“omfg NO wikipedia is closing tomorrow HOW AM I GOING TO DO HOMEWORK”
That question, posed by @LucieLovesYah on Twitter, is weighing heavily on students’ minds this week following news that Wikipedia will black out its English-language pages for a 24-hour period beginning Wednesday morning.
The site’s shutdown, which is intended as an online protest against the controversial Congressional bills known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), has students in a tizzy and altogether unsure how they can complete assignments without being able to access to the online encyclopedia.
Many have taken to Twitter with expletive-laden, 140-character rants bemoaning Wikipedia’s upcoming blackout and the coursework chaos that will ensue.
“WIKIPEDIA, DON’T YOU F***ING DARE SHUT DOWN ON WEDNESDAY. I F***ING NEED YOU FOR MY PAPER,” tweeted Hippopattimus. (Twitter user @Katienotopoulos has retweeted more than a dozen choice tweets by students who are in a panic over the online encyclopedia’s upcoming protest. Take a look here.)
“FML, IF WIKIPEDIA IS GOING DOWN IM GOING DOWN WITH IT. ITS HELPED ME THROUGH EVEN THE TOUGHEST OF HOMEWORKS,” wrote user @Mariellesmind.
When announcing the encyclopedia’s plan to protest, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales warned students they should get a head start on their assignments.
“Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday! #sopa,” Wales tweeted on Monday.
While some students are wrapping up work early in anticipation of Wikipedia’s blackout (or even turning to books), others say they expect to hand in assignments after their due dates.
“I’m hearing #Wiki will have a blackout this Wed in support for #StopSOPA . I’ll tell my profs that my paper will be a day late #thanks,” tweeted @Pawleenc.
@Mattbockenfeld chimed in, “Well, with wikipedia going offline in 15 hours, all research for my paper is going to have wait… I think my professor will understand.”
Libraries have been using Wikipedia’s looming shutdown as an opportunity to woo people back into their shelves. The Arlington Public Library, along with Colorado’s Bayfield Library, the University of Idaho library, and Ireland’s Kerry County library, sent tweets encouraging people to consult their print and web resources.
Some on Twitter have chided students for their reliance on Wikipedia and encouraged them to do research the old fashioned way: with a book. The Washington Post has even posted a survival guide to the Wikipedia blackout (Tip #3: “There is this thing called a library”).
“Tomorrow with WIkipedia down, our students will be thrown back on the mercy of that collection of errors called ‘a library’.” tweeted Swarthmore College professor Timothy Burke.