Help talk:Referencing for beginners

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Alternative system[edit]

I've reverted the addition to "Alternative system".[1] Please let's keep this simple and not overload new editors. We'll be lucky if they get the simple system right. By all means start a new beginners' guide to the alternative system and link to it for those who want more details. Ty 17:36, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

newlines in reference[edit]

I see some editors insert a newline immediately after the starting <ref> and another newline immediately before the ending </ref> of a reference. I see that other people[2] are using WP:REFB#Inserting a reference as justification to delete those newlines.

Does this make any visible difference to our readers?

Is the "space" mentioned in WP:REFB#Inserting a reference only talking about space that actually makes a visible difference to our readers? -- (talk) 13:24, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't make a difference on my browser, but different browsers perform differently, so it's best to layout the way you want something to appear. It's not the common practice to insert a space after the starting code and before the ending code. I'm not sure REFB was a justification, so much as a helpful link for guidance. Ty 00:41, 11 September 2009 (UTC)


This page, unfortunately, told the beginners some "wrong" answers. For example, it demanded use of WP:Footnotes, and contradicted WP:REFPUNC. I've corrected these errors, so that editors will know that other styles are permitted, without complicating the page by adding instructions on how to use the other styles. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:13, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Recent discussion about this page[edit]

(moved from my user talk page)--Tomwsulcer (talk) 00:15, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

The page has been in use in its present form for two years with minor tweaks by several editors, who have not changed its overall approach. Your edit has made it into a very different guide. I guess this is acceptable per WP:BRD, but you have to accept that after B you are likely to get R. You changed a much greater amount of work than just two hours' worth. I find the new version very confusing. It uses the word "shell", for example, without even explaining what the word means, and it is not one that will be generally understood.

It also goes into how to get references with this list of sources:


This is totally US-centric for a start, and a rather cumbersome approach. It's much easier to just search Google News or a dedicated news repository. But, more significantly, it introduces an unnecessary complexity to a guide whose purpose is to enable editors to use references and understand the formatting, not teach them how to find references in search engines.

The original said:

Make sure you put two single quotation marks round the title (to generate italics), rather than one double quote mark.

You changed it to:

Remember to italicize titles using double single-quote marks.

This compression does not stress the importance of two single quote marks, as the original does, but ends up with the juxtaposition of "double single", which is more likely to be misunderstood.

You say:

Overall the best format is yyyy-mm-dd. It avoids confusion.

It doesn't. 2010-09-10 for those not used to this format can mean either 9 October or 10 September. Normal US usage is 9/11, but normal UK usage is 11/9.

You've deleted the paragraph which links to the example of multiple references in use in an article. It is very useful for a new editor to be able to see the result in action.

These are just examples.

It may well be useful to teach editors how to find sources, but not in this guide. Do it properly and write a guide dedicated to that, so you can go into it in the necessary detail.

Likewise, if you think that the use of "shells" is the easiest way, then write a guide to explain their usage. The normal terminology is "template". The existing guide explains how to set up references without having to know about such templates, and I think this is far simpler to master. If you write one from a different approach and people prefer it, then it will gain general usage, and this is the real test.

Ty 13:42, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

Fair enough. You make some good points. Do you have any interest in working with me to improve this article? I suggest we take the best of both worlds. I agree with many of your comments like the problems with the ( etc...) . I still think, however, that the "shell" or "reference template" or whatever we call it is the best, most powerful & versatile referencing tool. And we should focus on that. And, as much as possible, we should strive for simplicity in the sense of "less is more". I bet many nooBs take one look at this page, see how long it is, see turn-off words like "code", or struggle with many different considerations, and click out of the page. I don't understand why the top hatnote about administerships is there. And I don't think the "essay" tag applies.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 17:05, 3 January 2010 (UTC)

I support anything that makes this simpler for the new reader, but not anything which introduces more things to learn, i.e. citation templates. These may work for you, but they still require another technical set of considerations for the new editor. I think the best solution is another help page, e.g. Wikipedia:Citation templates for beginners which can be linked from the existing help page and give new editors that option if they want it.

If there is a more user-friendly way of putting things, e.g. "code", let's examine it. I think the best way is to find a specific point to address, propose a change on the article talk page and discuss it; and take one point at a time. When existing text has gained implicit consensus over a long period of time from users who have participated in it, change is not overnight.

A certain length in the guide cannot be avoided because various basic points have to be explained. The aim is to take the new editor through these points in simple steps.

