Browser IDN display policy: opinions sought

Andrew Sullivan ajs at
Tue Dec 13 03:10:00 CET 2011

Sorry, I managed to send this before I intended to.  The rest is

On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 06:59:37PM -0500, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 12:16:01PM -0500, John C Klensin wrote:
> > Andrew, sure, but...   This comes back to the assumptions that: 
> > 
> > 	-- all registries are good guys and enforce whatever
> > 	rules they make.
> No, because you can check those rules yourself in your resolution
> context: look at what you are looking up and compare it to the rules
> to see whether it conforms.  Indeed, if that's not good enough, you
> have this problem anyway.
> > 	
> > 	-- all registrars are good guys, with neither motivation
> > 	nor will for getting around the rules.

This is a problem we already have, for _any_ of these rules.  What's
special about the current approach that solves that?

> > 	-- if either of the above fail, there is someone with
> > 	both the authority and willingness to require that the
> > 	rules be enforced and to enforce that requirement (or to
> > 	enforce the rules itself, but that is even more
> > 	farfetched).

We also already don't have this.  On the contrary, what we have right
now is a case where rules are inconsistent among registries, there is
no way at all to find out the rules in zones not near the root, those
near-root zones are treated according to at least three different
display conventions, and one of those conventions entails using a
_different_ set of more or less arbitrary rules established under
conventions also not strictly rooted in the behaviour of anyone
operating the zones.  How is this better?

If the goal is, "Protect people from bad actors," my suggestion is,
"Don't use the DNS.  It's a worse match for that task than the
hundreds of others people seem to want to throw into it."  But if the
goal is to know whether there is something resembling a policy that
allows you to make slightly-informed guesses about whether it is sane
to treat U-labels in a zone as U-labels, I'm suggesting that we can do
better than either "SWAG about the language this label is supposed to
be in" or "I know who the bad guys are, trust me."



Andrew Sullivan
ajs at

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