Talk:Poet, lyricist, and digital activist John Perry Barlow dies, aged 70

Active discussions

UntitledEdit

@Koavf: remember to italicise song titles and album names.
•–• 07:09, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

@Acagastya: The only album title is italicized. We shouldn't italicize songs but put them in quotation marks. Thanks for the tip, tho--I'm far from perfect. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:46, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
@Koavf: from WN:SG#Italics "Titles of works of music (to include both songs and albums), literature, films, art, and game releases should be italicised"
•–• 08:26, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Also, mention the nationality, and short explanation of what EFF is (in the lede; since that sets up the "who" exactly was that person).
•–• 08:28, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
@Koavf:, if you are editing it right now, I suggest we both edit it on Wikimedia etherpad to have development/review faster.
•–• 08:36, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
@Acagastya: I'm done--I incorporated your suggestions. The italicizing thing is poor style but thank you for pointing it out to me. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:48, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

Claims made in the storyEdit

id 4381173

  • Today, poet, lyricist, and digital rights activist John Perry Barlow has died. [Multiple sources]
  • The co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) [MS]
  • and former Grateful Dead lyricist was 70. [MS]
  • Barlow first rose to fame composing lyrics for the Grateful Dead [MS]
  • writing several songs [Really covered by several sources]
  • for the psychedelic rock band [--doesn't really need a source--common knowledge in music]
  • for almost 25 years. [Inferred from several sources: 1971 to 1995, SFGate mentions 95]
  • In the 1990s, he shifted his focus to the Internet, composing essays on Internet culture and working with the EFF to protect digital rights. [MS]
  • The self-avowed libertarian [NPR]
  • maintained several residences []
  • and died in his sleep this morning at his Wyoming cattle ranch San Francisco home. [Wired]
  • No cause was specified, [MS]
  • but Barlow had recently experienced debilitating health problems. [Wired]


  • Born to Republican state legislator Norman Barlow and his wife Miriam [SFGate]
  • John was raised on the Bar Cross Ranch in Pinedale, Wyoming. [SFGate, Wired--mentions Pinedale, not the name of the ranch]
  • Barlow befriended future Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir in high school [MS, e.g. CoS]
  • before attending Wesleyan University in Middleton, Connecticut, [Wired]
  • where he studied comparative religion. [NYT 1993]
  • During his studies, Barlow began visiting LSD advocate Timothy Leary [Wired mentions that he was pals with Leary but not a date]
  • and he introduced Weir and his bandmates to the counterculture guru. []


  • Barlow was admitted to Harvard Law School []
  • after graduation in 1969, [NYT 1993]
  • but opted instead to travel the world [Ars]
  • and returned to his family’s ranch in 1971 [Ars, Wired--mentions "back at the ranch"]
  • to find his father dying and his business in debt by several hundred thousand dollars. [SFGate--revised comment for this citation]
  • The younger Barlow began ranching [Wired]
  • before Weir contacted him to finish songs for the latter’s first solo album, Ace. [XXX]
  • The collaboration continued with the Dead and their individual members, with Barlow contributing occasional lyrics until the band’s 1995 dissolution. [Several sources]
  • In 1977, he married Elaine Parker. [MS]
  • He sold the family ranch in 1988 due to financial strain. [NYT, 1993]
  • Barlow’s interest in the online world began with Stewart Brand’s forum The WELL, [Re-written. Wired points out that he was a leader on the forum]
  • where he met future EFF co-founders John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor. []
  • In 1990, Barlow was interrogated by an FBI agent about possible connections to underground hackers. [MS, including History of EFF, also NPR--independent source]
  • He posted his experience to The WELL and discovered that Kapor had had a similar encounter. [History of EFF]
  • The duo decided to join together to help provide legal defense for the hackers and formally incorporated the EFF along with Brand, Gilmore, and Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak. [History of EFF]
  • He served on the board of the EFF until his death. [EFF notice]
  • In 1992, he and Elaine separated, [NYT 1993]
  • finally divorcing in 1995. [SFGate]
  • He never remarried. [Corrected to second marriage: He briefly married Cynthia Horner before her unexpected death from an undiagnosed health condition at the age of 29] [SFGate, also mentioned in Wired]. Added date: supported by TAL citation.


