Talk:Circular reference

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A lot more is needed on this article, especially examples from entertainment and literature, and it needs improving. Saccerzd 18:14, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm responsible for the example of circular programming. Sorry to add it anonymously. It was an accident. --Getaaron 00:35, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

Circular references on Wikipedia[edit]

I added a small piece on Circular references on Wikipedia, after just dealing with what looked like a copy vio on Ica stones and just having seen a related article posted at Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2008-04-21/In the news. Jeepday (talk) 12:00, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Bible reference[edit]

This could be seen as an attempt to mock Christians. A more neutral example would be better. —[semicolons]— 18:32, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

Circular Reference as an Explanation[edit]

The last two lines of Circular Reference as an Explanation repeat what is alluded to in a previous section: "Circular reference are a common errors in excel that can cause problems with your formulas. These errors when a formula refers to itself to determine the answer". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:55, 30 March 2009 (UTC)


The recent edits marked as "tweaks" are a bit more than that and have a lot wrong with them. For a start, it has put back the connection with logical fallacy which is completely wrong, a circular reference is not a fallacy in any way and saying it is is in direct contradiction to the sources I provided for this section. Also creeping back in is "run-around" which is entirely unsourced and has no place in the article. Yes, I can see the connection, but it is not the same thing. Why has the example been removed - an example clarifies the whole thing, and again was following the sources. The lede also should not be saying that it is a programming error. It is not necessarily an error, it may only be an error because the programming environment is incapable of handling iterative processes (typical of spreadheets). Basically, I think the whole lot should be reverted. SpinningSpark 20:48, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

In computer programming it is an error according to the sources I read. The example didn't make any sense to me. It is similar to a run-around and to circular logic, according to what I've read. Saying something is similar isn't saying that it is the same thing. What was written in the article didn't make any sense to me. ChildofMidnight (talk) 21:14, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
Putting aside computer programming for a moment and just concentrate on the language section, you may not agree it makes sense, but that is what the sources are saying. A circular reference is not similar to a circular argument, it is not any kind of argument, it is a reference and consequently cannot be a fallacy. In what way did the example not make sense, it gave an example of valid language which included circular references. What is more it is directly inspired by examples in the source. Sorry, you cannot use your own reasoning, however powerful you may think it is, to replace sourced material, that is called original research. Find some sources that support you and then we can talk. SpinningSpark 21:28, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
I suggest we get additional input. What was there was incomprehesible to me. What's there now makes perfect sense. :) I also object to your putting aside the computer programming issue, since that's the main usage for this terminology as a search quickly shows. ChildofMidnight (talk) 21:33, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
Here's a cite for my way of seeing things. [1] Also, you and your sources may be confusing a self-reference with a circular reference. But I'm here to help. I'm also okay with directing the whole article to wiktionary or to making it mostly about the computer programming issue with a mention of the other uses as related to self reference. I object to restoring what was there as I can't be party to anything that does not make sense, Chewbacca defenses not withstanding. ChildofMidnight (talk) 21:53, 27 December 2009 (UTC)
Circular references may or may not be problematic. They can be quite useful in computer programming; consider a circularly linked list, recursion, or corecursion. Circularity has been studied in the context of mathematical logic, see non-well-founded set theory. I thought the example made sense. Obscuranym (talk) 22:30, 28 December 2009 (UTC)
Have you read the sources discussing it in relation to programming? I haven't seen any treating it as something useful, but if you can find some feel free to add them. I'm not sure a circularly linked list or the other subjects you mention are the same as a circular reference, which (as far as computer programming is concerned) I've only seen discussed as a problem. But I'm open to expansion and additions. I just wrote what I did based on what was in the article and what I found in the sources I saw. But Spaceman disagrees with me already, so I may be entirely off base. ChildofMidnight (talk) 01:34, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Circularly linked lists are pretty standard material covered in many, if not most, introductory courses in data structures, and they certainly do conform to the definition as currently written on the top of the article as edited by you. If you want references on how to exploit circular references, the article on corecursion links to three articles with bibliographies, and includes sample code that loads into GHCi or Hugs, interpreters for Haskell. Obscuranym (talk) 02:46, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
Can you find a source saying a circularly linked list is a circular reference as the concept is covered in reliable independent sources and discussed in this article? ChildofMidnight (talk) 20:58, 6 January 2010 (UTC)
First, this article does not mention circularly linked lists; second the source you provided in this discussion is not credible; and third, a circularly linked list trivially satisifies the definition currently given by this article: the last element of the list points (or refers) to the first element of the list, forming a "circle". What's your point? Obscuranym (talk) 16:34, 7 January 2010 (UTC)


I know Wikipedia loves using xkcd cartoons, especially as they are CC licensed, and I just thought this would be perfect. :) Carnivorousfungi (talk) 17:38, 10 June 2012 (UTC)

See Also...[edit]

I once had a manual for a piece of database software which had an entry in the index reading "Circular Reference see Reference, Circular". The entry for Reference, Circular read "Reference, Circular see Circular Reference". This seems like an excellent example of a circular reference. — Wolfgang42 (talk) 01:58, 13 November 2012 (UTC) I believe this may have been done by Knuth in his famous book on algorithms?? (talk) 21:28, 10 October 2013 (UTC)