Talk:Ted Nelson

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This seems like self-promotion of a person who isn't notable. Move to remove page, perhaps submit as spam? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:40, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

Au contraire, unsigned, Mr. Nelson is quite notable to many of us as someone who almost invented the Web with his Project Xanadu in 1960, almost 30 years before Mr. Berners-Lee's creation. Frappyjohn (talk) 05:09, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Interesting that one can be notable for almost doing something. Gwhodgson (talk) 05:58, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

The idea that a wikipedia deletionist would actually claim that the inventor of hypertext is not notable is, to say the least, breathtaking. MarkBernstein (talk) 13:27, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

I tried wikifying, but its too interdependent. Its well done and readable, so wikifying would only be necessary for uniformity.

One thing I didn't like about him is complaining about Tim Berners-Lee work. Sure, it may not be as good as what he has in mind, but Berners-Lee's work is available now, unlike what he has in mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wk muriithi (talkcontribs) 02:43, 20 November 2005 UTC

I'm not sure I know what you mean. Would you like the article to have subsections? --TuukkaH 21:38, 21 November 2005 (UTC)
In terms of your commentary on his dislike of Tim Berners-Lee, there are legit reasons. I would cite them, but I don't have the books around currently. In Weaving_the_Web, Tim Berners-Lee admits that he technically stole Literary Machines, and also (iirc) that he never read it all the way through. He also admits that he was overly simplifying the idea of Hypertext due to technical reasons, which Project_Xanadu successfully circumvented, and that he himself realizes that his designs were a kluge. I don't have the book with me, but if you look Xanadu and Nelson, Theodore Holm in the index, you will come to the requisite pages. I would mention in the entry itself, but as I cannot cite it at the moment, my edits wouldn't stand. I'd much appriciate if someone could find the exact bits for me and stick the info in, since I lack the physical copy. On a more personal note, I have played with the circa 1998 xanadu implementations (Udanax Green) and I have read the FeBe manual, and I prefer the as-implemented design of xu88 to the web. There ARE technical issues, but they are of a different nature; it's a philosophy difference between solid design and rushed implementation, and rushed design and solid implementation. Also, several alternate implementations of the xanadu concepts have been built (not by XOC or any Nelson-affilated organizations), and these are often more stable than XOC's own demos in my experience. [1] has some examples of such things, and there are others that I have personally worked on (so my statements may be a little biased). --John Ohno 12:13, 06 March 2008 (GMT)
(great post John Ohno!) - Even further: in 21 century, they (W3C, Tim Berners-Lee) tried, after realizing what mess they created, to fix things (web). In 2001. was "Semantic Web Working Symposium (SWWS, 2001)", funded by NSF, DARPA, INRIA. Essentially idea was that web authors, after years of mess, broken links, no signatures... SHOULD "metatag" every page, every subject, every relations... it was "declaration of defeat: since natural language processing and AI techniques did not provide sufficient results, it is now proposed to put the burden on the shoulder of the authors of webpages who are expected to populate their pages with metadata and additional markup" OR since you miss to built in first place mechanisms of document versioning (like we have at wikipedia), document linking and NOT "copy - pasting"... now we try to fix all things that are broken in first place. [[2]]
Aftermath: John Giannandrea create Metaweb with (Danny Hillis and Robert Cook) manually (?) catalogue subjects, Google buy them and in 2012 make "Knowledge Graph". [[3]] ...and we still have broken links, no real references... as best of internet, we have: wikipedia (where we need MANUAL to fight to put "right" (?!?!) references... and hope that they will not vanish from internet tomorrow (bright side: thanks for and thanks for wikipedia!). but it's sad, so sad... Calimero (talk) 18:35, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

citation for Ted's 4 maxims[edit]

It says "[citation needed]" by the statement that << Ted Nelson promotes four maxims: "most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong". >>; But I noticed that, according to [1] it gives a source for a very similar quote, in this remark about Ted Nelson: << He often repeats his four maxims by which he leads his life: "most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong." >>. It lists the source as a hyperlink (Wolf, 1995), pointing to "", [1a] which says this:

 Wolf, G. "The Curse of Xanadu." , June 1995. Avaialble at:

So then I proceeded to [2] and there, it says: "On his long walk home, he came up with the four maxims that have guided his life: most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong. Nelson loves these maxims and repeats them often."

