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Community Support for IDN ccTLDs

One area of the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process about which questions have arisen is community support for the IDN ccTLD and how such support can be demonstrated. I have provided some clarification here that I hope is helpful to present and future IDN ccTLD Fast Track participants.

None of this information replaces or changes the information available and defined in the Final Implementation Plan for the IDN ccTLD Fast Track Process. It is merely an elaboration of that published information.

First, note that community support for a string is different and specifies different requirements than community support for the IDN ccTLD sponsoring organization.

• Support for the string is required in the String Evaluation step of the Fast Track Process.
• Support for the sponsoring organization is required later, during the String Delegation step of the Fast Track Process.
This separation in process means:

1. Evaluation of the desired string is completely separate and distinct from evaluation of the appropriate sponsoring organization for an IDN ccTLD.

2. The sponsoring organization does not need to be identified until the String Delegation step begins.

3. Only rarely would the same documentation be appropriate to demonstrate support for both a string and its sponsoring organization, as two different types of support are being required and evaluated.

• While the letters requesting string selection and support involve a requester stating preferences for a string, the letters involved in the delegation process are used to corroborate a selection process and a community consensus-building process for the proposed operator.

The community string support requirement specifically ensures that the Internet community takes part in the decision for a string.

This requirement is part of the Linguistic Process Validation in the Final Implementation Plan, as stated here:

That the received documentation of community support for the string(s) is satisfactory.
• This should be demonstrated in a similar manner as required for delegation requests, see Module 5, Appendix 2 for guiding information.

The nature of community support can, and is expected to, vary from country to country and between territories. Differences in cultures mean different ways of consulting Internet users, and hence different ways of gathering the necessary supporting material. Signed form letters are not considered adequate for participants to express their support.

Despite the difference in the approach taken, the selection of a string to represent a country or territory must be in the interests of the Internet user community of the country or territory. Thus, there should be dialogue in the country or territory about what string(s) should be selected to best support the local Internet community.

The following are examples of questions a requester may be asked. They enable staff to successfully complete the Linguistic Process validation.

In particular we are looking for information such as:

1. What kind of dialogue, outreach, survey or other types of events has taken place to select the string requested?

2. How was consensus reached on the requested string during such activities?

3. What alternative strings were considered and why were they rejected?

4. Was any opposition to the requested string received? If yes, which?

In evaluating these information elements, staff will put weight on a process that:

• Allows for people that do not have the same view to participate;

• Is open and consultative; and

• Allows differing points of view to be expressed.

In addition, it is helpful for a requester to provide a chronology or narrative of the process (not just the final decision), and at least a general description of who had access to, or was involved in, the event(s) at which the decision was reached.


    Domain Name System
    Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."