[At-Large] ICANN Accountability Mechanisms

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sun Jan 2 05:27:11 UTC 2022

On Thu, 30 Dec 2021 at 16:26, Jeff Neuman via At-Large <
at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org> wrote:

> Perhaps this is too idealistic and corny and perhaps you think I am full
> of it.

Remember, you opened this box.

Don't take it personally. The whole domain industry is full of it, and that
even worse it deeply believes its own bullshit.

I witnessed first hand the hopelessness and futility of those who believed
that a TLD could define, sustain or create a community. There have been
plenty of aspiring TLD-based community builders such Thomas and his "
connecting.nyc" scheme, or Annalisa whose involvement in dot-green hit a
wall in 2013 when -- as I'd feared in my own comments at the time -- it
inevitably became a greenwashing tool.

A decade ago I myself was waist-deep in the doomed Applicant Support
program, which limited participation to community TLD applications and
ended up so terrified of gaming that it had qualifications that nobody
could meet. I should have known better at the time but learned a great deal
from the experience. The loudest lesson was that the whole TLD-as-community
mantra is utter balderdash, pitifully pursued by dreamers and mercilessly
exploited by the industry. Dot-music, dot-gay, dot-pro and the 2009
"CityTLD Constituency" project are other examples of registry schemes that
promised the stars but delivered (at best) meterorites. And as we have seen
from too close a distance, even the one TLD that we *thought* was a
community -- dot-org -- was not safe from attempted manipulation by a
conspiracy between former ICANN staff, investors and ISOC.

In other words, we've heard this song before; so please spare us a refrain,
regardless of its musical style or its new iteration of fairy dust.

Internet domains are commodities that may serve communities -- incidentally
-- but will never define or sustain one alone (especially when *real*
community-building tools such as Discord are available for free). Can we
once and for all stop the charade that TLDs are more than they are?

As the immortal Judy Sheindlin once said (even before she went on TV),
don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining.

- Evan
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