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Reddit Turning SOPA "Blackout" Into a "Learn-In"

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the in-today's-sopa-news dept.

Piracy 241

bdking writes "Reddit's planned 12-hour 'blackout' on January 18 sounds like an ineffectual, if not self-defeating, strategy for opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act. But the social news site actually will use that time not to 'go dark,' but to educate visitors about the ramifications of the House legislation that many fear will lead to widespread shutdowns of Internet sites."

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241 comments

When can we get Reddit's moderation system on /. (-1, Offtopic)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667470)

Frankly it seems to be much better than what we have on Slashdot. Increasingly I've found both people and the moderation on Reddit to be much better than on Slashdot. So when can we get fix for that?

As soon as (4, Informative)

oGMo (379) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667524)

As soon as you submit a patch to Slashcode [slashcode.com] for slashdotters .

Re:As soon as (-1, Offtopic)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667562)

Why should I be the one submitting patch there? Slashdot has full-time editors and coder(s) working on the site. They turn in a hefty sum of cash every month too, especially considering their advertisement rates [geek.net]. Slashdot makes enough money to improve this site by themselves.

Re:As soon as (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667576)

Because you're the one who feels the current system is inadequate. Many of us disagree. Besides, Slashcode is open source and used by many sites, not just Slashdot.

Re:When can we get Reddit's moderation system on / (5, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667988)

I don't. I think that Reddit moderations are much more prone to "I disagree with this post so I'm going to vote it down" and groupthink. And uncapped moderations doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Slashdot comments on a scale of 1 to 5, that's reasonable. Reddit comments on a scale of 1 to a million doesn't really work, the top comments have thousands of upvotes and no one reads the later ones. Anyway, different user populations are going to vote differently no matter what system you implement.

Re:When can we get Reddit's moderation system on / (5, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668080)

Well, as they say, 90% of everything is crap. On slashdot, something like 30-40% of comments get modded up, usually to 5, 33% or more of what you see still falls into the 90% category even if moderation is perfect. On Reddit, and with unlimited positive scores in general, you're going to see a much smaller number of comments moderated up to the point of visibility, so you're more likely to be limited to the 10% of comments that are actually good. The problem is, that assumes perfect moderation, which isn't the case. Slashdot is much more likely to catch a good comment that not everyone agrees with because it only takes 4 moderators to agree with it to move it to the top of the pile (baring of course, the "I disagree" downmods). A busy thread on Reddit might require several hundred people to upvote it before it's really visible to the average user which isn't likely to happen for an unpopular post, no matter how informative or insightful it is.

Re:When can we get Reddit's moderation system on / (2, Insightful)

DCTech (2545590) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668292)

The problem with Slashdot is the huge amount of groupthink and related moderation. Slashdot has a HUGE problem with downmodding any non-popular opinion (within slashdot crowd). Reddit addresses that, while Slashdot does not. For example, look at any comment that even points out that piracy might not be right, open source programs might not be that good or that Microsoft could sometimes be right. They are instantly downmodded, based on groupthink and not even wanting to hear dissenting opinions.

Re:When can we get Reddit's moderation system on / (0)

mandelbr0t (1015855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668056)

protip: If you're going to karma-whore, you might try being less abrasive. This isn't Reddit, and we're glad that it's not. If you don't like it here, then leave. No one will miss you.

Re:When can we get Reddit's moderation system on / (5, Interesting)

geekboybt (866398) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668088)

I've actually found the opposite - I've come back to Slashdot from Reddit because Slashdot's moderation system, as simplistic as it is, seems to be less susceptible to groupthink/hivemind tendencies. I'd bet this is because here you must have your moderation moderated, and only citizens in good standing are given mod points.

Good (5, Insightful)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667478)

Hopefully other major supporters(Google, Facebook, etc) will follow suit and get the word out how bad this piece of garbage is.

And Slashdot? (5, Insightful)

Skewray (896393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667534)

"Hopefully other major supporters(Google, Facebook, etc) will follow suit and get the word out how bad this piece of garbage is." And don't forget Slashdot. Participating in Reddit's blackout is something we could do also.

Re:And Slashdot? (2)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667594)

Why should slashdot follow suit? Every visitor here probably knows what a piece of crap this is, there's no need to educate the readers here. But if they did, I'd support them.

Re:And Slashdot? (5, Interesting)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667652)

Why should slashdot follow suit?

Strength in numbers. 'Smaller' sites like Reddit start the ball rumbling, Slashdot joins in, a few smaller sites hosted by webmasters that are part of these communities join in, the snowball gets bigger, then maybe Yahoo/Google/Facebook/Flickr get on board.

Everyone has to start somewhere.

Re:And Slashdot? (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667732)

Indeed.

The more numbers the better, especially when you're trying to shine the light of truth on a bunch of MafiAA types who ran phoney-baloney "hearings" with Congressrobots hearing about how "anything not-us is doubleplusungood so there and you are all on our payroll so pass the law we wrote for you to pass."

