A note on bravery

A lot of people have been posting on twitter or sending me email thanking me for bravery in opposing SOPA. That’s a very very kind sentiment, and I really do appreciate it!

But I want to push back a little bit on it and reflect on where the real bravery is in the fight for free knowledge for everyone. I live in a country which respects the freedom of speech. I am at no risk of prison or physical violence or monetary fines for my views. If the worst that gets thrown at me is MPAA head Christopher Dodd saying that an Internet uprising is an “abuse of power” then I will survive just fine. :-)

Hossein Derakshan, a personal hero

Hossein Derakshan, a personal hero

I know of Wikipedia volunteers in authoritarian countries, though, who are incredibly brave.  Hossein Derakhshan is a young man I first met at Wikimania 2005 in Frankfurt.  A Wikipedia editor and blogger, he is serving a 19 and a half year sentence in Iran for his writings on the Internet.

I know of a Chinese Wikipedian who was visited by the police for setting up a mirror of Wikipedia multiple times during the era when China banned Wikipedia.

There are many more like them, all around the world.

These, and people like them, are my heroes.  They are the people of true courage.  I’m a very fortunate man in life, and I’m proud to stand up for freedom of speech and the right to access to knowledge in every circumstance that I can.  But my courage, if it is courage, is nothing compared to the courage of those who are really risking life and limb to speak truth to power.

Let us take a moment today to honor them.

eg8-forum

What should I put on the agenda at the upcoming e-G8?

Bobbie Johnson at Gigaom worries: Is France Plotting to Kill the Free Internet?, and “can’t help be concerned at what the summit might mean, given it’s essentially a closed shop of governments and corporations discussing how best to carve up the online world for us.”

I’m happy to say that I’ve been invited to participate in this meeting, and I’d like for it not to be just that. I’m therefore turning to you for help: what should I put onto the agenda? What are the important perspectives that are likely to be overlooked or ignored? What do you want to say about the Internet to the leaders of the G8 countries?

Wikia hits top 100 on Quantcast :-)

Wow, coming on the heels of the great news I got yesterday about our Comscore numbers…

W00t!

W00t!

Just for fun, here’s a comparison of Wikia (all sites) with Mahalo (all sites).  Some of you may know that Jason Calacanis enjoys poking at me and not long ago made a bit of a stir in the blogosphere by calling me a poser and saying I’m not a real entrepreneur.  Who’s posing now, Jason?  (Actually I love and respect Jason, even if he does like to talk trash, and had a nice visit with him at Mahalo not long ago, so this is all in fun.  But I dare you tweet this blog post, Jason… ;-) ) Continue reading