Will Students Survive without Wikipedia?

Type any topic into Wikipedia today and you’ll get a glimmer of what you would’ve had–the full article–followed by utter starkness–the Wikipedia black out screen.

Wikipedia, along with many other big online names such as Reddit, has chosen to go dark today to protest the anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA, that are believed to threaten how the Internet works as we know it. Wikipedia and other sites believe these bills provide ambiguously broad mechanisms for enforcement of copyright which would restrict innovation and threaten the existence of websites with user-submitted content, such as, drum roll, Wikipedia.

The free Internet encyclopedia we have taken for granted is making sure we’re astutely aware how different the Internet experience would be without a free and open policy. And more importantly, how different the college or student experience would be without Wikipedia.  Probably a lot different. A lot.

What’s easier or more accessible than hitting up Wikipedia to help you write a paper or prepare for an exam? Not quite sure what Immanuel Kant was talking about? Look him up! Forget when the Tennis Court Oath happened? Look it up! Now, professors will ridicule you endlessly for citing Wikipedia as a source, but that doesn’t mean Wikipedia doesn’t make the best jumping off point ever. It can help you decide which “real” resources to hit up next.

And what about when you’re at a party where you don’t really know anybody, except that person who coerced you into coming along, and the conversation comes to a halt because nobody can remember the name of Newt Gingrich’s third wife. A little smart phone maneuvering here, a little Google search there, and you’re the savior of the party by pulling up the Wikipedia article on Callista Bisek.

But in all seriousness, how would the Internet change if SOPA and PIPA were to pass and how would it affect you?

Are you in favor of these legislations or against them?

As a student, how are you coping without Wikipedia today? Do you even notice a difference?

Share your thoughts! Leave a comment below.

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  1. Dani says:

    oh my God i think i would fail out of school if there was no wikipedia. i wouldnt buy an encyclopedia, i would go to the library where it is still free. but i dont have time or the ability to get there. we need wikipedia. thats how i write my research papers

  2. Freddy says:

    I know with all those copyrights and whatnot. Yes it’s somewhat good for the people who’s losing money off of that but I think they’re taking way too far! Need wikipedia back and push the SOPA back!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m a college student. I take all my classes online and I actually don’t notice a difference at all with the absense of Wikipedia today because I don’t use and don’t even trust Wikipedia for anything.

    I prefer going straight to the truthful, factual source over wasting time at such a website as the ridiculously inaccurate Wikipedia.

    After I had already made the decision for myself that Wikipedia is not to be trusted for any reason, I had multiple instructors over the years insist that all sources for research for any assignment NOT be from Wikipedia because its “not an acceptable nor factual research source.”

    That website is a completely inaccurate nuisance and I’m not willing to even use it as a springboard to the factual information.

    I found out about the bills through Google’s blackout doodle (https://www.google.com/landing/takeaction/). I’m all for stopping SOPA and PIPA for other reasons, but one of those reasons is NOT because of Wikipedia. They can do whatever they want to do to Wikipedia — because I don’t care for it, but I say leave the rest of the Internet alone.

    If they want to do something about copyright then they should stop trying to censor the Internet. Censoring the Internet is not the answer and it goes against America’s constitutional rights to free speech (i.e., the right to communicate with the world and express or publish one’s opinions or those of others [http://constitution.org/powright.htm]).

    There ARE other ways to go about this. Freddy is right. It is being taken way too far. There are other ways to do this than to change the Internet from what it was originally created for (as a means of providing and finding [factual] information).

  4. Lindsey says:

    I’ve been following SOPA and PIPA since November and I heard about sites shutting down for a week, so I was prepared. I was actually looking forward to today, and I really wish Twitter and Facebook had had the guts to do it too. And as much as I love Wikipedia and it is useful… I got along fine without it. If you seriously use Wikipedia for homework and research papers then I think there is something wrong. You can’t get by in life if you have to look up everything in Wikipedia or if you don’t know how to get information from verified sources. So if Wikipedia blacking out really set you back you might want to think about that and reassess things.
    That being said, I strongly oppose SOPA and PIPA. I agree that artists and whoever else posts content to the web should get their due credit, but I also believe that knowledge should be shared. We should be able to view other people’s content. Art, creativity, and knowledge shouldn’t be something to be viewed for a price. Big associations backing these bills are the Recording Association of America and the MPAA…. hmm wonder why. They make a huge profit off of the music and entertainment industry. Little gets back to the actual artist, actor, writer, etc. So who are they really trying to help? In fact, many artists rely on the internet to connect with fans and to get their work out there. These bills would be a big hinderance and would do a lot more harm than they would do good.

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