On the Use of Consultation
[Posted to Random Bytes on May 21, 2003 12:42 PM| Links to this post ]

Brett notes that  Verisign's Scott Hollenbeck pointed out that Verisign is hardly the first registry to monkey with the behavior of the DNS1 "There are at least 11 TLDs that have been using DNS wildcards for quite some time to offer either domain registration services or to provide web navigation assistance." [icann.Blog]

This is all fine and dandy, but Scott, and therefore likely Verisign, has missed the real point.

Presumably each of the registry managers for each of the TLDs that Scott points to has consulted with their relevant communities and together, they have determined that breaking the DNS like this is appropriate. If the citizens of Tuvalu, Niue or the museum curators of the world wish to permit this technical characteristic of their TLD, then who am I to say they shouldn't.

Everybody has the right to break their own stuff.

The problem is thought that neither Verisign nor Neulevel engaged in any sort of consultation with the members of their respective communities. I for one think that using wildcards in this manner is a terribly bad way to run a namespace - especially one as important as .com. Thankfully, these hacks only exist in a relatively limited segment of the namespace - Neulevel's dotBIZ and Verisign's IDNs. Regardless, neither Verisign nor Neulevel are in a position to be breaking *my* stuff without asking me, or you, or you, and yes, you too.

No one really knows what the longer-term technical and social impact of this change will be. We do have enough information to guess what today's political implications are. Registries need to start consulting with their communities and stop arbitrarily implementing "features" that fundamentally change the way things should work.

1Notwithstanding the fact that Verisign is actually the registry operator for a number of the TLDs that Scott points to as precedents.
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