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The Italian, Galician, Asturian, and Catalan Wikipedias have blacked themselves out today to protest the EU Copyright Directive. Other language versions of Wikipedia have chosen to show site banners above their content. Wikipedia’s volunteer editing communities make decisions like this independently. More on that, and our unaltered original post, is below.

These independent language communities decided to black out in the same way most decisions are made on Wikipedia—through discussion and consensus, something summarized in a statement from the German Wikipedia volunteer community: “Each of these independent Wikipedia communities has been engaging in public online discussions as to their course of action, and voting on whether and how to protest. They have done this according to their own rules of governance.

This community governance is a part of what makes Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects so robust and so unique. These sites are not just about millions of people compiling information, but about providing knowledge equity: ensuring that people everywhere have a say in contributing knowledge and how that knowledge is used.

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