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Username: Reidar
Date/Time: Mon, October 16, 2000 at 6:24 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V4.01 using Windows 95
Score: 5
Subject: Jon Postel's words

Message:
 

 
        I hope you guys allow an "old Internet user" (just since 1987) to express the fact that he's slightly saddened at the moment...
It is today exactly two years since Jon Postel - by many considered to be "the father of the Internet" passed away. Many of the heated discussions going on here make his words from 1995 more important than ever. In the excerpt below, he could be talking about this precise situation...

The lengthy but very interesting interview by David Bennahum (DB) with Jon Postel (JP) can be found at http://memex.org/meme4-01.html (link below). The portions on important crossroads in the history of the Internet and unanimous cooperation among idealists make timeless, good reading.

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<< DB: As you look at the public's perception of all this, do you feel there are some huge misconceptions, the way that people have about the Internet?

JP: Well, there has to be. And one of the things I'm beginning to be more conscious of is that when you get into an environment where you say the number of users doubles every year...

DB: Right.

JP: Right? Let's say that in two years, three-quarters of the people are new, and they've only been there for on the average a year. So they have no history. They have no context for what went before. And so, it's very easy for these people to have misconceptions about how things got to be the way they are. And there's not a lot of history books out there. There's a lot of books about, you know, How To Use The Internet For the Complete Idiot thing. But there's hardly anything that teaches historic development of it. Or very few of those people are actually interested in reading anything about it. So people will see something that looks a little odd, and they will invent a reason for it (people like to have reasons for things), and then somehow that gets locked into their head. And you get into some conversation with somebody later on, and they say, "Well, this was done because such-and-such." And you think, "Well, nobody ever thought that." It's really very strange. So I'm sure that a lot of the users out there have a lot of misconceptions as to why things are the way they are. Because there's just no...

DB: They have no context.

JP: Compared to the however many million users there are, hardly any of them were around five years ago when it was being decided.

DB: Exactly. If you had a particular message or something that you wanted to tell us about new-user, what would it be?

JP: Well, there's an interesting question. Well, I don't know. Maybe the answer is do your homework. Before you go off too excited about the brilliant brainstorms you've had, or arguing about why things are the way they are, maybe you should do some digging to see if you can find a document that will talk about it in terms of why the decisions were made.  >>

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One of the sad things is that communication is really tough, because the receiver of the message can ALWAYS interpret some portion of it to be an indication of something "EVIL in the back of the mind of the sender".   >:-[

Finding the negative doesn't seem to hard - conceivably even in a neutral presentation of thoughts like this one, targeted at nobody in particular... Hence, I'm not even going to try to tell anyone here what to do or not to do, because then I'd be out of line. This is a completely FREE and OPEN discussion forum.

Personally, I think this entire process initiated by ICANN already has produced - and will continue to produce - many important ideas on how the Internet should be run. The applications as well as some of the comments here contain valuable thoughts that the ones who are awarded TLDs should utilize. In this process, nobody of us here (neither the applicants, nor the people commenting them) should need to "be right" or on the "winning team" - INTERNET needs to be the winner.  :o)


Reidar

     
 

Link: Transcript of John Postel interview by David Bennahum in '95


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