Help talk:Cite errors

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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Help:Cite errors:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:

    Add nocat to the appropriate MediaWiki pages[edit]

    Please add


    to the call to Template:broken ref on MediaWiki:Cite croak and any other error messages that lack it. That way, Help:Cite errors/header can include nocat, thereby preventing Help:Cite errors/Cite croak (and other pages) from being included in the maintenance categories. (talk) 20:04, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

    You don't want to hide Cite_croak in any circumstance; it indicates a software error. Edokter (talk) — 21:31, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    I know what Cite_croak means. That isn't what is being proposed. What I'm asking is for the existing suggestion from Template:Broken_ref#Examples to be applied, in order to allow the Help pages to avoid being incorrectly included in inappropriate maintenance categories. Please re-consider. (talk) 21:39, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    This won't be enough to take the help pages out of the error category, because most of them deliberately trigger an error as a demonstration. Try previewing Help:Cite errors/Cite error ref no key after deleting the two instances of Help:Cite errors/header. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:51, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    I see the problem, yes. It would work for the pages that don't include examples (like Help:Cite errors/Cite croak) but you are right, we'd need to figure out another solution for excluding the subpages of Help:Cite_errors that deliberately include errors. A simple solution would be to exclude the whole of the Help namespace (as is already done for the Talk namespace), but I'm not sure if that is actually a good idea. Suggestions? (talk) 23:13, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit protected}} template. --Redrose64 (talk) 22:39, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    Will do, sorry for the trouble. (talk) 23:13, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    I added 'nocat' on December 27, 2013. This only works when you directly translude one of the MediaWiki pages but not when cite.php triggers an error. See the doc page. --  Gadget850 talk 01:02, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

    Namespaces and Template:Broken ref[edit]

    I noticed that Template:Broken ref works differently in the various namespaces. Actually, I remember that, because I took part in the original discussion regarding this:

    • In article, help, category, template and file namespaces: adds message and error category.
    • In user namespace: adds message but not error category.
    • In other namespaces: the message is suppressed by an invisible span and no error category.

    This is pretty logical:

    • Both the message and the error category in article, help, and template namespaces: because we want this to be fixed, right away or later by editors who work through the error category..
    • Only the message in user namespace: because we don't care to fix other people's userspace, but we still want the user himself to fix it.

    I have two suggestions:

    • Move category and file namespaces from the first to the second group. They are not an article, not a template which is transcluded in articles, and not a helppage, which is supposed to help so should itself be error-free. So basically, we don't care that much.
    • Remove the invisible span from other non-talk namespaces. We still want the editor who makes the error to fix it. Debresser (talk) 00:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    I would like categories and files to remain in the error categories. It's a way to spot some vandalism and misguided edits that would otherwise be missed. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:55, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    I see your point. You are saying that categories and files are more heavily edited than other namespaces, so you want to keep a check on them. I don't really agree with you, but it is probably a judgment call.
    My second-step proposal would be that since the number of pages in the error category is low (used to be hundreds and thousands, and is now tens), we should, after giving people a month or so to see the error messages in other non-talk namespaces, add all of them to the error category, to fix them all. Debresser (talk) 08:41, 9 December 2013 (UTC)


    I also have one question:

    Can't {{#if:{{{cat|}}}|[[Category:{{{cat|}}}|ω{{PAGENAME}}]]|[[Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting|ω{{PAGENAME}}]]}}

    be replaced by [[Category:{{{cat|Pages with incorrect ref formatting}}}|ω{{PAGENAME}}]]? Debresser (talk) 00:46, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

