Wikipedia talk:Footnote1

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Confusion[edit]

This is a confusing page. Putting a single bracket does not create a link. Putting a double bracket links to the year. How do you make a link to a footnote or do we just expect the reader to scroll down? Rich J 18:53 31 May 2003 (UTC)

I would suggest to simply discourage usage of footnotes. I read somewhere that footnotes have a powerful use in books, especially when reediting an old book, but have none in web pages, where external (or wiki) links do tho job. The same with Post-Scriptum or PS, that is not to be used in electronic letters, as you can always edit inside the text (in handwritten letters, you may want to add something latter and have no other choice than bottom queueing). When I see an article with a footnote, I usually think about inlining the note into brackets. In books, footnotes are usually added after writing, when one can't change the page layout. Wikipedia being a constantly refactored set of articles, I think footnotes aren't really "wiki", in a way. gbog 16:55, 6 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Hmm. But there are situations where some point requires an extensive caveat or explanation that doesn't work well with the flow of the article, but is important (e.g., some academic factual dispute that due diligence demands be included in the article but isn't a lot of fun to read about or important to most readers). This is no more or less fluid than the rest of the article, nor does is it un-"wiki", unless by "wiki" you're referring to the limits of the software.कुक्कुरोवाच 08:00, 15 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Absolutely wrong. Footnotes are used for the convenience of the reader and to avoid filling the text with parenthetical digressions, not merely added as an afterthought. And as I say below, they provide an elegant and precise way to cite sources. There needs to be more of them in Wikipedia. - style 10:13, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)
Footnotes are good for alternative readings. Variorum editions of works in Wikimedia will need this facility, and I do not see how a Wikimedia edition of Gibbon could be done without footnotes. --Eustace 18:27, 2005 Apr 7 (UTC)

Just rewrote the page to explain how one might go about actually using footnotes now--probably impossible when page was first written, as it has stood abandoned for a long time, and the Manual of Style seems to have passed it by. Perhaps this should have been deleted eons ago, but I was curious about footnotes and ended up here, so perhaps the same thing happens to others.कुक्कुरोवाच

Footnotes as subsections[edit]

Do we really want footnotes to be subsections? ie.

1. Here's a big bold footnote with reference material which doesn't really need to stick out this much, especially if it is long, as most are[edit]

gracefool 04:10, 20 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I guess you can use extra equal signs and make the heading smaller. But there are problems with footnotes, see below. -- style 10:08, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)

Problem with example[edit]

The first example doesn't work, because, obviously, the name of the bookmark is "1. Text of Footnote", not "1". This is a problem, because if you have a large set of footnotes it should be possible for the reader to click straight to the necessary one, note just the notes section. There seems to be one solution, other than making the link include the entire text of the footnote, by having the footnote text as body text. This doesn't look right, though, and takes up too much space. Raw HTML is probably the only solution, but it is tedious.

This problem should be fixed, because footnotes are a convenient and elegant way to cite sources and are ubiquitous in academic text. -- style 10:08, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)

Autonumbering[edit]

"If the footnote involves original text of any kind, this is obviously unsatisfactory. The best solution is to put the notes as body text in a "Notes" section and then direct the footnotes to the "Notes" section as a whole1 (1). Depending, presumably, on how many notes you have. If notes are added and removed, notenumbers will have to be adjusted in the text manually."

The footnotes should autonumber. As well there should be a way to <<bracket>> some text and have it autonumber as well. This isn't that difficult to code in, and I think these features should be near, or at the top, of the list of priorities. --ShaunMacPherson 00:08, 12 Oct 2004 (UTC)

New Proposed Footnote format[edit]

