GovCampNSW turned out to be one of the most inspiring unconferences I’ve attended, to the credit of the (un)organisers, volunteers, and supporting partners. For the uninitiated:
GovCampNSW is an invitation to be part of an emerging conversation, that may inspire and shape new opportunities for innovation in government in Sydney, in NSW and beyond.
It is an opportunity to talk with a mix of people – from inside and outside government, from the worlds of technology and policy, of community and universities – to talk about shaping an agenda for innovation in NSW and to make a start on that agenda.
My agenda for attending was simple: to gauge the level of awareness of new gTLDs among fellow attendees and take home some pertinent lessons.
It was shaping up to be a great day. I arrived bright and early and bumped into Paul Wallbank, with whom I had an interesting conversation about new gTLDs over coffee! I also managed to speak to the Information Commissioner Deirdre O’Donnell briefly about Whois privacy and the .sydney project.
When the time came to nominate sessions on the white board, I scribbled in one of the slots:
.sydney manifesto ~ public-citizen collaboration
The question I had in mind was “how should the government of NSW involve the stakeholders in its design of the city’s digital identity, including the name space planning and governance aspects of the dotSydney gTLD?”
After the crowd had settled in our little cozy break out spot, I presented the story:
I was hopeful that the discussions would help craft some important points to inform the government about what matters to the stakeholders; hence, the “collaborative manifesto” in the slide title.
Following are my notes from the session. While they are far from being a “manifesto”, it highlights several important areas that may not be apparent to those of us who have been working in the industry for far too long.
- On the Environment and Scoping Study:
- Paul Wallbank: the $185,000 ICANN application fee smells like a scam
- Paul Wallbank: How do you define Sydney, and the granularity of it? Who owns it? The NSW government? Or the people?
- John Wells advised us to look at auDA’s Community Geographic Domain Name which has an interesting governance model
- Several participants expressed the concern that: do businesses need to do defensive registration their product or name in every city that the business has a presence in, that also happen to have its own TLD?
- There were also concerns about pricing of domains
- Judy: .sydney could foster a sense of community
- Some people agreed that there’s immense peer pressure — if major metropolitan cities like New York City, Paris and London have their own top-level domains, Sydney must have one too.
It it obvious that there is a lot of work to be done on outreach and public engagement in order to ensure that the .sydney, .melbourne and .victoria TLDs are well-integrated into the respective communities that they represent. We are keen to extend the efforts to the greater public sphere.
Please leave a comment if you have any ideas, suggestions or criticisms.