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.XXX and Others: The Great TLD Debate

By acestus in Internet
Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:57:36 AM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)

On #kuro5hin today, a few of us were repeating the daily tradition of bemoaning such ludicrous gTLD choices as .museum and .aero

We started wondering, though: what were the Most Right choices that ICANN could have made?

We eventually settled (and I use that word loosely) on six new gTLDs:
  • .mov - Movies: film domains are either counterintuitive and silly, or waste .com space that could be used for more useful things.
  • .per - Personal: also suggested were ".my" and ".ind", for people's pages. Unlike ".name", you would not be required to use your birth name
  • .lib - Software: strictly for distribution of software
  • .kid - Kids: material suitable for children
  • .xxx - pr0n: pornography
  • .etc - et cetera: a random home for 'extra stuff' that isn't easily classified elsewhere (or that just wants to be here)
  • .??? - There were a few suggestions for a seventh, but by the time we got there, other arguments (detailed below) were going too strongly to leave room for discussion. Some mentioned were ".nic" for Internet governing bodies, ".med" for providers of medical information, ".sux", ".inoshiroinmypants", ".aol", and my favorite, ".squat"

We also seemed to all agree that ".net", ".org", and ".com" should have been more strictly enforced. The main debated topics were the righteousness of ".kid" and ".xxx", and the very worth of ICANN's current domain system as it stands.

goatse.XXX and Other Fine Literature
The basic debate over .xxx and .kids is simple: who regulates it? If pornographers are forced into .xxx, then someone is deciding what pornography is, and can decide that Mapplethorpe is porn or that goatse.cx is not porn. Further, this hypothetical council of fools can decide that while Barney is good for kids, so is The Demonbuster. Or, more likely, that Pokémon is not.

My solution: Let the gTLDs have a charter and let ICANN enforce it without making it subject to national laws. The last thing we need is some parent suing ICANN for making Pokémon available to kids.

ICANN: Fear the Reaper
There were also those of us who thought that the entire ICANN system is Broken considering the size of the modern internet. The current Big Three (.com .net .org) were enough for most sites way back in the early nineties, but things are different, and ICANN has demonstrated that it doesn't know how to change.

I've said before that I like bigendian (@us.gov.whitehouse) domains, but I'll only mention it here and not dwell. The bigger option (which I also support) is two-tiered (or arbitrarily multi-tiered) domains. Microsoft might be in "sware.com", Boeing in "aero.com", kuro5hin in "chat.org". This leaves the possibility of a "*.legacy" TLD used to transition from the old to the new system of domain names. Some crazy foreigners even suggest (and perhaps rightly) that all TLDs should be cTLDs. "amazon.co.us", anyone?

I think that these new gTLD choices show more than anything else has that ICANN is really dain bramaged. Of course, I might (ha!) be wrong. Better choices? ".xxx" ?== The_Devil? I'm eager to hear opinions from Beyond The Channel.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


What's the best suggested gTLD here? (After .inoshiroinmypants)
o .squat 11%
o .xxx and .kid 40%
o .med 1%
o .nic 1%
o .etc 17%
o .per 7%
o .mov 14%
o .lib 5%

Votes: 84
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o ludicrous gTLD choices
o Mapplethor pe
o goatse.cx
o Barney
o The Demonbuster
o Pok&eacute ;mon
o Microsoft
o Boeing
o Also by acestus

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.XXX and Others: The Great TLD Debate | 22 comments (22 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
.xxx (2.88 / 9) (#1)
by pope nihil on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 10:30:09 AM EST

Sorry, but I don't really want some internet government body to decided what is and isn't porn. Sure, it's a nice idea, but the next thing you know, stuff you never expected to be considered porn will be relegated to .xxx.

I voted.

Make it voluntary (4.20 / 5) (#3)
by jabber on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 10:56:11 AM EST

Pornography is a business. Businesses want to have customers, and so, they want to be easy to find by their customers. If .xxx (or .sex) is voluntary, and porn shops specifically request whitehouse.xxx, then there is no problem.

