We have two ways: to be passive or to be active. If we
passivity, it means that we can only organize a system of proxies like
done in China or to organize some workarounds to make Wikipedia
available to the person living in totalitarism.
The Italian community has demonstrated that they would be active: I live
in Switzerland, where Italian is a national language, and I can assure
that the Swiss users have understood the problem and approved the strike.
I have great respect for Ray and others who worry that a strike
somehow undercuts the mission of the Wikimedia movement. But (and I'm
speaking only for myself here) I think Ilario's point here is valid --
sometimes the movement has to take active steps to draw attention to
the consequences of bad laws and bad government action. And a strike
is sometimes the best, most effective way to do that.
Ray's point about language groups not being limited to particular
countries (e.g., the Swiss who speak Italian, and the many nations
that speak English or Spanish) is an important one, but there is more
than one way to implement a strike. Properly implemented (by IP
ranges, for example) a strike could be limited, more or less, to a
One of the things I did some preliminary investigation about when I
was a staff member for Wikimedia Foundation was whether a strike of
the sort we've just seen would be workable. I came to the conclusion
that it would be, provided it was done with approval of the
Wikimedians in the nation or geographical territory where the bad law
or bad government action was taking place.
Again, speaking only for myself, I believe the Italian Wikimedians
made the right choice, and I believe that, so long as this tactic is
not overused, a strike may be the best and most effective response to
other anti-free-speech events in the future.