Ty 11:37, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Ty I see somewhat what you're saying, but I'd like to explain my position further, and I'm changing my own perspective from before, somewhat. You've been using Wikipedia now for several years, right? And you've probably been looking over the article Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners for a while now. In your eyes, the article may not look complex since you know how to reference. But nooBs, looking at this article, are most likely intimidated. What's happened, over time, to this article, happens to most Wikipedia articles as you're well aware. As new issues crept up, new material was added, bit by bit, and the article lengthened to include ancillary (in my view) issues such as handling references that aren't online, Even the beginning is problematic in my view: explaining which references are good or suitable seems somewhat off-track, like about the Mt. Everest example; rather, what the reader probably wants to know is: how do I reference? They're probably already on board about which references are good. So a statement like "Any editor can remove unreferenced material" is unnecessary since readers already know that.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:27, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Here is the original version.[3] It is simple enough. I think some material added since has not helped and could be removed/reworded. It is necessary to show how to reference material not online, as it often occurs. It is also necessary to use the Everest-type example, as it shows a basic mistake, which I have seen a lot. A lot of editors have never used references before and don't know this fundamental. This material was included because it was based on observation of mistakes made by (mostly new) editors. No, they are not "probably already on board", and they don't "already know that". They are "beginners" and know very little about wikipedia. Ty 12:47, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
If the original purpose was to teach nooBs how to reference, in my view, that the extra added material hampered this purpose. The length of the article, itself, deters reading. It makes the subject look complicated. The word code looks intimidating as well as the word template. What I'm proposing is reducing this article to ONLY the really important must-know stuff about referencing. --Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:27, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
That is exactly what it does contain, at least in the original version.] If you have a better word for "code" and "template" (but not "shell" which is even more abstruse), then please suggest. Ty 12:50, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
And, from my experience, the basic template or shell or construct or whatever we must call it, is the MOST useful, BEST, most VERSATILE referencing tool. It can fit every situation (online editing, offline editing). And it's basically SIMPLE to use once a reader gets the hang of it. Here it is, as you know:--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:27, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
<ref name=yourIDtag>{{cite news | author = | title = | quote = | publisher = '''' | date = | pages = | url = | accessdate = }}</ref>
That's what the article should teach. The basic idea should be: fill in as many of the spaces to the right of the equals as possible. Stick it RIGHT AFTER the line being referenced. That's it. Lesson over. As the article title says, "for beginners". The rest of the article: let's CUT. Cut out discussion of italics, wikilinks, date formats, split-screen editing. Cut out the ( OR...) stuff. These issues are covered elsewhere. Maybe we should even cut out the "repeated references" stuff too since it adds further complication. It's a technical issue that perhaps we can put in a daughter article. And let's cut the tag which isn't appropriate. And put one of those "This page in a nutshell" thingies on top. That's my suggestion for this page. Let me know what you think. But I think this issue is important, because a critical way in which almost all new volunteer editors fall flat on their faces is their inability to reference; their unreferenced stuff gets deleted, they quit.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 16:27, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Well write a guide to explain all that then. This one does something different. You are the only person who has raised an objection to this approach in two years. I disagree with you over the simplicity of using a citation template. It requires just as much explanation as the existing approach. A lot of people don't even know what a URL is. "Author" - some people will think this means the wiki editor. Obvious to you, but not to all. Etc etc. Here is your version: User:Tomwsulcer/my_sandbox_3. Well move it into project space so it is more visible and others can use it if they want. I don't think it's simpler and easier, but maybe others will. Ty 12:58, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
OK, will do, but I'm not saying my previous version was that great either, but what I'm saying is let's have one simple guide, but have daughter articles if users get confused, or else wikilinks to confusing terms. And you're right about people not knowing things like what "urls" mean, or that "author" means somebody in the NY Times, not themselves. What I think hampers all of us on Wikipedia is that, for the most part, we don't get feedback from readers, so we don't know how well this article does its job. You know how Amazon reviews has little buttons "Was this review helpful". I'd love that to come to Wikipedia. So, I'm guessing that the WP:Referencing for beginners is overly complex for nooBs but I'm not really sure, and you're right, we should weigh stuff carefully before making big changes. What I was wondering is: the shell above -- am I right that it will reference almost anything, or should it be expanded to include other fields (or shrunk if the fields are unnecessary like "quote=")? Need your thinking about this. I guess what I'm wondering is: is there some basic referencing mechanism which, once learned, can tackle almost every referencing task, and that works everywhere, making good inline (does "inline" mean: click it and boom you see the reference?) references? My thinking is that the above shell is this mechanism, but I'm open to the possibility that I'm mistaken. And if there's something better please tell me. I recently tried that reference-generator tool listed at the bottom of the article but I'm also used to my own system.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:58, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
I have had positive feedback about this page, so I think it works as it is. Additionally, the material in it is specifically in response to faults made by new users. Instead of telling them individually the same thing, I put it in a help page, i.e. it is in response to real issues, not theoretical ones. I don't use citation templates, as I find them cumbersome, so I don't have advice on fields. WP:HELP pages don't usually have "in a nutshell" - that occurs on guideline/policy pages. Ty 12:51, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Continuation of last section[edit]

(editing break for ease of use)

I'm proposing a vastly reduced, simplified version of this page here: Wikipedia talk:Referencing for beginners/sandbox. I cut out much stuff. The idea is to give only the information that nooBs really need. I even cut out the multiple citations using one reference; my thinking is that let's get users started referencing; if and when they need to learn how to do the multiple-citation-using-one-reference mechanism, they can find it in the more detailed articles. If readers need more more information, there are links pointing to more detailed articles like the Citations template. Wondering what people think?--Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:54, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Copied from User talk:Tyrenius:

So, what do you think about the proposed referencing for beginners article? I used your thinking plus expanded on mine, and offer a vastly trimmed version. Do you want to keep the current article, and have the reduced one be a daughter article? Or do you think we could put the new one in place of the old or is that too risky? And wondering about the technical aspects too, since I think you know more about this stuff than I do; like, is the proposed shell or template or whatever it is a good one.--Tomwsulcer (talk) 04:20, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

(end of copied material)

I do not think the proposed version[4] is a suitable substitute for the existing version.[5] I am strongly opposed to that. However, I think it is a good initiative, as there should be a simple explanation for users who prefer to use citation templates, and it should be self-contained on a separate page, with the two pages linking to each other, so users have a choice. Editors wishing to help a new user can point them to one or the other (or both). This choice is necessary, as reference formatting should follow the existing usage on a page. Ty 13:03, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable. I'll set it up. If you have any thoughts about naming let me know soon. My thinking of ideas for names is: "Reference simply quickly powerfully", "Referencing EZ method" "Referencing simple and fast", "Referencing how-to", "Referencing simplified", "How to reference almost anything", "How to reference (nutshell version)", "Referencing made simple". Or there are other possibilities. Any preferences?--Tomwsulcer (talk) 13:15, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
How about Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners with citation templates. This ties it in with the existing page. The terminology "citation template" should be introduced, as users need to know it, or they will be confused, when other users refer to it. A shortcut could be WP:REFBC. Ty 13:26, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
Created daughter article Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners with citation templates. Got sandbox page deleted as it's now red above. WP:REFBC sounds like a good shortcut page, but I'm not sure how these things work. Is it like a page with a redirect? So if someone types "REFBC" then they go to the REFBC page, but then get instantly redirected to the Wikipedia:Referencing for beginners with citation templates page?--Tomwsulcer (talk) 15:36, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

List-defined references[edit]

