How To Work Around The Wikipedia Blackout

How To Work Around The Wikipedia Blackout

English-language editions of Wikipedia will be offline for 24 hours from 4pm Wednesday January 18 (Australian Eastern daylight saving time) to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US. If you urgently need Wikipedia content during that period, what can you do? Here are a few emergency alternatives.

Obviously, the point of the outage is to demonstrate the level of community concern over SOPA, which creates wide-ranging and poorly-defined powers against sites alleged to be involved in promoting piracy, in itself a broad catch-all. On that level, living without Wikipedia for 24 hours is a minor issue.

If you support efforts to stop the bill, then not using the site and joining in appropriate protests is the best move (and that’s what I’ll personally be doing). But if you are a very regular user of Wikipedia — let’s say you’re a researcher or a student — there are a few options you can consider over Wednesday and Thursday.

Use Google Cache or the Wayback Machine

One issue is that Google updates its cache very regularly, so it might soon fill with blacked-out content over that day. In that happens, grabbing the URL and pasting into the Internet Wayback machine will also get you older versions of the article.

Use a foreign-language version of Wikipedia

GermanFrenchDutchGoogle Translate

Cache a copy of Wikipedia for local use

Pocket Wikipedia

Research a little bit harder

Picture by katykat

Tweak the site

Now the blackout is live, there are some more options:
•Because the blackout diverts using JavaScript, you can avoid it by disabling JavaScript, using a script-blocking extension or hitting ESC as soon as the page loads.
•The mobile site isn’t affected, so if you edit the address to begin with ‘’ rather than ‘’, you’ll be able to see the relevant article.

I’ll state it again: if you support Wikipedia’s protest, then not using the site and joining in the protest activity is what you should be doing. These are back-up strategies (and none of them break the law).


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