Template talk:Cleanup bare URLs

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Link rot?[edit]

Can anyone tell me why bare URLs are more susceptible to link rot than prettily piped links? No - I thought not. I have re-worded the template and provided my ideas of the real objections. If these changes are acceptable, I propose:

RHaworth (Talk | contribs) 04:49, 4 March 2009 (UTC)

I fully support that change. –Drilnoth (TC) 21:08, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not that a bare URL is more susceptible to link rot that a citation using {{cite web}} or something similar. But the advantage of using the citation template is that you can provide title, author, publication date, publisher, a quote etc, all of which will make finding the resource a lot easier in the event that the link goes dead. I think that's the point. So by not using bare links, we can mitigate problems with link rot before they happen. That being said, I have no problem with your proposal to move the template. — LinguistAtLarge • Talk  03:24, 23 March 2009 (UTC)


Is there any categories or anything specific to this tag that I can use to find bare urls? It's just that I love typing out citewebs, Lord Spongefrog, (I am the Czar of all Russias!) 17:51, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Not really. But you can start at Category:Articles with broken citations, which has some 5-10 instances a day of {{Cite web}} with a missing title (or incorrect use of the template). Debresser (talk) 18:12, 28 September 2009 (UTC)
You might want to have a look at the cleanup box at tools:~dispenser/view/Reflinks, let me know of any interface improvement you might like to see in the reflinks tool. — Dispenser 00:37, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
You can use Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:Cleanup-link rot and I think that category of pages that transclude this template should be created. Svick (talk) 12:54, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
I created Category:Articles needing link rot cleanup that contains all articles that have this template transcluded. Svick (talk) 13:11, 11 October 2009 (UTC)


The message says the following data elements are important: title, date, publisher, publication, and author. I don't think that's the right list.

  • Author ought to be earlier in the list than it is.
  • Publication should probably be changed to a more generic term like web site name or work.
  • Publisher is not important if the web site is well known, and it's often unnecessary even for less well-known sites. For example, is it more important to list "Rovi Corporation" or "Allmusic", the name of the site they publish? Clearly, it's "Allmusic", and "Rovi Corporation" is unnecessary.

So, I'd propose something like this:

title, author, date, and web site name

Comments? — John Cardinal (talk) 13:54, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

That's an improvement. But author(s) (if known) should go before title, and date (if known) should go after website name.
Unless of course you were using an author–date system, whereupon the order would most likely be author(s) (if known), year (if known), title, website name, date within the year (if known). But I think this is unsuitable for many pages as the authorship of so much that's worth citing is unclear. -- Hoary (talk) 07:23, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

Inline cleanup-link rot?[edit]

Is there an inline [cleanup-link rot] that can be used per citation? Like [dead link]. URL to it please!?! Lentower (talk) 18:32, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

It appears that there currently is no template for this purpose. I don't see anything in Category:Inline templates, Category:Inline cleanup templates or Category:Inline citation cleanup templates. I'm removing {{Bare}}, {{Bare URL}}, {{BareURL}} and {{Bareurl}}, the templates that imply a single bare link rather than multiple bare links, from Template:Cleanup-link rot/doc to discourage their use there and reserve them for possible future use for this purpose. Wbm1058 (talk) 15:02, 9 February 2013 (UTC)
It's risky to give an old template a new meaning. Some of those are currently in use as redirects to {{Cleanup-link rot}}, and a few people may have learned them and expect them to function that way. It will be even more confusing after the proposed rename. My suggestion: leave those as they are, restoring them to the documentation, and anticipate creating new "Bare-inline" etc if needed. --Stfg (talk) 14:32, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Where is the tool?[edit]

When I click on the words "a tool," I don't go anywhere. In puzzlement, I remain your friend, GeorgeLouis (talk) 01:48, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Don't know what to tell you. It's a link outside Wikipedia. Surely somebody must know, but not me. Debresser (talk) 04:25, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
The tool is Reflinks - see User:Dispenser/Reflinks GoingBatty (talk) 04:07, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Well, why is there a link that doesn't go anywhere? GeorgeLouis (talk) 07:12, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