Please add any comments about the proposed format here. JesseW 05:51, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I'm not sure what the benefit over the old format is? -- Chuq 06:04, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
I thought someone would ask that. Well, the old format makes it hard to:
  • see all the external links used as references at once (see Talk:List_of_strange_units_of_measurement#External_links for an example of this problem).
  • automatically go to a specific note in the notes section; the link is only to the section heading. (see John Kerry(I assume) for an article whose notes section would be long enough to make that really painful).
  • change a external link note into a external link with explanatory text - you would have to add the note link, and then move the external link to the bottom, then add the text, while keeping the numbers in order.
  • add a new note in the middle of the article - because the current format requires numbered footnotes, it means that they have to be kept in order. The new format uses named footnotes (although the names are not displayed) so it should never be necessary to modify an existing footnote in order to add a new one. This is a big win.
That's why I think the new format is better. Let me know if you have any more questions! JesseW 06:55, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)
Using numbered footnotes gives you a definite, orderly set of footnote anchor-symbols. A reader going to the notes section to read note 4 will be able to readily distinguish it from note 5. Using a * for every footnote means that there is no good way to distinguish the notes from each other in the notes section. This proposal tries to address that problem by making each footnote a separate anchor-point within the page, but that makes the user's ability to find the correct footnote dependent upon the behavior of their browser.
Many browsers, when jumping to an internal page anchor that is less than one window-height from the bottom of the page, will show the bottom window-height of the page rather than put the anchored position at the top of the page with much blank space beneath it. If the browser behaves in this fashion, and if the footnotes are at the bottom of the page, then a user jumping to the footnote will simply have all the footnotes displayed, and no good way to know which footnote they wanted to read. Shimmin 18:03, Oct 19, 2004 (UTC)
Sigh- good point. Various approachs occur to me, none of which I like.
  • Put the notes section somewhere other than the end of the page. - This might work, but where should we put it?
  • Add a window-height of blank space after the Notes section. - This wastes space in articles, and makes the articles ugly.
  • Display the name of the note instead of the star and word "Note:". - This forces note makers to come up with readable, yet short, names. This is a lot more work than just picking something unique that will never be displayed. It also makes notes take up more space in the article.
  • Number the notes. - Same problems as above, except instead of having long names in the article, adding a new note requires changing the existing ones. This is not a good solution.
  • Fix the browsers! - If only we could. Sigh.

Regarding printing issues, which your comment made me think of; I'm sure that it would not be too dificult to code a filter that replaced the stars in a Wikipedia article with numbers, and numbered the notes. It's just that doing this in the curent Wikipedia would require hacking MediaWiki. But for making a printed copy of Wikipedia, this would not be a big issue. In fact, it would be easier than the current haphazard, multi-format way.

Let me know what you think of all this. JesseW 19:36, 19 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Could you do me the favor of replacing the example with something realistic? I think I follow this, but it would be a lot clearer with a realistic case or two than with random filler. -- Jmabel | Talk 07:08, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

New new Proposal 2[edit]

This format allows adding newfootnotes in the middle, without disturbing the numbering: The widget was designed by Jones and Haddock [1] and built by Longreach and Grab [2]. bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, streamlining has been shown, by Shear and Windload to be effective in creating widgets for high-speed application [3] (footnote added out-of sequence for example purposes) bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, bla blabla ipsum dolor and so forth, The widget design was much improved by Sukett and Cie [4].

Notes[edit]

Design of a good widget[edit]

(Jones and Haddock 2002) Widget design

Building a well-designed widget[edit]

(Longreach and Grab 2003) Widget building

Improving widgets[edit]

(Sukett and Cie 2004) Widget improvement

Wind tunnel tests[edit]

(Windload and Shear 2004) Widgets improved by streamlining


Note

this would seem to work better if
there were more footnotes, as when
you link to the individual note in
a short list like this, it takes you
to the bottom of the page. Try the
footnote links above with your browser
in a smaller window, to see the effect
this would have when used with a long
list of notes

Sidenotes ?[edit]

While an above poster was incorrect in citing the reasons that footnotes are awkward in web media, it is true that footnotes work better in print than in web media: in print, the footnote is merely a siccade away at the bottom of the page, whereas on the web, the bottom of the page requires a scroll or a link. The extra effort, though minimal, is bothersome because often the reader would like to glance at the footnote before deciding whether to read it -- is it merely a bibliographical reference, or something more substantial.

