[At-Large] ICANN Accountability Mechanisms

bzs at theworld.com bzs at theworld.com
Sun Jan 2 06:31:27 UTC 2022

Re: TLDs and communities

From: Evan Leibovitch via At-Large <at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org>
>I witnessed first hand the hopelessness and futility of those who believed
>that a TLD could define, sustain or create a community.

Back in the days of Usenet, the 1980s mostly, which had millions of
users and eventually over 100,000 discussion topics the issue of when
to add a new topic was a constant, lively issue.


Discussion groups were "tree" organized so you had rec for recreation,
rec.sports, rec.sports.baseball, etc.

For a while there were only eight top level topics (rec, comp
[computer], talk, sci, ...), plus many regional (ne for new england,
uk, and so on), and quite a few informal, unblessed top level topics
such as "alt" which existed outside the mainstream governance.

(Note: There was earlier history, net.*, but it adds nothing to this.)

It should sound a little familiar.

How were new topics created?

By an open discussion and vote on certain designated administrative
discussion groups. Other than that there really was no governance

  An important bit of wisdom gained was that you could not create
  interest in a topic by creating a group for it.

The most compelling reason to create a new group was to split off
discussion traffic which was overwhelming another, more general group.

So rec.sports.baseball might sprout rec.sports.baseball.worldseries
because the former was being overwhelmed with world series discussion.

We knew from experience back then, the 1980s, that you could not
create interest or community by creating a topic category for it.

Attempts failed repeatedly until it became a governing principle.

You (dear reader) may find that unintuitive but that was what actual
experience taught us.

P.S. An expression that arose from Usenet was "Eternal September":


In simple terms students, millions, arrived every September, got
access to Usenet, and began imagining what the rules for things like
newsgroup creation were or ought to be. Every year.

Then AOL added Usenet and it became "Eternal September", the academic
schedule no longer throttled the flood of new accounts.

Unfortunately some of these TLD discussions have that "Eternal
September" feel to them.

  "I don't want to hear YOUR opinion! I want to hear MY opinon coming
   out of YOUR mouth!" -- some wag

        -Barry Shein

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