Help talk:Cite errors/Archive 2009

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Link the messages to the help

The error messages would be of more help if they linked to the help page:


Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.


Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.

--—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:03, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

Personally I like this idea. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 09:56, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

YesY Done. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 14:54, 19 February 2009 (UTC)


A few problems:

This works:

<ref name="123">foo</ref>

Cite error: The <ref> tag name cannot be a simple integer (see the help page).

But not this:

<ref name=foo1/> [1]
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference foo1 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

The cite error also does not show where the <references /> tag is missing; see Abbey Green ward.

Any ideas? --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:31, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I have tried a few different fixes and none have worked. My SWAG is that cite.php is not allowing links in errors that appear in the references section. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 15:57, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Redirect the message talk pages here

Propose redirecting the talk pages for all of the messages here, giving a central point of discussion. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 02:23, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Do it, sounds like a good idea to me. Don't forget to plop {{central}} here as a reminder. Happymelon 08:53, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

YesY Done. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 17:33, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Excellent upgrade. Let's hope folks actually click on the link! – ukexpat (talk) 15:58, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Talk pages

I say we don't need talk pages here. But specifically only talk pages. If that's possible technically I'd propose to remove them from this category. Debresser (talk) 10:11, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references was updated on 7 Feb. If you check the individual talk pages you will see that they are no longer in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references. The job queue is so backed up right now that talk pages are still appearing and disappearing regularly. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:19, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
So that's why it went down from over 7000 to almost 4000 at the present moment. And I was hoping it had something to do with a few templates I fixed. Fine, so I'll just wait a while and then will start working on them. Nice to now that other people thought the same thing as I did. Debresser (talk) 12:24, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
The discussion is in the archive above, since it occurred before I centralized the talk pages here. Fixing those templates needed to be done, and it certainly helped. According to Special:Statistics, the job queue is just under 1.5 million; I don't know what that translates to exactly, but we are probably looking at weeks. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:52, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for the good word. Debresser (talk) 18:21, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

In short: I think we need "Article", "Template" and "Category" namespace, preferably also "Help" and even "Image" namespace, "but not "Talk", "Wikipedia" and "User" namespace. Other namespaces I dont care either way. Debresser (talk) 14:56, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Where are the so-called "broken references?"

I've been working on a lot of railroad station articles, and I notices that they've got a lot of notes for broken reference tags, but I can never find out which references are broken. The articles include Patchogue (LIRR station) and many of the Amtrak stations in Florida. Why can't I ever find them in order to fix them? ----DanTD (talk) 04:08, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

For Patchogue_(LIRR_station), the problem is that there is a ref in the "External links" section, which comes after the references section. Anomie 04:21, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
I didn't post the link that way, but it didn't create a problem until recently. I'd love to be able to split the link for both sections, but the way it's set up now, I don't think I could. ----DanTD (talk) 04:45, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Why do you need it in the External links section when it is already used as a reference? (number four if you didn't notice) --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 11:33, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
I know that, but as I said, I didn't add the reference to that link. I could probably remove that one. As for the Florida and other Amtrak stations, should I post them individually? ----DanTD (talk) 12:27, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

It's not so much "it didn't create a problem until recently" as "the problem did not generate an error message until recently". The ref itself was always broken. Anomie 12:08, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

If you can't figure out why an article shows an error or how to fix it, then you can certainly list specific articles here for advice. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:35, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
Okay, here are the ones just for Florida; Jacksonville (Amtrak station), Palatka (Amtrak station), DeLand (Amtrak station), Winter Park (Amtrak station), Orlando (Amtrak station), Kissimmee (Amtrak station), Winter Haven (Amtrak station), Sebring (Amtrak station), Delray Beach (Amtrak station), Deerfield Beach Seaboard Air Line Railway Station, Fort Lauderdale (Amtrak station), Tri-Rail and Metrorail transfer station (Miami). Mostly east coast station articles. Outside of Florida, you've got Savannah (Amtrak station), and some South and North Carolina ones, I'll have to check on exactly which ones. ----DanTD (talk) 14:31, 16 February 2009 (UTC)
What these articles have in common is {{Silver Meteor}}. I started a discussion at Template talk:Silver Meteor. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 15:11, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Bot Help

The Cat is now being scanned by my bot, It will try to slowly trawl through the articles and help by adding reference sections where and when it can. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 09:57, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

That is great. In my experience with this category, there are 2 big groups here:
  1. new articles that do not have a reflist yet
  2. vandalism (including the occasional honest mistake).

Fixing the latter just by adding reflist would be a waste of the change to reveal the vandalism here. Debresser (talk) 17:21, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I do 10-20 every day, but there is always a lot more new articles. Perhaps we should get together with some people together and do it together? Debresser (talk) 19:17, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree there are allot more new articles now, I only run my bot when I see the cat get into the thousands. I would love to help out manually but I have no time currently. ·Add§hore· Talk To Me! 07:45, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The bot is obviously most apt to work if there's a series of alike articles making trouble. Debresser (talk) 10:27, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Broken refs in templates/infoboxes/etc.

The help page clearly says what to do in such a case:

To suppress the error on the template page itself, wrap the reference in <includeonly></includeonly>.

Actually there is another obvious way. Adding {{reflist}} or <references/> inside <noinclude></noinclude>.

I have done so successfully in War on Terrorism/campaignbox. This method has a few advantages to the method mentioned in the help page:

  1. it has to be done only once, not for each reference separately
  2. it shows the references on the template page itself and thereby allows for checking the citations at their source (for broken references, missing details, layout)
  3. it is done at the end of the template and is therefore easy to spot

n.b. The <noinclude> tag should be put right behind the end of the template/infobox/etc. without a break or even space, in order to avoid whitelines on the page the template is transluded upon.

In view of these advantages I would suggest to change the text of the help page to read:

To suppress the error on the template page itself, add a reference section to the template inside <noinclude></noinclude> tags.

 — [Unsigned comment added by Debresser (talkcontribs) 22:14, 23 February 2009.]

