Template talk:Citation style

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Supposed to be on talk pages[edit]

The Wikipedia:Templates for deletion/Log/Not deleted/October 2005#Template:Citation style debate allowed the template to continue only because it was a tie. Those opposed thought it was an unnecessary template because it clutters the articles since the references were present but not in a "better style" (although there are no rules on references). Those favoring retaining it said it should only be on talk pages. If applied to talk pages it makes a reference back to a talk page about the talk page! Americasroof 11:08, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

 Done There presently is no consensus on the template placement and use of Template:Articleissues takes care of any template clutter issues. Bebestbe (talk) 16:58, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

This is Clutter. Such issues should be on the talk page not in article space. --PBS (talk) 19:37, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

And that's personal opinion, not supported by a consensus on any ongoing discussion. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 08:15, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Proposed change in wording[edit]

not "would be clearer' but "might" be clearer. Otherwise it should say "an editor has proposed that the references...would be clearer. I prefer the first change for brevity. DGG 06:22, 18 May 2007 (UTC)

I disagree. I don't know of any cleanup template that says "an editor", this template is meant to tell people to clean up the referencing style in the article, if it's incorrectly applied it can be removed. Quadzilla99 00:14, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
But it fails to live up to this intent, because it is too vague and overbroad. It needs to ask people to use standardized reference citations per WP:CITE. — SMcCandlish [talk] [cont] ‹(-¿-)› 23:14, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
WP:CITE says If you do not know how to format the citation, provide as much information as you can, and others may fix it for you. Cite It! WP:CITE Does not say People need to use standardized references (but it would be nice if they did :) Jeepday (talk) 04:40, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
  •  Done I don't think the template wording can be more specific. WP:CITE is not so clear on the point: "There are a number of citation styles and systems used in different fields, all including the same information, with different punctuation use, and with the order of appearance varying for the author's name, publication date, title, and page numbers. Any style or system is acceptable on Wikipedia so long as articles are internally consistent." Instead of making the wording of the template more specific, I added a second unnamed parameter to the template to allow the citation style template poster to provide more details on what may need to be changed in the article regarding the citation, footnoting, or external linking. Bebestbe (talk) 16:55, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Not all of the participants in the TFD discussion who favored keeping this template suggested restricting it to talk pages. There are plenty of cleanup tags that are article pages themselves, and that's on purpose, to encourage people to deal with the problems and remove the tag when it's done. Otherwise, it will sit on the talk page and be ignored, and when the problem is corrected, no one will remove it. It's been my practice for a long time to put this tag in the reference section of the article itself, where it's not distracting people as they are just starting to read the article. It seems appropriate in an "excuse our dust, and by the way, these references might not be numbered correctly, so be careful" sort of way. If other people want to put them on talk pages, I won't stop them, but I don't like the red "you put this template in the wrong place" line to show up when I feel I am using the template appropriately. -- Beland 05:29, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I also use it and other reference templates on the article for similar reasons. Jeepday (talk) 12:49, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
 Done Concensus regarding the placement of the citation style is noted in the usage instructions. Bebestbe (talk) 16:49, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Date parameter and Update Usage[edit]

I updated the usage on the template space based on the much discussed Template:Unreferenced. I notice this template does not have a date parameter, Can someone add a date parameter? Jeepday (talk) 13:15, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

 Done I added a date parameter. Bebestbe (talk) 16:48, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

Various improvements needed[edit]

This template needs a link to the Wikipedia citation standard ... somewhere ... Said: Rursus 10:40, 4 July 2007 (UTC)


First step is to change it to might then, as there is not really a single standard--so nobody can really correctly express an imperative. DGG (talk) 00:02, 24 September 2007 (UTC)

 Done The template now reads The references used in this article may be clearer with a different or consistent style of citation, footnoting, or external linking. -- Bebestbe (talk) 16:47, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


Shouldn't this have a yellow sidebar, as it has to do with style and not content? Rocket000 10:56, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

 Done The template presently has a yellow sidebar. Bebestbe (talk) 16:45, 2 July 2008 (UTC)


these are really different questions. there is no policy for a particular style of citations, as long as they're clear. there is policy against mixing them in an article. DGG (talk) 20:20, 2 July 2008 (UTC)

second unnamed parameter[edit]

I could not get the "second unnamed parameter" (additional message text) to work here. Broken, or discontinued? ~ Ningauble (talk) 01:10, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