This nice method from September 2009 is easy to learn. See a Norwegian article that uses it. (One can also use groups: See List-defined references-section under Wikipedia:Footnotes#Advanced.) Dugnad (talk) 07:09, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes, but this page is to give new users a basic tool and avoid anything more sophisticated. Ty 15:47, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Sure, and imho this method is simpler and better than what's currently tought, because it avoids long refs within the main text. Under Help:Footnotes#List-defined references it says: "As of September 2009, the cite software allows named references to be defined within the reference list rather than in the article text. This can make editing articles much easier, particularly on heavily cited sections." The group-option should of course not be included; I just mentioned it here. Dugnad (talk) 22:27, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

That is, of course, your personal opinion and not shared by everyone or even the majority of editors. As such, there is nothing here that needs changing. -- AnmaFinotera (talk · contribs) 06:55, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Names of newspapers[edit]

In the interests of making things as simple as possible for beginners, could we leave out the bit about wikiliking the names of the newspaper in a news citation? I think this is a refinement that is arguably often pointless and certainly never essential. I never do it myself. Stating the place of publication of the newspaper (if not included in its name) seems to me more important because that defines the source unambiguously. -- Alarics (talk) 13:26, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Is there any guidance elsewhere about this point? It is linked if a cite template is used, so one reason to keep it is consistency. It also helps to avoid confusion with similarly named journals. Ty 14:26, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Reference test[edit]

This is the text which you are going to verify with a reference.[1]


  1. ^ Reference details go here

space before <ref>[edit]

WP:REFB#Inserting a reference says to avoid spaces between the text and the <ref>, to avoid line wraps. That makes sense, but if you look at [6], at the line item for "Untitled Toy Story-based short" in the first table, depending on the window width IE8 will break between "short" and the reference. Firefox is OK; perhaps this is a bug in IE8. Jordan Brown (talk) 23:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

keep it simple[edit]

As somebody stated correctly that this advice should be as simple as possible: why the heck is there <references /> as example although every AWB check will change this to the reflist template? Shouldn't this be removed? mabdul 11:53, 7 February 2011 (UTC)

Rewrite this page to explain how to use reftools[edit]

RefTools gadget is now turned on for all editors by default (see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(proposals)/Archive_68#Proposal_-_Turn_on_RefTools_gadget_by_default). It's very simple to use and produces high quality, easy to read references. I think it's time to rewrite this page so that it includes an explanation of how to use reftools. I can make a start on a draft if people agree this is a good idea. --Physics is all gnomes (talk) 15:19, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

I have added some instructions at the top of the page on how to do that. I think it is a much more simple way of getting new editors quickly citing, which is why I placed it before the old information on manually citing. While I'm sure my instructions could use some improvement, having something on it is long overdue. Monty845 22:42, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

Same reference used more than once[edit]

Quick question, does anyone know off-hand what symbols won't work? The current language (" Some symbols don't work in the ref name, but you'll find out if you use them.") is rather ambiguous. I figured I would ask before I started experimenting to figure them out just in case someone might already know. MyNameWasTaken (talk) 02:36, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

Which is why I created {{refname rules}} to keep this consistent. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:04, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Proposal to use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. in citations instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7"[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Help talk:Citation Style 1#RfC: Use "Vol.", "pp.", etc. consistently between citation templates, instead of ambiguous formatting like "9 (4): 7". The talk page at Help talk:Citation style 1 is where the discussion about most of our citation templates is centralized. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC) — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 20:12, 19 March 2012 (UTC)

What is there is no reference?[edit]

What if you are writing an article about a topic or technology that has no real reference on the web what can you do in terms of reference? For the topic I am writing about there are only websites of people selling the item and I don't want to reference them. It's a website technology used by some websites to allow their website visitors to design products on their site.

I'm hoping you have some tips on this. Thanks! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bprazner (talkcontribs) 03:55, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

If there are no independent reliable sources that treat the subject in significant detail, then Wikipedia should not have an article on the topic. Please see Wikipedia:Notability and Wikipedia:Verifiability ("If no reliable third-party sources can be found on a topic, Wikipedia should not have an article on it"). However, you made this specific to sources "on the web". Please be aware that sources do not need to be online (many of the best sources, such as books, are not available online). See WP:SOURCEACCESS.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 04:02, 27 June 2012 (UTC)
Has there been a product review - or better still a full article - in any of the dozens of printed magazines dealing with computing? If so, some of those would be a good start. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:00, 27 June 2012 (UTC)

javascript popups have no url: how do we reference them[edit]

Example: An editor posted, in perfectly good faith, info that I knew to be false about the ownership of a Spanish company. I found the relevant info on that company's site, on which one can click the link "UNIPUBLIC", and the information is there, albeit in Spanish. However, it opens as a javascript, therefre cannot be opened as a new tab or new window to identify a url on which the information is displayed. If I were to post as the reference, one could quite reasonably reply "That reference proves nothing, it just shows some cyclists' legs". So how does one cite the info in a java popup? Kevin McE (talk) 11:41, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

I am seeing more generated content like this, which makes it hard to cite. And the JS link has the same name as the site, which makes it more confusing. I suggest you add a comment after the citation:
Markup Renders as
{{cite web |title=Unipublic |work=Unipublic |quote=Unipublic se crea en 1975, y entre otras actividades, se especializa en la completa organización y comercialización de eventos deportivos de elite. |url=}}<!--Site uses generated content; select Unipublic to access the cited page--> 
"Unipublic". Unipublic. Unipublic se crea en 1975, y entre otras actividades, se especializa en la completa organización y comercialización de eventos deportivos de elite. 
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:45, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
Citations should give readers everything they need to view the source. Readers do not have the mindset of editing an article to view the citation source in order to understand the citation. Thus, the comment should be some visible text after the citation, not an HTML comment. Jc3s5h (talk) 14:57, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
Thus the quote. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:27, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion: should there be something in the project page, or at WP:IC ? Kevin McE (talk) 21:27, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

RefTools Video not working?[edit]

Hi, As a noob contributor, I am on the page looking for info how to cite properly. I am using Safari on Mac OSX.6.8 (Snow Leopard) with "ClickToPlugin" extension enabled (That is supposed to enable HTML5 playback of video, among other things - it works on Youtube and plenty of other sites). The video does not play, instead I get a file download of "RefTools.ogv.360p.webm". Of course I shall now go back and read the page on how to use RefTools, so personally it's not a problem. Posting this as a 'heads up'. Please contact me on my talk page if you need any further info. afd (talk) 05:58, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Multiple references to the same source[edit]

When a single source is cited multiple times in the same article, getting back from the references section to the right section of prose requires guesswork. This is (imo) a bad thing and I have prosed to change it.

