Stuart Lynn Explains Himself
Date: Thursday May 31 2001, @05:11PM
Topic: Alternate Roots

joppenheimer writes ""The policy is quite clear and well-established by the Board and community action..." Citation please?

I wrote the following article after querying Stuart Lynn and getting his reply back. The article contains some links that may not be accessible to all of you (part of my publication's paid content, the article contains some links to same.) But I think you'll find it a worthwhile read anyway. If anyone has comments or corrections, please let me know.

Judith Oppenheimer
Publisher, ICB Toll Free News"

New York, NY May 31, 2001 (ICB TOLL FREE NEWS) This week ICB posted a series of articles (COCKY BUT NOT TOO BRIGHT, EMPEROR ICANN SHOWS ITS ASS, ICANN PRES PERSUADES HIMSELF TO ISSUE POLICY STATEMENT, ISSUED, POSTED!, & SCHEDULED FOR STOCKHOLM PRESENTATION!!) addressing Stuart Lynn's startling policy pronouncement, Discussion Draft: A Unique, Authoritative Root for the DNS.

Unable to shake the Twilight-Zonish absurdity of the new ICANN president's presumptuous (to say the least) behavior, I asked, "Ignoring for the moment accepted protocol of publishing discussion drafts for public comment etc. - on what basis does *your* personal-opinion discussion draft appear on ICANN's main page, as opposed to or sans inclusion of discussion drafts written by others that discuss the same topic?

Please advise - I find this placement most curious."

Mr. Lynn replies, "It is absolutely a responsibility of the ICANN president and staff to draw attention to what is ICANN policy and what is not. That is the basis for the posting. In this case, the policy is quite clear and well-established by the Board and community action..."

Citation please?

"... and the technical basis for the policy is sound. It is also the responsibility of the president to clarify the consequences of such policies for ICANN operations. And to clarify that changes to policy require consensus processes, not working around the edges for proprietary purposes. If the Board disagrees with the president's interpretation, they have the power to act."

Actually, consensus policies must first be developed in accordance with ICANN bylaws through the various ICANN Service Organizations, a process that has in fact resulted in one solitary ICANN consensus policy issued to date since ICANN's formation: the UDRP.

Lynn continues, "Several people have asked for clarification of ICANN policy on this issue, and it is my job to respond. Furthermore, the community dialog on the subject of alternate roots has -- until the posting of my paper -- avoided the existing policy question completely."

Is Mr. Lynn not aware of his organization's activities, or is he simply threatened by them? The topic is under active consideration, with a General Assembly group of the DNSO currently discussing these issues, and the DNSO's Names Council scheduled to begin a discussion on the subject with a presentation in Stockholm (Forsyth paper/Mueller paper).

"Many of the proponents of alternate roots have also glossed over the technical issues. It was time to get both issues front and center in front of the community to stimulate a dialog."

Mr. Lynn clearly disagrees with the positions advanced and discussed by others, but there is no excuse for making a public display of feigning ignorance.

A mere tip of the publication iceberg:

- Alternative Roots and the Virtual Inclusive Root.
- Root Zone Definitions.

...a search on, a search engine that exclusively indexes domain policy related websites - currently 17, with the Afternic forums and ENUM lists missing - brings up 3,159 links. That's a lot of technical and policy discussion of alternate roots that the internet community isn't having, according to Lynn.

Back to Lynn's letter, "It is a missed opportunity that those who choose to attack the document do so on spurious procedural grounds [breach of ICANN bylaws?!] rather than provide constructive comment to the substance of the document. No on yet has pointed out to me anything in that document that is incorrect. I am sure there are corrections that need to be made -- which is why it was posted as a discussion draft ..."

Are we talking about a "discussion draft", or a "well-established policy"? Make up your mind Mr. Lynn!

"...but so far I have received no comments other than general allusions not backed up by facts."

Allusions indeed!

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Re: Stuart Lynn Explains Himself
by 300baud (service at evesnetwork dot com) on Thursday May 31 2001, @07:21PM (#709)
User #2869 Info |
Absolutely amazing... Thankyou for posting his response.

I agree with the insight that he's not asking for discussion, but rather attempting to dictate policy.

I find the "Emperor" analogy all too appropriate.

By definition the Internet is a voluntary interconnection of privately operated networks. Even so it has never been an anarchy, but rather a cooperative effort. While I don't claim to understand the inner workings entirely, I don't think anyone on the net asked to be placed under the rule of a dictatorship.

ICANN talks of bottom up and community, but frankly I haven't seen ***ANY*** indication of either in their actions.

It's my opinion if the current organizations don't stand up in arms quickly and vocally, ICANN will gradually sweep them all under the rug to extinction.

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Re: Stuart Lynn Explains Himself
by fnord ( on Friday June 01 2001, @12:25AM (#711)
User #2810 Info
ICANN has added a link from Lynn's ever changing (but not marked as Updated) page pointing to a new Public Comment Forum on a Unique, Authoritative Root for the DNS. One hopes it draws responses from more than apprentice netkooks.

If I wasn't clear in my earlier post, while it makes some sense that Lynn's draft appears within the directory on ICANN's server, can anyone explain why Kent Crispin's draft is stored and made public from the same directory? Will ICANN give equal space to Higgs or Doesn't this imply a similar blessing to the one which Lynn's draft has questionably received?

Methinks is what the current kafuffle is really about. While the ICANN talking heads have steered clear of directly addressing as an 'alt' root, Crispin pulls no such punches. ICANN isn't worried about DNS instability with two .biz's out there, nor do I think there is much reason to be for most users (in a technical sense, prior use in commerce is another matter). I also don't think they are too concerned about's plugin or repurposed 3LD's (it is outside their mandate anyway).

But if you have some of the US's largest ISP's pointing to's .shop, .law, et cetera, then ICANN can't bring in a TLD of the same name without inducing serious, unpredictable instability in the DNS, and as ICANN wasn't first with the names they can't just blame it on some patsy.

While ICANN takes just less than forever to introduce new TLD's, could conceivably introduce another 20 (or 100) without too much time or effort, meaning ICANN can only fall further behind in the race for the 'best' TLD's. Rubbing their noses in it, .kids, .xxx, travel, and others, which ICANN could have OK'd, have now effectively been taken away from them. Seems to me this puts ICANN in a real pickle, perhaps explaining Crispin's implied threat that if encroaches on ICANN's turf, Verisign can encroach on theirs. Is ICANN's facade beginning to crumble? -g

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