It took two and a half hours to take my internet presence into the strike. This was not like flicking a switch.
Pages had to be coded appropriately to the various forums upon which they would be displayed. What worked for my websites would not suit my blogs. One size did not fit all.
In addition, there was an entirely separate procedure, which had to take place where I couldn't access the HTML. Content management systems would prove the most time-consuming of all.
That didn't even include the preparation leading up to it. At least another hour could be tagged onto the tally for that.
Deciding to participate in the mass internet action against SOPA and PIPA was not an undertaking to be taken lightly. My experience was small scale, but it would have touched upon many of the same considerations that people all over the web would have been mulling over.
I am a freelance writer struggling to launch a career. I have spent the past six months working hard to publicize all of these sites and now I was planning to pause them. Nay-sayers warned that I could do irreparable damage to my Google rankings and such. Psychologically, that took a deep breath to see where the conflict between social conscience and livelihood would fall.
There was never really any question. The cause was too important, even if it did feel like I was handing my babies over to the Fates.
Morality decided, the next major issues were how I could achieve internet blackout on January 18th 2012. I have already described my musings on the subject in a previous article. In a nutshell, it required looking at each of my platforms and determining the most efficient and effective ways of censoring each one.
The websites were the easiest to resolve. I did what I suspect 90% of the programmers participating did. I simply recoded my index file, so my homepage was totally redesigned.
The usual homepage was still there, but renamed. This rendered it temporarily invisible. Instead, anyone browsing to either site would find the new protest homepage. No navigation was available, thus making it difficult to find the rest of the site.
I have preserved it in the directory, so that you may view it as it was for American Censorship Day.
Next I tackled my blogs. This was also a relatively simple fix, though it took much trial and error to arrive at that conclusion!
Both are hosted on Google's Blogspot, which restricted my access to the source code. I could mess with the HTML templates, as many other tech-savvy bloggers did. I even successfully recoded it to display a basic message appropriate to the protest. Unfortunately, I'm not an artist. I couldn't do any of the wonderful fixes that many of my colleagues used; nor would my website coding work in there.
In the end, I took advantage of another option. Many other people involved in the campaign were coming up with very eye-catching designs. Some of them were offering them free for general use.
I merely added a redirect to all of my blog templates. When readers clicked onto any of those links, the meta headings would automatically refresh the page. Their browsers would be taken to another site entirely, where the artwork was featured. In short, it looked exactly like my blogs had been shut down with a legal notice!
The code shown below is precisely what I used. Just a single line initiated the redirect. It's the one which begins 'meta http-equiv', directly under the head tag.
Alex - Thank you for reporting back on this. I also saw a fair number of webcomic sites down, including the wonderful xkcd. His stuff is certainly original! Considering that one of the major arguments in support of SOPA/PIPA is that they protect artists, it was quite telling just how many artists disagreed.
WebaliciousGuides - Thank you very much! Especial thanks for signing the petition. My friends and I spent most of last night crying with laughter over the Wikipedia blackout tweets! My friend sent a message in, 'here is a work around for those struggling without Wikipedia'. The link that he sent was a photograph of a library. LOL
This is a good article and it explains the issues well. I would have put a message on my site, but unfortunately I was so busy yesterday! But I did sign an anti-SOPA petition to show my support for the campaign. I noticed the campaign on several websites I visited yesterday (especially Wikipedia and WordPress). It was funny to see the tweets from people complaining they couldn't do their homework etc because of the Wikipedia blackout! If only those people knew how to use the Google cache. But really they shouldn't leave their homework until the last minute in the first place!
Along with the big sites, every webcomic I read yesterday had a huge protest banner and many of the sites were down totally. It was pretty awesome to see that, even people creating totally original content, were opposed to this bill!
Sorry Killer, it would have been a very, very long article if I'd name-checked every site. But my thanks to you and everyone at Newgrounds for all you did on American Censorship Day.
You didn't mention Newgrounds!! They took the site completely off. It was just a black page telling you all about the SOPA thing and sending you to the petition.