One of the rules that spans pretty much the entirety of the vast SB Nation empire (of which we are but a small fiefdom) is the "no politics" rule. We try as best we can to make these communities places where sports fans of all races, religions, gender and sexual identities, and political affiliations can gather and talk about the teams and sports that they love. Since I've been here, I don't think I've seen even one violation of this rule, and that's something that I like.
On the other hand, sometimes things happen in the world that, while they exist in the political sphere, are beyond partisanship, and when they have the potential to directly affect us (The Short Fuse, SB Nation, and the Internet-going public as a whole) I do not think it's inappropriate to comment on them.
The stance of Vox Media, our parent company, is that it officially opposes the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. The Short Fuse joins Vox and SB Nation in that opposition. You can read SB Nation's full statement here, and The Verge (Vox's superlative tech blog) goes into much more detail here. Additionally there are other posts on The Verge (like this one) that, if you have no idea in hell what I'm talking about right now, are quite good as a SOPA crash course.
If this bill and/or its Senate sister, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) becomes law, it could have a tremendous effect on how the Internet works, and at the very least, its spirit is one of stifling free speech and expression in a misguided and wildly ineffective attempt to protect intellectual property. And it directly affects us as fans of European football - like watching Arsenal online? Well, even if you do it legally, these bills will make your life very hard.
We're authorities on Arsenal (theoretically, at least), not on politics or law, so we'll certainly understand if you don't want to take our word for this. (Full disclosure: I was a journalism/political science/pre-law major in college, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about, though certainly I'm no expert.) What I and we ask of you is to take this day to do a little research and learn about this, and make up your own mind.
Many sites across the Internet have gone dark today in protest of these bills, which is why today's the day we've taken a stance. We are not going to shut the site down, because we don't want to take this community away, and this is probably more than enough. Honestly I don't even know how that would work, so either way it wouldn't happen. However, for the rest of today, in solidarity with the rest of the Internet, we won't be producing any content. This is the last thing we'll be posting today.
If you choose to discuss this in the comments, be sure you take care to act with class and dignity. And remember that this is not a partisan issue. Neither Republicans nor Democrats are to blame here; both bills have wide bipartisan support.
Thanks for putting up with this divergence from our usual fare. We'll be back up as usual tomorrow, and feel free to take a look at the episode of Fusillade I posted last night. Feel free to consider the comment thread there and this one here open threads for Arsenal discussion, since there won't be more posts until tomorrow.
INTERNET IN CRISIS.