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ICANN59 Ombuds Harassment Complaint

I'm writing this blog because I received a complaint that has since been resolved with an apology.

The complaint bothered me because it involved historic events that took place before most of us were born. I will not go into details, but it did involve: a) behavior that was perceived to be harassment, b) a request to stop that was respected, and c) a departing comment that enflamed the incident to the point that my intervention was requested.

International or domestic conflict, politics, war, genocide, racism, sexism, religion, you name it - we all carry around beliefs and biases passed on from generation to generation. Or that are being developed and influenced by incidents happening around the world today. Or a mixture of both.

What does that have to do with ICANN? ICANN brings people together from around the world and asks them to be productive, constructive, respectful, civil, and to embrace diversity as a value that makes the community stronger. And generally, it works.

Personal beliefs and biases are unfortunately not something that can be easily supressed. It requires conscious effort to suppress things that one may profoundly believe. Despite one's best intentions (and this rarely happens, thankfully) prejudices can surface and take everyone by surprise.

We cannot, and never should, condone inappropriate, harassing, or disrespectful behavior. We all harbor biases, prejudices, dislike, and even hate. It has unequivocally no place in a society or organization like ICANN that values multiculturalism and diversity.

I ask each one of you to feel comfortable bringing these incidents to my attention, or to the attention of any of the leaders in the community or organization. Whether you are a witness or a victim of harassment or inappropriate behavior, the ICANN community and organization will stand with you to make our environment a safe, respectful, and harassment free place for all.


    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."