A business isn't going to specifically request giant-dildo.kids, is it? Pediphiles may troll the .kids domains looking for kids, but they won't be there looking for kiddie porn - that will be easy to find in kiddie-porn.xxx

Yes, I know, businesses buy up domain names in all TLDs, to corral search engine attention. But ultimatelly, businesses are in business to make money, and if it's easiest to make money by classifying yourself according to your niche, then that's what will happen.

Or am I being totally naive about this? IMO, the only reason that porn 'hides' in seemingly innocuous domains is 1. a form of humour (whitehouse.com, goatse.cx) 2. persecution avoidance.

If porn were voluntarily self-confined to a TLD, then you still have a censorship issue, but you drop it to the level of the ISP. If aol.com for example chooses to filter all .xxx addresses, then they will lose a lot of thir business. They'd have to sell different levels of access, at different price-points, just like cable TV.

Now, I'm not saying that this is necessarily the best solution - but it avoids the issue of having a global 'moral police'. You want to sell porn, people know that it's in .xxx; you want to view .xxx, you pay for the 'unrestricted' package at your ISP - and you still have the odd porn site that lists under .ind and pretends to be a private exhibitionist who takes all major credit cards.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

I wholeheartedly agree. (2.75 / 4) (#5)
by TheReverend on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:30:30 AM EST

Here in cleveland, there is the odd adult book store and strip club.
And then there's Brookpark road.....awwwwww yeah.

It is where to go when you want porn, strippers, hookers and the like. I think it is awesome. I go all the time. My roomate is a born again, and never has to see it. It's just that simple. You can keep kids out of the area easily. If .xxx was just a safe harbor like that, most porn sites would go there voluntarily. Especially if that's where most of the money ends up. The only reason porn sites use .com now is because that's what people know.


"Democratic voting is specifically about minority rights" --Infinitera
[ Parent ]

Bigendian domains (2.66 / 6) (#2)
by squigly on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 10:40:15 AM EST

I quite like that idea, except it puts the name at the wrong end of email addresses. The username is the least significant componentnt. It should be at the end

People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
well, it depends how you do it (3.00 / 1) (#6)
by jbridge21 on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:52:08 AM EST

Me and a friend were having a heated debate over this some time ago, and one additional thing he was pushing was using only dots (".") and taking away slashes ("/"). You would get URLs like so:


And e-mail addresses like such:

org.firehead.jeffrey (that's me!)

It's really interesting to talk about.

[ Parent ]
http.com.whitehouse.www (3.50 / 2) (#7)
by acestus on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:58:52 AM EST

That seems awfully obscure, to me. You can't disambiguate the protocol from the server unless you mandate that protocol is always mentioned. URLs' multiple delimiters are good precisely because they disambiguate sections.

This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]
yeah (none / 0) (#8)
by jbridge21 on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:23:11 PM EST

That was my take on it. What my friend was talking about was more akin to an idealized information-retrieval system, not the current protocol/server/info stuff. I would suggest the following:



Of course, there's a gazillion variations, but I think that some unified system like this could do really well.

[ Parent ]
Implementation (none / 0) (#20)
by interiot on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 08:54:48 PM EST

That wouldn't even be terribly difficult to implement now. Just set up your own DNS server and add a rule that if a domain name can't be found, reverse it and try again.

Of course, no one else would be able to hear the beat of your drum, but that's their problem, eh?

[ Parent ]

for the record (none / 0) (#21)
by kubalaa on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 09:06:21 PM EST

I was that friend, and I'm not that crazy. My idea had the protocol (but not the resource) delimited. i.e. http:gov.whitehouse.www.index.html. Among other things, it also entailed unification of namespaces; you could also have a news:gov.whitehouse and a mail:gov.whitehouse (for the sysadmin, I suppose). As jbridge21 said, in an ideal world this kind of purely hierarchical system might work but their are practical and historical reasons why it never arose this way, and I think it's probably too late to change.

