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Username: lrfarny
Date/Time: Tue, October 17, 2000 at 3:32 AM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.01 using Windows NT
Score: 5
Subject: Quit hair-splitting. That's not what these domains are for.


The rating system for motion pictures in use in the United States has proven workable.  The ratings are not absolute guarantees and parental responsibility is still required, but they are pretty good guides as to what you can expect from movies with different ratings.

I see these domains as serving a similar purpose.

There are currently millions of web sites that contain content of all types, some of it suitable for kids and some not.  Establishing these domains will at least give some guidance as to content that we now lack.

And in that regard, they should be for material that is clearly within the bounds of the category.  Yes, there are different standards in different countries.  But I doubt that anyone will be the least bit confused as to what should go on .sex and .xxx.  That one will police itself, I think.  Because anyone dumb enough to put tame stuff in domains like that will likely go broke if they are hoping to attract subscribers by setting up shop in those domains.

.kids might become a gray area if it is abused by people intent on creating trouble by constantly testing the edges of "acceptability."  But with cooperation, this could become a workable guide for parents of places they can let the kids roam with little worry.

And here is where these domains will be better than the movie ratings.  If anyone can't get a .kids domain because of questionable content, then they can post the exact same material on a .com site.  In the movies, you don't get your movie out without a rating and you sometimes have to change the content if you want a certain rating.

The Internet is such a vast system that nobody's free speech rights are going to be violated by establishing domains which restrict themselves to certain types of content.  Just the opposite.  Opening up these new domains will give us more choices, more opportunities for freedom of expression.

L Farny
Los Angeles

P.S. Why is it that these free speech controversies usually seem to center around sex?  I don't see anyone complaining that .web is going to restrict the free speech of fiber optics advocates by restricting content to material about wireless applications.  If I were more suspicious, I might consider that some people are trying to pervert one of our fundamental freedoms into a tool to promote immorality.  Could it be? 


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