Re:And Slashdot? (4, Interesting)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668036)

As a non-american, the cynical part of me thinks that SOPA would be a good thing... there's some huge opportunities available to foreign nations, while the US conciously cedes its leadership position in a new technology and communication medium.

Less legal restriction and onerous regulated enviornments will be a breeding ground for innovation and investment. The US is a huge market, but the BRIC countries are on the rise and there's still Europe, other South American and Asian nations, Canada, Mexico...

Re:And Slashdot? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667930)

I've been here well over a decade and even still I don't hold such Delusions of Grandeur of the Olden Times.

Today, Reddit is bigger than Slashdot in both volume and content. And, believe it or not, this goes further than pictures of cute cats.

Slashdot could still qualify for "better quality of content", however given the sluggish reaction time and somewhat reduced editorial prowess, this quality is nowadays only reflected in the comments.

We should accept that Slashdot is getting old, focus more on quality over quantity and do as much we can to reduce signal noise. Especially regarding submissions.

Re:And Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668086)

They're working on the submission quality. But with nothing in the queue it's hard. Try submitting something now and then. That should help improve things.

Re:And Slashdot? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668164)

> Today, Reddit is bigger than Slashdot in both volume and content.

Reddit does have some gems, but the S/N makes it useless most of the time. Reddit is the Dig of Slashdot.

I'll take the quality of /.'s S/N over Reddit any day.

Re:And Slashdot? (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668298)

Hey, I agree, Slashdot should follow suit.

Just one request, tho': can it happen during the week of February 19-26th? I'll be in Cuba, without internet access, so it won't affect me, coz I'll already be affected.

tia,

mr

Re:And Slashdot? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667888)

You give the readers here far too much credit. Things a lot more black and white than SOPA and that have been known for decades seem to elude the local user base. I bet you 90% of all Slashdotters couldn't answer questions about the major points of SOPA if they were quized.

Re:And Slashdot? (5, Funny)

bstag (933525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668054)

NO that would require us to RTFA something most of us refuse to do. Though we still will give you our opinion on the subject.

Re:And Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667738)

If even little web pages like Slashdot go offline then I'll go offline too..

Re:And Slashdot? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668134)

I'll go offline too..

Good. Maybe you can spend some of that free time explaining to everybody why the Internet is 'broken'.

Re:And Slashdot? (4, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667870)

Put me down in favor of this. These bills would shut down all comments everywhere, because there's no way the site could be sure that the comments didn't contain some copyrighted material or a clue where to find it. It means the end of the Internet as a dialogue.

So to do without slashdot for a day, on the chance that it might help it not go away forever, that's something that should be done.

Re:Good (2)

Avarist (2453728) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667538)

Hopefully other major supporters(Google, Facebook, etc) will follow suit and get the word out how bad this piece of garbage is.

The thing is, every single person vaguely familiar with the Tech world already knows this. It's everybody else that needs convincing, and I'm pretty sure neither Google nor Facebook, 2 Tech giants, are the right pick the counter this.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667580)

The thing is, every single person vaguely familiar with the Tech world already knows this. It's everybody else that needs convincing, and I'm pretty sure neither Google nor Facebook, 2 Tech giants, are the right pick the counter this.

Google, Facebook ... these are perfect places for a "learn-in". Imagine if Google or Facebook "went dark" for every user (at least in the U.S.) once a day for a week, and, instead of serving up normal content, served up content that explained what SOPA would mean to them, the non-techies, in a language they could understand. Hitting reload would get you through to the content you were originally looking for, so it's not a huge impediment, but enough to wake people up.

Reddit is not the best place for this, but it's a start.

Re:Good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667670)

You make a good point. While I understand what SOPA could do, I could get some more education tailored to my level of expertise. If a site like Slashdot did this, the education could be more technical.

For Slashdot readers, who are generally aware of SOPA, I think it's less important what education is presented, and more important that it happens. If just Reddit does this, that's great, but when other sites band together, it has a larger effect, and tells places like Reddit to keep going, and maybe people beyond Reddit to do the same thing.

Re:Good (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667676)

Hitting reload would get you through to the content you were originally looking for, so it's not a huge impediment, but enough to wake people up.

People will hit reload, shrug it off, and think that Google is exaggerating the problem. If Google were to go offline all day, every day, then people would notice...and switch to one of Google's competitors. People do not care about the hypothetical problems with SOPA; it will take Facebook, Youtube, etc. being taken offline because of SOPA before people realize there is a problem.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667770)

Facebook and youtube will be fine! You know the rules: Only sites that don't have enough money to mount a serious defence will be killed. It's all the little sites that are at risk. thatguywiththeglasses.com already did an announcement - they have faced copyright threats before for using clips from films in their reviews (This is why 'The Room' review was pulled), and under SOPA the whole domain might be closed down.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668280)

thatguywiththeglasses.com already did an announcement - they have faced copyright threats before for using clips from films in their reviews (This is why 'The Room' review was pulled), and under SOPA the whole domain might be closed down.

