Help:Cite errors/Cite error refs without references

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This page will help you to fix the error message:

There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).

  • If you need help with a particular problem, please discuss it on the article talk page or at the Help desk.
  • If you have read this help page and find something missing or confusing, please discuss it at the main talk page.
  • Please reference this page and the page where you have the problem so we can understand your issues.
  • For basic information on the footnotes system, see Referencing for beginners; for advanced help, see Footnotes.

Overview

When a page contains references enclosed in <ref>...</ref> tags, the page must also have markup to actually show the reference list; otherwise the error message will be displayed.

The reference list is shown by including the {{reflist}} template, generally placed in its own section near the end of the page and usually with a section heading titled "References", "Notes", "Footnotes", "Works cited" or some other name; see WP:FNNR.

Issues and resolution

For articles that previously had no references

The most common issue for a new article, or for one that has just had its first reference added, is missing reference list markup. To fix the problem in this case, simply add the markup:

==References==
{{Reflist}}

For articles with existing references

Check the article's edit history for recent edits that may have removed or disabled an existing {{reflist}} template. Undoing or correcting an erroneous edit may bring back the reference list and fix other problems as well. See below for the kinds of changes that might make an existing reference list disappear.

  • Sometimes the reference list markup exists, but the message is shown because the <ref> tag immediately before the reference list markup does not have a closing </ref> or it is malformed, thus hiding the rest of the text in the article, including the reference list. If this is the case, find the last <ref> tag and ensure it is properly closed with </ref>.
  • Similarly, the reference list markup may be hidden by an unclosed HTML comment or HTML tag such as <nowiki> or <gallery>.
  • This message may also show if there are <ref>...</ref> tags after {{Reflist}}. Ensure all <ref>...</ref> tags appear before the reference list.
  • Less common: A template such as a navbox may have <ref>...</ref> tags within it. {{Template reference list}} can be used in this case — see the documentation.
  • Less common: Multiple uses of {{reflist}} require that it be closed for each use. See Template:Reflist#Multiple uses.
  • Less common: Redirect pages should have no content other than the redirect, a redirect template and possibly a category.

Technical

Pages with this error message are placed into Pages with missing references list. The system message page is at Cite error refs without references.

Bugs

Proposals

There have been several proposals to have the error message automatically add {{Reflist}}. Issues:

  • There is no standard section name for references; see WP:FNNR.
  • The cite error message is always placed at the end of the article, thus any automatic reflist will be placed out of order at the very end.
  • The Cite.php extension classes all error messages in bold red, thus a reference list generated by the message will inherit those attributes.

Examples

The {{reflist}} template is missing:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.<ref>Reference 1</ref> Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Would appear in an article as:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.[1] Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

with this error message at the end of the article:


Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist}} template (see the help page).