OpenNIC can seem very confusing when you are new. This FAQ is an always growing page. If a question is not here and you think it should, please email julian <at> demarchi.id.au. OpenNIC’s main website is just a teaser for what OpenNIC really is. OpenNIC lies within the wiki (http://wiki.opennicproject.org). It is important to remember all technical information lives there.
Q: What is OpenNIC?
A: OpenNIC is a user owned and controlled Network Information Center offering a democratic, non-national, alternative to the traditional Top-Level Domain registries. Users of OpenNIC DNS servers, in addition to resolving host names in the legacy ICANN DNS, can resolve host names in the OpenNIC operated namespaces with which we have peering agreements. OpenNIC currently peers with:

Q: Who makes up OpenNIC?
A: Membership in OpenNIC is open to every user of the internet. All decisions are made either by a democratically elected administrator or through a direct ballot of the interested members and all decisions, regardless of how they are made, within OpenNIC are appealable to a vote of the gerneral membership.
Q: How did OpenNIC get its start?
A: An article was posted on Kuro5hin.org on June 1, 2000, advocating the need for a democratically governed Domain Name System (DNS). Out of the resulting discussion, the OpenNIC was born.
Q: How can I contact OpenNIC or its members?
A: The best way to make contact with OpenNIC is through discuss@lists.opennicproject.org. If it is private in nature you can reach someone at general@opennicproject.org. If you’re IRC savy, a bunch of folks hang in #opennic on irc.freenode.org. Remember to read this IRC guide if you are new to IRC, http://workaround.org/getting-help-on-irc
Q: What is OpenNIC’s relationship with other alternative roots and ICANN?
A: OpenNIC currently recognizes and peers all of the existing ICANN TLDs (.com, .uk, etc.). Therefore if you configure your computer to resolve OpenNIC domains, you’ll also be able to resolve all of the ICANN TLDs automatically.
After ICANNs gTLD proposal time-frame is over and the new gTLDs announced, OpenNIC will revisit the above.
Q: How do I get an OpenNIC account?
A: By visiting http://www.opennicproject.org/members/ you can create an account. Once create this account can be used to log on to this site and the mailing list. Soon the wiki will follow.
Q: How can I sign up to the mailing lists?
A: By visiting http://lists.opennicproject.org, you can use your membership username and password to log on with. On the main page there is a list of the lists available to join. Click on a list to get more details. While in this section, there should be a subcribe button. Clicking this will subscribe you.