For a detailed explanation see Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#Multiple references to the same source. You are invited to participate in the discussion there. Thryduulf (talk) 00:38, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

There also seems to be no way to combine multiple identical sources efficiently: for example, one source retrieved on three different dates creating three separate sources cannot be combined into one. How can this be done? Should it be? anothermoron (talk) 14:06, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Are you referring to access dates? Remember, access dates are not needed if the source has a publication date- see the template documentation. Please provide an example. --  Gadget850 talk 16:23, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

I have a few questions.[edit]

So if I see large sections in pages that don't have references and are just typed in, am I supposed to delete them until there is a reference found, or do I leave them there? This part is slightly confusing. The help page does say that each statement written is supposed to be verified, so I just want to be clear on that part because I don't want to get into trouble. I have not tried removing anything yet though. Golden Cog Afternoon Karate Exit (talk) 19:48, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

There are several ways to handle this.
  1. One approach is to remove it outright. This can be a good approach if it seems overtly and verifiably wrong information or defamatory to a real life person.
  2. Another approach is to put a "citation needed" tag. That's a good approach if the information seems possible/plausible/likely, but you can't or don't want to go searching for a source
  3. A third approach would be to do some research and find some sources to either back it up, or reword it to make it correct.
In general, it kind of depends on a particular situation on how to handle it, and how motivated you are to put the work in yourself. If you're unsure, you can always start a section on an article's talk page, or at a related Wikiproject to see what others have to say. Sometimes experienced users may be able to assist with fixing it up rather than deleting it all wholesale. I hope that helps. Sergecross73 msg me 20:32, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Easier way of adding access dates t already existing references[edit]

Is there any easier way to add access dates to some references that do not have them?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Avario87 (talkcontribs) 18:28, April 23, 2014‎ (UTC)D'Ranged 1 talk 02:03, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

@Avario87: I'm not sure what exactly your question is, so my answer may give you more information than you need. To begin, only references that include urls, or websites, need to have this parameter. If the citation is for a physical newspaper, for example, no access date is needed.
If the reference uses a template, the proper way to add an access date is to insert |accessdate= into the reference information. For ease of editing, this can be inserted directly before the closing }} of the reference template; the template wiil handle placing it in the proper position within the citation:
  • <ref>{{cite news|last=Plunkett|first=John|title=Sorrell accuses Murdoch of panic buying|url=|newspaper=[[The Guardian]]|date=27 October 2005|location=London}}</ref>
  • <ref>{{cite news|last=Plunkett|first=John|title=Sorrell accuses Murdoch of panic buying|url=|newspaper=[[The Guardian]]|date=27 October 2005|location=London|accessdate=7 May 2014}}</ref>
If you are editing a manually-inserted citation, then you need to add Retrieved date. to the citation, where date is the access date. Insert this at the very end of the reference, just before the </ref> tag, with a space before it, and be sure to end it with a period:
  • <ref>Plunkett, John. "Sorrell accuses Murdoch of panic buying", ''[[The Guardian]]'', London, 27 October 2005.</ref>
  • <ref>Plunkett, John. "Sorrell accuses Murdoch of panic buying", ''[[The Guardian]]'', London, 27 October 2005. Retrieved 7 May 2014.</ref>
Be sure to use the date format used in the majority of the other references for the article when adding dates.
As for determining what the access date should be, you could review the edit history to determine when the citation was added, and use that date as the access date. This is excruciatingly difficult, however; I would recommend actually clicking on the link to the referenced url to verify the link is still "live" and insert the current date as the access date. If the link is not "live", try to find an archive of the web page and add that information to the citation.—D'Ranged 1 talk 02:03, 8 May 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for your help; however because I am a beginner would it be possible to have someone add them for me? Avario87 (talk)
@Avario87: A little housekeeping: When posting on talk pages in response to an earlier post, look at the previous post before yours. Notice how many colons (:) the previous user put before their main comments and add one more to the first line of each paragraph of your response. Since I used one colon before my paragraphs, you would put two before yours. (I've edited your response accordingly.) The colon causes an indentation; this makes it easier to see where one user's comments left off and another's began. Each additional colon causes a further indentation. If you respond to this comment here, please add four colons before your reply to indent it a bit further to the right of my response.
Also, if you're responding to a specific editor's comments, adding the {{Reply to|user}} (can also be written {{reply|user}}) template at the beginning of your response will alert that editor that you've added material for them to read. Just add their user name in place of user. (For more information, see Template:Reply to/doc.)
I am happy to help you learn how to edit; you will need to know if you are going to be a good editor at Wikipedia. However, I won't do the edits for you—this is a basic editing skill you need to learn—but I will be happy to check your work if you'd like. After a few tries, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it!
As an example, I took a look at the last edit you made to the Sally Kellerman article. It has a small mistake; it's easily rectified. When you copied the title of the article from the web page, the web site added some hidden text to the title that you then pasted into the citation template. Since it duplicates what is in the |url= parameter, you should just edit the title text to match what is visible on the web site:
  • <ref>{{cite web|last=Rohan|first=Virginia|title=Comic Marc Maron, a North Jersey native, returns in the second season of his IFC series 'Maron' - See more at:|url=||accessdate=8 May 2014}}</ref>
shouldn't include the text above; all that's needed is:
  • <ref>{{cite web|last=Rohan|first=Virginia|title=Comic Marc Maron, a North Jersey native, returns in the second season of his IFC series 'Maron'||accessdate=8 May 2014}}</ref>
If you'll check the way the reference displays in the References section, you'll see that
becomes a much easeir-to-read citation, with the title of the article linking to the web page:
Let me emphasize that you didn't do anything wrong—when you highlighted the title of the article to copy it, the web page you were on added the extra information to what you copied; you just needed to delete it from the |title= parameter before inserting the template. (If you don't want to scroll back and forth in the tool, go ahead and insert the citation and then edit it in the article.)
You might also want to get in the habit of populating the |archiveurl= and |archivedate= parameters for links you add. These fields are accessed by clicking  Show/hide extra fields  at the bottom of the tool; for more information about how to archive websites, please read Help:Using the Wayback Machine. It's good practice to check the Wayback Machine to see if the site you're using as a citation is in its archives, you have the opportunity to add it if it isn't. This is extremely helpful down the road; web pages get moved and/or deleted frequently, and if that happens, when someone clicks on the link, they get an error message. It's much easier to add the sites you use to the Wayback Machine as you go than to try to find them years later, trust me! Help:Using the Wayback Machine gives very explicit instructions on how to use the Wayback Machine website; it even has a way for you to add clickable links to the links taskbar on your browser to get there easily.
Also, I want to document that I made some changes to my earlier response to you to clean up the formatting. The sense hasn't changed at all; it just takes up less space on the page now.
I haven't made the change I've illustrated here in the Sally Kellerman article itself; that would be a good first place for you to start massaging citation templates. If you like, please leave a note on my talk page and let me know about some citations to which you've added access dates; I'll be happy to look at your edits and give feedback. (It's better that you contact me there than making this thread any longer.) Happy editing, and thank you for wanting to get it right!—D'Ranged 1 talk 15:55, 8 May 2014 (UTC)

