconvenience you because it may affect our ability to continue to exist" There was an article going around about the downsides of just taking your site down [G+ link, I'm sure there are others] and most people seem to be doing this in ways that aren't going to have repercussions from search engines. To people who are just medium tech-savvy [I count myself among this group, obviously Wikipedia's tech folks are savvier] it's the obvious solution that will work in the majority of browsers without having to touch most of the files. A lot of sites just have clickthroughs to their main content [Cheeseburger Inc, for example].

we've seen it takes about ten seconds to defeat.

For the group of people tech-savvy enough to know how to do this, yes. And that group is significantly smaller than most of us on MeFi think. I know it seems like it's totally obvious but I think that very few people that I know in the town that I live in would be able to get from "Wikipedia is down" to "I bet there is a way to access the content anyhow" to "I will find instructions for how to do that and follow them"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:53 AM on January 18, 2012


we've seen it takes about ten seconds to defeat. -- For the group of people tech-savvy enough to know how to do this, yes. --- Which makes it the perfect metaphor for legislating the internet. No matter how much money the MPAA wants to bribe officials in an effort to save their failing business model, there will always be a work-around for people with know-how.
posted by crunchland at 8:08 AM on January 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I do think the reddit one is the most effective, since it's just "no reddit for you today". The other ones are quickly forgotten.
posted by smackfu at 12:02 PM on January 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


we've seen it takes about ten seconds to defeat. -- For the group of people tech-savvy enough to know how to do this, yes.

Some time on NPR yesterday they were talking about and describing 'workarounds' for the wikipedia blackout. That means that the concepts of circumventing and working around various blocks are entering the public consciousness, I wonder if that will mean anything for the future.
posted by fuq at 3:02 PM on January 19, 2012


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