How to cope without everyone’s favorite research tool
With Wikipedia closed for business Wednesday in protest of anti-piracy legislation, media outlets such as the Washington Post, the Guardian and NPR are stepping in to fill the void.
Writers and editors from the different news outlets will answer questions posed on Twitter, some with the hashtag #altwiki, thus using crowdsourcing to fill in where the online encyclopedia can not.
Wikipedia’s English version, with more than 25 million unique visitors a day worldwide, is the largest of the websites shutting down Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its Senatorial counterpart, the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
While the one-day absence of sites like Reddit or Word Press will cause unexpected strain for some, the closing of Wikipedia is expected to have the biggest impact given its audience size and its practical purpose for everyone from sleep-deprived students to bored employees.
At right: Google enters the fray, blacking out its iconic logo on its homepage.
The Post’s David Beard wrote “While we’re not in the Wikipedia business, this is an experimental, one-day Band-Aid to help out readers.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley seems to be taking his task a little less seriously. He has turned to the Encyclopedia Britannica – all 29 volumes – and will answer any questions posed to the Guardian on Twitter or in the comments section.
“The bad news is it was published in 1989, and doesn't seem to contain anything in the way of recent information. What is tattooed on the back of Megan Fox's neck? I couldn't tell you,” Kinglsey joked.
What’s one mystery Kinglsey can solve? The JFK assassination. It was Lee Harvey Oswald…unless the Warren Commission was wrong.
See, who needs Wikipedia anyway?