Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

18 Jan 2012, 15:14 p.m.


Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2012 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I've had two astonishing experiences in the last few days.

The first was watching the film Brazil for the first time. If I had watched that at 16 it would have changed the course of my life.

WP SOPA Splash Full The second is still ongoing. I am at Wikimedia Foundation headquarters today, and I was here when the word came back that the community had decided to globally black out English Wikipedia in protest of SOPA and PIPA, and I was here when we flipped the switch to do that and some music player started blasting "We're Not Gonna Take It."

This morning a stranger thanked me for working at the Foundation, as though thanking a soldier for her service in a war.

In Brazil we see everywhere ubiquitous ducts, maintained badly -- sometimes sabotaged -- by Central Services, as heroic volunteers make up the difference by secretly installing workarounds. I write this at my temporary desk, seeing the exposed HVAC ductwork on the third floor of a nondescript San Francisco office building. The more vital duct is the Ethernet cord connecting me to the Internet, to that communally maintained "series of tubes" that gives me work, community, free speech, and the collective wisdom of civilization.

Right now someone needs to save our ducts from sabotage, and the volunteers of the Wikimedia community have courageously decided to sacrifice a day of Wikipedia in the hopes of decisively ending a great threat. We Foundation workers have the privilege of helping.

I oppose SOPA and PIPA. Will you join me?