[ Parent ]
.XXX as safe harbor (4.60 / 10) (#4)
by error 404 on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 11:20:46 AM EST

Rather than being forced to use .XXX, the rule could be made that .XXX is a safe harbor. The rule could be that if the .XXX TLD is used, any responsibility for obscenity laws shifts to the client end of the connection. Makes sense -

Unfortunately, that could reduce the constitutional protection (in the U.S.A.) of other sites, because the courts are willing to allow restrictions on time and place of expression as long as there is a time and place where the material can be distributed.

The .kid one might not have specific rules, but would be kind of the opposite - a site with a .kid TLD would be pretty much assumed to be aimed at kids and thus (in the U.S.A., anyway) subject to some regulations that are already in effect. There are already rules that apply to sites aimed at children that aren't applied to sites in general - the .kid TLD would just make proving the site was aimed at kids more automatic.

Those TLDs would help the authorities (which I'm not a big fan of doing in general) but they also communicate and direct material to the intended audience, and that is a Good Thing.

The rest of the TLDs would do nothing (unless there is enforcement) but increase the number of similar domains large organizations buy up.

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

.lib: should be for ACTUAL librarys, not SOFTWARE (4.00 / 7) (#9)
by delmoi on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 12:23:13 PM EST

It seems to me that .lib would be better used for actual literature, then for software lib, I mean when most people think of the word "Library" they don't think of a software package In fact, Even I would, since I'm more used to people talking about "DLLs" and "APIs" and such.

Speaking of witch, visit my <a href=http://delmoi.dhs.org/lib> small online library. Its pretty anemic, but I do have some of gibson stuff :P
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Libraries, Online and Otherwise (none / 0) (#11)
by acestus on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 01:47:16 PM EST

Well, I wouldn't have suggested ".lib" as the software domain, but I took it as it came. As for libraries, in my Ideal World, they'd be "edu.lib.*"

As for your online library, you should rename files to not contain single-quotes (apostrophes) and spaces. It's Bad Form on the web, and makes it very hard for me to steal a copy of ATP from you!

This is not an exit.
[ Parent ]

ATP (none / 0) (#22)
by delmoi on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 01:43:39 PM EST

I've only got about the first 1/4th of ATP up there, so I wouldn't bother trying to steal it. I was manualy typing it by hand, and I made it to chapter 15. Off the top of my head, I think there are 62 chapters.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
[ Parent ]
.lib (none / 0) (#12)
by reshippie on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 02:05:02 PM EST

I agree. If you want more tlds to make things more clear, then you should make them more clear to everybody. Since the general public has outnumber computer geeks and such, well you'll have to accpet that fact.

How about .sft for software?
Just a thought

Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)
[ Parent ]

hmm..... (none / 0) (#14)
by Holloway on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:30:12 PM EST

I read .sft as sci-fi.

How about .comp, .app, .010, .soft, .code, .ware, .prog (.pro), .ins(tructions), argh.. now I'm grasping at straws.

== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

Accountability (3.00 / 3) (#10)
by Khedak on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 01:30:48 PM EST

Well, the TLD's don't make much sense to us, but since the ICANN is comprised of large business representatives, with a few gov't appointees thrown in, who do you expect their decisions to serve?

Funny how the system was just handed over to them, without asking anyone at all, despite the fact that large portions of the Internet were set up at public expense (in the United States, this is not just arpanet, but public university funding, too)...

It's pointless to talk about what we think are useful TLD's, when the people making these decisions are about as far removed from us as possible. It's in the hands of "the industry" now. If you want a say, then maybe we should try putting the administration in more accountable hands?

