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  • ICANN-Related Reading
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    Ted Byfied
    - ICANN: Defending Our Precious Bodily Fluids
    - Ushering in Banality
    - ICANN! No U CANN't!
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    - DNS: A Short History and a Short Future

    David Farber
    - Overcoming ICANN (PFIR statement)

    A. Michael Froomkin
    - When We Say US™, We Mean It!
    - ICANN 2.0: Meet The New Boss
    - Habermas@ discourse.net: Toward a Critical Theory of Cyberspace
    - ICANN and Anti-Trust (with Mark Lemley)
    - Wrong Turn in Cyberspace: Using ICANN to Route Around the APA & the Constitution (html)
    - Form and Substance in Cyberspace
    - ICANN's "Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy"-- Causes and (Partial) Cures

    Milton Mueller
    - Ruling the Root
    - Success by Default: A New Profile of Domain Name Trademark Disputes under ICANN's UDRP
    - Dancing the Quango: ICANN as International Regulatory Regime
    - Goverments and Country Names: ICANN's Transformation into an Intergovernmental Regime
    - Competing DNS Roots: Creative Destruction or Just Plain Destruction?
    - Rough Justice: A Statistical Assessment of the UDRP
    - ICANN and Internet Governance

    David Post
    - Governing Cyberspace, or Where is James Madison When We Need Him?
    - The 'Unsettled Paradox': The Internet, the State, and the Consent of the Governed

    Jonathan Weinberg
    - Sitefinder and Internet Governance
    - ICANN, Internet Stability, and New Top Level Domains
    - Geeks and Greeks
    - ICANN and the Problem of Legitimacy

    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)


     
    ICANNWatch.org Milestone or Millstone?
    posted by DavidP on Friday August 24 2001, @05:35AM

    ICANNWatch has now passed a (minor) milestone - we recently posted article #300 - and it seems like this would be a good time for some stock-taking/soul-searching about the site, what it is, what it should be, where it has been, and where it's going.



    Most of you know the basic history; though it sometimes seems (to me, at least) like we've been doing this forever, in fact ICANNWatch first drew breath in the summer of 1999 when Michael Froomkin, David Farber, and I set up the site. The idea was pretty simple; it seemed to us that what ICANN was up to was of the deepest importance for the future of the net, and that outside of a very, very small number of inside players, there weren't a lot of people who were paying any attention to it whatsoever. I'm not sure that the three of us had a shared vision on any of the difficult substantive questions - like how ICANN should be constituted, or whether we needed ICANN at all, or how the DNS should be structured, or whether the ICANN Board members were good people or nasty people, or ...... That wasn't the point; the point was that what we did share was a sense that more information is better than less, that more public discussion and debate about whatever ICANN was up to could only be a positive thing, increasing the likelihood (in however small a degree) that the system would evolve in the 'best' direction (however one might define 'best').

    In the late winter of this year (2001) we switched over to the current format, as a way to give our readers more of an opportunity to participate in the site, both through their commentary and their ability to post stories. Two more editors - Jon Weinberg and T. Byfield - came on board shortly thereafter, to try to help us keep abreast of the astonishing and often overwhelming flood of information pouring forth inside the DNS debates.

    It's been a huge amount of work - and may I say that Michael and Jon in particular deserve the lion's share of the credit for doing the lion's share of the work on the site, and to the extent that what we're doing here is worthwhile you should direct your thanks to them - and I admit that I sometimes ask myself whether its been, or will continue to be, worth it.

    I think it has been, and will be - though I don't really know for sure the criteria I should be using to assess that. I'm tempted to say "If the site has helped a single person understand how the structure and control of the DNS matters for the net, or how ICANN operates, or why the question of the new gTLDs is so critical, or .... then its been worth it" - but while that's a noble sentiment, it's also a bit disingenous; the fact is that if only 1 person were engaged in the site I'd personally probably pack it in.

    Of course, that is not the case; we have, so our web logs tell us, many thousands of visitors. But the raw numbers will never be dispositive in any event; the process by which something like ICANN becomes better understood by a global public is one that is deeply mysterious to mortals like me, but I think I know enough about it to know that an exercise like ICANNWatch can have a lasting influence on the debate even if it reaches only a relatively small number of people, if those people are the 'right' ones, people who are themselves communicating out to a larger circle of interested people [who are themselves communicating to a still larger circle, [[who are themselves communicating out to a larger circle]], and on and on].

    I think by that criterion the site's been important and worthwhile - though I'd be interested in our readers' thoughts on that question.

    And while I'm ruminating, one more thought: the ICANN experience has taught me that "obscurity" comes in many different flavors and has many different consequences. I often think to myself that the world was in fact much better off when the DNS was obscure, when Jon Postel and a small number of his colleagues ran the whole damned show. But if the last few years have taught me anything it is that obscurity like that is a kind of promised land to which, once you've left, you can never return. People - lots of people - now see that the DNS is a kind of money-minting machine (or real-estate-generating machine, to use a perhaps better metaphor); we have, for better or worse, passed that milestone, and once its been passed obscurity is the enemy; once its been made clear that capturing the reins of the DNS is worth huge sums of money, there's no turning back. I'd love to think that if we all just pretended ICANN were not there that it would, in effect, go away, that we could all continue in blissful ignorance of what it was doing. Alas, I'm pretty sure that's not the case.

    So on to the next 300.

     
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    Milestone or Millstone? | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 17 comments | Search Discussion
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    Reading, writing and scrolling
    by alexander on Friday August 24 2001, @11:06PM (#2009)
    User #22 Info | http://www.icannchannel.de
    ICANNwatch is a daily stop for me too, and while I obviously don't always agree with what the story contributors have to say, it's usually well selected. I would appreciate very much if some of the anonymous people (Slashdot prefers the term "coward"...) would take the little time and courage it takes to sign up.

    Do you want to know what I dislike? scroller.js. Yes, I mean that scrolling JavaScript thing in the box on the right hand side under "Last news about ...". Here is why: If you are one of those people opening the "Read more" links in a new window -- because there is often more than one interesting story --, a smaller browser window opens. Expand that browser window to full size and the scrolling thing will sit in the middle of the article. Worse still, it knows it is in the way and reloads the whole page in case of a browser resize. I don't know if I'm the only one who dislikes this, but I thought I'd take the post #300 opportunity to ask! :-)

    - Alexander
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Milestone or Millstone?
    by hofjes on Friday August 24 2001, @12:44PM (#2004)
    User #60 Info
    I read ICANNWatch every day, if not several times each day.

    Thank you very much for your efforts.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Milestone or Millstone?
    by dtobias (dan@tobias.name) on Friday August 24 2001, @05:02PM (#2008)
    User #2967 Info | http://domains.dan.info/
    That is not a fair comment. You write anonymously that ICANNWatch doesn't "cover what is really going on", but you offer no clue what goings-on you'd like the site to cover. I guess it's much easier to snipe anonymously at the site than to work constructively to improve it, such as by submitting articles about whatever events you think are being overlooked here.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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