    For the final point, consider a call with "cat=<blank>", defining the "cat" parameter but leaving it empty, or a call with "cat={{{cat|}}}", trying to pass the parameter from an outer template. The #if version of the code will see that the parameter is empty, and put the page in the default category. The second version will see that the parameter is defined, and attempt to put the page in a category with an empty name. See Help:Template#Handling parameters. -- John of Reading (talk) 07:55, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    Thanks for the explanation. But the only templates calling on {{Broken ref}} are MediaWiki templates (see User:Debresser/My_work_on_Wikipedia#Cite_error_sorting for a list), and they do not have this problem. These are edited only by experienced admins, so we can reasonably hope that such a thing will not happen, and make the change. Debresser (talk) 08:41, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    The new draft namespace has just been enabled. It should display cite errors. PrimeHunter (talk) 02:45, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
    I updated the template from {{namespace detect showall}} to Module:Namespace detect. The new module now supports all namespaces, so we can add draft and others. See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 109#Cite errors: add namespaces. --  Gadget850 talk 01:16, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

    Internal error messages[edit]

    Just noticed that the three internal error messages were removed in September.[1]

    I need to clean up- delete the Mediawiki pages, the associated help pages and {{broken ref}}. --  Gadget850 talk 19:40, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

    Think I got this cleaned up. --  Gadget850 talk 19:40, 27 December 2013 (UTC)

    Categorisation of reference errors[edit]

    I've spent a day and a half on the articles in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. I have two comments on this category and the others like it:

    • All the pages outside mainspace are listed under omega. The category would be easier to work with if the different non-article namespaces were under separate sort key letters.
    • The category is going to become clogged with archived discussion pages ("Please do not edit this page") and with declined or abandoned draft pages. This makes it difficult to set a useful {{Backlog}} threshold. Could the mainspace pages be moved to a subcategory Category:Articles with incorrect ref formatting? -- John of Reading (talk) 12:33, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Re first bullet; WP:SORTKEY offers some Greek letters for use here. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:43, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    How about this sorting?
    Namespace Sortkey Uppercase
    main (article) alphabetic
    category γ Γ
    template τ Τ
    file ι Ι
    help ω Ω
    portal ρ Ρ
    wikipedia ψ Ψ
    draft δ Δ
    Talk pages should not be categorized. Let me know if you see this and give me the page. --  Gadget850 talk 15:30, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    If by discussion you mean Wikipedia pages such as the Village Pump or Help Desk, then I see your point. I can remove that namespace, but we will have to accept that guideline and policy pages may have undisclosed errors. --  Gadget850 talk 15:56, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    (e/c) Yes, I was referring to the Wikipedia archive pages in CAT:REF.
    Since the subheadings on category pages are always uppercase, I've added a third column to your table. WP:SORTKEY suggests iota for files; we might as well stick with that. The current omega character is from {{Broken ref}}, is that right? -- John of Reading (talk) 16:06, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Thanks. I updated file to iota, and meant to use psi for Wikipedia. And yes, the omega is current use. --  Gadget850 talk 16:44, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Looks good to me. -- John of Reading (talk) 17:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    What about Wikipedia pages? --  Gadget850 talk 18:14, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    I don't know. I suggest we keep them categorised for now. -- John of Reading (talk) 18:24, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    OK. I will do the sortkeys later this afternoon. --  Gadget850 talk 18:51, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Yes check.svg Done I included labeled section transclusion markup so we can add the table to the category pages. --  Gadget850 talk 20:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Thank you. -- John of Reading (talk) 21:15, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


    Any thoughts anyone on my second bullet point? Does anyone take any notice of the {{Backlog}} status of these categories? -- John of Reading (talk) 21:15, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
    Hi, adding in "Draft:" and "Wikipedia:" pages extends the Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting by about 200 items, and as noted above those should not be edited being they're archived. If those kinds of articles' errors need to be tracked, can they get a subpage or something instead of being among the "living" pages? - Salamurai (talk) 17:46, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
    I looked around for a way to do page name matching and think {{If pagename multi}} might work. Let me take a look at this. --  Gadget850 talk 19:27, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
    I don't know if this is related: for Category:Pages with missing references list every "Portal" page is showing up, where they didn't used to, which extends the list by over 6,000 items that don't need to be fixed. - Salamurai (talk) 12:03, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
    I've begun a discussion at Wikipedia talk:Portal guidelines#References in portals. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:32, 22 March 2014 (UTC)
    Regarding portals, see Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 124#Broken template somewhere, help?. --Redrose64 (talk) 21:36, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

