How to Beat the Wikipedia Blackout

Jan 18, 2012  •  Post A Comment

Wikipedia and other Internet sites are blacked out today to protest controversial pending legislation designed to fight Internet piracy, as previously reported.

Other major websites, including Google, are supporting the protest but stopping short of going dark. In the case of Google, depending on your browser, the home page may show a large black censorship bar almost completely concealing the Google logo. Links have also been added to enable users to easily let Congress know they oppose the legislation.

Wikipedia pages generally go dark after momentarily appearing on the computer screen. After the page goes away, information appears about the pending legislation and what users can do about it. This material is worth a look, but if you really need to see the actual Wikipedia entries, you may be in luck.

Again depending on the browser, TVWeek has found that a quick click of the “stop” button or "X" button, which halts the loading of pages (not the "X" in the corner of the page on some browsers, which closes the page), can defeat the blackout, keeping the Wikipedia entry on the screen. If the “dark” page with information about the blackout is already on the screen, hitting “refresh” should give you repeat chances to freeze the screen with the actual Wikipedia entry visible.

While your mileage may vary, we successfully “beat” the blackout using various operating systems and browsers, including Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer. However, we did find that timing is everything — in some cases, the “X” must be clicked slightly before the page appears. In other cases, fast reflexes are the key, as the button must be clicked immediately after the page first appears.

The X is typically located near the “refresh” button, while in Safari it may be effectively the same button, which switches back and forth between “X” and “refresh” depending on the status of the page loading. (This makes freezing the page especially easy.)

The point of the protest is to remind users of the importance of Internet freedom and the value these websites bring to us. We find Wikipedia, Google and other services to be of great value, and dreaded having to get through one day without access to some of the sites. So for us, the point has been made.


  1. You can also use the ESC key to stop loading the page. Works in most browsers.

  2. Also works with those sites who’re charging for more than a modicum of page views per month (nitwits), e.g. the local paper linked with my name.

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