However, notes could regain their functionality if we adopted the earlier typographical convention of sidenotes: placing the note in a side margin. This places the note out of the flow of text, but still within glancing distance of its anchor. Shimmin 14:20, Oct 20, 2004 (UTC)

The vocabulary is the problem here. What are called footnotes on this page are really endnotes(i.e. notes that come at the end of the article, chapter, book, etc.) Actual footnotes, as you point out, go at the bottom of the page. There have been various ways that have been tried to apply footnotes to the electronic realm, none of which (that I've seen) have worked perfectly. Putting the bottom of the page on the side is one solution; adding a virtual bottom of the page(with a frame that shows whatever footnotes are currently on the screen) is another. Both use up screen space, which is typically considered a wikt:Bad Thing.

I think side-notes can be made to work like this. Doesn't look so good in edit mode, though. Plus the fact that you have to place the note before the item it refers to could get confusing. --Phil | Talk 17:48, Dec 7, 2004 (UTC)

How would we implement sidenotes? Would it require tweaking MediaWiki? JesseW 05:23, 21 Oct 2004 (UTC)

In the print world, where using up page space is not only bad form, but costs you money, the rule seems to be that when the notes are primarily bibliographical references that the average reader is not going to look up, or at least not immediately, then endnotes are used. But if a significant fraction of the notes are of possible interest to the reader during the course of reading, then footnotes are used.

A third option, not mentioned above, would be to use pop-up notes, which don't require screen space while not being read. As for modifying MediaWiki, I think some sort of modification will eventually be necessary, either to implement auto-numbered endnotes, or notes in other places. Shimmin 13:33, Oct 21, 2004 (UTC)

Footnotes suggestion[edit]

If someone ever gets around to hard coding this into WP, I think having title / hover text which contains the text of the footnote would be a great addition. --[[User:Alterego|Alterego]] 01:03, 21 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Templates[edit]

I made two templates using the code that was on the first page. --Sgeo | Talk 00:15, Dec 22, 2004 (UTC)

Code[edit]


Test1{{see-note|1}}. Make{{see-note|2}} sense? ====Notes==== {{note|1}} First Note. {{note|2}} Second Note.

Result[edit]


Test1Template:See-note. MakeTemplate:See-note sense?

Notes[edit]

^ First Note.

^ Second Note.

Proposal[edit]

Regarding Template:Fnb: Can we switch the style from "'Note 1:" to the more standard "1."? Example:

  1. Foo
  2. Foo

Instead of

Note 1: Foo
Note 2: Foo

--Neutralitytalk 02:30, Jan 18, 2005 (UTC)

I prefer the Note 1, Note 2, etc. style for footnotes. -- Netoholic @ 08:58, 2005 Jan 21 (UTC)
I agree with Neutrality on this. There is a section heading labelled Notes and having each individual Note also labelled Note seems a bit much, especially when there are many notes. I'd actually like to use this, but I won't because I don't like the clutter of redundant "Note" verbiage. olderwiser 02:16, Jan 24, 2005 (UTC)
Remember, this formulation is often useful at the tail end of a table of data. In that situation, a longer label is very nice. For the other use, I don't altogether like the "Notes" section heading - it seems informal. If the footnotes are being used to denote referenced works, rather than true footnoting, the "Note X: Foo" should be under a "References" section. -- Netoholic @ 05:00, 2005 Jan 24 (UTC)
Yes, notes at the end of a table is what I would like to use this for, and I don't see that being at the end of a table obviates the need for a Notes section heading--people may want to edit only the notes and not have to load the whole honking table. And even if used with a section labelled References, if you have several notes, it looks rather bad to have the word Note repeated several times. olderwiser 15:51, Jan 24, 2005 (UTC)

I didn't realize fn and fnb already existed, so I went and created Template:Ref and Template:Endnote. But, if I may say so, I think Ref and Endnote are better than fn and fnb. First, "fn" could stand for almost anything, and "fnb" is very cryptic, while "ref" is clearly short for "reference" and "endnote" is self-explanatory.

