The introduction of IDN variants in the root zone serves to enhance the Internet’s multilingualism and cultural diversity at the level of Top Level Domains (TLDs). The ICANN community has studied the viability of this introduction and has developed a process that will make it a reality. This process has implications for language communities. Language communities that share a script (e.g., Chinese, Japanese and Korean, which share the Han script) must agree on rules related to variant script characters in order to proceed. Furthermore, while allowing language communities to self-mobilize and proceed at their own pace, there are advantages to being an early participant or first mover. This process of allocating Variant TLDs in the Internet root requires language communities to collaborate and will require effective facilitation. This joint APRALO-ICANN workshop will provide an overview of the ICANN process, discuss the issues implicating language communities and outline the way forward.
Key Discussion Questions:
Process – What is the process and what are the structural constraints of the process? How was the multistakeholder model deployed in the development of the process and how will it evolve in moving forward? How will language and technical communities be engaged?
Variants – What are the key variant issues for scripts such as Arabic, Han, Indic, Latin and Cyrillic that have a large community of users worldwide and whose script is shared across different language communities and across national borders? What variant issues can realistically be addressed within the structural constraints of the process?
Community - How can the readiness of language communities for IDN Variant TLDs be supported? How can the disadvantage to late entrants be minimized? What models of engagement can be used to support the collaboration of language communities that transcend national borders? What best practice models of dispute resolution can be deployed to address disputes among language communities that span the globe?