The best place to ask that question is with User:Dispenser/Reflinks. Debresser (talk) 07:35, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Clicking on the "a tool" link in the template works for me, but it can take 30 seconds or more for Reflinks to load, depending on the number of links that Reflinks has to process. GoingBatty (talk) 14:38, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Heaven forbid that it take thirty seconds to improve an article. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 15:47, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
I think it's a great tool - takes much less time to run Reflinks (and review the results before saving) than it does to create the citation templates manually. GoingBatty (talk) 16:41, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Overly wordy[edit]

There was little wrong with this revision which warranted Debresser's reverting to a far wordier one. From what I can see, there was no discussion of this on the template talk page. The shorter version should be reinstated and worked on from there, as this template is presently a large mass of bold text which makes a relatively minor problem seem to be about as serious as {{unreferenced BLP}}. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 10:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)

The shorter version left out a category. If Alpha Quadrant had only changed the text, I would not have reverted it. Even though I don't think the new text is significantly better or shorter, but it is not my habit to revert edits based on textual preferences. I usually take care to make two separate edits in such cases, one technical and one textual. Debresser (talk) 11:47, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
So you reverted a significant improvement in the visible text due to a change in an invisible cleanup category? That's the opposite of helpful. Can I assume that you'd have no problem with restoring the text update? Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 12:35, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
As I have said already. If you wonder why I reverted the edit, throwing out the child together with the water, I can tell you that I had two reasons: 1. the changes to the text weren't discussed anywhere, and who could guarantee me at the moment that they were an improvement. 2. categorising is essential in maintenance templates, and anythings that tempers with that can not be called a good edit. Debresser (talk) 16:20, 18 August 2011 (UTC)
From what I can see the code in question uses {{ambox}}'s built-in cat and date parameters to categorise pages. It does omit one of the cleanup categories, but that appears to be deliberate: as everything in Category:Articles needing link rot cleanup from June 2009 also belongs in category:articles needing cleanup from June 2009, the latter category can be moved to the cat page as a parent category. As for "not having been discussed", neither was the edit which re-bulked the template in the first place. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 09:14, 19 August 2011 (UTC)
Monthly categories aren't usually added to other categories, but the parent category Category:Articles needing link rot cleanup is indeed in Category:Wikipedia cleanup. Anyway, I was just explaining myself. I see you decided to grill me over this. I think unjustly so. Anyway, have you already changed the text? Debresser (talk) 17:25, 20 August 2011 (UTC)
I've not changed it yet, but if we've an agreement that the categorisation works as planned then I'll do so in a bit. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 12:56, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Was done by editor in this edit. Debresser (talk) 16:28, 22 August 2011 (UTC)
Could you please restore the link to Reflinks, as doing so doesn't increase the height of this template? I think we'll have an easier time working through the backlog if more people know about this tool. For that matter, could it be added to the template documentation too? Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 00:22, 23 August 2011 (UTC)
I've updated the template to use a hybrid of both layout which should cover all bases. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 10:33, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Issues with "source if online"[edit]

I believe "source if online", has two issues in three words:

  1. source is not the name of a field in any of the {{cite templates, I'm aware of (see WP:CT). The other three mentioned are such fields. url is perhaps what is meant, but why mention it, if we are only talking about bare URLs? If you want to talk about the concept of "source". You need another sentence.
  2. "if online" is redundant, if we are only talking about bare URLs. By definition all URLs are online (unless they have died). If we are talking about any source, WP allows cites from reliable off-line sources.

Suggested fixes? Lentower (talk) 03:36, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Delete "See WP:CITE for how to format citations."[edit]

Delete "See WP:CITE for how to format citations.", and change "use proper citations" to "[[WP:CT|use proper citations]]" or "[[WP:CITE|use proper citations]]". This makes the template shorter, and uses parallel construction for both links to WP guidelines. Lentower (talk) 03:45, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Bare URLs vs link rot—related but separate issues[edit]

Bare URLs & link rot are related but separate issues. The latter is a sub-set of the former. Its solution helps keep a citation alive, when a URL has died. I'll flesh this out in the next few days, and suggest improved text. See WP:Link_rot#Preventing_link_rot until then.