OK, so that's a good argument in favor of SOPA, what's the argument against again?

But, no, seriously, you're right: the reason Google and Facebook won't do a blackout is because THEY WANT SOPA TO PASS!

I expect the final version of SOPA will have a provision essentially absolving sites with automated content filtering systems, written in such a way that it means "Google's Content ID"/whatever Facebook uses.

That way, none of the current big players have to worry about any little upstarts.

What, you thought Google was against SOPA? Please, if they were really against it, they would be lobbying against it.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667680)

Imagine if Google went "dark" - I bet our politicians use many of their services. Imagine if google search, google+, gmail, youtube, and so forth for a 24 hour period was reduced to a simple message that this is what SOPA may result in on a more permanent basis. I think that would send the message loud and clear - but why would google loose all that revenue? After all, if the big guys like Google and Facebook wanted to stop SOPA they would just put the money into lobbyists. (My suspicion, they are paying lobbyists, but since they believe the government wouldn't take them down while taking down their competitors, guess which way I suspect they are trying to influence the vote). The Wild West days of internet are fading fast, but not because the internet is getting deeds - its because Intellectual Property laws are giving away deeds to concepts and ideas.

Re:Good (4, Interesting)

sidthegeek (626567) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668062)

The Wild West days of internet are fading fast, but not because the internet is getting deeds - its because Intellectual Property laws are giving away deeds to concepts and ideas.

That is an awesome analogy. My hopefully-relevant car analogy would be like: You are free to purchase any car you want, but the manufacturers still own all the components inside, down to the nuts and bolts. And you have to pay those manufacturers a fee every time you want to use the car, or they'll take the parts out of the car and charge you an exorbitant amount FAR exceeding any possible monetary value the parts could have or earn.

Re:Good (1)

bstag (933525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667696)

hah we might see a resurgence of myspace and more traffic to bing if google/facebook did that.The average internet user is to stupid to read it and understand it anyways.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668152)

hah we might see a resurgence of myspace and more traffic to bing if google/facebook did that.The average internet user doesn't give enough of a fuck to care.

Fixed that for you, you pompous twat.

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667938)

Imagine if Google or Facebook "went dark" for every user (at least in the U.S.) once a day for a week, and, instead of serving up normal content, served up content that explained what SOPA would mean to them, the non-techies, in a language they could understand

I think this is a good start, but an even more (I think) effective strategy for Google and FB would be if they served up normal content with random entries (search results/Feeds) darkened out or redacted with a hover box explaining this is what the internet could be if SOPA passes.

That's a lot more illustrative than just spelling out for a visitor what SOPA could do.

Re:Good (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667582)

Of course Google and Facebook (along with ANY company that offers internet services) are tech giants, their *USERS* are the ones we are trying to educate!

Re:Good (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667742)

Ya, everyone knows that Google and Facebook are only use by the technically knowledgeable. /Sarcasm

Re:Good (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667978)

Ya, everyone knows that Google and Facebook are only use by the technically knowledgeable. /Sarcasm

That's exactly the point here. The technical masses know about SOPA and what a PITA it will be. However, technical people alone won't get the bill revoked. What we need is the mindless masses. In this case, the people that you appear to snubbing your nose at are the ones whose help we need.

This bill needs to be decimated, and the best way to do that is to take the circus and free bread away from the plebs.

Re:Good (2)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668020)

This bill needs to be decimated, and the best way to do that is to take the circus and free bread away from the plebs.

You want them to take out every tenth word? 0_o

Re:Good (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668382)

Decimate:
1) Kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage of.
2) Drastically reduce the strength or effectiveness of (something): "plant viruses that can decimate yields".

Decimalized:
1) Convert (a system of coinage or weights and measures) to a decimal system.

Amusingly, taking out every tenth word of the SOPA bill might just make it unusable to the point of acceptable. Not as good as wiping it off the face of the western world, but a good start.

Re:Good (1)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667756)

The thing is, every single person vaguely familiar with the Tech world already knows this. It's everybody else that needs convincing, and I'm pretty sure neither Google nor Facebook, 2 Tech giants, are the right pick the counter this.

I'd say it's our/the tech community's responsibility to educate everybody else that needs convincing. If not us, then who? The papers? ........

Re:Good (5, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667766)

The thing is, every single person vaguely familiar with the Tech world already knows this. It's everybody else that needs convincing, and I'm pretty sure neither Google nor Facebook, 2 Tech giants, are the right pick the counter this.

Sure they are. Google and Facebook probably experience close to 95% of the entire web traffic, especially those who you want to educate.

All Google has to do is simply put in an interstital page of censored results with the overlay "The Stop Online Piracy Act has will remove many sites from the Internet, including the ones you probably were looking for. Write your congressperson and then click here for the full internet." which redirects to the proper search.

Facebook is similar. "Posting this on your wall could remove your Facebook access due to the Stop Online Piracy Act. Click here to object to this law and continue posting."

For Google, it presents a borked listing of sites - perhaps culled from the pages near the end, and completely useless results.