Same reference used more than once - suggested change of wording[edit]

Under "5 - Same reference used more than once", the instruction in the first line is not clear. I had to ask the Help Desk to explain it. I suggest changing the wording from:

"The first time a reference appears in the article, you can give it a simple name in the <ref> code"
"The first time a reference appears in the article, you can give it any name in the <ref> code (as long as the name is kept short and does not include any numbers or symbols)".

--P123cat1 (talk) 08:54, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

But this would be incorrect. The name may include numbers, but should not be only numbers. The current text is correct; I think the example given makes it very clear. I'm not sure why you had a problem understanding it.—D'Ranged 1 talk 10:22, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

I will leave it then. To me it is not clear whether "a simple name" should be some name from the citation. For it not to be linked in some way to the information in the citation seems to me counterintuitive and therefore misleading. --P123cat1 (talk) 12:16, 18 May 2014 (UTC)

I see someone has amended the text since my last comment. The change makes the instruction much clearer. But it still does not cover the point about avoiding long names and names that contain only numbers. --P123cat1 (talk) 10:59, 19 May 2014 (UTC)

Has anyone actually read this page?[edit]

Try reading this page from the point of view of someone who is new to Wikipedia and just wants to know how to add citations. It is completely incomprehensible, and instead of providing a clear guide it is just full of long discussions of arcane acronyms, javascript versions, discussions of activations, etc. Why do we need to tell NEW users about all the different versions of reftoolbar when they are NEW accounts and default for all users, logged in or not, is refToolbar 2.0b? Why do we talk primarily about <references /> when the most widely used preloads used by Help:Userspace draft and WP:WIZARD, Template:Afc preload/draft and Template:Article wizard/userpageskeleton, use {{reflist}}? Why are we talking about further reading sections and alternate methods when this is a referencing guide for beginners? --Ahecht (TALK
) 18:28, 19 November 2014 (UTC)

You plea was being ignored- but I too found the page dated and not reflecting current practice or the needs of participants at edit-a-thons. I have added some wisdom to the alternative systems section- which I believe must have been someones attempt to try to nudge the page. To make a change to a Help page would mean achieving concensus- and when it take three months to get an answer to a post I suspect I that will never be gained. If you have further ideas as to the contents of this page- please continue to post them here, and if anyone wishes to improve my spelling or grammar feel free. Bigger changes require full discussion first. I chose the FA on Franz Kafka as I think he is the patron-saint of Wikipedia referencing. -- Clem Rutter (talk) 12:16, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I actually did a little cleanup a few weeks after posting that (mostly to remove the talk about javascript versions). The version of the page at the time I posted was significantly harder to understand. --Ahecht (TALK
) 15:47, 26 February 2015 (UTC)
I am looking for some good examples of this alternative system,,,,and the main pages to link to. Not for beginners but a nice little intro to the style. We should explain the disadvantages that people we have to deal with, with this style...whole page edits over section edits etc.... --


We should have "Manual referencing" the first thing you see as its by far the most common method used and simplest. -- Moxy (talk) 15:05, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