I think we need only one template for both issues, as the goal is to have editors do complete citations. The template needs to be more explicit about both issues, as many editors do NOT click through to the guidelines, but just assume they understand the issue(s) from the template. Lentower (talk) 04:01, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree with Lentower. I actually preferred the wordier version, as it covers articles like Eric Stoltz, which has titles and links for references, but nothing else.—DocWatson42 (talk) 03:38, 8 September 2011 (UTC)
Wikipedia:bare URLs includes those as examples of bare URLs, so they're still covered by the abbreviated text. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward) - talk 10:23, 9 September 2011 (UTC)
Ah—thanks. I like rules, messages, etc., to be explicit, but that will do.—DocWatson42 (talk) 07:22, 11 September 2011 (UTC)
  • Wonderful template, and quite useful! Thanks! --Ekabhishektalk 09:20, 4 September 2011 (UTC)


How is this used? The banner said nothing until I added some info after my experience. I clicked the fix-it link in the banner I saw on a page:

I thought I would be sent to a tool that would request me to install some Javascript, or to do something else. I never expected to see a page that took 10 minutes to load. Good thing I waited because my mind is blown that a tool can fix 122 bare URLs so easily in an article. See this diff.

I find that most of my fellow geeks have little ability for explaining things to others concerning geekery (is that a word, it is now). I made an attempt. See the usage section of the template, Template:Cleanup-link rot/doc, and User:Dispenser/Reflinks.

Something also needed to be added to the banner to clarify it. I made an attempt. --Timeshifter (talk) 15:56, 17 October 2011 (UTC)


I think we need some better guidance on where this template is to be used. I've seen one editor placing this on pages where transclusion is used as a way of identifying link rot in transcluded pages. As an example, List of iCarly episodes includes the tag, even though there are no bare urls in the actual articles. Bare urls are on pages that are transcluded to List of iCarly episodes, but these have their own copy of the tag so it's redundant. A reasonable editor coming along will look at the article, see that there are no bare urls and remove the tag. I did this myself,[1] but removal of the tag was reverted twice. An editor fixing the transcluded pages will not necessarily know to look at the parent page to remove the tag because you wouldn't expect it to be on that page. I think we need some consensus to tighten the instruction one way or the other, but I think we need to specify that it should only be used on pages that actually have bare urls, although that should be obvious. --AussieLegend (talk) 09:28, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Instead of getting into an "editwar", one could go to the transcluded page(s), fix the bare URLs there, and then remove the template. A bit more time, but it improves Wikipedia, instead of urging others to do so. And it helps the readers sooner, instead of adding another warning box to be irritated by, and read over. With the Reflinks and other tools, this often takes very little time. Lentower (talk) 12:50, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
A change to this template, might be to add optional parameters, that are the link(s) to the transcluded pages. Bare URLs on an included page is such a rare case, that I'm not sure it's worth the programming. Particularly as the real problem is editors who don't see where the bare URL is. Lentower (talk) 12:50, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
A template that just points to the transcluded page, with this template added there is another option. Lentower (talk) 12:50, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
To explain the name of this template: beside dealing with bare URLs, this template use to deal with linkrot. (E.g. see this version http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Template:Cleanup-link_rot&oldid=273575250.) Earlier on this talk page, I suggested having a new template for just linkrot. The consensus of editors here, have been to concentrate on bare URLs, as the Reflink tools, make it less time intensive to cure bare URLs for HTML web pages. Citations not being archived, and not using the |quote=, |archive*=, etc. parameters are much larger problems to Wikpedia over time than bare URLs. Just adding a template for linkrot is a small part of a solution. Editor education, and getting them motivated to do full citations, spend the extra time, etc. is the hard part of a solution. Lentower (talk) 12:50, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
"Instead of getting into an "editwar", one could go to the transcluded page(s), fix the bare URLs there, and then remove the template." Or, the person adding the template could run reflinks instead of tagging the article. after all, it's not hard to run, but there are other issues in the case I mentioned. --AussieLegend (talk) 15:22, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
True, but that assumes the editor takes the time to learn about the tool. Though it's easy to run, it takes time to learn to run it. You could offer help to the editor. Lentower (talk) 17:23, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Changing the documentation would go a long way to preventing WP:POINTy additions of the template. --AussieLegend (talk) 15:22, 11 June 2012 (UTC)
Make some specific suggestions? Or just WP:BOLD and change the documentation? Lentower (talk) 17:23, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

An user just keeps inserting false "bare URLs" tags obsessively into the articles with 0 bare URLs[edit]

I explained what is a bare URL to the user (User talk:I dream of horses) but the user just won't stop anyway. So I give up. But maybe someone of you could do it better. --Niemti (talk) 08:30, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