For Facebook, it threatens people to loss of access. Given how people are addicted to it, that could be quite scary.

Re:Good (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667880)

The biggest problem is, that almost no one knows what is Magna Carta, and why it matter....
Only if everyone knew what i am talking about, such a stupidity like Patriot Act, would never ever happened. And SOPA? Let me tell you, even the kings were afraid of the people...

target the teachable, maybe? (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667996)

Maybe you've got it backwards... if the people who read tech sites are forced to read about SOPA all day instead of reading about the latest golly gee whiz iCrap, maybe those sites would be educating the most teachable people.

Put it on a mainstream news site, and maybe their typical viewers will just knock over their drool buckets searching for a keyboard they haven't used since the mouse was invented.

I dunno. I don't interact with the normals very much, they see my leet tatts and pet laser shark and it always scares them away.

Re:Good (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667596)

I have to agree. Doing a pure blackout I think will just make average users mad at the companies not SOPA. Doing some kind of educational page or system of "Hey if SOPA passes this service may have to go offline and here is why and what you can do about it" seems to be a much better idea.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667836)

Hopefully other major supporters(Google, Facebook, etc) will follow suit and get the word out how bad this piece of garbage is.

Does anyone asking Google and Facebook to "blackout" really think about what they're asking? Google has commitments to paying businesses for ads/videos/search/maps/code/mail (including company mail).... There's litterally NO WAY google could black out without breaching contracts and causing orders of magnitude more harm than they would help. The best I would suspect they could do is a doodle+link to a g+ blog post. Facebook doesn't have as many commitments as Google, but even so, an FB blackout would cost businesses that earn from FB ads/games etc millions.

I can't help but think that people who ask this of Google and Facebook show two things:
  1. I don't support SOPA/PIPA because it will have a major negative impact on the internet!
  2. I don't actually understand the impacts the internet has on business/society.

All in all, that's a bad rap for us to assign ourselves at this moment.

While I commend Reddit and I hope it garners a lot of publicity and that others follow, It's much easier for Reddit to black out because they don't contract out services. Neither does Slashdot for that matter.

Something for my own site? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668074)

I run a webcomic that's been going nearly a decade now, and would LOVE to shut down everything for a day or so with only a message saying why SOPA is bad.

HOWEVER... I'd need a nice, simple, easy to understand block of text to put up explaining SOPA and why it's bad. No technical words, no fancy terminology. Hell, if I can keep it to 2-syllable words only, all the better. But to make absolutely sure that people looking at it understand, I need to be able to put it in terms that someone as dumb as a fucking rock would be able to get. I'd put blink tags in (or an animated gif equivelant) if I didn't expect people to just close it out of annoyance in that case.

I want to appeal to the absolute lowest common denominator here. I'm sure most, if not neglegeably close to all people will understand with a bit of more detailed terminology, but if I'm going to simplify it, I should simplify it down to excluding nobody capable of reading. Why take chances it'll just go over some people's heads so that their eyes glaze over when they begin reading?

Thus... is there any suggestions as to what I can post?

Note: Only posting anonymous because I don't log in from at work. Username Kabuthunk.

Re:Something for my own site? (2)

Sigma 7 (266129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668276)

HOWEVER... I'd need a nice, simple, easy to understand block of text to put up explaining SOPA and why it's bad. No technical words, no fancy terminology. Hell, if I can keep it to 2-syllable words only, all the better.

Collateral damage.

Why those two words? Major carriers and websites are held liable for the content of their users even when one decides to go rogue and abuse their services. This includes sites such as Academic Earth, CosmoLearning, Google, Facebook, Reddit, Slashdot, Sourceforce, Steam, Wikipedia, and Youtube; and removing one of these can make a significant impact on progress.

The only good thing about the law is that they add provisions to prevent abuse. However, that should have been in the DMCA instead of SOPA - or at least within generic set of laws.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668248)

Wait, so Facebok, Twitter, and Reddit are going to go all black due to SOPA? I may have to rethink my opposition to SOPA!

GOOD!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667506)

It's a needed evil. To stop turning the internet into a communist domain.

Re:GOOD!!! (4, Insightful)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667572)

What are you talking about? Are you trying to say SOPA/PIPA are "a needed evil"? Because if so, you are sorely mistaken. This would effectively allow copyright holders to create an internet similar to what actual communist have(ie Great Firewall of China). It would break the backbone of how the internet works. It would inhibit the ability to create dynamic content on the internet by sniffling innovation & discouraging investment(think no YouTube). It is a horrible piece of garbage crafted by greedy idiots who do not care about the freedom that has allowed the internet to become what it is today. Get your head out of your ass & look around instead of following what you are told. Now if you are saying the blackout is necessary, then I agree.

Re:GOOD!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667822)

The needed evil refers to the blackout, as evidenced by the "GOOD!!!" subject heading.