I have added three different methods with some of the pros and cons. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 00:23, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
I was asked by Debresser to come here and comment. I don't know much about the reference tag system, but I know a lot about noincludes and template coding, so I took a look:
As is partly explained above in section Talk pages the missing references error message has been updated so it does almost nothing (doesn't show any warning and doesn't add the Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references) when this happens outside main (article) space. I checked the code of the error message MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references and I tested it, the code works correctly. That is, if I place a <ref>test</ref> tag on a new article but no <references/> tag, I get an error message. But if I try the same on a new template page I get no error message. This change was made on 31 January and 7 February. However, the hidden Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting is still added. This seems to be done in a deeper level of MediaWiki, thus can not be fixed by a code change in MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references. (However, it seems we can fix it by modifying {{broken ref}}, but that needs some more investigation and discussion.)
So for now, either you can simply ignore Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting on the template pages since it is hidden, so most editors don't see it anyway. Or if you want to get rid of that too then you still need to fix that in the templates that use the ref tags. Then here's what I think is the best method:
Using <noinclude></noinclude> or <includeonly></includeonly> tags for that is a bad solution. Since that only solves it on the template page itself. When the template is shown/demonstrated on talk pages and "Wikipedia:" pages it will still add Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. So instead I recommend you do like we nowadays do to make templates only categorise in main (article) space:
{{main other
| <ref>test</ref>
| <!-- Don't use the ref tag when not in main (article) space. -->
Or more compact (but less clear, if the contents in the ref tag is long):
{{main other|<ref>test</ref>}}
You can learn more about {{main other}} on its documentation page.
I leave it to you guys to update the explanation here at Help:Cite errors#Other problems.
--David Göthberg (talk) 12:07, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

There are two different ways of resolving this error
  1. We can fix a template so that the error does not show on the template page, but still has the potential for generating an error in the article where it is used. There are a few different methods to do this.
  2. We can fix the template so that the reference and the reference list are both included in the template.
1 preferred method

Let's compare two related templates: {{Annotated image/Euplectella}} and {{Annotated image/Porifera body structures}}. Both templates and their doc pages were in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. I fixed the Euplectella template by including {{reflist}} on the doc page. If the Euplectella template is used in an article that does not include the <references /> tag, then the Cite error will be generated.

As noted, there are other ways to do this, but I consider this the preferred method for a type 1 fix, because it shows the reference in the template, thus making it obvious that there is a reference. Allowing editors to see the reference and to verify it is a plus.


Now, let's look a template that uses method 2:

|bodystyle = width:20em;
|labelstyle = width:33%;
|title   = Sample infobox
|label1  = Label1
|data1   = Data1<ref group=note>This is the reference section</ref>
|label2  = Label1
|data2   = Data2
|label3  = Label3
|data3   = Data3
|label4  = Label4
|data4   = Data4
|below   = {{reflist|group=note}}
Sample infobox
Label1 Data1[note 1]
Label1 Data2
Label3 Data3
Label4 Data4
  1. ^ This is the reference section

This method keeps everything within the template and does not rely on the article to have a <references /> tag.

Which is the best way?

I'm going to leave that to the concerned template editors. #1 keeps the reference in the main article reference list, where #2 puts the reference within the template. #1 relies on the article to have the <references /> tag, where #2 includes it in the template.

As to the use of {{main other}}: yes this will work to keep the error off of the template, but does nothing to keep the error off of the article page. It suppresses the reference display on the template page an makes it difficult to verify. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 15:49, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

If an infobox has its predefined references, independent of the page it will be transcluded onto, it might be usefull to include them in the template (your second method). But in general I would prefer to have references at the end of the article the template is transcluded onto (your first method). This is not something for guidelines or general solutions, but more a matter of personal taste. It probably has to do with the fact that I like the <noinclude>{{reflist}}</noinclude> best.Debresser (talk) 17:06, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

And that is certainly a valid way to do it, if there is no doc page. It might be better to create a doc page— that way it is more clear that the reference list is not part of the template. It might be a good idea to create a {{template reflist}} that would have some boilerplate explanation and include the <references /> tag. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:22, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
And that seemed like such a good idea that I created {{template reflist}}— it works on a template page or the doc page. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 20:29, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Very nice. :) Debresser (talk) 21:04, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm going to review all of this and rework the relevant section. Tomorrow. My head hurts after helping someone rewrite a template that included a dozen references. I found either a bug or a feature. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 00:07, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
OK: I reworked the template section: please review and comment. I also tweaked {{template reflist}} with a message box. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 16:20, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I put back the 2 others you deleted. I see no reason to decide these two are any better than they are. I for one would not agree. Debresser (talk) 17:01, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Actually I put back only one. The method wrapping every reference in include tags has only cons.
I would really like to know the difference between 1 and 3. What do you say? Debresser (talk) 17:14, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I did some tests. I knew it, I knew it! Number 1 doesn't work. It makes the references appear twice. I knew my solution 3 was the best. Debresser (talk) 17:31, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I'll wait for you to dublicate the tests and then we'll have to update the help page. Debresser (talk) 17:32, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

The only difference between 1` and 3 is the use of a template instead of manually adding the code. Where were you testing this? I don't see any problem in {{Infobox N.J. Cabinet}} for example. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 17:36, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

If the article into which the template is included has a reference tag also - and which article doesn't - you get the references twice. Because of this adding the references tag to the template without the noinclude tags is a severe pain in the posterior for the writers of articles. Debresser (talk) 17:42, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Ah. I think I need to make this more clear. If you use {{template reflist}} directly in the template, then it must be between <noinclude>...</noinclude> tags at the end of the template. If there is a doc page, then just add {{template reflist}} in an appropriate spot on the page. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:04, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

So that was my solution. Then please don't edit the text in the help page. It is fine as it was. Debresser (talk) 18:22, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

OK. Since we are not going to use {{template reflist}}, then I will remove it from the templates where I have used it and delete it. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:30, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

The idea was nice, but the actual gain is very small since the user will still have to type the <noinclude>...</noinclude> himself. It misses the {{clear}} BTW. Debresser (talk) 18:45, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

{{clear}} was in there as <div style="clear:both"></div>; I try not to transclude simple templates within another tmeplate. I liked the notice, but I'll kill it after lunch. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:58, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I am not familiar with programming, but I consider it sloppy from me that I didn't notice this. Debresser (talk) 19:32, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

It's gone. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 20:55, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


This template includes the following citations

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references /> tag was found

This is probably the message discussed most often on the Help Desk and other help pages. This message cannot handle links like the other messages; any wikilinks simply do not parse, thus disappear. We can update the message to somthing like:

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a <references /> tag; see Help:Cite errors.

--—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:58, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Agree. Debresser (talk) 20:42, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

This is crazy... bug 17865 Happymelon 21:10, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for that. Whenever cite.php is updated, we can fix the link. Until then, we will have to deal with this as it is. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 21:31, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I support the proposed text. Many new users who don't know <references/> or {{reflist}} in advance are not understanding the current message and don't know how to fix the page. PrimeHunter (talk) 03:13, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

 Done --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 19:59, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Google Maps?