  • In addition to digital activism, Barlow was an early commentator on Internet culture, writing several pieces for Wired in its early years [Wired piece]
  • and penning essays such as “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” (1996) [Newsweek, Wired both explicitly reference this particular piece as a manifesto, SFGate "seminal piece"--clearly established as important]
  • that helped define digital citizenship. [a little purple of prose but Wired: "a leading voice in technology" and it's clear that this is about digital citizenship]
  • By the late 1990s, he was recognized as a foundational figure to Web culture with a 1998 appointment to Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society [Newsweek, NPR]
  • and 2013 admittance to the Internet Hall of Fame as an “Innovator”. [BI]
  • Although he had mostly retired from songwriting, [XXX, Wired mentions that he moved onto essays]
  • [Added later]: Barlow stayed active in issues related to civil liberties and rights, helping to create the Freedom of the Press Foundation in 2012. [Newsweek, CoS]
  • he contributed to several songs by jam band The String Cheese Incident in the mid 2000s. [JB--mentions he co-wrote Cheese songs]


  • Barlow suffered a massive heart attack in mid-2015. [CoS, Wired mentions him being ill in 2015]
  • By late 2016, he faces a several serious health conditions, including “extremely compromised mobility”, [Bad health covered but not that quote]
  • leading several musicians to hold a benefit concert for him to raise funds for his medical bills. [JB--reliable source for this type of news]
  • In 2017, he completed his memoir Mother American Night, slated for release on June 5. [Wired]
  • Barlow is survived his ex-wife Elaine Parker Barlow and the couple’s three daughters: Leah Justine, Anna Winter, and Amelia Rose, as well as loved ones across the world. [CoS called Elaine his "wife", Newsweek--supports three daughters]
Note to self to get sources and also for reviewer. —Justin (koavf)TCM 07:55, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Note -- this does not help in verification. The simple reason is, what if sources disagree about some fact; taking example of the obituary we had published this morning, one source claimed she got license at the age of eighteen; other claimed it was before she turned eighteen. [since this just adds up time, without any actual benefit, I would say, please don't do it.]
•–• 08:33, 8 February 2018 (UTC)
Sure but it helps me--I have had articles with unsourced claims--this one is at least sourced. —Justin (koavf)TCM 08:48, 8 February 2018 (UTC)

14 sources?Edit

Yikes. This is going to be a gigantic effort to review. --Pi zero (talk) 13:21, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Interesting. Semi-automated prelim check for obvious similiarities to sources turns up scattered references to... Dolores O'Riordan, and to The Cranberries. From sources, of course, that provide links to other music obits they've published in recent times. --Pi zero (talk) 13:52, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
@Pi zero: I hope the above helps in review. If you feel like it's too much overhead, you can omit any that you think are redundant. —Justin (koavf)TCM 17:49, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
Removing some sources does nothing to reduce the review load, since it's impossible to judge what to remove until after everything has been done. --Pi zero (talk) 22:22, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
@Pi zero: Well, you could compare them to the outline I have above and if something seems redundant on every point, remove it. But that may not be the case here--I tried to post the above to make review easier since this is a longer and meatier story than my previous submissions. —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:56, 9 February 2018 (UTC)
Removal is still a final-step thing, afaics. (Btw, that final step? If it happens, soon; I'm hoping to get this out the door before midnight UTC.) --Pi zero (talk)

AttributionEdit

We should attribute the news of his death — where did the information come from about when and under what circumstances he died. We say "no cause was specified", which hightlights that we don't say who it's being specified by. --Pi zero (talk) 13:58, 9 February 2018 (UTC)

Review of revision 4381543 [Passed]Edit

Wesleyan University is in Middletown, CT... Not Middleton.Edit

Original reporting notesEdit

Emails, Phone call transcripts, other written evidenceEdit

Interview detailsEdit

On-the-spot notesEdit

Details from broadcast reportEdit

Information shared privately for off-wiki confirmationEdit

Confirmation of email receipt by accredited reporterEdit

Requested editsEdit

{{Editprotected}} Not sure if you're willing to go back to fix grammar things but if you can replace "Barlow is survived his ex-wife Elaine Parker Barlow" with "Barlow is survived by his ex-wife Elaine Parker Barlow". Either way, if you can add a see also to Singer-songwriter Robert Hunter dies, aged 78, that would be nice. —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:41, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

We fix typos in archived articles if the fixes don't change the apparent meaning. (If they did change the apparent meaning, that would be a matter for a {{correction}}). I figure this is effectively a fix of that sort, so I've done it.

The only forward references we do to later articles are via {{update}} (and requires the later article to have been published). Possibly it'd be more useful to set up a category, if we have enough published articles, for the Grateful Dead. --Pi zero (talk) 17:15, 25 September 2019 (UTC)

A quick search suggests there should be no problem populating a category for the Grateful Dead. --Pi zero (talk) 17:52, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
@Pi zero: Thanks. We should add Poet, lyricist, and digital activist John Perry Barlow dies, aged 70, Tubes, Grateful Dead musician Vince Welnick died of 'probable suicide', Owsley Stanley, icon of 1960s counterculture, dies at 76 for sure. Nancy Pelosi again elected Speaker as 116th U.S. Congress sworn in is pretty tangential. —Justin (koavf)TCM 18:31, 25 September 2019 (UTC)
Category populated. Also, on category talk page noted two other articles of marginal relevance. --Pi zero (talk) 01:10, 26 September 2019 (UTC)
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