Thought about it. Absolutely correct. It should be written tin the language of a new editor- stripping out ifs and buts, that can come later. Shall I do it , or will you? -- Clem Rutter (talk) 15:17, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
I disagree. I've tried to help lots of new users with referencing and they seem very confused by manual methods. Those not familiar with HTML often manage to completely screw up the code (where to put the <ref></ref> tags is particularly confusing) if they don't just give up altogether. The point-and-click interface of RefToolbar is MUCH more beginner friendly. --Ahecht (TALK
) 15:25, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
The problem is not with the logical order of the page but with the diverse nature of beginners. At training sessions, we get 'beginners' who have two doctorates but are scared of typing anything as reputations are at stake. Citations, and magic-linking to the bibliography comes easily. We have the folk who never use computers- but came along as their line-manager was enthusiastic. We have the beginners who are arthritic and have no keyboard skills. We have beginners that are happy with <ref/> tags- who find it therapeutic to fill in {{cite}} boxes- and then we have folk who want to type in facts and getting anything in the way of a reference is a real bonus. Then we have the on-line beginner, who learns by assiduously reading this page. We have things like the teahouse initiative and a buddying scheme- these volunteers need a page they can point their students towards. We have got to support the Visual Editor guys- and that will be interesting to write! We have to support beginners that are adding stuff to existing articles- more than those starting an article afresh. Basically I am musing about an article with 4 main sections,(more if needed) Each section will be written on one method of referencing- each section will be self contained tutorial, each is likely to address a different type of beginner.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 22:10, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Would be nice if RefToolbar was used more but its simply not so. The page should reflect the fact that most just add refs manually - the simplest way as this page is for beginners. NO other page has this revers order ....VisualEditor does not even work with Internet Explorer thus should definitely not be seem before what is considered normal referencing. -- Moxy (talk) 00:48, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
I do use RefToolbar, and I have a lot of experience adding references (but tried and passed on using Visual Editor long ago). I find it more efficient and less error-prone to cut-and-paste from the reference source window to the RefToolbar template, without having to worry as much about the details of formatting. Furthermore, I point lots of new editors to the RefToolbar tutorial, as I think it is the easiest for inexperienced editors to learn this tool, while it can continue to be useful even as they become more experienced. I agree that there should be parallel introductions to the most common methods of building references, as proposed by User:ClemRutter. Starting the Help article with the all the detailed syntax of the manual method doesn't scare me (I used computers starting with direct input of numerical machine opcodes in the late 1960s), but it definitely can scare off many new editors from trying to add any references at all. Please don't assume that your favorite method as an experienced editor is the best way to teach new editors; we have enough trouble getting them to add any references already! Reify-tech (talk) 06:03, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Please get a consensus before moving the section order again. You originally moved manual referencing to the top (Bold), I undid it (Revert), and now you need to gain consensus for the change (Discuss). --Ahecht (TALK
) 14:49, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
Ok lets do that because we should do what is best for our readers. Will make Rfc later today. As the help project organizer I can assure all that the RefToolbar is not popular fact most new editors dont use the tool bar at all. -- Moxy (talk) 15:16, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

RfC: What method first[edit]

What type of sources manner should be explained first for our new editors- "Manual referencing" or "Using refToolbar"


  • Manual referencing should be first as per all the other intro pages to referencing ( Help:Introduction to referencing/1 - Help:Footnotes - Wikipedia:Tutorial/Citing sources - Wikipedia:Inline citation - Wikipedia:Citation templates and Wikipedia:Contributing to Wikipedia ). We should not assume all our editors can support JavaScript. Plus making our new editors watch a 5 mins video or have to read 6 or 7 steps is simply not easier then telling them to add <ref>freetext</ref>. We should mention the method most used first. I personally think the refToolbar is great but as a contributor to the help desks.....I see that refToolbar is another thing people have to learn. I believe knowing the very basics first is more helpful in the long run over telling new editors to use templates that need to be filled out. Wikipedia permits editors to use any citation system that allows the reader to understand where the information came from. We should not assume all like the tools and will use them off the bat....we should give the basic info first.... by telling people what the code looks..and where it can be found...then talk about the tools and other methods available. Leavening people in the dark about what the code looks like and does is not helpful in the long run. People dont need to learn all the HTML code just <ref></ref> before they learn more . As of now we talk about how with refToolbar editors should remove the reftags for a bib before we even explain what the code is for...again putting the the cart before the horse. -- Moxy (talk) 16:07, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RefToolbar I do a lot of work helping new editors at the Articles for Creation Help Desk and through the Articles for creation review and comment process, and a huge number of them are befuddled by the simple process of using the HTML-like <ref></ref> tags, so you end up with articles severly broken by such code as <ref></ref>, <ref</ref>, <ref>><ref>, <ref><ref/>, etc. Then you get the users who put in references like <ref>I know this because I work there</ref> or <ref>Do a google search</ref>. Beyond that, when many editors see that they have to use HTML-like code they get scared away. The RefToolbar provides a user-friendly way to enter citations without having to use any code, prompts users to fill in information other than the bare URL, shows users the type of information that should be included in a reference, and properly formats everything in a standard template. Beginners should start out with such tools, but if they don't have javascript or would like the flexibility of coding it themselves all they have to do is scroll down. However, with manual referencing at the top, many new editors will just have their eyes glaze over, decide that the whole thing is too complicated, and give up. --Ahecht (TALK
    ) 20:47, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
@Ahecht: If people are typing malformed ref pairs, then maybe we should start by explaining what a tag is. That is basic knowledge and they will have to know it to make any sense of what they see in the edit window. HTML tutorials start with something easy, like <b>bold</b> gives bold and <i>italic</i> gives italic. If we can explain that, then it <ref>...</ref> shouldn't be such a problem. It's just a tag that makes the footnote magically appear in the proper place. I think we should spend a lot of time on that and make sure that people understand it before moving on to {{reflist}} and so on. This way, maybe they can understand that the toolbar is just an easy way to do fancy formatting of what appears between the <ref>...</ref> tags. – Margin1522 (talk) 05:44, 17 March 2015 (UTC)|
  • Manual referencing- maybe. I am interested to hear about the on-line beginners, as it is not a group that I have had much to do with. My perspective is standing in a hall. and looking at a disparate group of skeptical faces- some who have multiple PhDs and some who were dragged along to boost numbers. Some of my beginners start to write a new article, some add content to an existing one, some want to a insert references from a book we have provided into an existing articles.
It is irrelevant whether we stat with one or the other- they need clear instructions on how one method- or all four methods work. We need to structure this help for beginners article so Ahecht is comfortable with using it and Moxy is, and I can use it at a face to face tutorial. On balance I say we have.
  1. Lead
  2. Introduction to referencing. Why? What we do to show the references at the end
  3. Basic manual markup.
  4. Using cite templates in the editor reftool bar
  5. Basic method for citing many pages from one book (academic markup)
  6. Mark up with footnotes and references and bibliography
  7. Legacy methods
  8. See also
The test- on-line beginners would be shown section 2 and 4, my unwilling participants can start at 3 then an hour in I switch them to 3, my academics I start at 5. Those reading the page for them selves still have the same order as they would find in other help pages. When it comes to the crunch, at the end of the day anything is better than nothing, and given a clue, someone else can work out what the reference really should be.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 21:36, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
This proposal sound good to me....should we make a sandbox for testing after this RfC? -- Moxy (talk) 18:57, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RefToolbar: I have referred a number of new editors here because of the types of syntactical and content problems described above by User:Ahecht. I share his experience-based concern that confronting many new editors with HTML-like code at the outset will intimidate them, and we have enough problems getting editors to add usable refs already. RefToolbar allows the editor to focus on the content rather than the fine details of correct syntax, and cues the editor for addition of the most common data fields, while allowing optional access to more-advanced data fields when desired. In the spirit of WP:BOLD, I have just rewritten parts of the entire article, to give it more coherence, remove unhelpful repetition, and improve clarity. I have even tried to clean up the "Manual referencing" section to reduce the ocurrence of the common new editor error of doing a test edit on the Help page itself. The "Manual referencing" section is important enough that it needs to cleaned up and made less intimidating, but I don't think we should lead with it. The entire article still could use a lot of improvement, regardless of how we decide the question of section ordering. Reify-tech (talk) 06:50, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Just to be clear you believe option B is easier and wont deter editors as much as option A? Option B seen first will send new editors running for the hills. Just image you want to add one sentence to an article and you were linked to a wall of text you have to read to insert one source....a walls of text is the deterrent here....not one HTML code. Teaching our new editors about one html code is not a hard thing.-- Moxy (talk) 15:36, 16 March 2015 (UTC)
Option A