There appears to be no second parameter in the code. Can someone explain what has happened to it? Keith D (talk) 20:07, 18 October 2009 (UTC)
Looks like Gary King (talk · contribs) removed it here. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 09:53, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
Do we want it back? I wasn't missed for over a year... I say remove it from the documentation, and that's it. Debresser (talk) 10:16, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't really think it's necessary. Dropping it from the docs should be fine. Chris Cunningham (not at work) - talk 11:12, 19 October 2009 (UTC)
I think a parameter for specifying additional details is useful, so I implemented it. However, I don't think it is a good idea to use unnamed parameters when earlier ones are optional, so I implemented this as the "details" parameter. I also updated doc to add "details" parameter and removed "Second unnamed parameter", which was never removed. -- JPMcGrath (talk) 06:09, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Move to talk page[edit]

This template does not provide a benefit to readers and should appear on a talk page, rather than at the head of an article. Having standard citations would be nice, but there's no reason to have a rather large banner adorn a page informing viewers that the citations are not standardised. I'd like to invite the opinions of other users on this. --LT910001 (talk) 01:35, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

  • Oppose It's a maintenance/cleanup tag, and as such belongs in the lead section of the article, per MOS:LEAD. --Redrose64 (talk) 14:44, 1 April 2014 (UTC)

Request for comment on use[edit]

I recently came into contact with this template here: Supraorbital ridge. I think we accept that many pages are not perfect, but that all the imperfections (major and minor) do not need to be explicitly documented on every single page. I would like to request some comments on:

  1. Is this template useful? It doesn't state something that can be improved (ie, need for references), but instead something that any reader could see - that the citations are not consistent.
  2. Should this template be placed predominantly on the page's heading?
  3. These templates are presumably for editors and readers. What is the likelihood that a reader or editor will, seeing this template, decide to make changes to the article?
  4. If an editor does make changes, will that actually improve the article's quality?

The template I refer to is this:

I'd like to hear what other users think. I think this template is unnecessary and somewhat distracting, and I think it is an example of overuse of templates. That said, I'm sure there are some good situations where it's used. I'd like the opinion of other users. Kindly, --Tom (LT) (talk) 07:47, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

the concerns are detailed on the article talk page, but they appear to have been resolved (looks like good APAP style to me), so I removed the tag for now... that being said, the tag could be useful if the references were seriously deficient Roberticus talk 00:26, 24 September 2014 (UTC)
I think that the template could be useful if used judiciously. For example, if the problem is that some citations have one date format and some another, or some have items in a different order, or have some with commas and some with periods, an editor could just fix it or make a note on the talk page. However, if the citation style is causing a problem in the article, and there are too many changes to be made quickly, the template may spur someone to fix it. For example, if the citations are bare URLs in the middle of paragraphs without ref tags, or make use of "ibid". —Anne Delong (talk) 00:26, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree that most articles with one or two minor citation difficulties would not benefit from this temple. However, there are articles that, via multiple editor and IP input, end up with two, three or even four citation styles. Example: the current version of the Dravidian languages article uses at least three styles. In those cases where the tagging editor either doesn't have the time or expertise to edit the article for a uniform style, this template is appropriate to call attention to the problem by placing it in Category:All articles needing references cleanup where editors like me can find useful work when we are in that mind-set. For that purpose the tag could be hidden or placed on the talk page. The answer to the question about whether the existence of multiple citation styles on a page is obvious, is "no". I don't always look at the Notes/Reference section depending upon why I am accessing a page. If I see such a template I am much more likely to look at them. Which brings us to the last two questions which raise a separate issue, namely, "Should the template be visible on the article page?". #3 Yes, I sometimes fix a page that I come across which has a tag such as this one. I cannot speak for other editors, and I am not sure that there is an easy way to compile statistics on that. Question #4 Left me a little confused about what @LT910001: was really asking. Even good faith edits can miss the mark, but usually editors who would take up the challenge presented by this temple would improve the article. People who are likely to do citation cleanup are likely to be meticulous. Even if that would be only one reader/editor out of a hundred thousand, then in the course of six months the Dravidian languages article would be likely to attract some edits that improve the citation (given the average of over 500 views per day of the Dravidian languages article). In general I also concur with Anne Delong's comments. Currently there seem to be under 4,000 articles tagged with this template. That actually is a very small number given the size of the Wikipedia. For comparison the Template:harvnb (not a popular citation template) is used on about 25,000 pages. --Bejnar (talk) 17:06, 12 October 2014 (UTC)
For the cases that Anne is thinking of, we have more specific templates like {{ibid}}, {{bare urls}}, and the like. This is more commonly used when someone notices an absence of little blue numbers like this[1] and thinks that this automatically means that there is a problem. In other cases, there's a mix of WP:PAREN and blue clicky numbers, which actually is a (sometimes relatively minor) problem, or the page uses WP:General references exclusively (in which case, see {{no footnotes}}) or partially (which is not officially a problem at all). I haven't seen it used for very minor problems (e.g., bibliographic citations that have slightly different orders) and I don't think it should be used for that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:42, 13 October 2014 (UTC)