Wednesday, 18 January 2012

On the Wikipedia Blackout, SOPA, PIPA and Firebug

So this SOPA and PIPA thing is threatening the Freedom of people across the globe and people are making their voices heard. I'm one of the ones that believe that the internet should remain free, and I think its important for awareness of this evil vile act to be propagated. GoDaddy got slated a few weeks back as thousands of customers left and changed domain providers (I didnt change my domains held by them, but im just going to let them expire since I no longer need them), and now Wikipedia is making a stand, great.

However during the course of the day I came to realise how much Wikipedia really means to me. I've never contributed a single article to the site but I use it on a frequent basis. So frequent that I panicked at the loss of Wikipedia for 24 hours.

With a heavy heart and the pain and loss of Wikipedia urging me to do something, I decided to investigate how the blackout was created. Assuming its for 24 hours only, it would make sense for the designers to add some sort of CSS trick to overlay the blackout image over the normal content. So that come tomorrow morning they could remove the said CSS code and have the site return to normal.

I investigated this angle using the good old 'firebug' add-on for firefox. This is an invaluable tool for any person interested in web development or design, and I have been a faithful user since 2007. Lo and behold, the code showed the addition of some 'display: none' css styles for the content and the addition of a new Div element that overlays the entire page with the SOPA message. The solution for quick access? Change the content div style to 'display:block' and the sopaOverlay div to 'display:none'. (Click on images to enlarge)

Although this gave me access to a single wikipedia page, the larger issue at hand regarding SOPA and any similar law's still remains unresolved. Here's hoping that freedom is handed back to the people. Happy CSS Hacking!

1 comment:

  1. This is what wikipedia's FAQ had to say about circumventing the blackout:
    Is it still possible to access Wikipedia in any way?
    Yes. During the blackout, Wikipedia is accessible on mobile devices and smart phones. You can also view Wikipedia normally by disabling JavaScript in your browser, as explained on this Technical FAQ page. Our purpose here isn't to make it completely impossible for people to read Wikipedia, and it's okay for you to circumvent the blackout. We just want to make sure you see our message.