Inline citations are most commonly placed by inserting a reference between <ref> URL</ref> tags, directly in the text of an article.

Option B
  1. If you don't see a drop-down menu labeled  Templates MediaWiki Vector skin action arrow.png  on the toolbar above the edit window, click on "MediaWiki Vector skin right arrow.pngCite" at the top of the toolbar to activate refToolbar.
  2. Position the cursor in the text where you want the numbered link to your citation to appear. This should be at the end of the relevant phrase, sentence, or paragraph that the citation is verifying (after any punctuation, see MOS:REFPUNC for more information). Do not position the cursor at the very end of the article or in the ==References== section — place it directly after the text the citation verifies.
  3. Click on the drop down menu labeled  Templates MediaWiki Vector skin action arrow.png , and choose the citation type you would like to add ("cite web" for websites, "cite news" for newspaper articles, "cite book" for books, and "cite journal" for academic journals).
  4. Once you select a type of citation, a new window will appear with a number of blank fields to fill in. Fill in as many of the fields as you can. You may leave some fields blank, but make sure to at least provide a "Title" to avoid causing an error message when you save the page.

    If you are citing from a website, make sure to enter the web address of the page in the "URL" field. Click on the Insert current date button next to the "Access Date" field to indicate that you checked the information on the website you're citing today.

    If you are citing from a book, there is a feature that will automatically fill in many of the information fields, avoiding manual entry of this data. If you can find the ISBN of the book, enter it into the ISBN field in the form, then click on the Autofill icon to its right. The software will look up the book information from a database on the Internet, and automatically fill in many of the fields for you. You should verify that the information is correct, since it sometimes is wrong, incomplete, or badly formatted (especially if there are multiple authors). You should also add page numbers or other information if available.

    If you are citing from a journal, a similar feature can use the PMID for many medical journal articles, or DOI for academic journals.

  5. Once you have filled in the form, you can optionally click the Preview button at the bottom to see the code that will be inserted. If you then click on the "Show parsed preview" link under the code you will see the citation displayed as it would appear in the finished article.
  6. When you are satisfied with the information in the citation form, clicking the Insert button will close the form and add the code for your citation to the edit window at the location you had selected prior to choosing a citation type. This information will show up as a superscript numbered link when you preview or save your edit.

The problem with your "Option A" is that it expects new editors to improvise the text inside the ref tags, based on guesswork related to whatever already-formatted refs they may have seen in the past, on Wikipedia and elsewhere. This often results in poor-quality or unusable refs, which need to be completely redone by somebody else. I have cleaned up badly-formatted and incomplete refs many times, and it is a tedious process to redo something that the new editor (who usually is motivated to do a good job) would be happy to do, if only they knew how. The refToolbar template cues the editor for which pieces of information are most essential, and takes care of all the formatting details automatically. If the ISBN, DOI, or PMID are available, it does much of the work automatically, saving the editor much tedium. It is sad to see a new editor painstakingly wasting time trying to reproduce a number of DOI refs manually, and still getting it somewhat wrong.

Your "Option A" (manual referencing) looks simple, because it completely avoids giving any guidance or help to a new editor. It is similar to saying one should create a new article by opening a new edit window, filling in the article contents, and then saving the window. Forcing a new editor to deal with the nitty-gritty raw details of syntax and formatting of references unaided is unlikely to get much in the way of useful contributions, and may even scare off an editor from trying to add references at all.

Keep in mind the overall goal, which is to make it as easy as possible for new editors to add useful refs to Wikipedia articles. I am not proposing that we hide the formatting details from a new editor; I fully support keeping the manual referencing section, and improving it as much as possible. But I have decades of experience helping large new user populations with diverse levels of technical expertise come up to speed, and have found that expecting everyone to internalize detailed syntax is too much to ask. Even experienced techies used to writing computer code can benefit from the automated assistance supported by tools like refToolbar. Reify-tech (talk) 02:23, 18 March 2015 (UTC)

  • My intuition suggests to put manual referencing first because it explains the basics of how the <ref> tag and {{reflist}} template work; then introducing other methods that employ them would make more sense, and the wiki markup would also be more familiar to the user. An understanding of how the markup works also opens the door for using other kinds of footnotes. Hopefully the bullet list outlining the "three ways to do this" would assist users to jump to refToolbar if desired, perhaps aided by a slightly more detailed explanation (e.g., "Manually typing in formatting code and bibliographic information"; "Using refToolbar to fill out a form with the bibliographic information and automatically generate the appropriate code"). However, I don't have any experience with new users who may be deterred by the scary HTML details and bail out, so I would defer to the wisdom of others like Reify-tech on that. sroc 💬 04:47, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RefToolbar We are talking about new editors, the manual way should be explained, but the easy way should be shown first to get them started. AlbinoFerret 23:31, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RefToolbar. Either is fine, but RefToolbar seems like the gentler introduction. Until they understand the basics of markup, manual referencing has the possibility of confusing them. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 00:43, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Reftoolbar-Cite templates[edit]

I was interested in the comments that most of our editors dont use the RefToolBar. So can I make a few usability comments. If it suitable for beginners why on earth is it not more obvious. Why isn't it turned on by default? How would a newbie understand that {{}} brings them something to do with referencing? Why call it RefToolBar- in camelcase- they are referencing templates or citation templates?

