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Why .XXX is probably a bad idea

  • To: stld-rfp-xxx@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: Why .XXX is probably a bad idea
  • From: "Daniel R. Tobias" <dan@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2004 12:21:37 -0400
  • User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.7b) Gecko/20040328

Some of the reasons against such a TLD were expressed recently in an RFC document:
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3675.txt


As a purely voluntary place for self-identified "adult entertainment" sites to locate themselves, .XXX is mostly harmless. Some porn buffs might seek out sites there (and use specialized search engines that only search in it), while filtering programs would block it; a great deal of adult activity would keep on taking place elsewhere, so the ultimate effect would be fairly small, but there's nothing wrong with this registry giving it a try anyway. The sex-entertainment industry is just as well-defined a segment of the universe of Internet-using entities as is other groups with their own special-interest TLD, like museums and air travel, so let 'em at it!

However, if there's actually to be any move to attempt to make use of this TLD mandatory for "adult" sites, as some comments have suggested, this is entirely unworkable. It would require a globally-acceptable, clear, and stable definition of just what an "adult" site is, which is something nobody has been able to do in a consistent way even within a single jurisdiction (one justice famously stated that he couldn't define pornography, but he knows it when he sees it!), let alone for the whole world, as a global TLD would need. This is why attempts to create a .SEX or .XXX domain, or conversely a .KIDS domain for kid-friendly sites (going at the same problem from the opposite end of the spectrum), have been rejected so far; the .KIDS.US domain was implemented within a country code TLD, which at least confines the issue to a single country's laws and culture. So instead of needing to have standards acceptable both to Iran and the Netherlands, a subdomain of .US needs only to please both San Francisco and Salt Lake City; still a rather daunting task.

Would any site about the Super Bowl need to move to the .XXX domain after Janet's stunt? (Ironically, Super Bowl sites have often been mistakenly filtered due to URLs that include Roman numerals containing "XXX".)

What about art sites with "tasteful" [in the eye of the beholder?] nudes, or sex-education sites with graphic depictions? Where exactly will the lines be drawn, and will they stay put once they are? Not likely... even within the United States alone, the ever-changing balance of power between pressure groups from the religious right to the PC left, as well as general cultural change over time, causes any standards of "decency" to be a moving target.

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== Dan ==
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