A Neutral Point of View on SOPA

I hear that today is SOPA Resistance Day. I'll confess that I don't know much about SOPA. Normally, I'd go to Wikipedia for a neutral point of view (NPOV) on something like this. However, in furtherance of its policy of a Neutral Point of View (which is a very encyclopedic thing, one has to agree), they've decided to protest SOPA by blacking out their entire site. The only thing Wikipedia now does is to provide a box where you can enter your zip code to get a list of congressional representatives to contact to express their (er, excuse me, your) point of view on SOPA. But since Wikipedia isn't providing a neutral point of view, I guess you'll have to settle for mine.

As an individual, of course, you are welcome and encouraged to have a point of view. Heck, you can even be neutral if you like.  In fact, if I may push my own point of view onto you a little (which I can do - after all, dspGuru isn't trying to be the Encyclopedia Britannica or anything), I recommend that you do the following:

- Look up SOPA on Wikipedia. When you realize that they won't give you any information about what you're supposed to be protesting, you can do what I've done and simply become more resolved in your opinion that you really don't know whether it's good or bad.

- After that, I can recommend Ars Technica, which - unlike Wikipedia - is a tech news site that allows itself to have a point of view. They have some material on SOPA that would probably inform me enough to allow me to decide whether I was for or against it - if I had actually read it. I suspect that I'm against SOPA but I just don't know it yet. Even if I decided I was for it, though, I have to confess that I wouldn't state that here - did anybody see how Go Daddy got nailed when they said they were for SOPA? Heck, Wikipedia dropped Go Daddy as its domain registrar over that, with Go Daddy losing about ten bucks in the process. A small operation like dspGuru simply can't afford that kind of revenue loss.

- If, after researching SOPA on Ars (or some other part of the Internet that isn't blacked out), you still don't know what you think, I recommend you contact your representative to tell him that you are neutral. That way, assuming he had tried to use Wikipedia to figure out which way he should vote on it, at least you'll be giving him the neutral point of view that he's been missing. Think of yourself as a little Wikipedia-For-A-Day. That won't actually be very helpful to your representative, but at least you'll have participated this great experiment we call Democracy.

Although I'm unsure where I stand on SOPA, I'm fairly certain that I'm getting increasingly disillusioned with Wikipedia. Is it just me, or does Wikipedia's blackout seem a bit tyrannical? Don't get me wrong, I love Wikipedia and I use it daily. I rely on it. I bet you do, too. I contributed to it in its formative days (there was a lot of bad prose that needed fixing back then), and I've even donated to it in the past. But it seems to be increasingly dominated by an in-crowd of self-serving editors. And one has to be suspicious of an organization that violates one of its primary principles to further its own interests. One can even imagine Wikipedia's co-founder and mouthpiece Jimmy ("Jimbo") Wales eventually trying to become one of those representatives he wants you to contact today. Hey, it worked for Sonny Bono. Or maybe he wants to become President, like Jimmy ("Jimbo") Carter.

As a famous tyrant once said, "There's no such thing as bad publicity."