Is it really worth mentioning that an extension that is still in beta does things (i.e. calls Parser::parse instead if Parser::recursiveTagParse) that break other, unrelated extensions? Anomie 02:37, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Looking at Special:Version, this extension is not installed on en.wikipedia. This might be fixed by the time is is installed. We should move this to a todo on the talk page so that we remember to test it if and when it is installed. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 17:54, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

References after {{reflist}}

Lately I've seen a few articles with Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references /> tag was found, but:

  1. They do have a <references /> tag in the proper section at the end of the article.
  2. The reference immediately before the <references /> tag does have a closing </ref> tag.
  3. There are no <ref>...</ref> tags after the <references /> tag.

It turned out they have a second <references /> tag somewhere earlier in the article, and there are references after that first <references /> tag. The fix is obviously to delete that first <references /> tag. Debresser (talk) 23:45, 1 April 2009 (UTC)

RE: Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting

Is there anyway that pages starting "Wikipedia" (i.e. project pages) can be automatically excluded from the category? I don't think any of them really "need" fixing and it's a drag clicking on and on to see if there are any pages starting "Wil.." and onwards. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 03:40, 6 April 2009 (UTC)

Just add more letters to the end of the url. If you click on W then the url ends in from=W but you can manually change that to for example from=Wikiq (there are currently no pages after Wikipedia). PrimeHunter (talk) 09:24, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
Cheers, I emptied out post Wikipedia yesterday. Is there anyway we can encourage other editors to do a "clean up drive" of some sort? With a few more helping hands this category could easily become more managable. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 14:13, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I'd say a Wikipedia page should also adhere to the same standards of editing as far as references are concerned. Talk pages might be an other story. As e.g. in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references. In that category I fixed the Wikipedia namespace easily, but talk pages were removed from the system, see talk page. Debresser (talk) 20:39, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I was considering namespace detection. I would think that we would want user pages to show the errors since many drafts are written in user subpages. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 20:48, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
I wouldn't exclude anything. Debresser (talk) 21:38, 6 April 2009 (UTC)
See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. --Gadget850 (talk) 11:19, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references

Only letters M, P, R and S have a backlog in the category now. All other articles appearing under different letters should be seen to immediately and with relative ease. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 23:35, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Are you the editor who has been working so hard on this category? Debresser (talk) 02:36, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

But believe me that "with relative ease" is not true. There are close to 50 new articles in this category every day, in my experience. Some are just new articles, some are older articles (sometimes suprisingly old) that just got their first reference, some are the result of vandalism, while others are the result of some hard to find cause (I mentioned one above in the section References after {{reflist}}). Debresser (talk) 02:42, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

I've been tackling a number of new and old articles in the category to trim it down, but I don't think I'm the only one. I think it's easier to do newer ones rather than older ones because it is very obvious where the problem arose in the edit history – something not so obvious in the more-backlogged articles. Really, I suppose you need at least three editors to tackle this category just each day alone.
I have to say that I've gotten to see the real dregs of WP's articles here, even more so than when I helped out on the eternal copyedit backlog. I feel quite guilty that I don't resolve other problems (e.g. wikifying) in those articles at the same but to do that would turn this into a full-time thing; I know my talents lie in writing content more than correcting it. The backlog should be reaching a more manageable level at this rate, so soon we shouldn't be finding articles that were last edited in January 2007! Sillyfolkboy (talk) 04:15, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, have a look at my talk page that I've been working on this category also, for quite some time now. Starting methodically, then quicker, and suddenly noticing some other editor is doing a lot of work there also. So that was you. Thank you.
We currently have 127, with perhaps 20-30 with a template problem. Looks like there's more to get on with! Sillyfolkboy (talk) 03:43, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
You're right about the new articles being easier to tackle, but I do try to help out wikifying, etc. wherever I can.
As you can see on my talk page, I do a daily round of some eight maintenance categories, so your help, any help, especially on a more or less daily basis, is much appreciated. Debresser (talk) 09:37, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Look like you've been doing a lot of stuff! Excellent work. This kind of "grunt" maintenance work gets backlogged so easily. I got involved here after maybe the fourth or fifth time I saw the broken refs warning and wondered just how many articles had the same problem. Readers should hardly ever see this unless they broke something themselves. It's just plain ugly. I might look into the other categories at some point too. Cheers. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 13:12, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
The others are all empty (except for 1 template loop and 7 unsourced categories that are indeed hard to prove). Debresser (talk) 14:28, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
Sillyfolkboy has emptied the category: CONGRATULATIONS! (unsigned)Debresser (talk)
I think that was more of a joint effort! That was quite some going given that when I first saw the category there were over one thousand in there. Excellent stuff and thanks. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 01:33, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Let's not fix any articles for 24 hours. You have a look in another 24 hours (I'll be out, so it's up to you), and tell us how many articles there are. I guess some 50-60 articles. Debresser (talk) 02:01, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
Sure. I'd like to see how many pile up here. As long as no one else is knowingly cleaning the cat, then we should be able to work out the average per day, and the average time needed to fix those problems. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 02:22, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
I found some 124. Fixed about 50 of them (including all templates, which have now been added upon my request). Debresser (talk) 22:09, 15 April 2009 (UTC) The three templates left are also fixed, but they are edit-protected and are waiting for the job-queue or a null-edit by an admin. Debresser (talk) 02:21, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Why have all those templates suddenly appeared just now? Sillyfolkboy (talk) 01:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Because the previous namespace detection was only for main/articles. Messages now only show on main, template, category, help and file pages. It is now possible to create a custom message for each namespace— we could automatically add {{Reflist}} for templates. --Gadget850 (talk) 03:31, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea. They're drowning out the articles which actually need reflists. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 17:44, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
No need, I'll fix them. Trying this automatically is not a good idea, because often the problem is another one, and because usually you need to add the {{Reflist}} on the documentation page. Debresser (talk) 21:04, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. I'm not going to do any more because frankly I think it's a waste of my time. The fact of whether any of these templates "issues" are actually problematic (as it is on articles) is highly debatable. Sillyfolkboy (talk) 22:09, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Ha! That was before I had a look and saw that we have about 750 of them. And I noticed many of them don't have a documentation page. So I'm in favor of bot work. Frankly, I hadn't expected that many.

By the way, Sillyfolkboy, why don't you use the text from Help:Cite errors, which reads

== References ==
''This reference list does not appear in the article.''