    Semi-protected edit request on 15 March 2014 on Véronique Sanson[edit]

    Would you please change the link existing with my blog in ref area : the link is broken. The good one is Hope you will agree (to) my request. Sincerely yours CyrGilles (talk) 18:08, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

    Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Help:Cite errors. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. It's not clear what you want to do, but this edit was not good. If there is a problem with the article Véronique Sanson, the place to discuss it is Talk:Véronique Sanson. To request help, the left sidebar has a link Help where you will find links to various means of obtaining help. --Redrose64 (talk) 18:56, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

    Category:Pages with missing references list that aren't[edit]

    There are about 30 pages included in Category:Pages with missing references list beginning DW to DZ, and GMA. The template they transclude, {{GMA Network}}, has been edited to remove <ref> tags, and the pages no longer contain any surplus tags and no longer show an error message. Despite this, these pages still show in this category. Anyone help?: Noyster (talk), 11:13, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

    Changes in category links are put into the job queue, and re-cached when the server load is low; this can take hours, days or weeks. You can force an update by editing the page, even a null edit. For example, I did some minor fixes on DWCW and it is no longer in the category. --  Gadget850 talk 12:33, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

    Cite error refs without references: role of bots[edit]

    In the section Help:Cite_errors/Cite_error_refs_without_references#Proposals it gives reasons why missing {{reflist}} entries can't and shouldn't be fixed automatically. In fact, this is being fixed by both XqBot and YoBot, in most cases without leaving a problem, although it may take several weeks before either bot gets round to any particular article. However, the bots don't deal with the other most common cause of this big red error message, which is when people put in further <ref> tags below an existing {{reflist}}, as they quite often do. Ideal would be if this could be flagged to the editor at the time of saving; or if that is not possible, have a bot convert the opening <ref> into a *, and delete the closing </ref>, which would leave something usable: Noyster (talk), 10:04, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

    There have been proposals to instead of displaying the error message, display {{reflist}}. This can be done, but it will always be placed at the very bottom of the page, will not have a heading and will be confusing for follow on editors. You can add a heading, but if you use wikimarkup, then the edit link will open the MEdiaWik error page; if you use HTML then the section is not listed in the TOC. --  Gadget850 talk 11:04, 7 April 2014 (UTC)

    Semi-protected edit request on 24 April 2014[edit]

    AE 26 06 D9

    1B A7 (talk) 13:34, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

    Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: as you have not requested a change.
    If you want to suggest a change, please request this in the form "Please replace XXX with YYY" or "Please add ZZZ between PPP and QQQ".
    Please also obtain consensus to back up your request. - Arjayay (talk) 13:42, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

    Yoko Ono[edit]

    For some reason, the page is displaying "Cite error: A list-defined reference named "FOOTNOTEBadman199940" is not used in the content". I have been scanning the article for FOOTNOTEBadman199940 but cannot find it. Help would be appreciated from another editor or a bot. XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 03:36, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

    Fixed; see my edit summary or Help:Shortened footnotes for an explanation. -- John of Reading (talk) 06:50, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
    Thank you! XXSNUGGUMSXX (talk) 06:56, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
    @XXSNUGGUMSXX: A large number of {{sfn}} were completely misused. It accepts up to four authors' surnames, a year, and a page identifier. Many uses were being given other information - title, publisher, ISBN etc., and it occurred to me that somebody had assumed that it was a shorthand for <ref>{{cite book}}</ref> whereas it is in fact a shorthand for <ref>{{harvnb}}</ref> I've fixed up the vast majority. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:59, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

    Reflist error appearing when I've put the {{reflist}} template on the page.[edit]

    I'm trying to edit the page for Leevi Madetoja by properly referencing the information, however since I've put both references AND the reflist template in the References section, it still displays the bug! Anyway to help?

