Frequently Asked Questions
We're still arguing about that one. ICANN says that it is private, non-profit, consensus-based, California corporation charged with technical coordination of the Internet. Some others, including some of the people behind this web site, worry that ICANN has a somewhat manipulable idea of what constitutes a consensus, or that ICANN's close relationship with the U.S. Department of Commerce might make it a "state actor" under U.S. law-- a formally private body that has the same legal obligations to provide due process and non-discrimination as a government agency. For a quick intro to ICANN see our page on ICANN For Beginners .
One great source for keeping up-to-date with developments is Bret Fausett's ICANN Blog. We currently provide a little box with Bret's latest headlines in the left margin of our site. We also have various links on the site to guide you to further reading, and to other ICANN-related web sites.
ICANNWatch.org is designed to be a news and comment forum for people interested in questions about the doing of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
See About us. Each of the editors on this list shares responsibility for choosing the main topics that appear on the site. Editors may create their own topics, or approve or reject submissions from readers.
We think ICANN is important - maybe very important. See also the ICANNWatch.org Mission Statement .
You need legal advice, and we can't do that. Read this good advice from a domain name lawyer to innocent domain name holders.
We'd love to have your help.
Everyone is welcome to contribute content to the site, either by joining one of the discussions triggered by a main topic , or by suggesting a new topic for discussion. See Submitting Content , below.
We could always use more help from:
If you have a fast machine with great connectivity and you would like to donate professional-quality hosting services, we'd like to talk with you. Especially if you have experience hosting Slash
We are not looking for personal financial support. We are currently supported by a grant from the Markle Foundation. It's possible that when it runs out we may need small donations to pay the cost of hosting the site. Or we may just pay it ourselves.
Maybe. We'd like to increase the number and diversity of editors, but we are being somewhat cautious about adding people we don't know personally. Drop us a note.
One of three things is likely going on here:
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It is easy to create an account.
Just follow the instructions. (Note: Whatever name you choose cannot
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One of the best aspects of the Slash discussion engine is the community's power to jointly filter what it thinks is interesting and worthwhile. Logged-in members of the ICANNWach community get semi-randomly selected to serve briefly as moderators (unless they indicate in their preferences that they'd rather not moderate). Your chance of being chosen as a moderator depends on your "Karma" level, which is a function of the sum the moderation points your comments have recieved from other users, how many posts you've made in the past few weeks, and how often you visit the site.
When users become moderators they are given a number of points of influence to play with. Moderators give these points, one at a time, to what they think are the most interesting recent comments. Each comment they moderate deducts a point. When they run out of points, the user is done serving until his or her next turn. Users cannot participate in the same discussion as both a moderator and a poster. Moderation points expire after a certain period of time if they are left unused. The user's name then goes back into the pool and might someday be given moderation points again.
Readers take advantage of the moderators' opinions by setting the minimum point total threshold needed for them to see comments. This makes it very easy for you to immediately see the most interesting material commentary without wading through piles of less interesting comments. All comments are scored on a scale from -2 to +5.
You are automatically chosen, on a random basis, to be a moderator by the Slashcode system. It decides by looking at your Karma level, which is basically the sum of all your moderated comments, how many posts you've made in the past few weeks, and how often you visit the site.
What should get a good score? That's mostly up to you (although the editors are also moderators).
Here's our advice:
Set your browsing threshold to -1 or -2 to see posts that may have been unjustly marked down. Give points to comments that
If you want to know more about moderation, you can read slashdot's
essay on moderation -- geared to the slashdot.org website, but most
of it is relevant to ICANNWatch.
Metamoderation is a second layer of moderation. It seeks to address the issue of unfair moderators by letting "metamoderators" (any logged-in Slashdotter) "rate the rating" of ten randomly selected comment posts. The metamoderator decides if the moderator's rating was fair, unfair, or neither. In order to be a metamoderator, your account has to be one of the oldest 97% of accounts on the system. This means that once you've created your account, you'll have to wait for anywhere from a few weeks to a month or two, depending on the rate at which new accounts are being created.
Once you are eligible, you can meta-moderate once per day.
Particpation as a meta-moderator can enhance your karma.
Your karma is a reference that primarily represents how your comments have been moderated in the past. If a comment you post is moderated up, your karma will rise. Consequently, if you post a comment that has been moderated down, your karma will fall.
In addition to moderation, other things factor into karma as well. You can get a fairly big karma bonus by submitting a story that we decide to post. Also, metamoderation can cause your karma to change. This encourages good moderators, and ideally removes moderator access from bad ones.
Each comment has a default value of one point when first contributed, but users who have accumulated a high karma by posting lots of good stuff find that their comments start with a score of two.
more on karma, see this
slashdot essay. (It's for another website, but most of the information
applies to ICANNWatch.)
This just shows you how many comments are currently visible to you based on the comment threshold you have chosen. So there are X comments being shown out of Y total.