? Debresser (talk) 02:28, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Do you use AWB? --Gadget850 (talk) 03:11, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
No, I don't. It probably wouldn't work on my PC. I have XP with IE6. Debresser (talk) 03:14, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
If anyone thinks it useful, we can put templates into a separate category. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:47, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't see any point. Sounds like red tape to me. Just as this adding of a category page to itself. What do you say we remove both the one you added and the one that was there before? It is a maintenance category, and as such doesn't need all these niceties that are sometimes made to make searching or cataloging easier. If not my personal respect for you I would have kicked it out a mile far. Debresser (talk) 14:10, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
It was in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to begin with, but I removed it when I was trying to figure out why pages with missing reference tags were in both categories and forgot to put it back. It needs to be in some category, so I added it to Category:Wikipedia references cleanup. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:36, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That was a superb idea. Debresser (talk) 19:02, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

So is there a bot that can add a refsection to all templates? If there are any broken references, the templates shows up later in the other category and I fix it anyways. That's what happened with Template:2007_in_Australian_television_-_Ending_this_year to which Sillyfolkboy added a refsection and I spent about half an hout to fix it and a few other related templates with broken refs. Debresser (talk) 14:32, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

See Help talk:Cite errors/Archive 2009#Bot Help. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:25, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
I talked to him. He's a little busy at the moment. There's another one I'm talkingto, and a third one who's doing another bot now on a permanent basis with great success whom I could also talk to. We'll see. Debresser (talk) 05:30, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

I now have AWB. And fixed my first three templates with it. Had some trouble because I started on a low screen resolution. I think using AWB is a relatively easy way to add a references section. Any advice? Debresser (talk) 23:49, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references

I see MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references has namespace detection and a category, while MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references doesn't. Is there any reason for this, or was it just forgotten? Anomie 11:53, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Already in discussion at #RE: Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting and Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. --Gadget850 (talk) 12:53, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I see no mention of this particular issue in either place. It looks like you just forgot to make the changes to both templates. Anomie 13:14, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
--Gadget850 (talk) 13:40, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
My point is that there are two messages for the "ref tag without references" error, and it seems odd that one puts pages in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references and the other doesn't. I don't actually care much about the namespace detection. Anomie 15:22, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I went out in the weeds on that one and totally missed your point. We probably had no messages due to Cite error group refs without references and just did not think to update it. I don't see a problem in updating it to work like the other. --Gadget850 (talk) 16:05, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

See my proposal there, which namespace to include and which not. And see above that I made precisely the same proposal for MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references as for MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references. I don't see any reason to make them work differently. Debresser (talk) 15:07, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

I thought this was going to be hard until I found {{namespace detect showall}}. MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references will now show only on main (article), template, category, help and file (image) namespaces.
So now [abc 1]
<ref group="abc">abc</ref>
no longer generates a message on talk pages. --Gadget850 (talk) 15:52, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. I'll work on them. Debresser (talk) 19:26, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I am going to update {{broken ref}} so we can control the namespace detection from one point. This way, if we change our minds on what namespace should be used, we can change it in one place. --Gadget850 (talk) 20:22, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
And it was added in November but got broken in January. Gotta untangle this. --Gadget850 (talk) 20:48, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

I saw in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting a few pages like Category talk:Mottos or File talk:Snow leopard range.png. I can fix them, but I though talk pages weren't supposed to show up. Not to mention a Wikipedia pageWikipedia:Articles for creation/2008-03-27. Debresser (talk) 23:52, 15 April 2009 (UTC)

This was what all of the discussion was about: what pages to exclude. I updated {{broken ref}} and applied it to each message— it now controls the namespace. Messages now only show on main, template, category, help and file pages. To add or remove namespaces, we now only need to change {{broken ref}}. If you visit those pages and purge, the message and category will be gone. --Gadget850 (talk) 00:31, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I didn't write before trying that. But yes, it's fixed now. Thanks. Debresser (talk) 01:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC) I fixed a few more templates, but I'll wait with the big work till the job queue removed all talk pages, portals and Wikipedia pages. Debresser (talk) 03:05, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Somebody fixed almost all templates under the letter "T". I fixed a few new stray ones and the last ca. 25 he had left. Could you please fix Template:HighDefMediaComparison. It's editprotected. Debresser (talk) 04:37, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Done. --Gadget850 (talk) 11:15, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

By the way, do you know why some templates are listed under the letter "T", but a few under the first letter of their name (e.g. Template:Broken ref in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references, which is listed under the letter "B")? Debresser (talk) 01:35, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

The message puts the page in the category using {{PAGENAME}}, which uses the name without "Template:". I don't see any listed under T that should not be there. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:38, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
That's because I cleaned them all out. :) Debresser (talk) 19:02, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Category:Articles with broken or outdated citations & Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references

Should these categories be combined? They seem be similar issues.--BirgitteSB 16:27, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

No. The first is populated by adding {{citations broken}} to an article with a bunch of dead links. The second is populated automatically when cite.php generates an error message. --Gadget850 (talk) 16:35, 14 April 2009 (UTC)

Namespace control

Now that the messages for malformed <ref>...</ref> tags use {{broken ref}}, we can generate a different message based on the namespace. Since the message includes the category, this means that we could show the error on a talk page, but not place it in the tracking category.

The two messages for missing <references /> don't use {{broken ref}} since they use a different category. We could add a message that would show only on talk pages that would include the {{reflist}}.

--Gadget850 (talk) 11:42, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Template cite error message

I think the message now used for cite error "problems" on templates (i.e. those cases where footnoted sources are included without a </references> or {{reflist}} tag) is poorly worded. It currently reads:

== References ==
This reference list does not appear in the article.

with a list of the template's footnotes following.

The problem with this is two-fold. First, because some editors working to "clean up" templates are now adding this wording directly to template documentation, it gives the appearance that the template itself is somehow at fault (probably principally because the words "the article" are used). Second, it does not give the editor any direction as to what to do to correct the problem.

I would like to suggest that the wording on this "cite error" message be changed to read :

Unless a <references/> or {{Reflist}} tag is added to articles calling the [fill in the name here] template, the following footnotes will not appear.

This would 1) make clear what footnotes will display (thus allowing editors to verify that they are correct) and 2) make clear what an editor needs to do to eliminate any display problem. MeegsC | Talk 22:16, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Hi. It's not "some editors", it's me. :)

I agree with MeegsC that the wording is ambiguous. As I explained to him on my talk page the meaning is indeed that this list will not appear in any article using the template, but the references themselves will. I don't see how this could be expressed better.

