[sc34wg3] www.topicmaps.com (and topicmaps.org)

Robert Barta sc34wg3@isotopicmaps.org
Sun, 23 Oct 2005 09:08:08 +1000

On Sat, Oct 22, 2005 at 01:46:54PM -0400, Steven R. Newcomb wrote:
> Robert Barta <rho@bigpond.net.au> writes:
> > First, I am not sure why a matter of a .org domain is a "sensitive
> > issue". For me this appears as simple cybersquatting, not nuclear
> > disarmament. I do not think that a community which suffers from this
> > should reward this kind of behavior.

> Robert, maybe you don't realize that you just insulted and defamed the
> character of Michel Biezunski, ....

Not sure, I did. I was very careful to write "it appears". And how a
particular phenomenon "appears to me" is still a personal assessment;
which cannot be easily judged by any 3rd party.

And I never learnt about his motives in this regard.  So it is all
"appearance" to me.

> Here's the definition of "cybersquatting", as listed in Wikipedia
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cybersquatting):

Oh, oh, does this now mean that - whatever we say - we implicitly say
it against the Wikipedia semantics? Oh, oh. ;-)

[ historical details deleted ]

> After he resigned as co-chair of Topicmaps.org, early in 2001, he
> put the domain name under the control of those who took over the XTM
> project after his resignation.  Although he has always had control
> over the domain name, he left the website under the control of those
> who were running Topicmaps.org, even though he was deeply troubled
> by the direction the organization had taken (that's why he resigned,
> and why I did, too), and even though the website was changed in such
> a way as to diminish the apparent significance of his role in
> founding the organization and in designing the XTM syntax.

<psychology level="bloody-amateur">

SteveN, here you precisely put the finger on this wound which haunts
this community (like so many others, btw). The ability to "let loose"
what someone has created once and does not feel completely attached to
it any more.

Maybe it is a "either you do it or leave it" thing? If people were
unhappy how things developed, no one could be stopped to develop
his/here own ways, like TMRM did.

Yes, this takes time, and yes, this takes effort. But to exit halfway
and expect the community to then stand still is like expecting
children not to grow up. And if they do, to cut off their head every
year. Not sure whether this works. (Will test.)


> So I don't see how Michel's stewardship of the topicmaps.org domain
> name can possibly be considered "cybersquatting".  (And it's not very
> nice, or very community-minded, for you to characterize it as
> "cybersquatting".)

Surely people are free to [dis]agree with my assessment, but I
stubbornly insist on allowing myself to have a personal opinion at
least once per year. Even in the age of political correctness, and
especially after having worked in an ISP environment for years. ;-)

>  As far as I can tell, everything he has done about this domain
> name, and that he has refused to do about it, he has done in perfect
> harmony with the idea of maximizing benefit to the community as a
> whole.  He has provided stability for this domain name for nearly
> five years, now, at his own expense, sometimes in the face of
> withering personal, political, financial and technical storms.  Any
> lesser man would have concluded that it really wasn't worth it.  For
> years, now, he has arguably derived less than no benefit from owning
> it, and I see no reason to expect that situation to change when
> Murray resumes maintenance of the now fossilized website.

I would believe all this, if I would not know firsthand that Michel
had received serious offers over the years to

  (a) keep the domain administratively, and
  (b) hand over content management to people who think they can, and
  (c) keep the site non-commercial

I myself made such an offer a while back triggered by discussions on
the German TM mailing list. All these offers were AFAIK - politely,
but without reasoning - refused.

So? What do you think, that I would think?

> Having discussed it with him, I'm confident that he is making this
> change in order to spare the community any unnecessary harm.

I appreciatively, unconditionally bow to the wisdom of this move.