These are different ways of viewing what can be a long list of replies to a story. Choose flat to show all the comments in one gigantic list, without showing the relationships between comments. Threaded mode displays a hierarchy of responses, with replies as links to new pages. Choose nested to display the same hierarchy of responses, but show all of the comments. And, of course, choose No Comments to show no comments. If you have logged in, you can edit your comment preferences to set a default viewing mode.
Yes! Just log in, and then set your messaging preferences.
Yes. You can syndicate our headlines in your choice of .rdf, .rss, or .xml.
Everyone is welcome to send news items, commentary, or whatever that they think deserves to be a new item. Just click on the Submit Story link in the upper left hand corner of the "Inside ICANNWatch" box. Submissions may be anonymous.
We used to run polls, then they got tired. If you are submitting a story for which you think an associated poll would be appropriate, please indicated that in the submission. You need a fairly short question, and up to seven answers. It helps if at least one is silly, in order to keep anyone from taking the numbers too seriously.
That depends on how many we are getting and how industrious the editors are being. Generally speaking, with the possible exception of slow periods in the academic year like late December or mid-August, you should assume that if your suggestions have not been approved within a couple of days they probably will not be. It may be, however, that we will hold a few back if we are experiencing a flood of good submissions in order to even out the flow. Editors may sometimes neither approve nor disapprove a post they are not sure about, which leaves it in the queue for someone else to look at, but adds to response time.
True. We don't send them. The current version of our software doesn't supply an automated rejection letter, and we are not doing it manually. However, you can see the fate of your earlier submissions by returning to the submissions page.
Please note that if you have not logged into the site, any comment you make will be anonymous. Even if you are logged in, you always have the option of posting anonymously.
To respond to someone else's comment, click on "Reply to this" directly under the comment you are responding to. Proceed as from step 3 above.
Comments on polls work just like comments on regular threads, except that for some reason they tend to be sillier. Note that we don't have many polls these days.
Yes. Logging in has many benefits.
On balance, we think discussion is enhanced if people are allowed to post anonymously. Since this is a private web site, we don't feel obligated to allow anonymous postings. If the site is attacked by anonymous posters, we may reconsider our policies. It's worth noting, though, that since anonymous email accounts are easy to get, a ban on 'anonymous' postings wouldn't achieve much anyway.
Please be aware that this site logs IP numbers even when you are making an 'anonymous' comment.
We don't want to. We do exercise judgement about what stories we accept for our homepage, which isn't the same thing. On very rare occasions we have deleted something vile and repulsive that was posted, or something that clearly violated copyright or other laws. We disclosed this on each occasion, and if we do it again, we'll disclose it (look for the text "something else used to be here"). We also employ several filters to prevent posts which cause problems with how browsers render Slash. These filters are standard with the Slashcode package and we edit, add and delete these filters to suit our needs.
"We will not knowingly give out your personal data -- other than identifying your postings in the way you direct by setting your configuration options -- without a court order."
We (or, at any rate, one of us) liked it.
We probably didn't. We are not responsible for the comments. Comments are posted by ICANNWatch readers, and are not filtered by the management (although we may get involved in discussions too).
It may still be in the queue. See How long does it take for suggestions to be approved? Or it may be we lack discernment. Common reasons why your story might not have been posted:
For a list of current topics click on the "Current Topics" link in the "Inside ICANNWatch" box in the left column of the site. We're happy to create a new topic if needed...especially if you suggest a good .gif to illustrate it, about 70x70.
We can run headline boxes from sites that produce properly formatted XML or RDF. We're reluctant to clutter up the page with too many, but if you know of a really good site that is about public policy issues in cyberspace that produces XML or RDF headlines, please let us know.
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How do I customize the site to my tastes?
The format comments page lets you set a default for how you view comments and how comments you contribute appear. Elsewhere you can review your karma and posting history, or set what information you would like other users to know about you.
You may want to change your messaging
preferences. We can send you a daily email of our headlines,
or perhaps you would like a message every time someone replies to one of
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Slash version 2.2.6
If it's not your modem, it may be the code. There are, however, several ways to make ICANNWatch load more quickly. For those with slower dial-up connections, you can switch to ICANNWatch "lite". You still get all the same content, but without the buttons and graphics. If you customize your page (you must be logged in to do this), you can set preferences to show the lite version all the time. Even if you don't want to give up all your graphics, there are other custom settings that will speed things up. Limit the number of stories shown on the main page, turn off the icons, and limit the number of those little boxes on the right hand side of the screen. This won't speed things up, but if you are just not interested in some topics, you can exclude them from your home page. And you can set preferences so you see only higher quality comments.
Yes, for comments. At present we are limiting the language of the main articles to English.
Please send us e-mail .
Added new section on conversion to Slash; conforming changes throughout this documnet.