The formulation he suggests here is also not good, because if indeed no references section will be made in the article, that will lead to an error message. Debresser (talk) 21:00, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

What do you mean by "this list" above Debresser? I think that's where my confusion comes in. To me, "this list" means "this list of things that follows". MeegsC | Talk 11:49, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
"This list" means the references list as it is on that template page. Which is not included with the template. To make it easier for you to understand, you must differentiate between the template page and the template itself. The page is not the template. And that is precisely the point being made. The list is part of the template page, but not of the template itself, and does not get transcluded with it, but the references themselves do. Anyways, as I said before, whatever way you turn it, it's going to be ambiguous. Debresser (talk) 14:16, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
I guess my point is that the message as it stands is completely incomprehensible to some of us; I'm afraid that some of us mere editors (and at least one template writer) would not intuitively understand that by "this list" you mean the references list on the template page only. Because that list is part of the article which calls the template: for example Template:Spheniscidae list header is called by List of birds of Madagascar. And right down there at the bottom, in the references section—lo and behold, there are the references which come from the template. So the message, as it currently stands, is unclear—at least to me, but then perhaps I'm just thicker than the average editor!  : ) However, the message also does nothing to tell an editor what to do to fix a reference problem, which is presumably how these templates came up on your radar screen in the first place. I think we need to find a better solution! MeegsC | Talk 17:00, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Ok. No problem. Just that your proposals so far were either worse or just as ambiguous. But as soon as another good proposal comes up, I'll embrace it with both hands. In the mean time I think the present formulation is ambiguous but correct. Debresser (talk) 19:02, 19 April 2009 (UTC)


User:Anomie suggested to me that we could make a template for this whole references section. That way we could easily change the text at will. I've made {{Templaterefsection}}. It would have to be used inside <noinclude> tags. Please have a look. Debresser (talk) 01:04, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Good start. You can't use the == header markup— the edit link will open the template, not the section; users will start editing the template by mistake. I will look at this tomorrow. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:04, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't quite catch you. Debresser (talk) 08:51, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Headers markup like ==References== creates an [edit] link. When you use it in a template, that [edit] always opens the template for editing. See the test at User:Gadget850/T1. There is a fix for this, but I have to wake up first. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 09:52, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I see. I added <includeonly> tags, and that solved the problem. But that has a sideeffect: that you can't edit the references section, only by editing all of the template. Which we can live with, but is a little strange. Debresser (talk) 10:17, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I also added an explanatory text. And did you see that trick of mine, adding a second references section in <noinclude> tags? That can be removed, of course, should you think it better. I also made a documentation page. Debresser (talk) 10:30, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I've done my daily round in all categories. Now I'm ready to start fixing templates. What will it be? We're going to use this new template or not? Debresser (talk) 11:31, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Just getting in to work now. Give me a bit to check this out. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:52, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
The References in the <noinclude>...</noinclude> does nothing, as it does not transclude to the page. We need to document its uses in two ways:
  • No documentation section: add it to the end of the template enclosed in <noinclude>...</noinclude>
  • Documentation section: add it to the end of the documentation
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:01, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
The References in the <noinclude>...</noinclude> I added to give an idea of what the template would look like when used. I agree it is unnecessary and may be removed. On the other hand, I did like the trick.
Why not have a documentation page? This is considered fancy and is generally recomended, no? It definitely adds to the clarity of the template, because it shows clearly what is and what isn't part of the template. Debresser (talk) 14:59, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Adding a documentation page is certainly an option. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:05, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

So what do you say? Use the template, or not? Debresser (talk) 17:48, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Make it so. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:20, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Got up to the letter "M" so far. I think you can notice the difference. I'm going to make two turns, fixing in the second turn those templates that the first turn couldn't fix, due to limitations in the software. Debresser (talk) 23:49, 25 April 2009 (UTC) Fixed another 300 in 1h 17m (wolfish grin). Debresser (talk) 01:40, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

I cleaned up the References header: it performs in the the same manner. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:51, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
Neat. Thanks. When I finish fixing the pages from the category, I'll go through my user contributions. There're some 195 templates I edited of late with the old formula. I'll change them to this new template of ours. Debresser (talk) 14:35, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Fixed all templates in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references. And those that ended up in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting too. And 133 templates that I fixed before we had this template as well. Templates gone. Debresser (talk) 00:21, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Not perfect

I just had to wrap this new template in <noinclude>'s on {{2009 swine flu outbreak chart}}. Without them, it was adding a reference section to the top of 2009 swine flu outbreak. --auburnpilot talk 00:50, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Obviously. On a template you need <noinclude> tags. In a documentation page you don't. I'll put it in the documentation of {{Templaterefsection}}. Debresser (talk) 00:57, 27 April 2009 (UTC)

Well, that makes sense. I wasn't the one who added it, but I likely would have assumed no need for noinclude tags given the name of the template (as if it is specifically designed for use on templates). A note on the documentation page is a good idea. --auburnpilot talk 00:59, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I put it up. It would be nice if you didn't need the <noinclude>...</noinclude> tags, but it won't work that way. But often you don't need to add tags especially, e.g. when they are already there for categories or a documentation page. Then, you just add {{Templaterefsection}} and you're done. Debresser (talk) 01:03, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
I will update the documentation tomorrow. By design, <noinclude>...</noinclude> tags don't transclude. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:12, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
When I said "I put it up", I meant that I had updated the documentation page. Debresser (talk) 10:23, 27 April 2009 (UTC)


Wow, the template was semi-protected today. What an honor. Good he didn't protect it fully, or even I wouldn't be able to change it any more.

I changed the explanations in the documentation page quite extensively. I removed most of the too technical introduction to the Overview. And I made two changes in the Usage section:

  1. If a template has a documentation page, there is no reason to use {{Templaterefsection}}. A regular refsection can be used there.
  2. {{Templaterefsection}} has to be added near the end of a template, otherwise it will be 1. hard to find 2. likely to ruin the external view of the template page. Especially this last argument the previous editor seems to have overseen.

Debresser (talk) 20:39, 28 April 2009 (UTC)


Where are the archives from older discussions? I didn't find all of them in the links at the top of the page. Debresser (talk) 10:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Help talk:Cite errors/Archive 2009 is linked, and is the only archive for this page. What don't you see? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:03, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
I see, thanks. I pressed show and saw 2 bullets with WikiMedia archives. I didn't even notice the link to "2009", without the bullet. Debresser (talk) 11:16, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
The years will normally fill across the line, separated by a middot. The other pages are from the message pages where there were discussions before we redirected all of the talk pages here. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:28, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

The rest

Where is the rest of the 1561 pages in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting? I see only 287 of them. Debresser (talk) 18:54, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Good question. I'm scratching appendages on that one as well. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:57, 5 May 2009 (UTC)


When did Category:Pages with broken reference names get created, and why didn't anyone tell me so I could have AnomieBOT check it? Anomie 22:23, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

That was just a renaming of an old category, as you can read here. Debresser (talk) 22:38, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

