I sleep better knowing that in the event of Armageddon Wikipedia will be saved

Since its birth over 15 years ago, Wikipedia has a rapidly grown to contain more than 5 million pages. It may very well be the greatest collection of knowledge ever amassed in human history. What if like the great Library of Alexandria it suddenly disappeared? Our society would be sent back into the Stone Age and we would be forced to take turns satisfying our intellectual curiosity, using the only surviving version of 1996 Microsoft Encarta. Certainly not a life worth living, even with Mind Maze.

Fortunately, the people at Wikipedia have already hatched plan. Back in 2008 the task force in charge of data preservation at Wikipedia proposed to create the procedures to safeguard the content of the online encyclopedia in case of a global disaster. The proposed plan is today known as the Terminal Event Management Policy (TEMP). It is basically a policy designed to transfer the contents of Wikipedia to a non-electronic media format. TEMP provides clear instructions of when and how to begin printing out the vast number of articles found on Wikipedia.

If you are wondering what exactly is meant by “global disaster”, they have laid out detailed ways of how Armageddon could manifests itself. From vaguely defined threats such as: “societal collapse, pandemic and limited nuclear exchange”, to specific doomsday scenarios, like: “super volcano, asteroid impact and the sudden reorientation of the planet’s rotational axis”. The list is amusing and super creepy at the same time. In any case, editors are asked to familiarize themselves with the TEMP protocol so that when things got really heavy, they could put the plan into motion.

The disaster effects on the continued operations of Wikipedia (Wikimedia Foundation) has been categorized into three levels of warning. The levels range from a mild event causing a temporary service disruption (Level 1) to full scale global chaos occurring within two hours’ time (Level 3). If we were ever faced with a Level 3 warning, the editors would be directed to turn on their printers and begin making hard-copy versions of the entirety of Wikipedia. I can only assume there are also protocols in place to ensure important articles would get priority, it would be unfortunate that by the time we reached societal collapse, all we managed to save were copies articles that start with the letter A, saved in multiple geographic locations. I for one trust them they must know what they are doing.

The TEMP protocol seems like a bad joke someone thought of when they were in the shower, then used it as a theme for an online community . Still, I cannot help but think about how much we rely on the technology to do our basic tasks. What would happen if we no longer had something as useful as Wikipedia or the Internet, in our lives?