(these are the 3rd and 4th sentences of a 5-sentence paragraph, the 3rd paragraph of "C H A P T E R T W O", at [2]). How should the artticle be updated, to supply the "[citation needed]"? Should there be a reference to [1] or [1a]? Or, just to [2]? (also - - is [2] authoritative enough?) Thanks, Mike Schwartz 02:22, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

umm (20:09, 12 July 2007 (UTC)) I went ahead and added the citation. Maybe it would be better if the stuff about which chapter, sentence, and paragraph went down in to the "References" section, instead of up near the top of the article. But I think it is a step up from still saying "[citation needed]". Mike Schwartz 20:09, 12 July 2007 (UTC)


"teledildonics. The main thrust of his work". Was that really necessary?. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 07:46, 23 January 2006 UTC

Year of Birth[edit]

The top line says he was born in 1939, but it's born-year-category is 1937. I don't know which is true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 17:50, 26 February 2006 UTC

Needs Picture of Ted Nelson[edit]

I would be great to have a picture of Ted Nelson. In the best case a picture from the 1960s when he wrote some of the first hypertext stuff and a more recent one. --Ben Houston 21:12, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

Year of birth[edit]

According to IMDb, Nelson's parents were married from 1938 - 1939, so it is unlikely he was born in 1937. --karas 05:58, 8 July 2006 (UTC)

Also, according to his mother's page (Celeste Holm), she married in 1938, so the chances are he was not born in 1937, but in 1939. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Queereyes (talkcontribs) 10:54, July 10, 2006 (UTC)
According to Holm's profile at, she and Ralph Nelson married in 1936, not 1938, so Ted Nelson was not born out of wedlock. (talk) 12:23, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

WikiProject class rating[edit]

This article was automatically assessed because at least one WikiProject had rated the article as start, and the rating on other projects was brought up to start class. BetacommandBot 04:29, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

2009 NYT Ref[edit]

So, if anyone wants to incorporate some of that information into the article, there's that. Though some of the cliams are kind of awkward, and requires a technical understanding of Zig-Zag and Xanadu, but whatever. -- kanzure (talk) 16:18, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

So where was he born?[edit]

At 17:18 on 5 October 2011‎ Xsidx changed the birth place from New York to Chicago explaining, "having met and talked to Ted Nelson today in person, he told me that the Wikipedia info is wrong". Then at 17:35 the same day‎ Jojalozzo undid the revision by Xsidx saying "we need a verifiable source for that edit". Which might be OK, but there doesn't seem to be a source cited for the bith place being New York either. I poked around a bit and found the following:

  • In "Ted Nelson Biography, Hypertext Inventor" at Great Thinkers@suite101 it says: "Teodor Holm “Ted“ Nelson was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 17, 1937."
  • The NNDB biography for Ted Nelson says: "Birthplace: Chicago, IL".
  • While says: "born 1937 in New York".
  • Several sources say that he was raised by his grandparents in Greenwich Village, New York, but I'm not sure that helps very much.
  • In response to the search "Ted Nelson birthplace" Google responds: "Best guess for Ted Nelson Place of birth is New York City. Mentioned on at least 5 websites including, and". But three of the five sources are and one is Wikipedia, so that just leaves and that seems to be a copy of or to copy heavily from the Wikipedia article.

If we aren't sure where he was born (and at this point, I'm not), perhaps we should leave that blank. Jeff Ogden (talk) 23:02, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

I'm on board with blanking it until we can get a proper source. Jojalozzo 23:30, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
 Done OK, I did that. The birthplace is now listed as "United States". Any suggestions about how we might pin the birthplace down for real? Jeff Ogden (talk) 03:51, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Need a verifiable, reliable source - biography or autobiography, magazine article... Jojalozzo 13:08, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
My general rule of thumb (although clearly not universally applied nor accepted) is to accept "personal communication" with a living person as grounds for removing incorrect information (espcially if not cited to a reliable source), but not adding it. So agree, perhaps until an obit, sadly, gives more detail. W Nowicki (talk) 16:02, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Nelson's autobiography, POSSIPLEX, explains that he was born in Chicago, spent several years with his grandparents living in Near North, and then moved with them to Greenwich Village. It's straightforward, black and white. Chicago.MarkBernstein (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC).
Thanks! Jeff Ogden (talk) 20:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks too. It's been a while since I checked into here. I too own a copy of Possiplex and will forward this conversation to Ted; I think he might get a chuckle out of it. Either way, I think it's kind of strange, that first hand information of the person in question does not qualify as a credible source. I am well aware of scientific and also Wikipedia standards, but … come on … shouldn't there be a way to work cases like this into the guidebook? mf★rader (talk) 16:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Moonriddengirl (talk) 10:34, 9 May 2012 (UTC)


Is he actually living in the UK currently? I checked his CV [4] and it says "1997-current: Visiting Professor, University of Southampton, Southampton, England. In residence Sep 2001-Feb 2002." I could find no other information about where he lives now. Does even a residence of only 6 months qualify one to be included in the expatriate category? Cephalopod (talk) 05:10, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

Full bibliography[edit]

Yesterday a book about Ted Nelson went open access: I just read it, and one chapter seems particularly useful, has it is a full biblography of Nelson works. Can I paste it in the article? --Aubrey (talk) 22:27, 12 July 2015 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice. The bib is so extensive, maybe it would be better to create a separate sub-article and then link to it from the main article. --Blainster (talk) 06:19, 13 July 2015 (UTC)

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