Second, I think the anchor names I chose are more natural. The {{Ref|1}} gets an anchor called "ref_1" and {{Endnote|1}} gets an anchor called "endnote_1". Not only are these clearer than "fn_1" and "fn_1_back", but the resulting URLs also make more sense. For instance, I think http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:P3d0#ref_1 is a nice clean URL, while http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:P3d0#fn_1_back is implementation-specific and cryptic.

Finally, I think everyone writing footnotes should use some template, because then they can be easily found and modified by looking for what links to the appropriate template pages.

As for the question of whether or not to add the word "Note" in front of the notes, I think that is easily solved by having several Endnote templates, or at least adding arguments to the Endnote template allowing it to be customized. Every page should have as much freedom as possible to look its best. --Doradus 03:25, Jan 27, 2005 (UTC)

I am so completely with Neutrality on this it's untrue. Footnotes are generally a numbered list; I think we should be using <ol /> entities for them, if only from an accessiblity point of view. Also, I think that this scheme means that each note needs to be a paragraph (with the resultant line spacing / margin-bottom), rather than a list item (and, thus, tightly spaced). I really don't like the way these looks. I'm not convinced that providing the functionality of a "return to where you were" link is enough of an upside to make up for the accessibility and æsthetics of plain ordered lists or the advantage of having them autonumber in at least one of the two locations. I'm willing to be convinced on how we could better implement the "back to footnote reference" functionality, though. — OwenBlacker 23:51, Mar 15, 2005 (UTC)

autonumbered footnotes[edit]

Since discussion seems to be going on here (as well as at Wikipedia talk:Footnote2) I'll make a note here too. I'm trying to push forward my proposal for autonumbered footnotes at Wikipedia talk:Footnote3. Any comments appreciated. Mozzerati 18:12, 2005 Feb 20 (UTC)

Named footnotes[edit]

The footnote numbering issues I've noticed on Benedict XVI prompted me to come up with a named footnote system for my own wiki, like this:

  • {{templateref|anchorname|Footnote Name}} which gives Footnote Name as the footnote link
  • {{templateref2|anchorname|Footnote Name}} which gives you Footnote Name⇧ Blabla footnote. with Footnote Name⇧ the backlink.

Template code:

  • <sup id="fn_{{{1}}}_back"><span title="{{{1}}}" style="color:#3366bb;">[[#fn_{{{1}}}|[{{{2}}}]]]</span></sup>
  • <cite id="fn_{{{1}}}">[[#fn_{{{1}}}_back|{{{2}}}⇧]]</cite>

Result: footnote order is totally irrelevant - no more worries. (References at the bottom of the page are ordered alphabetically, but this isn't essential, it's just helpful.) There are elements of ugliness to long footnote names, but as a benefit you can see what the ref is to. Another (slight) downside I should point out - backlinks aren't unique; more than one ref means a backlink takes you to the first one. But you can always use the Back button.

A truly automated numbering system would beat this, if it brought the ref as a hovering title for the note. For now, this works brilliantly for me on my personal wiki. Rd232 17:51, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Automated conversion of an existing article to this footnote system[edit]

If someone wants to do a lot of people a big wiki-favor, please create a macro for automated conversion of an existing article to this footnote system. For instance, Convention on Psychotropic Substances needs to be converted to footnotes, but that would be rather time-consuming to do manually. There are probably hundreds or thousands of articles in need of such conversion. Please take a look and see what you think. Thanks! Remember me 14:35, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Tried footnotes, comment[edit]

I want to have a simple footnote format. I wound up here, and tried the template under "proposal." I found the code a bit confusing, didn't know which text to replace, and I think I broke the links. So please, make 'em self-documenting if possible.

Agree in general that footnotes and a footnotes template are good. It encourages citing sources. I also would like it better without the "Note 1" text, just the number. If you want to see what I did and the mess I made, check out Labor Day Hurricane. Agree that self-numbering is best, if the code doesn't get toooo ugleeee. DavidH 04:06, July 18, 2005 (UTC)