Re:GOOD!!! (1)

twotacocombo (1529393) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668238)

Unfortunately, any sort of blackout would be cutting off the nose to spite the face, only this face never cared about the nose in the first place. If this things gains momentum, and sites like Google go dark in protest, the only people it hurts would be you and me. I use Google as an essential part of my daily job. If it's not available, it makes my life that much more difficult. If Google, or the entire internet for that matter, goes dark.. the politicians might not even know about it unless one of their assistants tells them. When corporations are waving truckloads of cash at you to further their agendas, who cares about whether or not some prole on the other side of the country can get his job done?

Protesting SOPA on the internet is not going to be effective. Protesting anything these days doesn't seem to be very effective. Unless you can disrupt their lives and sense of comfort, why should they do anything different? It's like walking past an angry dog chained to some immovable object. He can bark and threaten all he wants, but until the day he comes off that chain, you can do whatever you want without fear of any consequences.

Re:GOOD!!! (2)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667606)

While I too am glad to see such action, at least get your terms right. This legislation hands over control of the 'net to corporations, not the people, nor the government - though the government, by this legislation becomes the instrument of the corporations.

I know that some folks like to use the newspeak-esque conflation of the terms socialism = communism = fascism = evil, but each of those forms of government are quite different.

Re:GOOD!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667864)

Or perhaps the parent is just an idiot who heard the term 'Communism' on Fox Noose and now equates Evil to Communism without understanding what either means.

Re:GOOD!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667958)

Communism and fascism are both subsets of socialism. Your last paragraph was basically correct.

Re:GOOD!!! (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668186)

Wrong.

Communism and fascism tend to both be totalitarian, but both are not socialist per se.

Fascism is at it's core power concentrated in the corporations, using the government as a tool of the corporations.

Communism is socialism gone awry, where things are done in the name of the people, and corporations are not really allowed, but the system is still geared towards an elite that is a parasite on the rest of the population.

Socialism can have degrees, but in general a government that takes responsibility for a certain level of care for the people.

Furthermore, there is a world of difference between corporate socialism and socialism for the population. Corporate socialism is what the NAZI's had. Socialism for the population is the Finnish school system and the Danish medical system. China is rather unique, in that has a certain level of socialism, allows a new corporate elite to thrive, but at the core, retains the communist/totalitarian model.

So, at least get your terms right. Precision in language and precision in thought tend to go hand in hand. Of course, those who want all the money and power to go to the corporations are the most likely to conflate the terms, leading to lazy thought that deals only in their definition of black and white; it's newspeak plus plus.

occupy reddit?!!! (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667664)

It's a needed evil. To stop turning the internet into a communist domain.

In Soviet Russia, you fool KREMVAX!

Follow their lead (5, Funny)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667550)

Can we get /. to join in the blackout? I suppose everybody who visits /. already knows about SOPA, but we really need to get everybody in on this.
They're going to ruin the internet. The INTERNET. :O Think of the lolcats!

Re:Follow their lead (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667656)

I support SOPA. I want you music thieves to do time in jail.

0.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667748)

More effort = more funny

Re:Follow their lead (5, Insightful)

Elbereth (58257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668406)

The internet isn't going to be ruined. The internet will change for the worse. There's a big difference.

Mostly-legitimate sites like YouTube and MegaUpload will arguably be hit the hardest. Their primary draw is the rampant copyright infringement. Users who upload original content will have to jump through hoops in order to validate that their content does not infringe anyone's copyright. There will probably be an initial month-long validation queue, which will eventually be streamlined down to a week-long wait. Some people will leave in protest, but most will just decry any dissent as "whining". In most likelihood, parody and other fair use exceptions will be suppressed, in the name of simplifying administrative duties. I predict the argument will go, "If we allow legitimate parodies through, then everyone will simply claim to be a subtle parody. Thus, our rule on no parodies, even if they are technically allowed, by law." In the end, YouTube will survive, but it will be nothing but insipid pet videos and hot, up-and-coming pop stars from major labels. Alternatives will pop up frequently on darknets, but none of the YouTube users will ever figure out how to access them. MegaUpload goes commercial, with no free accounts, in a move to pay for all the censorship that is required to clean up the site.

Quasi-legitimate sites, like 4chan, will either disappear or radically transform. My guess is that they'll all go underground. Anyone who can't figure out how to access them will be ridiculed as a lamer or noob. The government will swat at them, off and on, but nothing will ever really stick. A couple of them will simply move to European or Asian servers and abandon U.S. users. I have trouble imagining these sites going fully legit, but I guess stranger things have happened. In that case, full-time moderators would roam the boards, searching out any kind of copyright infringement and handing out frequent bans. After a while, the workload gets to be too much and the site closes down.

"Rogue" websites, such as piratebay, would be the first victims. They'll put up a token fight for a few months or years, but it won't go anywhere, and they'll all be forced to relocate to darknets or other various underground locales. Some will simply shrug and ignore the U.S. Again, the government will swat at them, and some of them will eventually be taken down, but new ones will simply pop up to replace them. Eventually, someone will be made an example of, with a 10-15 year prison sentence (if they're lucky). A show trial will briefly made the news, then be forgotten by all but the civil libertarians. A huge uproar on civil libertarian blogs will follow, along with further threads of "it's time for the ammo box!", but absolutely nothing will come of it, and they'll all stew in impotent anger. Slashdot follows every single fucking story with dogged perseverance, long after the mainstream media move on to other topics. In every single story, at least one person states, "If only you sheeple had voted for Ron Paul, none of this would have happened!", which becomes the newest Slashdot meme.

