I disagreed with the one day blackout, 18 January 2012, especially I thought the decision making process was inadequate:
- I am mildly disappointed with the result of our deliberations. I sympathize with the conservative viewpoint against SOPA and their ilk, but also take a conservative view for keeping the faith despite hardships and provocations. I prefer standing by our commitment to illuminate the world.
- In contrast, my disappointment with the process is deep, even to the point of resentment though not quite outrage. A greater effort is often made to solicit opinions on proposals of lesser reach such as Wikipedia:Binding RFCs. Most of the several hundred editors who responded to the shutdown poll said yes, but respondents were a minority of those who were alerted that the discussion was underway. They were a large minority, and it is usual for only a minority to respond, so this doesn't bother me.
- What bothers me, what deeply disappoints me, is the smallness of the effort to put out the alert, to solicit participation. Every day, several tens of thousands of users edit some little thing or other, and millions read, but only a few thousand were alerted. By the chance of watching one of the peripherally related talk pages in which it was mentioned, I was one of those who noticed when a little group of a few dozen tried to pull off a midnight coup. I immediately spoke up about the need for due consideration. Agreement on this question quickly ensued, so I didn't pay much attention, trusting that the Admins and other dutiful editors who organize the various decision making processes would handle it with due deliberation. I pursued my happy little photographical and geographical activities.
- Next thing I knew, a big black banner came up, along the top part of any page I was viewing, saying the decision had been made and the blackout was xx hours away. Oh, too bad, I thought. That may or not be a wise decision, but if it's the will of the community then it's okay, but why wasn't the discussion more widely trumpeted beforehand? Alas, a look into the process revealed its scantiness. Yes, it is more than the effort that has gone into the question of whether geographical coordinates should be outlawed (See Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject Geographical coordinates#Proposal for the closure of this project) but only a small fraction of us can be expected to take an interest in longitude and latitude anyway. Much more should have been done for a proposal to shut down the whole Wikipedia.
- First, that bold black banner telling all readers about the closure should have been shown to all a week ago, with different wording, or at least to all editors, and two or three days ago to all readers. Second, a poll on such a question should be organized in a way that can accept tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of votes if need be, not just a couple thousand. This should be something similar to the recently implemented page rating software, though of course accessible by clicking on the banner among other methods.
- Alas, the process I trusted wasn't there. More important, the trust the outside world holds for Wikipedia, never complete of course (why should it be?) is going to be seriously eroded. The saving grace is, maybe our Wikicompetitors will be strengthened. Even if we were more trustworthy, we shouldn't be a monopoly.
Looking back later I remain disappointed with the process, but my misgivings about the results seem excessive. For one thing, acquaintances whom I tell of my Wikiobsession no longer assume I mean Wikileaks.