Editors of the Italian Wikipedia have shut the site down in protest against a law currently going through the Italian parliament. User:Vituzzu, an editor on Italian Wikipedia, explained the reasons behind the debate:
Today, unfortunately, the very pillars on which Wikipedia has been built – neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of its contents – are likely to be sunk permanently by paragraph 29 of an Italian Law also known as "DDL interception".
This legislative reform proposal, which the Italian Parliament is debating currently, provides, among other things, a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request without comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to their image.
Unfortunately, the law does not require an evaluation of the claim by an impartial third judge: the opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required in order to impose such correction to any website.
Conversely, anyone who feels offended by any contents published on a blog, an online newspaper and most likely, even on Wikipedia, can directly request the removal of such contents and its permanent replacement with a "corrected" version, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the veracity of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources.
Discussion in the "Bar" (equivalent to the English Wikipedia's Village Pump) resulted in broad support from editors for a "blackout", with all pages redirected to a page based on Vituzzu's words. This was done on October 4 and is still in force as of publishing time. The blackout has received some mainstream attention from various international news outlets; notable English-language reports include the BBC and the Washington Post. The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) issued an official statement supporting the Italian Wikipedians. In notable individual reactions from the Foundation-l mailing list, Sue Gardner tentatively supported the move, and Mike Godwin, the former legal counsel for the WMF, applauded the news, saying "It's very hard to get a government to change its mind. You have to challenge government officials in a big, dramatic (and usually longer-lasting) way to get their attention and make them responsive." However, there were also dissenting views. Kat Walsh, a WMF board member, believed that a complete blackout may have been going too far:
I agree that for a protest to be effective, it must cause real disruption, enough to cause people to see the effect and get attention. I'm not even sure what I would suggest as an alternative--perhaps a shorter duration of complete blackout, and a gigantic sitenotice afterward (or beforehand)? Advertising the existence of mirrors? Allowing people to access articles in a tiny window below a gigantic notice? I'm not sure. I think the action that was done may be too much, that maybe something could have been done to generate as much attention without cutting off access as much.
Discussion among community members is continuing at Meta's Wikimedia Forum.
Three short films from Wikimedia Sverige
For the second largest book fair in Europe, Swedish chapter Wikimedia Sverige produced three short films about why different target groups should edit Wikipedia. These films covered librarians, teachers and senior citizens respectively. Wikimedia Sverige has offered to help out anyone who wants a version in their own language. More information and localization efforts here.
Steward elections drawing to close: Voting in the second steward elections of the year is due to end on 6 October 2011.
Gardner on the controversial image filter: Wikimedia Foundation chief executive Sue Gardner posted on her personal blog an entry entitled "Editorial judgement and empathy", where she describes what she feels is a lack of imagination from participants in the image filter discussion.
Wikimedia UK outlines activity for 2012: Wikimedia's UK chapter has published a 2012 Activity Plan which outlines on what activities and programmes they intend to spend money on next year, although they stress that it is not a budget. In the next few weeks, the chapter has scheduled an extraordinary general meeting to amend the chapter's constitution as part of a longstanding effort to get formal charity status in the UK.
New administrator:The Signpost welcomes Wikipedia's newest administrator, bot operatorAnomie. A veteran with over six years of editing, Anomie runs three active bots. There are no current Requests for Adminship at the time of writing.
Wikimedia Indonesia pilot project: On Friday October 7, the first session will take place in a new three month collaboration between Wikimedia Indonesia and the Lontar Foundation hoped to result in 300 new articles about Indonesian writers, their works, and related foundations and organizations.
Second time around for Wiki Loves Monuments: The Wiki Loves Monuments project enjoyed great success in its pan-European second annual contest, accounting for a haul of over 165,000 images added to Wikimedia Commons. Around 80% of the 5,000 participants are estimated to be new contributors to Wikimedia projects. In the coming months, judges will undertake the process of narrowing down the entries, culminating in an announcement of the winners in early December.