When you think of a funny domain name, you register it and only later run into the brutal truth about cyberspace: despite being described as a borderless interzone, the internet actually consists of someone else’s computer, or rather lots of them, and their electricity and wires too, so it can be controlled.
Such is the sad case of the imaginatively namely QueerAF, which took advantage of Afghanistan’s .af domain names to spell out its name, but has since left us (original link) because of the jihad situation, shutting down a Fediverse/Mastodon node that many enjoyed:
Queer.AF will be close on 2024-04-12
In July 2018, me and three friends were chatting in my flat in London. One of them mentioned that they had a fun domain they had no idea what to do with. That domain, of course, is queer. af, and the rest, as they say, is history. We invited our friends and let them invite their friends, and that’s how things have operated here ever since.
Since the fall of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in 2021, that fate of that domain has fallen into question; until late last year, the .af registry had effectively ceased to exist, leaving everything in a state of limbo. The Council of Country Code Administrators (CoCCA), who were contracted to operate the TLD, continued to operate things as-is, although eventually turned off all operations but automatic renewals.
More recently, however, the registry has begun to operate again. Unfortunately, this is not really good news: this means it is now under the control of the Taliban government of Afghanistan. From a practical perspective, this means that the present government has a desire to exert control over the country’s top level domain, and from an ethical and legal perspective this means that domain-related fees are now directed to the Taliban. As an additional complication, the registry operators have wiped the existing list of accredited registrars and replaced them with 21 new organizations.
In light of this, the queer. af domain name (which expires on the 13th of April) will not be renewed. Because fediverse software does not support domain migrations, the queer. af instance must therefore close as a consequence.
As it turns out, the Taliban had their own plans for the internet:
Afghanistan ccTLD Network Information Center ( af NIC )
queer. af has been suspended in the registry and will no longer be included in zone file generation. This means that any services connected with this domain, such as websites or email addresses will cease working shortly.
Please contact your registrar if you have any questions about this process. Your registrar’s details are as follows:
Name: Gandi SAS
Website: https://www.gandi. net
Email: [email protected]. net
Address: 63-65 boulevard Massena
Ministry of Communications and IT
Mohammad Jan Khan Watt
We write a lot about censorship here. The site being unwilling to fund the Taliban with a domain registration reflects what happens when human political chaos here on Earth reflects back on the more idealized symbolic world of the internet. The subsequent Taliban ban shows us what happens when an ideology, secular or not, must make a point to survive.
At this point, the dream of the global open space for human information-sharing is all but dead. A funny domain name places your domain under the control of the Taliban, who are only slightly less censorious than Reddit and the USG. Social media will delete thousands of hours of your work just because you said something seen as un-PC.
As far as the usual criticism of LGBT+ goes, mainly because the Left uses them as a guilt battering ram to force PC on the rest of us, it only makes sense to mention two things: first, that people are not equal and that there are good in every group; second, that we rise by promoting the good, removing the bad, and leaving everyone else alone af.