Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Use View page source to view SOPA blacked-out Wikipedia pages

Although the morons at Wikipedia have chosen to black out the English Wikipedia for the day in a mindless protest of the proposed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA), you can still get to the text by using your browser's "View page source" right click menu option (that's in Google Chrome, other browsers have a similar feature.) The original wiki page is still there, but with a non-so-cute graphic applied over it. You may see the original page flash up before the graphic gets drawn. Unfortunately, you have to paw through raw HTML text to read the page, but the essential content is there.
I suspect that the reason they are leaving the original page intact underneath the blackout image is to avoid screwing up their positioning in search engine results. The search engine web page crawlers will not "see" the blackout graphic, but will continue to see the underlying original wiki page, in much the same way that we can still see it with "View page source."
Although the blackout graphic claims that SOPA "could fatally damage the free and open Internet", there is close to zero chance that SOPA would actually "kill" the "free and open" Internet. The operant word in their spurious claim is "could", meaning "in theory, at the extreme", but it is interesting that even the anti-SOPA crowd is careful to avoid falsely claiming that SOPA "would" kill the "free and open" Internet.
The whole anti-SOPA/PIPA "movement" is simply a derivative of the anti-intellectual property movement.
Curiously, the SOPA page itself in the Wikipedia is not blacked out.