Controversial web sites, such as those espousing hate speech, expressing sympathy for terrorists (pro-Hamas or pro-Hezbollah), and right-wing militia groups will quickly be added to the lists. Most people won't miss them, but the civil libertarians will go berserk. A freedom of speech case will make it to the US Supreme Court, but nothing will come of it. In a 5-4 decision, the censorship will be upheld as constitutional. All the web sites move to European servers or darknets. The government halfheartedly swats at them off and on for the next ten years, until an example is made of someone, who probably ends up successfully fighting off the charges. It's hailed as a major win for civil libertarians, but nothing really changes, because nothing ever does. The government goes back to swatting halfheartedly at websites on darknets.

Sites like Flickr and Facebook, which generally depend on original content, rather than copyright infringement, escape unscathed. Uploading content becomes more tedious and annoying, as websites nonetheless attempt to cover their ass. More ads appear, as the sites attempt to pay for the additional time and effort necessary to patrol submissions by users. Users grumble, site administrators grumble, and everyone talks big about how they're going to vote out everyone who voted for SOPA. In the end, it's all just talk.

Most sites end up unaffected. A few end up blacklisted "accidentally". The end of the world is averted, and the internet goes on, like it always has... just in a way that's more authoritarian, less fun, and more annoying. Eventually, SOPA gets struck down by a liberal Supreme Court, and Slashdot goes berserk over something else that will surely cause the sky to fall.

I think SOPA is a horrible bill, and I hope it fails. The worst case scenario is frightening and admittedly could lead to some chilling effects. In fact, I think it's quite likely that many controversial sites (hate speech, for example) will end up being blacklisted, as well. It seems inevitable. However, to think that the internet, as a whole, will end up going down in flames seems simplistic and over-the-top.

Sadly... (5, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667604)

My experience has been that people do not really care about hypothetical consequences. People will not understand that SOPA is a bad thing until it is passed and bad things happen that directly affect their lives. If Facebook were taken down by a SOPA complaint, people would believe that SOPA is bad.

The blackout idea might help to convey the problems with SOPA. More likely, people will think that the problems are being exaggerated by the participants in the blackout.

Re:Sadly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667940)

The people who oppose SOPA because they understand it, DON'T understand politics. Yes, SOPA is bad, but it's out there for people to see it, a name to link to their problems, but if it gets shot down, then it will be stealthily replaced over time piece by piece by an even more dangerous version.

The fact is, that SOPA supporters stand to make lots of money if it succeeds, and they took this path, because inventing/using other business models won't provide the same short term income this promises. However, piracy will still exist, perhaps become even more rampant. Things will come to a point where one side will have to give, if SOPA is adopted, then it can be blamed and removed, with no lasting damage, but if we're talking about the stealthier version mentioned before, then it will become much much harder.

Regards,
A student of human nature

Due Process! (3)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668304)

Sorry, but a SOPA does away with due process. This is our constitutional right, and not something that any bill should take away unless there is an amendment to the constitution.

By Law, we're supposed to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. Again, SOPA assumes guilty until proven innocent. Again this is not constitutional.

Want to fix this bill, write the bill where it follows due process and constitutional law. Not something that gives a thug at the RIA or BSA or anyone else the ability to bypass law.

Look, I'm all for making things legal and right. I do not think that people should use the internet to steal. But we have laws already in place that allow for prosecution. The issue is not that we don't have laws, but rather that the RIA, BSA, and a few other companies want instant gratification.

Lets extend this mind set. There are a few shoplifters that go out to lunch, steal a few goodies, then go back to the office. Do we allow Police to shut down a building because someone could have committed a crime at lunch?

Obviously the answer is no. It's foolish to even think about since we don't follow due process. But when it comes to the Internet we should suddenly allow the same?

Re:Sadly... (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667976)

The people who dismiss it are the people who don't count. Nobody's going to encounter a bunch of websites blanked out and then call their senator to express their love of PIPA. But those who are educated and care will make the call. I imagine just Reddit will do to tie up the phone lines, but if enough smaller sites like Slashdot and Digg and so on join in it may shame the big guys like Google and Facebook into participating too. And that's a big whammy.

Re:Sadly... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668046)

Man, if Facebook was taken down by a SOPA complaint, I would be conflicted.

Re:Sadly... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668078)

You're right... fortunately for SOPA's supporters, SOPA has a few consequences that, I believe, most people will be able to relate to.

Under SOPA, any new online service or technology that ever gets invented after SOPA passes, but which happens to depend on user-submitted content in some way, will be suppressed if it should happen to be the case that the service or technology starts to get used a lot for piracy before it has had a chance to really gather a lot of steam.