    McLennonSon (talk) 09:19, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

    Fixed in [2]. When a named reference is reused, the syntax is <ref name=Korhonen />. The reference was never closed before so the rest of the page was interpreted as part of the reference. PrimeHunter (talk) 09:27, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

    Semi-protected edit request on 9 June 2014[edit]

    Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) should be included in the list of species available. Citation:

    Also an advantage of reclaimed redwood is that it is the only way to obtain old growth wood of this species as there is no more harvest of old growth redwood. same citation as above. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:37, 9 June 2014‎

    This is the wrong page for this request, I believe., did you mean to post this new text on Reclaimed lumber? – Jonesey95 (talk) 00:00, 10 June 2014 (UTC)

    Percent encoding issue[edit]

    I'm reporting an issue, I think, in the cite extension. If someone understands the system, perhaps you would bugzilla it.

    At Žydrūnas Savickas (visible at reference 23 in this permalink), the following error text occurs:

    Cite error: The named reference was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

    I guess each .2F should be &#47;. The relevant wikitext, with line breaks added, is:

    ...on June 29, 2013.<ref name="">'s-Strongest-Man-2013.html</ref>
    ...Dolina Charlotty, Poland)<ref name=""/>

    The last line includes an incorrect ref name which generates the above message. I'll fix that now if no interruptions occur. Johnuniq (talk) 10:54, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

    The error display is encoded, but otherwise spot on. "" is not the same as "". I will add a note to the help page. As noted at WP:NAMEDREFS: "Please consider keeping names simple and restricted to the standard English alphabet and numerals." --  Gadget850 talk 15:08, 11 June 2014 (UTC)

    Nalaka Godahewa[edit]

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

    Probably this is a straight forward thing, but I cant sort out titled issue in the following article after adding a few new sources. Appreciate if anyone can help me here. I did check out the help page and tried several times but couldn't fix the issue. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:41, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

    Nalaka Godahewa (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views)
    Fixed it - there was an unclosed HTML comment that made the rest of the article disappear. -- John of Reading (talk) 15:34, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

    Missing reference markup will no longer show an error[edit]

    With the deployment of 1.24wmf12 on Jul 10, missing reference markup will no longer show an error; the reference list will show below the content.[3]

    Discussion at Help talk:Footnotes#Missing reference markup will no longer show an error. --  Gadget850 talk 14:10, 7 July 2014 (UTC)

    Need simpler cite system[edit]

    Citing is too hard, and pages are unreadable in edit mode.

    Articles in edit mode are unreadable because every citation looks like this

    <ref>{{cite journal | author = Addams M, Bach P D Q, Public J Q, Smith , Watson E, Xerxes F, Yao W, Zemin J | title = The Role of “Mixed” Orexigenic and Anorexigenic Signals and Autoantibodies Reacting with Appetite-Regulating Neuropeptides and Peptides of the Adipose Tissue-Gut-Brain Axis: Relevance to Food Intake and Nutritional Status in Patients with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa | journal = Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry | volume = way too loud | issue = 38 | year = 2014 | kitchen-sink = included | pages = 1024-38 | pmid = 15863960 | doi = 10.1507/endocrj.52.271 | motto = "let's pipe in a few more tags"}}</ref>,

    and there are multiple citations interrupting each sentence. All that gibberish should go only in a list at the bottom of the page. --Dan Wylie-Sears 2 (talk) 01:03, 17 July 2014 (UTC)

    This really is not the appropriate place for this discussion. But take a look at List-defined references. --  Gadget850 talk 01:16, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
    You're welcome to bring up this idea at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy). I suspect that you would not be the first to do so.
    If you want to avoid this situation in articles that you have created, you can use <ref name="foo" /> in the body of the article and then list the refs at the bottom of the article. It does make it harder for editors to improve citations by editing sections, however. There are tradeoffs to everything. You could also try using the Syntax Highlighter, which you can find in Preferences -> Gadgets. – Jonesey95 (talk) 03:53, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
    That method is List-defined references. And a better venue might be Wikipedia:Village pump (idea lab). --  Gadget850 talk 14:12, 17 July 2014 (UTC)