draft-liman-tld-names-00.txt and bidi

John C Klensin klensin at jck.com
Tue Mar 10 05:12:02 CET 2009

--On Monday, March 09, 2009 15:37 -0700 Tina Dam
<tina.dam at icann.org> wrote:

> Some of this has to do with the fact that the 'TLD string
> criteria" for new TLDs reads:
> - no leading or trailing digits (in any script)
> As RFC 1123 is being revised to allow IDNs (including digits
> as digits appear in the A-labels) this topic came up.
> Please be aware that parts of the community want digits in
> top-level labels, and so if there is a good technical solution
> for banning digits in top-level labels, the above requirement
> may be changed to:


With the understanding that you reporting on these ideas rather
than being their originator (i.e., I do not hold you responsible
and what follows is not an attack on you)...

I am aware that parts of the community want digits in top-level
labels.  I also believe that parts of the community would like
single-letter top-level domains, images of national flags, as
much confusion as possible from choices of character (so as to
make money on traffic redirection and perhaps extortion rather
than registrations).  

Unicode doesn't have code points for some of these, although I'm
sure they could be proposed, others are bad ideas, and still
others are just unnecessary.  If the IETF is living up to its
responsibilities, the relevant question is "what is necessary
for people to make effective use of the DNS and for the DNS to
function effectively".  The statement in 1123 to which you
indirectly refer above says "alphabetic".  It didn't say, e.g.,
"unless, by using some heuristic or calculation, it could not be
part of an IPv4 address".  That was very intentional.   I think
the answer to "is it necessary for effective use to allow IDNs
at the top level" is "yes", even though I have some misgivings
about it.   But I have yet to see even at attempt at a
persuasive argument about why digits are _needed_ for effective
use and functioning of the DNS.

Personally, having listened to several years of ICANN debates
about new TLD policies (IDN-related and not), I'd like a
top-level domain consisting of the single character U+261D, only
with a slightly different choice of digit.   I think I could
make a lot of money with that domain name, thereby enhancing
competition.   I would also like it delivered on a new pony.
Fortunately for (almost) everyone, IDNA2008 bans symbols and the
code point I would need is not, as far as I know, part of
Unicode or planned for an upcoming version.  So, of those things
that I "want", the pony is the most realistic and I'm not really
expecting it (on the other hand, for USD 135000 or thereabouts,
perhaps ICANN would ship me a pony).

Given that it is long-established that there is no "right" to
particular names, that the DNS is not about "words" or proper
spelling (not that there are any actual words in any natural
language or writing system that I know which contains embedded
digits), I would like to hear what range of things cannot
plausibly be accomplished in the DNS without digits in the
native-character form of the TLD label (the ASCII string
(NR-LDH-label) for ASCII TLDs or the U-label for IDN ones), not
what about various people's fantasies about how they could make
money with things they "want".


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