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Piracy Your Rights Online

Reddit Turning SOPA "Blackout" Into a "Learn-In" 241

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-today's-sopa-news dept.
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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Reddit Turning SOPA "Blackout" Into a "Learn-In"

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  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:53PM (#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? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Skewray (896393) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @04:57PM (#38667534) Homepage
    "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:GOOD!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:01PM (#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.
  • Sadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:04PM (#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:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:12PM (#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.
  • by SamuraiHoedown (1769404) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:16PM (#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:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:18PM (#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.
  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:30PM (#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.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:37PM (#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.
  • by MozeeToby (1163751) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @05:45PM (#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.

  • by DCTech (2545590) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:07PM (#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.

  • by Elbereth (58257) <krachtm@yahoo.com> on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:22PM (#38668406) Homepage Journal

    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 conten

  • by brit74 (831798) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:29PM (#38668460)
    It sort of depends. I occasionally get anti-piracy comments modded up on Slashdot. They get modded down on Reddit. I think what might be going on is that Reddit has so many voters that if 60% disagree with you and 40% agree with you, you end up with a cummulative score of all the people who see your comment (+40 - 60 = -20) so your comment on Reddit gets voted down. On Slashdot, only a select number of people have moderator points. Because there are fewer votes going around, you end up with a lot more noise in the signal, which means you can get voted up more often even though it goes against majority opinion.

    To say this in more mathematical terms:
    If you have a coin that's biased towards landing on heads 60% of the time, and you flip that coin 100 times, you're going to end up with around 60 heads (-60), 40 tails (+40). Added up, that equals -20. Even with randomness, it's very unlikely that you'll end up with a positive value (i.e. more tails than heads).
    But, if you flip that coin only three times, you might get three tails (for a total of +3 upvotes) some fraction of the time (40%*40%*40% = 6.4%). And one head and two tails (for a total of +1 upvotes) some of the time - about 29% of the time in this example.

    The Slashdot moderation system is like the one with fewer coin flips, which creates more noise in the whole upvote/downvote system. I'm not saying that Slashdot's moderation is great or that there aren't problems with it; I sometimes get annoyed by it, too. I'm just doubtful that Reddit's system is actually better.
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @06:36PM (#38668518) Journal

    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.

    They are not, if you do it right [slashdot.org].

    Yes, that means that you have to use better and more extensive arguments, provide references etc, while your opponent in the debate might not. But Slashdot is not advertised as a platform where every viewpoint gets equal treatment. If you want to participate, learn to deal with it.

  • Re:And Slashdot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by newcastlejon (1483695) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @07:22PM (#38668886)
    As another non-American, I disagree. If SOPA passes, it won't be long before the US starts shoving it down our throats and threatening "blacklisting".
  • Re:And Slashdot? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Baseclass (785652) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @07:23PM (#38668890)

    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.

    Slashdot will no doubt get some of the Reddit refugees.
    We really need to drive the point home what this bill means to the average Joe.

  • To put it short (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @08:00PM (#38669158)

    SOPA, if precisely enforced) will eliminate user-generated content from the Internet, reverting it to a dumb tube where you can watch what you are fed.

  • by bky1701 (979071) on Wednesday January 11, 2012 @10:24PM (#38670072) Homepage
    "A tricky thing for Wiki to do on short notice as they typically govern by consensus."

    Yes. Usually if Wikipedia (ie Jimbo) wants to do something, they appoint enough people who are for it into voting positions for it to pass. That's hard on short notice. Not that this is a bad proposal in this case, but to say Wikipedia's administration "typically govern by consensus" is delusional. They manipulate the bureaucratic system they created, until they get what they wanted rubber-stamped.

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