No Wikipedia for a day? Try #altWiki

KD Suarez

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Media groups, includingWashington Post, NPR, Guardian, to try to answer questions on Twitter

MANILA, Philippines – No Wikipedia for 24 hours? Some major media organizations abroad have an answer: #altwiki.

In a blog post Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012 (Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2012 in Manila), the Washington Post announced it is joining forces with several other media orgs, including the NPR and The Guardian (UK), for a “one day crowdsourcing solution” for people reeling from the effects of having no Wikipedia.

“Ask a question on Twitter with the hashtag #altwiki, and we’ll ask our readers to help provide an answer,” the Washington Post said. “We’ll answer a few ourselves – and likely blog about that tomorrow.”

David Beard, the paper’s sitewide engagement editor, told The New York Times that the idea was suggested by one of their news producers, Sarah Halzack.

“[We] started thinking about what a day without Wikipedia would mean, practically speaking, for a typical person. The #altwiki tag seemed like a fun way to track that,” Mark Stencel, NPR’s managing editor for digital news, said.

Beard also said that #altwiki is a “Band-Aid” that doesn’t aim to replace Wikipedia.

If all else fails, the Washington Post’s Style blog has this to say: search deeper, or go offline.

The crowdsourced online encyclopedia is the largest website to join the blackout to protest the SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act, currently pending at the US Congress. Proponents say it will curb rampant intellectual property theft online, while opponents say it will stifle freedom on the Internet. –

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