[discuss] Options for root zone

Louis Pouzin (well) pouzin at well.com
Sun Jan 19 03:23:20 UTC 2014

On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 8:41 PM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com>wrote:

> On Sat, Jan 18, 2014 at 06:48:37PM +0100, Louis Pouzin (well) wrote:
> > Another case of crooked interference is the bulgarian cyrillic ccTLD,
> *бг*,
> > chosen by the bulgarian gov and persistently rejected by ICANN.
> Yes.  Because it looks like "br".  It looks _remarkably_ like "br" in
> the font I happen to be using on my screen at this very moment.

Very possible. There are thousands of fonts, and one can always pick one
that creates confusion.

The arial font I use, a very common one, might be confusing with small
printing, where *6r* looks a bit like *бг*, but not with *br*. Neither
brazilians nor bulgarians would confuse *бг* with *br. *They can
distinguish a bee from a wasp. Like beauty, similariity is in the eyes of
the beholder.

Apparently, confusing *бг* and *br* is an anglophone specialty, or more
specifically american. Presumably they were never trained in identifying
non ascii letters. This visual disability seems hard to cure.

> And it's worth observing that the so-called internationalized country
> codes, quite _unlike_ the ISO3166 codes, are not standardized, which
> is precisely why "the Bulgarian government" is choosing the string
> rather than some completely disinterested 3d party like ISO.

Whether or not *бг *is standardized by ISO is not the point. The Tunis
agenda is strict:

*« 63. Countries should not be involved in decisions regarding another
country’s country-code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD). Their legitimate
interests, as expressed and defined by each country, in diverse ways,
regarding decisions affecting their ccTLDs, need to be respected, upheld
and addressed via a flexible and improved framework and mechanisms. »*
In any country a ccTLD should be spelled in one or several scripts used by
the people, and recognized by the State. It's none of ICANN's business to
invent conditions, rules, categories, and silly hair spliting about the
string defined by a country. There in nothing such in the Tunis agenda.

> Indeed, this kind of mess is exactly why Postel so cleverly threw that
> hot potato into the ISO country code list.  It got him/IANA out of
> having to decide who was a country and what the TLD for it should be.
> One "uk" was, I suspect, enough (I wasn't around).
> One of the problems that arises in internationalzation of a global
> resource, no matter how much Daniel and others like it, is that there
> will be troublesome corners where different cases bump into each
> other.  Things that are obviously not a problem in one language are
> potentially a serious problem when every language is taken into
> account -- not to mention every script, which is the other problem
> here.  Worse, of course, not everyone using some of the scripts on the
> Internet (e.g. Latin) actually knows how to use that script, becuase
> their own language may be written in some other script.

Oh yeah, it's very complicated, too much for ICANN and IETF. The job should
be delegated to China, where experts in complicated scripts are available.

> I think the ICANN procedures for visual similarity resolution are very
> far from perfect.  But we must not conflate that and the IDN issues
> with "country code TLDs" in the traditional sense.  The latter are
> completely determined by an external standard, and there's never been
> any evidence of fooling around with that.  Indeed, ICANN has been
> remarkably patient in some cases, like with .su.

I don't get it. Obviously *бг *and other non ascii ccTLD are IDN and
potential sources of confusing similarities. This results from ICANN's
policy in constraining IDN specifications so that it would not be possible
to introduce non ascii scripts. The chinese team who developed IDN was
smart enough to overcome the constraints.

> It is a nifty rhetorical trick to pretend that the internationalized
> country TLDs have the same external foundation as the traditional
> ccTLDs do.  And ICANN has been rather careless in the way it has
> referred to these things, which make the problem quite a lot worse.
> But in fact, these two different kinds of labels are based on
> different policies.  Because one of them derives from an external
> standard, there must be no variance; this is why all two-character
> ASCII labels are reserved.  But the other derives from a country's
> preferences, and those preferences are not the only consideration that
> should be taken into account for the safe and stable operation of the
> root zone.

It is normal for users to view ccTLD's from their national context,
regardless of the local scripts they use. As ICANN was unable to change its
US-ASCII centric fixation the design was botched.

E.g. MORPHO could be a perfectly regular new gTLD. Can anyone tell if the
string is ascii or cyrillic ?

We need a new linguistically customized internet.

Best regards. Louis.

> Best regards,
> Andrew
> --
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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