No, it was splitting out some entries from Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting. And either way, the bot would need updating. Since when is User talk:Gadget850 the place to watch for ref error categorization changes, anyway? ;) Anomie 00:04, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Excuse me, you're right. But that still means there was Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting, And don't tell me you didn't know about that one! Splitting wasa really good idea though, don't you think so?
Well, he's the only one making any serious changes to anything related to reference errors. That I can assure you. So we sometimes chat on his talkpage. But yo're right again, and I'll move the conversation here. Debresser (talk) 00:11, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Anomie is right. I did think of the bot at one point, but forgot. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:28, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Of course, that's the category the bot has watched since I created it. Anyway, no real harm done, the bot is fixed now. Anomie 00:39, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
May I ask a small question please, Anomie? Just let me create some distance before I ask you. Oh, right, that's it. Then why were there over 200 pages there for the last week at least? Debresser (talk) 00:43, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
The bot can't fix all errors, some things require human attention. For example, if someone forgets their </ref> the bot can't figure out where to insert it because that requires actually understanding what the page is trying to say. Anomie 01:29, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
So splitting the pages helped you a lot. Debresser (talk) 01:38, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Not really, but it didn't hurt anything either once I found out about it. Anomie 02:11, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
You can see everything it has done in the past week (updated every 6 hours) at User:AnomieBOT/OrphanReferenceFixer log; note it didn't rescue anything between 2009-05-07 11:01:22 and 2009-05-09 18:21:19 because of the category split we discussed above. There's also bug 18601 that is currently making some pages fail to be processed, which should be fixed once brion scaps. Anomie 01:29, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
I had a look there before I wrote you. Still, those 224 pages were there a week at least. And that's only the "real" broken references. Nevertheless, I'm not the person to keep a grudge. If you can tell me that the bot has tried its best, but that there are a few pages left it can't fix, I'll have a look at them.Debresser (talk) 01:38, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
There are some it just can't fix. Anomie 02:11, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
That's why I said: tell me when the bot has finished trying all articles in this category, and I'll do my best on the rest. I just hope it will not leave many. Debresser (talk) 02:15, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
I'll give you a few examples. I once fixed a page with a ref that was copied from another page along with the table. Without any connection to the subject at all. Or when a ref is copied along with connected material from another article (but no mention of that in the edit summary, as usual). Or when the reference is found in a template that is transcluded unto the article (various scenarios here). I've fixed a few of those as well. Debresser (talk) 01:42, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Rename category

We currently have three categories:

Propose to:

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:19, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

Agree. But it should be "references list", I think.Debresser (talk) 18:35, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Done. Keeping the old category until it empties. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:45, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Could you make the talk page of Category:Pages with broken reference names redirect here too? Debresser (talk) 18:18, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Done ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:45, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Three questions

1. Do you have a nicer solution for this fix of mine?

See Wikipedia:Footnotes#Known bugs for a way to nest references. I would probably be better to use the group parameter to separate notes and references. I would be tempted to start from scratch.
I'll have a look. Thanks. Debresser (talk) 15:02, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

2 What about my suggestion in the section Categories above?

I am still mulling this over. The current sort is a de facto standard. This fracking head cold and the arthritis are not helping.
You're right about that being the standard. And my allergy also doesn't help me an awfull lot. Still, there are reasons for deviating from the standard here. Bootom line, anyway you decide is fine with me; it's not a big deal. Just let me know when you make up you mind, so that I might check those articles. Debresser (talk) 15:02, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

3 Currently Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting includes both errors because of missing </ref> tags as well as broken links (e.g. <ref name=thereisnosuchrefinthisarticle />. Can you make two different pages of this?

The first type is indeed a case of incorrect formatting, and I'd keep the name. This are easy to fix, and I'm willing to take it upon myself to fix all of them.
The second type might better be renamed to Category:Pages with broken references. Fixing these takes a lot of effort. I have put in some work already, and will put in some more in the near future, although fixing all of them is a gigantic task. Debresser (talk) 10:30, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting is populated by the 12 error types that use {{broken ref}}. I can add a cat parameter to override the default category.
So— I can put any of these errors into separate categories. If there are errors of multiple types, it will populate each category. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:45, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
If only I knew more about all those 12 different types (sigh). But yes, what I really would like you to do, is make a new (sub-?)category for the undefined ref name errors. They are very troublesome. Fixing most of the rest is easy, and I'll do my best as usual. Please let me know when there are updates here. Debresser (talk) 15:02, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
MediaWiki:Cite error references no text now puts the pages in Category:Pages with broken reference names which seems to be populating quickly. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:12, 7 May 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps that's those missing pages showing up at last. Debresser (talk) 18:07, 7 May 2009 (UTC)

OK. Look at MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references. Each namespace is now sorted differently: main by pagename, template by !, category by ", help by # and file by $. It will take a bit for Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references to resort. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:15, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

Fixed all articles in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting.
What you did is nice, and now I know why that page was sitting stubbornly at "#", but could you please put all of them together at the "!"? We're not expecting many articles here, so let's keep the few we have together. Could be any other one symbol, but just one please will do. Debresser (talk) 01:52, 8 May 2009 (UTC) I mean, apart from the main article namespace, of course. Debresser (talk) 01:53, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
All template, category, help and file pages will now sort under !. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:30, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Great. Thanks. Debresser (talk) 18:46, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

BTW, while you're at it, could you make the pages in Category:Cite web templates using unusual accessdate parameters sort A-B-... too? I've been cleaning up there very seriously. Debresser (talk) 02:05, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

See Template talk:Cite web#Category:Cite web templates using unusual accessdate parameters. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:30, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I had a look. Please see my note there (in addition to my general agreement). Debresser (talk) 18:46, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

BTW, today I had a template in Category:Pages with broken reference names under "T". Didn't you program templates to be under "!" there also? Same in Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references Debresser (talk) 00:22, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Depends upon when it got added to the category. I had to null edit one of the help pages---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:26, 10 May 2009 (UTC) to get it to update.
I see. Debresser (talk) 00:32, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

You noticed those missing articles with broken reference names didn't show up in the end? Debresser (talk) 18:46, 9 May 2009 (UTC) To be more precise, the category now claims there are only 224 pages there. Debresser (talk) 00:32, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

And shouldn't Help:Cite errors/Testcases and Help:Cite errors/Testcases2 show up under "!' on Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting? Debresser (talk) 00:35, 10 May 2009 (UTC) And Help:Cite errors/Testcases on Category:Pages with broken reference names? Debresser (talk) 00:37, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

That is more than three questions, so a surcharge applies. Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting is the everything else category and is populated by {{broken ref}}. I will have to look at that to sort. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:13, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

I now saw you didn't yet add that "!" fix with template, file, help and cat=2 to Template:Broken ref. Piece of cake, no? Debresser (talk) 19:32, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