Looking at these templates- they are useful and useless at the sametime. If I use them to add a reference to the Bibliography- I have to delete the unneeded <ref name=""></ref> pair . Then I have to manually add a ref=harv or tell my students to type the date as 2015|ref=harv just to make my academic markup or sfns to link. Looking at the {{cite book}}- we have a lovely tool that autofills a reference, why doesn't that automatically happen on the cite book? Yadkard ISBN tool.

Now I must go on to query the language focus, and language complexity. Language focus is obvious- the page is to be read by our perception of a beginner (all be it most will be provisional experts in their field) and not read by old lags that can transclude , do RFCs and are picky about leaving no stone unturned- KISS principle- keep it simple- s.... . Language complexity, black rats can reputedly keep 43 facts in their head at anyone time. Humans achieve seven-- but with age that becomes a lot less (POV-OR-CoI), we mustnot befuddle newbies with unnecessary detail and schlangensätze- with a snake of subordinate clauses, or the need to follow wikilinks- repetition works bettter for newbies. Which is why I find the need to interpret an icon- to open a toolbar so I can open a template- to enter a refernce- just three levels of information too far.

My happiest student was a professional lady who I showed how to C&P using Ctrl-c, Ctrl-v and Ctrl-z for mistakes. With Ctrl-a and Ctrl-y her joy was complete. She didn't want to ask her grand-children to show her- and this was the first time she had been shown things the typewriter didn't do. With that she understood why wikipedia editing could be fun.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 22:25, 14 March 2015 (UTC)

The more that one looks into this- the more one is struck by the lack of consistency in nomenclature in the mountain of articles on referencing. -- Clem Rutter (talk) 21:32, 19 March 2015 (UTC)

Complete overhaul of tutorial[edit]

I am working up an alternative approach in Help:Referencing for beginners/sandbox. I have delayed going public because of the ongoing (slowing ) RfC. But here goes. Please go an have a look and comment in the usual way. There is no standard nomenclature for referencing method- and at this point editors are at dual purposes. I have split it into 3. Basic references. Then the multiple RefTool bars. Then Full references. (Basic & Full are both incarnations of 'Manual'. RefTool bar needs a far catchier name- and was gobbledy gook until you realise that a simple cross in prefernces changes all the screens as you pass from RefTool 1.0 to RefTool 2.0a to RefTool 2.0b. With a class of beginners using default settings you can see ill three in play- depending on what was the default the day they registered their user name (I think!). This page is addressing three or more audiences- Beginners who have registered and are learning at home. Beginners who are attending our courses and Experienced editors who are coming back to chect that a technique they have just used is compatible with the basic technique that beginners are being taught. We needed a page Help:Referencing for beginners and another one Help:Basic Referencing (Core Wikipedia Techiques). So using the assumption that we are writing Help:Referencing for beginners: imo we give the how, and leave the why to a section at the end of put it in a efn-footnote. This gives the beginner enough information to get started- and the why give the improver the information thay need. so please look at the sandbox and and be clinical in your criticisms. Apologies in advance if I am slow to get back- RL is sapping my energy.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 19:44, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

I like the "Basic" section first and really like the "Do's and don'ts" section great idea. The section "Good references" from here should be moved to "Do's and don'ts" in this version I think. Great work -- Moxy (talk) 20:07, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Looks promising, though it will take me a while to work through it carefully. The new version mentions Yarkard and other tools not covered previously in this intro, which is good; Help has been spotty at describing or comparing the multiple methods of referencing. The current live version of the Help:Referencing for beginners article has some improvements that were not picked up when you forked off a reworked version; they should be picked up and integrated into the new version. With your consent, may other editors work on the proposed replacement? Reify-tech (talk) 20:36, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
Gladly YesY. Having one positive response here was the only reward I need. Personally I think this needs another set of eyes, and the reworked code should be integrated. Give it a week for editors to have a look- then the old section should be over-written. As I should have said- no animals were hurt in revising the code- and very little new material was added and nothing was erased- it is there somewhere, just commented out. I need to refer students to this page on April 8th so please lets not delay to wait for Citoid. In the meantime enjoy.-- Clem Rutter (talk) 16:25, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
We may want to hold off on a complete re-write for a few months until Citoid is enabled in the wikitext editor (see Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Citoid). --Ahecht (TALK
) 20:58, 27 March 2015 (UTC)
In a few months I will have forgotten everything that i have just written so will happily do a re-re-write. Wikipedia is a big place, and I can be found helping newbies , GLAM and industrial history- I recognise and respect your advice and experience. In April I will be helping at a training session at a conference of mathematicians, so I was swatting up on improving maths articles- I looked for the online references we are giving out students. The first call was Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics (Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Mathematics/sandbox), which prompted me to look for Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Manual of Style, and Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Help pages. You can see my thought line here... There is a whole rich seam that follows Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Tutorial pages and many more. It does seem that getting consistent help pages would be a massive start to improving thousands of articles. -- Clem Rutter (talk) 16:25, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, the Help for building references is strategic for improving the quality of Wikipedia. I got drawn into this from seeing repeated incidences of new editors adding unusable refs, or being intimidated from adding any at all. The Help coverage of this important skill needs a lot of improvement, but it should encourage new editors to add usable refs in parallel with their new material. Reify-tech (talk) 17:11, 28 March 2015 (UTC)