That might sound like a far-fetched statement, or even a hyperbole... but let me back it up with some historical context... and in particular, considering what would have certainly happened if SOPA had actually been around at the time.

If SOPA had been around in 2005, believe it or not, hardly anybody today would have heard of Youtube... which when it was just starting to gather momentum, was actually quite widely used by a number of people to share copyrighted content without permission. Rights holders were fairly readily able to get Youtube to pull the offending videos once they discovered them (and there were many hundreds, even thousands of them by the time they really knew about Youtube), but under SOPA, it would have been far less red tape to have just got the entire domain blocked rather than dealing with infringement after infringement for months on end. Because Youtube was just a rising star at the time, any substantial non-infringing use would not have been so widely known about, and it would have probably just been perceived as a service that predominantly catered to pirates. The result would almost certainly have been that the Youtube domain would have simply been pulled.

That's just one example... it is, unfortunately, inevitable that any new technology is going to be utilized by some people to break the law, when it happens to be possible. If the technology is fortunate enough to gather sufficient popularity among people who are law abiding first, then all is fine... people will readily see there is substantial non-infringing use, and the question of blocking the technology or service would not arise. With user-submitted content, however, it's pretty much a given that some people are going to use it to distribute content that they shouldn't... and a company that innovates such a service could end up being shut out unfairly, just because pirates happened to start using the service first.

D'oh! Hit submit too soon! (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668108)

I meant to say "fortunately for SOPA's opponents"... but instead said "supporters". Weird.

What Google can do (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667620)

Google should just post right on the main search page - "SOPA = BAD" , and a link that tells them why. That should convince just about everyone.

Re:What Google can do (1)

glop (181086) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667666)

They could do a Doodle that says that, Google Doodles are actually NEWS and reported in many places.

Re:What Google can do (5, Insightful)

SamuraiHoedown (1769404) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667728)

They should do a Doodle that is just a symbolic black censorship bar. I'm sure people would click on it just to find out why, and then it would lead to info on SOPA.

Re:What Google can do (1)

smelch (1988698) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668218)

That would actually be pretty awesome if they would do it. How do you suggest such a thing to them?

Re:What Google can do (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667714)

That will do nothing. Unless the service itself goes away (as in, you can't google things on some particular day or days) to be replaced with information about why, it will do nothing. People are quite accustomed to ignoring banners and links telling them to click to find out about this or that. It won't even register with Joe Sixpack that way, particularly if he has to actually THINK to understand it. Thinking is hard work. Joe doesn't like to do it.

The services (google, FB, etc) MUST go away for a time for this to have any effect whatsoever.

Black out EVERYTHING (0)

retech (1228598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667744)

I've written to Namecheap and Netsol asking that they shutdown for 24hrs as well. Instead of just trying to make a few hours of inconvenience I think it would be prudent to make a day of utter chaos. We either pay now in 24hrs or pay later for the rest of our lives. Google et al should shut down ALL services for the day. These companies should inform their users that on Day X everything goes black and this is the reason why. There's been a lot of wind in the last year with the Occupy camp and Anonymous. But a blackout day would be a very effective way to let the entire world know how we've all come to rely on these services NOT being interrupted.

Re:Black out EVERYTHING (1)

space_jake (687452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667812)

That is a great way to be sued into oblivion by anyone that relies on the internet for their livelihood. While I agree with your statement of its "one day or the rest of our lives" many won't.

If (google/FB) really wanted to do something.... (4, Interesting)

Immostlyharmless (1311531) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667746)

They could make up a list of words associated with trademarks/copyrights and every time someone either searched for, or posted a comment about something with one of those terms in it, they could use a popup "You used the copyrighted/trademarked term "(/insertstringhere)", Under the pending SOPA legislation, if the owner company sent us notice regarding this comment we would have no choice but to censor it. Please contact your representative and/or senator to let them know you stand with us in opposition to this extremely poorly worded piece of legislation"

minus 5, Tr0ll) (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667764)

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Contact Congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667826)

Everyone here opposed to SOPA or PROTECT-IP has already contacted their representatives correct?

You Will All Suck It As This Becomes LAW! Boo hoo! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667842)

SOPA: You useless e@ters will take it.

We are in control.

We control the one ey3d tube and soon your int3rnet tubez. You like to swallow big penis? This
one will go down your e-throat faster than you can fsck a fs. You are going
to be happy people holding hands, or YOU WILL enter a FEMA camp (this whole post was written as satire) at an
undisclosed location FOR WE are your OVERLORDS. Have you tasted M$ penis?
Do you know how that ONE MICROSOFT WAY feels? Imagine a black hole of swirling
ASCII making the rounds through your rectum. SOPA is here and it's here
to stay, no m@tter how many gay skull and crossbone pics you post, no m@tter
how many hours you spend typing away at reddit or 4chan, or gaining a third
chin while sitting on your lazy ass on some Anonymous group supportive channel.

