Can't last a day without Wikipedia? Try #altwiki

Posted at 01/18/2012 7:10 PM | Updated as of 01/23/2012 6:22 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Some media organizations abroad have provided a Band-Aid solution to readers of Wikipedia, which shut down for 24 hours as a sign of protest against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States.

In a blog post on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), the Washington Post said it is joining forces with the Guardian, NPR and other media organizations "to encourage a one-day crowdsourcing solution for those left searching for answers."

It said that Twitter users who normally turn to Wikipedia for answers may ask questions to major media groups by including the hashtag #altwiki in their posts.

"Ask a question on Twitter with the hashtag #altwiki, and we'll ask our readers to help provide an answer. We'll answer a few ourselves -- and likely blog about that tomorrow," David Beard, the Washington Post's sitewide engagement editor, said in the blog post.

"While we're not in the Wikipedia business, this is an experimental, one-day Band-Aid to help out readers during the protest of proposed Internet rules by Wikipedia, Reddit, Boing Boing and several other online organizations," he added.

In an interview with The New York Times, Beard said he got the idea from their business news producer, Sarah Halzack.

"We know it is a few drops in the ocean," he said in the interview, adding that the move would generate good will for the news organizations involved in the one-day movement.

Wikipedia announced Tuesday that it will go dark for 24 hours as it opposes the SOPA, which is currently before the US House of Representatives.