Done ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:43, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. What I don't understand is why it doesn't work. Not on

as you can see on those category pages. They are still sorting by pagename only. Debresser (talk) 22:03, 13 May 2009 (UTC) If only I understood that small line of code there... Debresser (talk) 22:17, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:41, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Could you do the same for Category:Articles with broken citations too? Debresser (talk) 15:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Looks like this is from {{citation}}: please make this request on the talk page. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:10, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

On Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting it works now. On Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references and Category:Pages with broken reference names it doesn't,not even after null-editing. Debresser (talk) 15:43, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:10, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Remember that Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references will no longer be populated as it has been replaced by Category:Pages with missing references list. Articles in the first category will propagate to the second as they are edited, or they will disappear if they are fixed. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:33, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

In the right order:

  1. I have on the Citation talkpage
  2. Thanks, it works.
  3. I forgot that for a moment. Will you redirect the page after it is depopulated? Debresser (talk) 17:51, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
For reasons I don't understand, three pages don't want to move from Category:Wikipedia pages with broken references. Debresser (talk) 18:15, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Prefered order

I have added the line "Below they are listed in order of preference". This order is based on various factors:

  1. absence of "cons", or their severity if present
  2. effectiveness
  3. ease and elegance of their implementation

If you would like to change the order, or think it should be removed completely, please discuss this first here. Debresser (talk) 12:16, 13 May 2009 (UTC)


Figured out that external links work in the MediWiki messages where the internal links don't work. The three affected messages are now updated. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:51, 13 July 2009 (UTC)


Could somebody please fix the references error in List of honorific titles in popular music. I tried, but failed. Debresser (talk) 14:33, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Unclosed <ref> tag; refTools found it quickly. Also fixed a duplicate reference definition. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I just couldn't find it. :) Debresser (talk) 10:23, 16 July 2009 (UTC)


Why use the deprecated h sytax and the span markup instead of WP markup? Rich Farmbrough, 18:40, 24 August 2009 (UTC).

Elaborate please: which markup and where? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:58, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
On Template:Template_reference_list. For which this is the talk page. Rich Farmbrough, 02:50, 30 August 2009 (UTC).
When header wikimarkup is transcluded, it creates an edit link that confusingly opens the template for editing. I don't see that HTML heading tags are deprecated, and they are valid through HTML 5.[1] ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 04:04, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

User pages

The reason for adding user pages is that we had a user page polluting the category for a good six months. Until today in fact. Rich Farmbrough, 02:52, 30 August 2009 (UTC).

Since the MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references namespace detection did not include user pages, I am unclear as to how one could have been in Category:Pages with missing references list. After these error messages started showing up on talk and user pages, there was a long discussion on VPT and namespace detection was added to exclude these namespaces. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 04:18, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

why so hard?

Someone tell me why it's so fucking hard to add references/sources/whatever to articles? In an ideal worl all we should have to do is click on the 'references' button at the appropriate point of the article and insert the URL to the source. And stop. None of this bullshit about then adding a 'ref' tag at the end of the article and then going back because the stupid thing didn't add a heading so it looks odd. Wikipedia admins why not instead of spending so much time debating stupid policies don't you make some of the annoying things like this simpler? I suppose you'd need to take a vote or "straw poll" before anyone does anything because that's what it's like on wikipedia nowadays.--Xania Flag of Italy.svgtalk 19:01, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

I empathize with you on the issue, but this is not the place to vent. Admins are simply editors who are trusted with a few tools to hep clean up things. Various enhancements have been proposed to the developers (the software engineers who get paid to maintain the place) and there is a big push to simplify and enhance editing. This page is for discussion of the various error messages that show when there is a problem with the current system. If you got a Cite error message that you did not understand, then we can discuss how to make it clearer. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:10, 6 September 2009 (UTC)


I propose we change "!" in {{Broken ref}} to "τ"? Or more precisely τ{{PAGENAME}}. Then we can change MediaWiki:Cite error refs without references and MediaWiki:Cite error group refs without references to something like all the others, namely {{broken ref|msg=There are {{tag|ref|open}} tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{tag|references|single}} tag.|cat=Pages with missing references list}}. The two blocks in Template:Broken_ref/doc#Messages could then be merged.


  1. All MediaWiki messages are similar, and work through one and the same template. With all the advantages that brings!
  2. All templates sort to "τ", which is the more generally accepted sortkey for templates.
  3. There is an elegance in the unification of the text of all MediaWiki messages, the fact that they all work through the same template, and sort the same way. Debresser (talk) 22:41, 10 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't know why I didn't apply the template to those two messages after I added the category feature. I also tweaked the template so to use an external link to the help page so that the two message that don't support internal links will work. MediaWiki:Cite error references no text can't use Broken ref as it mangles external links. I think I can fix that. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:57, 11 September 2009 (UTC)
Fixed by adding |prefix= just for that one stubborn message. Did a lot of cleanup on the template and help page, so give it an eyeball. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:08, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

First, I'm sorry if this is the wrong place for this message. I cannot understand the coding you are talking about but you seem to be referring to the error message that is displayed in the references section when there is an orphaned ref tag in the article. Formerly the error message was
Cite Error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named a.
Now the message seems to be
Cite Error:Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named a; see Help:Cite errors.
I have no problem with having the additional text in the error message but I think the entire error message should be big red text. That way editors are more likely to see the message and fix the error. (talk) 21:53, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

Thank you— this is exactly the right place to report this. That particular message page is just plain odd— it just does not format the way it should. Should be fixed now; you will have to purge to see the fix. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:50, 11 September 2009 (UTC)

cite.php update

The cite software has been updated with new features that I am figuring out. I have listed the new error messages and will expand as I figure out how to break things. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:49, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Update table

Currently we have a long table with entries like:

Message Problem Solution
Cite error: Invalid <ref>...</ref> tag; refs with no name must have content. There is no content between the <ref>...</ref> tags. Either put content between the <ref> tags (<ref>content</ref>), or (if you're reusing a named reference that's been defined elsewhere in the article) use a single tag <ref name="ref_name" />.

