Asking An #Alternative Wikipedia

By WGBH News

Jan. 18, 2012

BOSTON — Today, many websites — most notably Wikipedia — have gone dark* to protest two bills that aim to end copyright infringement at the cost, advocates say, of harming free online expression. (The information pages on those bills, known in brief as "SOPA" and "PIPA," are among the only pages you can see on Wikipedia.)

NPR, the Washington Post and the Guardian are teaming up to answer a question or two of the multitudes floating in the Wikipedia-less ether. To get their attention, tweet with the hashtag #altwiki. Check the Twitter badge to the right to see: What are people asking?

Mark Memmott of NPR's blog The Two-Way said in an e-mail, "We really, really don’t want to imply that we’re somehow replacing Wikipedia for the day. We’re doing it to see what a day without Wikipedia is like and what types of questions people ask. And in the process, it was thought that it would be polite to try to answer a few."

As of mid-afternoon, Bostonians hadn't really picked up on the #altwiki option — but some people had opinions on the project.

* You can still access Wikipedia on mobile devices or by disabling Javascript on your computer. Also, the bilingual are in luck: Only English-language Wikipedia is affected. Tech specs.

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