While Reddit's merry band of Boromir memes, adorable pet pictures, and assorted animated GIFs are taking just a 12-hour hiatus, Wikipedia will be shutting down all its English-language sites for a full 24 hours in protest of both SOPA and PIPA legislation. The blackout starts Wednesday at midnight — "DC time," emphasized Wiki founder and staring contest master Jimmy Wales over Twitter. The pages will reportedly be replaced with a call to action for people to write and call Congress - Wales says he hopes to "melt phone systems" in Washington.
To quantify the scope of this move, Wales notes that the English-language Wikipedia sites get an estimated 25 million daily visitors globally, according to Comscore. Alexa currently ranks it as the sixth most popular site on the web, both globally and locally (behind Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo!, and Amazon for the US, swap the retailer for Baidu to get the global rankings). Your homework, of course, is at risk — as is anyone looking to quickly impress friends with their knowledge of the Balkan Empires, Gothic Fiction, hypothetical Solar System objects, animals with fraudulent diplomas, perpetual motion machines in history, or rabbit show jumping.
The one infinitesimally small silver lining? Wednesday night bar trivia has never been more fair.
Student warning!Do your homework early.Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
@dmonniaux 24 hours, midnight Washington DC time until midnight.— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
@Kim_Bruning Final details under consideration but consensus seems to be for "full" rather than "soft" blackout!— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012
This is going to be wow.I hope Wikipedia will melt phone systems in Washington on Wednesday.Tell everyone you know!— Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) January 16, 2012