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Community-based TLDs: Openness, Representative Institution, Contention

  • To: 2gtld-guide@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Community-based TLDs: Openness, Representative Institution, Contention
  • From: Werner Staub <werner@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 22:48:37 +0200

On open vs. closed:

While a footnote on page 1-13 in draft-rfp-redline-18feb09-en.pdf
states that "the notion of community is not antithetical to
openness", the definition under mistakenly requires a
"restricted population".

A community may or may not have a restricted population. Many
communities see themselves as open, i.e. anybody can join.
Moreover, communities generally have "soft" boundaries that depend
on context and good faith. For instance, the Paris community is
not just composed of people living inside the borders of the city
of Paris.

I therefore propose to strike the expression "consisting of a
restricted population" in It may be good to add that a
community TLD has a *restricted purpose*.

The confusion between "community-based" and "closed" has led to
proposed scoring criteria that would eliminate TLD applications
from most established communities for lack of "closedness". I
reiterate therefore that it is inappropriate to use the word
"open" in the sense of "non-community-based". The word "open" in
this sense should be avoided throughout the application guidebook
and related documents. Alternatives include "unrestricted" (as in
the terminology of the 2000 round).

On community institutions:

The new draft has clarified the reference to endorsement by an
"established institution" (point 4 under However, the
description of the kind of institution must be more precise. I
suggest the following text:

"4. Have its application endorsed in writing by an established
representative institution having the authority to act on behalf
of the community the applicant has named."

Overall, it prudent to have a more restrictive definition for an
institution with standing to endorse an application compared to an
institution with standing to file an objection.

On contention between community-based applications

The current concept is use an auction as a tie-breaker in case of
two community-based applications applying for the same TLD string.
This is inappropriate. Technically, it could be contention between
two representative institutions of the same community, or
contention between two communities. In both cases, the appropriate
solution is not to delegate the TLD as long as there is contention
between community-based applications of comparable validity and

Werner Staub

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