Talk:Jaron Lanier

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I've recently begun cleaning up this article, starting with the lead section and working my way down and then back up again to expand it. Preliminary changes are as follows:

  • Moving all basic, non-quote citations out of the lead and into the body where they belong (per WP:LEADCITE)
  • Removing any sources and replacing them with better ones (for example, an about page on Cato Unbound's website.[1]) While this is a helpful overview, it was written by their editors as a promotional piece in 2006. On Wikipedia, we want to focus on more reliable sources for BLP's. Recently, an editor tried to "mimic" the wording of this citation instead of relying on biographical articles written by disinterested third-parties.
  • At least one editor continues to add "retired filmmaker" to the lead section, not understanding that Lanier was joking about Wikipedia's editors in a sarcastic manner.[2] It is important to understand that Lanier is not a retired filmmaker, nor was he ever a "filmmaker" or known for being a filmmaker. If the editor in question would like to add this to the lead section, then they will need to find secondary sources about its importance. Since there do not appear to be any, nor has any other biography referred to Lanier as a "filmmaker", one should not add it back. The most recent edit added "onetime experimental filmmaker" to the lead, however, aside from the sarcastic/humorous interview with Lanier that the editor used to base this observation[3] (which is considered a primary source) there is no secondary source that calls him a "onetime experimental filmmaker". Wikipedia BLP's should be very careful to follow what the majority of sources say on the subject.

More on the way. Viriditas (talk) 02:53, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Further note about the above: It has come to my attention that the use of the Edge source is not only disputed, but it is published by Lanier's agent,[4] making it a self-published, primary source, and less than ideal for summarizing anything about the subject. I have spent the last day looking through multiple biographies on Lanier; none of them refer to him as a "filmmaker". Viriditas (talk) 07:59, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

As far as my research indicates, "The Virtual Curmudgeon" is wrong about the date and the circumstances surrounding VPL Research. This error has, amusingly, been repeated in a few publications. The best information I've been able to come up with is that in December 1992 VPL Research was unable to repay loans to Thompson CSF and was forced to hand over some of its patents. VPL, backed by Thompson, fired most of the staff, including Jaron Lanier and his research team. This information is from The Wall Street Journal. December 7, 1992, page B1 - article written by G Pascal Zachary. - I haven't made changes to the main text, but this should be updated before it finds its way into any more academic papers! Seriously, it doesn't make sense. Lanier was gave dozens of interviews in 1990 to publications that wanted to crown him. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:28, 10 August 2011 (UTC)

In the introduction, it was mentioned that he nominated himself for TIME's 100 most influential list. But in the awards section, it says that Dan Reed nominated him (and has a citation to back it up). So I removed the mention of him nominating himself.Dideler (talk) 06:04, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

I don't see where it says that. Viriditas (talk)
You don't see where it says he nominated himself or that Dan Reed nominated him? The former can be seen here:, and the latter here: Dideler (talk) 21:00, 15 July 2013 (UTC)
I do now. That was vandalism that you removed. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 21:25, 15 July 2013 (UTC)

Plagiarism and copypasta[edit]

I'm finding a lot of material that has been cut and pasted directly into this article from either Lanier's website or other sites without inline citations or quotes. I'm removing them as I find them, but it is looking like the entire article needs to be checked out and rewritten. I'm very surprised that this sorry state of affairs was allowed to continue for this long; it is therefore no wonder Lanier is so upset about Web 2.0. If copying from Lanier's website is the best that Wikipedia can do, than our best is simply not good enough. Viriditas (talk) 09:31, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Was this whole article written by Lanier?[edit]

It smacks of his self promotion. -- (talk) 02:12, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

No, in fact, it does not. Viriditas (talk) 03:17, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
That's not the first time that this complaint has been made. AndroidCat (talk) 03:15, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Charlie Rose appearance[edit]

He was interviewed on Charlie Rose last night (I saw it today). Should such an appearance be listed in the section titled "In the media", assuming Charlie's Web site verifies it in writing (the appearance IS included on Charlie's Twitter feed)? (talk) 20:38, 20 March 2014 (UTC) Twitter.Com/CalRobert (Robert Maas)

External links modified[edit]

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Credited as popularizing VR??[edit]

This appears in the lede, as well as in the Wiki article on VR. It must have and should be given a citation to a reliable source. As it is, it appears to be without foundation. Note that Lanier isn't even credited here with either publishing anything before 1990 or even being interviewed prior to then (and long after VR was in common use). Also, why is it noteworthy to mention that he said hello to Feynman or Gell-Mann? Unless either he or they can be quoted as ascribing some importance to this name-dropping, it should be removed (as puffery).Abitslow (talk) 21:37, 4 April 2016 (UTC)

Yes, you're right about that section, Abitslow. Jaron Lanier's father, Ellery, was my Sunday school teacher in Las Cruces, New Mexico in the 1970s. The part about apprenticing to Minsky and Clyde Tombaugh seems to be copy pasta'ed from a puff piece in a Northern California Jewish community post, Renaissance man: Berkeley resident is a musician, a Web guru and the father of virtual reality. The same is true for the portion about Lanier's mother and father. That is copied verbatim from the Jewish community post, and is a copy vio. I found one reference to Jaron's father, Ellery Lanier, in the New York Times, that said that he had studied at Columbia University in the 1940s. That makes sense to me, and makes me doubt some of the rest of the stuff about the timing of Jaron's personal life section in this article. I am removing the puffery stuff as you suggested.--FeralOink (talk) 21:51, 10 July 2016 (UTC)