My own TLD suggestions (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by Tim Locke on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 05:12:28 PM EST

I agree with .per and .xxx

How about:

.rec - Recreation/Entertainment/Sports/Games
.sci - Science/Technology
.rel - Religion
.soc - Society/Lifestyle
.biz - Stores
.news - Media
.info - ?
.misc - ?

I think .edu should be opened to any site dedicated to education.

--- On the Internet, no one knows you're using a VIC-20.
Why have TLD's? (4.00 / 2) (#15)
by jesterzog on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 06:36:26 PM EST

I know that there's a group of people who think the whole concept of TLD's isn't really needed. (I'm bordering on one of them.) Does anyone know what the argument is for restricting what TLD's can be used?

I understand how useful it is to be able to categorise, Especially with things like country codes, and personally I wouldn't have any problem with certain TLD's being reserved in advanced. But if someone wants to register im.a.compgeek, why shouldn't they be able to?

jesterzog Fight the light

Currently ignored (none / 0) (#19)
by interiot on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 08:48:32 PM EST

I'd assert that TLD's are partially ignored today anyway. The first thing a commercial organization does is register mytrademark.* so they won't have to deal with squatters. While there's probably a prefered domain to use (eg. few people probably use cnn.net or slashdot.com), it's more a matter of brand asthetics than one of sub-categorization to reduce trademark disputes or one of DNS server loading. So, to be more flexible, TLD's could be tossed aside, and http://something-org/ could be used if someone really wants to portray their brand a certain way.

[ Parent ]
rec, comp, sci, misc, alt (2.66 / 3) (#16)
by enterfornone on Thu Nov 30, 2000 at 06:45:49 PM EST

what's the other one?

if you are going to have a heirachy, why now have a real one like usenet


efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
Ideas (3.00 / 2) (#17)
by Peeteriz on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 07:52:21 AM EST

First, i think that a 'product' domain should be made, because many of .com's now represent products, not comapnies. Games, movies, windows2000, thinkpad - i do not think that the would belong in .com, but, as of now, there is not any other place where to expect them.
Another thing - gov, mil and probably edu would have to go. They should be under country TLD, yes, whitehouse.gov.us, although that would probably feel strange to the average american coach-potato who is not aware of countries other than the USA.
And, above all - there should be no restrictions on what to place under the domain names. They are indended so that people who are looking for something of one kind would find it easier. Nobody should have the authority to decide wether some stuff must be in .kids or in .xxx. Different societies may, and have, wildly different moral values, and individuals have the right to have morals unacceptable to the society. Nobody has the authority, power and omniscience to be allowed to censor publications.

Who really cares? (3.33 / 3) (#18)
by joto on Fri Dec 01, 2000 at 08:46:07 PM EST

In reality, the domain name system was never intended to be used for anything except naming hosts. And it was intended to be hierarchical, with the toplevel name remaining the name of the organization. It is just ridiculous that one needs a network interface card and an IP number to get a "neat" name for some product on the web.

What is needed is something much like freenet, but with a different twist. Let's call this system infonet. Now, number one priority on infonet would be that information should never disappear. To make this work, there should always be at least three hosts at different locations storing each file. This should be ensured by infonet software. If one host go down, another should take over. Thus, there will always be redundancy. Furthermore, we need a central organization governing infonet, let's call it infonet-adm. It would have two tasks: (1) managing namespace (usenet is a fine model for this) (2) managing content and ensuring enough machine resources are available. The last task is the most difficult. I see several business models for infonet-adm

  1. charging a one-time fee for each file stored in infonet
  2. charging users for downloading content (probably stupid)
  3. charging ISP's for connecting to infonet
  4. demanding ISP's to set contribute a suitable amount of machine resources to infonet, the amount can be a function of number of users and their average activity on infonet.

A combination of option 1 and 4 sounds most reasonable to me. Note that as long as More's law is in effect, it will not be a problem to save the old content forever.

.XXX and Others: The Great TLD Debate | 22 comments (22 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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