This message was brought to you by the Happy SOPA Soap Candy which pops out
of your hand the instant you bring it into the shower, and deploys a self
inflating pair of legs, feet, and penis behind you as it falls.

Lost cause (2)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667890)

While i applaud the attempts to get the word out to the general public the ONLY thing that will help the cause is money. The legislature must be offered more to can this than support support. Its really that simple. Sad, but simple.

Boo Hoo (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667952)

I hope you enjoy your blanket & bottle - I'd rather fight this than pack my tent and lay down before their steamroller...

Re:Boo Hoo (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668402)

Id rather pick battles i have a chance to win. I have a finite amount of energy so why waste it ?

Slashdot should participate as well (5, Insightful)

Arrogant-Bastard (141720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667920)

Not because it will reach people who need to know; I suspect that most clueful people here already realize that SOPA and PIPA are awful legislation, written by industry lobbyists and supported by their pet Congressmen -- who have been well-paid for their votes. But because it will change the dialogue from "Reddit is blacking out" to "Two sites are blacking out" and then -- when another one joins "Three sites are blacking out" and then "Many sites are blacking out" and then "A lot of sites are blacking out" and that is when it will matter.

It matters because it shows we'll make sacrifices to make a point. It's easy to post something whining about how bad these bills are, but much, much tougher to actually give up something to back that up. The supporters of these bills know that. They're counting on the millions and millions of us out here to grump about it...and move on. To ignore it, as if it doesn't matter to us, doesn't apply to us. We need to demonstrate that it DOES matter, that we're not going to let it go.

A blackout isn't the end of that, of course. It's only the beginning. But it would be a good way to start.

For best results... (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667934)

add Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, Wikipedia. Can you imagine the exposure? That would be the nuclear option.

So..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38667936)

In other words, they'll do like 4chan did, and post some text at the top of the screen saying 'SOPA is bad, click here for more info', but keep the rest of the site working perfectly so that people can continue to completely ignore it and go on with what they were going there to do anyway.

PLEASE tell me they'll black out the site and literally have the ONLY thing visible being the SOPA information. No posting, not even a shoutbox. If they have an IRC channel, kill it for the day. Unless they eliminiate ALL avenues of people getting distracted on that site, it doesn't stand a chance of even having the slightest attention paid to it.

Why not just change the background to black? (5, Interesting)

supremebob (574732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38667962)

Back when they were trying to pass the Communications Decency Act back in 1996, a bunch of the major web sites changed their pages to black backgrounds and included a link explaining why they were doing it. I remember that really getting my attention the day I went to Yahoo (remember when Yahoo was important?) and seeing that for the first time.

If someone like Google or Facebook did that to protest SOPA today, I guarantee that it would get major news attention.

Re:Why not just change the background to black? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668284)

Back when they were trying to pass the Communications Decency Act back in 1996, a bunch of the major web sites changed their pages to black backgrounds and included a link explaining why they were doing it.

CDA passed though, so how effective was that campaign?

What we are trying to do here (5, Informative)

alienth (2551034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668058)

Disclaimer: I am a reddit admin

Here is what I'm hoping to see as the result of the blackout:

* Awareness raised among the users who don't login to the site(a majority of our traffic).

* A day of action which encourages people to contact their representatives.

* Other web properties participating in some form of highly-visible protest. A lot of the big players are considering how far they can go in protest. Hopefully the step we are taking here will give them some encouragement.

Jimmy Wales recently indicated [wikipedia.org] that he is interested in joining us. If Wikipedia joins in a blackout, the message would reach a huge number of people, and will hopefully make a splash in mainstream media and news coverage.

SOPA (2)

amoeba1911 (978485) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668148)

I'm still confused about how SOPA is supposed to prevent (or at least hinder) piracy and file sharing. All it does is break the domain name system, it's equivalent to defacing highway signs, the IP still work just fine. People can easily edit their hosts file to be whatever they want. How is this at all hindering the p2p file sharing? What are they going to do, make it illegal to share 32-bit numbers? I present to you http://3259460367/ [3259460367] ... This entire law seems seriously ill conceived and idiotic at best.

Re:SOPA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668264)

SOPA is also planned to block ip addresses so good luck with that. As has been said by many people on /. It's not just about piracy control but more about censorship. You disagree with anything anyone in power says and you'll be censored. Whoever is hosting your comment will be too

I'm joining... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668162)

As a Web Developer, I plan on following along side Reddit with my portfolio site and all other personal sites that I own. I realize my efforts alone may be small. But perhaps educating a few of my clients on the effects of these bills will make some difference. If enough people join in, this could be a successful internet-wide protest.

Vote for Blackout (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668206)

Another vote for a slashdot.org blackout.

Self-censorship (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38668220)

Seems like SOPA and Protect-IP are successful already?

Way to troll Slashdot story submissions (3)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38668274)

"Reddit's planned 12-hour 'blackout' on January 18 sounds like an ineffectual, if not self-defeating, strategy for opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act."

Yep, no trolling there.

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