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EDITIONS
 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 09:43 GMT
Kiwi geeks seek cyber home
Hand on mouse
Geeks will be able to vote online for the domain name

Geeks in New Zealand wear their moniker with pride and want their own place on the web, geek.nz, to prove it.

"It's a real application and we expect it to serve a real community," says one of the supporters of the geek.nz name, Joe Abley.

The community, the application says, is the tightly knit group of technicians and engineers who have built much of the internet infrastructure in New Zealand.

But these people, the application argues, have been shuffled off into obscure domain names such as the catch-all gen.nz.

"This does not allow the geeks of New Zealand to fully express themselves and oppresses their cultural expression," the application says.

"The majority of the internet infrastructure in New Zealand was created by these geeks, yet they are still grossly under represented when it comes to the existing domain structure."

Online vote

At least 250 people have already publicly supported the proposal for the second-level domain. Last month, the issue was opened to online discussion.

I think there's some reasonable argument that's come forward in the application

Keith Davidson, InternetNZ President
"My opinion of geek.nz is (is that it would open) the way for other poorly-defined groups like muso.nz, boyracer.nz, dopehead.nz," argues a critic in the online discussion.

"I'll be voting in favour," says another discussion participant. "I'll also vote in favour of muso.nz etc if musos, boyracers etc get together and request something like this. You lament that these are "poorly defined" - so what? If someone identifies, then that is definition enough."

The online discussion is the first part of the process of registration and will continue until at least 2 February and for another month after that if there is sufficient interest.

Then an online vote will be held. More than 200 votes must be received.

More than 70% of the voters must be in favour of the proposal and those voting must have a New Zealand postal address.

The final decision rests with the council of the regulatory body, InternetNZ.

Open to all

If the poll crosses the 70% threshold, InternetNZ President Keith Davidson says the council is unlikely to turn the proposal down.

We are trying to let people know that this is not some sort of frivolous protest but this is a real community

Joe Abley, New Zealand geek
"I'd be surprised if anyone on council would suggest it should be vetoed," he said.

"I think there's some reasonable argument that's come forward in the application."

New Zealand currently has 120,000 domain names in the .nz registry and 11 second-level domain names.

Supplementing the common co.nz and govt.nz are Kiwi names such as iwi.nz (for traditional New Zealand Maori tribes) and cri.nz (for government-owned research institutions).

Last year the first new second-level domain here since 1996, maori.nz, was approved after 92% of the 1,600 people voting in the online poll approved the proposal.

If the bid for geek.nz is successful, the new domain name would be open to all, supporter Joe Abley says.

"The idea is not to have a domain that is moderated but anybody who feels that they want geek in their name would be more than welcome to register a name," he says.

The idea isn't to form some sort of exclusive club. We are trying to let people know that this is not some sort of frivolous protest but this is a real community."

See also:

02 Jan 03 | Country profiles
08 Jan 02 | Science/Nature
16 Nov 01 | Science/Nature
Internet links:


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