The solution column is getting crowded. I propose that we split each message into its own table and go vertical:


  • {{MediaWiki:Cite error: Invalid <ref>...</ref> tag; refs with no name must have content.|nocat=true}}

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:31, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

 Done ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 13:10, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Add id

Each MediaWiki message includes a link to Help:Cite errors. I also propose that we ad an HTML id to each entry in the table. We then add the id to the Help:Cite errors link in each MediaWiki message using {{broken ref}} so that when the link is clicked from the error message, it jumps directly to the appropriate section. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:31, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

 Done I also removed the prefix parameter in {{broken ref}} as it was causing some really odd HTML problems. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:38, 20 September 2009 (UTC)

Broken refs on user pages

I was testing references in my sandbox, and discovered that the namespace detection in {{Broken ref}} hides the error message in the User namespace. I don't suggest adding user pages to the categories (that would be about 3117 of them, after all), but would anyone be opposed to adding something like this so we can see the errors? Anomie 14:02, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

{{Broken ref}} was created because the messages started showing up on talk and user pages and readers were getting confused. I don't have an issue with it, but we might consider making this discussion to Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals) for visibility. Would we gain anything with a hidden category just to see how big the problem is? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 16:01, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I ran an API query to find that there were the 3117 user pages a few hours ago (and 3147 now) transcluding {{Broken ref}}, I doubt a hidden cat would tell us anything more than that. I know we hid errors on talk pages intentionally because people constantly introduced errors and then complained about it, but beyond not cluttering the cats I didn't know there was any reason for hiding errors on User namespace pages. Anyway, VPR post made. Anomie 22:55, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

 Done ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:57, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

One complaint: Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)/Archive 65#cite error in user space. Create {{reflisthide}} to resolve this; could probably use some tweaking. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 20:29, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

Broken references

Presently, the error message for broken references is placed in the reference itself at the bottom of the article. Since broken references are fiendishly hard to solve, for others than the original editor that is, it would be preferable if the error message were placed inside the text together with the footnote anchor. That way it would be a lot more likely that the original editor should notice the error message. If this is possible, I would like to request this feature. Debresser (talk) 10:49, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm not quite sure which error message you are referring to. Regardless, this is controlled by the cite.php software; we would have to characterize the problem and solution and file a bugzila report. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:57, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
I am talking about Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named whatever; see Help:Cite error, sorted into Category:Pages with broken reference names by MediaWiki:Cite error references no text using {{Broken ref}}. Debresser (talk) 12:23, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, these are tough. I don't see that moving the error message will help, as the reference in question is disconnected from the defined ref. There is nothing we can do to change this other than filing a bugzilla request. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:39, 13 October 2009 (UTC)
Do you agree with me that it is a good idea? And if so, can and will you file the request? Debresser (talk) 12:53, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Last ten

We are down to the last ten nine broken references on Category:Pages with broken reference names. Not including the three helppages, of course. There are new ones all the time, but they are being taken care of. Thanks go to editors and AnomieBOT.

These last broken references can not be solved by looking in the article history for mistakes. They were added broken from the beginning. Usualy a message has been added to the article talkpage and to the talkpage of the editor who made the broken reference. The challange is to try and find the most likely source, or another equivalent reference.

  1. Christian Dior S.A.
  2. Dangerous (Michael Jackson song)
  3. Gudang Garam
  4. In vitro meat
  5. Indosiar
  6. List of buzzwords
  7. Los Chupacabra
  8. SOT-A
  9. Ten Dead Men

Debresser (talk) 16:17, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, it may be bad etiquette but I had to correct your list. You had In vitro meat on the list twice, I replaced the appropriate one with Indosiar. (talk) 20:10, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
No, no, that's quite fine. Thank you. Debresser (talk) 23:23, 24 October 2009 (UTC)

Redesigning the citation errors

See Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Redesigning the citation errors. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:45, 14 November 2009 (UTC)

Can't fix

I can't fix Copt. Anybody want to try it? Debresser (talk) 17:15, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Fixed. To explain: Normally, the template parser would see "{{lower|blah-blah-a-UNIQ-token}}" and everything would end up outputting correctly. But with the broken nesting, it ended up as "{{lower|Cite error: blah blah everything after the first ref, including several urls with = in them}}" instead, and since {{lower}} doesn't recognize a parameter named "Cite error: blah blah everything after the first ref, including several urls with " it ended up displaying no errir indicator in the article. Anomie 18:18, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
I did not understand that, but thank you! Debresser (talk) 23:57, 19 November 2009 (UTC)

Missing reference list

Following up on Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Redesigning the citation errors. It has always been my intention to make the error message more user friendly. The missing reference list is one of the more common errors, and is the easiest to fix.

Current message:

Current error message:

Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a <references/> tag.

Proposed message:

{{broken ref |msg={{ambox|type=content |text=This page contains references, but it '''does not contain a reference list'''. Citations and footnotes in this article will not appear until one is added.<br />To resolve this issue, see the <span class="plainlinks">[ help page]</span>. |cat=Pages with missing references list}}

Which will show as:

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:12, 20 November 2009 (UTC)

As I said there, I see no consensus in that discussion to turn error messages into message boxes, rather to the contrary. So I think this proposal has nothing to stand on. Personally, I strongly oppose the whole idea, as stated there. Debresser (talk) 16:08, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

Redirect here

Can't we redirect Category talk:Articles with broken citations here as well? Debresser (talk) 21:06, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

That category is populated by {{citation error}}, not by any of the cite error messages. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:00, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Although that is definitely true, do you think that is a strong enough reason not to redirect here? That talk page is virtually empty, and I (and perhaps other as well) have been discussion it here freely whenever the need arose for over half a year. Debresser (talk) 22:15, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
This page is used as a centralized discussion for error messages generated by cite.php. {{Citation error}} is used in Wikipedia:Citation templates. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:09, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
Whatever you say. To me it makes sense. Debresser (talk) 09:51, 27 November 2009 (UTC)
Wouldn't it make more sense to redirect it to Wikipedia talk:Citation templates, or wherever the discussion of citation templates is centralized? Anomie 15:49, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Link in error message

Why is there in external link inside the error messsages found on Category:Articles with broken citations? I looked at the source of {{Cite web}} and {{Citation error}}, but didn't see thereason. It looks like No title when using {{[2]Cite web}}.

And when we find the reaason, I propose deleting it ASAP. The link is anyway always stated right afterwards. Not the mention the ridiculous placing. Debresser (talk) 21:10, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't see this; do you have a specific example? If you fixed this somewhere, then what page? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:04, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
There shouldn't be any examples, because I try to fix them. :) See this diff in the Notes section #5. But it is the same in all of them. Debresser (talk) 22:17, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

It is in {{cite web}}:

{{cite web |url=}}  Missing or empty |title= (help)

Not sure what is causing this; took it to Template talk:Cite web#Error message. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:18, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks. Debresser (talk) 09:52, 27 November 2009 (UTC)

Gunpowder Plot

Anyone want to have a go at fixing that? Half the footnotes are missing. It's driving me potty trying to find the problem. Parrot of Doom 15:11, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Doh, found it! Parrot of Doom 15:24, 24 December 2009 (UTC)
The problem was something else, see Talk:Qu'Appelle,_Saskatchewan#Sorry. Took me an hour to find. Debresser (talk) 16:23, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

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