Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wake Me Up When Dot Virtualpolitik is Available

Perhaps some of the biggest digital rhetoric news this month came in the form of this announcement from ICANN that a number of new URL extensions would be allowed by the Internet's regulatory agency, including heavily lobbied for addresses for European cities, such as .berlin and .paris. Since university librarians often spend time teaching students how to think critically about a website's provenance by using the .org, .com, or .edu extensions as guideposts, the new regulations may make online literacy efforts somewhat more complex. Me, I'm going to start agitating for .supercalifragilisticexpealidocious and .antidisestablishmentarianism, since brevity is apparently no longer important to ICANN planners.

Although the agency has been housed in my local Southern California area for many years, as this photo of their Marina Del Rey facility shows, recent meetings have been taking place in locations abroad, and representatives have taken pains to acknowledge concerns about technical support for languages other than English. To encourage subtitling of their official videos, they even use the dotSUB distributed translation service to solicit user-generated content in other tongues.

On the pages about public participation on ICANN site, you can learn about "domain tasting" (which is okay) and "domain squatting" (which is bad). Unfortunately, readers can also see that the site will no longer publish complaints about the .pk registry of Pakistan, in a move that some may see as a quashing of protest or normative claims.

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