It appears that I dream of horses wants editors to "consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable", but is using a template that states "This article uses bare URLs for citations." Is there another template that states something like "This article uses incomplete citations. Please consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable."? Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 14:45, 4 July 2012 (UTC)
There's {{ref expand}} for articles and {{full}} for in-line citations. --BDD (talk) 21:20, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: moved. No prejudice against a discussion on whether this should be merged with {{ref expand}}. Jenks24 (talk) 09:57, 10 March 2013 (UTC)

Template:Cleanup-link rottemplate:cleanup-bare URLs – Cleanup-bare URLs would more accurately describe the template.-- SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 20:32, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

  • Comment: I have restored this to its own section. The #Link rot? section above dates from 2009, and placing it at the top of that misleadingly makes it look as if 4-year old comments are responses to this. --Stfg (talk) 21:57, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
This move request template is a continuation of the proposal and discussion above, in "Link rot?".--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 22:38, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Sure, but when you put it above the comments there, you made it look like they were a response to the requested move. It's better to have things in time order. We've linked to that section now, so everyone can see what was said. Regards, --Stfg (talk) 23:31, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
accurately describes itself (substituted intentionally). Those preferring to use a different name are free to use one of 19 aliases, or make up their own alias. Links to the template in documentation can be piped to whatever editors prefer. New name would be inconsistent with Category:Articles needing link rot cleanup. There are more important tasks to be done. Wbm1058 (talk) 18:23, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Weak support: It isn't a very big deal, because good redirects exist anyway, but the proposed name is more consistent with the documneted purpose of this template. --Stfg (talk) 09:09, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
  • Weak oppose per Wbm1058. Template names matter so little, and there are such extensive redirects, that this is unnecessary. --BDD (talk) 18:17, 22 February 2013 (UTC)
Template names do matter and they should describe the template. This template isn't about link rot and no longer even mentions link rot.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 20:14, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
I didn't say they didn't matter, of course; only that they matter little. If a name isn't misleading or ambiguous, the effort of moving the template is unlikely to be worth it. --BDD (talk) 20:23, 26 February 2013 (UTC)
The name is misleading. Some editors are adding it to articles that don't have any bare URLs. Is there a big effort required to move the template?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 19:14, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Do you have diffs for the editors misusing the template? --BDD (talk) 19:49, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes. Here's one:[[2]]--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 20:25, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
FYI that link shows six bare URLs that I count. Apteva (talk) 22:57, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't see any bare URLs. Can you point them out?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 23:17, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
Hm. Yeah, I wouldn't've added it there. As I mentioned in the section above, {{ref expand}} or {{full}} would've been more appropriate there. But that doesn't mean this was wrong, per se. There's still the same issue going on—yeah, you could google the title and probably find those refs, but encouraging inclusion of parameters like publisher and author makes that easier work. My question for you, SaskatchewanSenator, is do you think that editor wouldn't've added the template if it had been renamed? --BDD (talk) 23:07, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
References 5, 8, 9, 23, 24, 25 have a visible URL, but are not considered a "bare URL" per the definition and examples atTemplate:Cleanup-link rot#What is a bare URL? GoingBatty (talk) 02:09, 1 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support or redirect to {{Ref expand}}. I just use this and was somewhat confused by the name. Vegaswikian (talk) 03:41, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - along with Vegaswikian, I was also confused by the current name. Arbitrarily0 (talk) 16:14, 9 March 2013 (UTC)


This template already has 19 redirects, can't we pick one of those? There are 4509 transclusions, here are the transclusion counts for each redirect. Redirects are cheap. Not sure I see the point of taking trouble to move it, but link rot does make me think of {{dead link}}s more than bare links. Wbm1058 (talk) 03:24, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

The word "Cleanup" does make it clearer that work needs to be done to solve a problem, and "bare URLs" is clearer than "link rot". GoingBatty (talk) 03:30, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I agree that link rot seems more closely related to dead links. Why not change the link rot redirects to something like {{Dead link header}} or something similar?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 12:21, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
{{Dead link header}} applies to sections rather than whole articles, but such a change could be misleading anyway, as these links don't have to be dead yet, just at risk of becoming so. --Stfg (talk) 14:15, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
But identifying this template with link rot is misleading. Bare URLs have no more risk of becoming dead than full citations. Editors are placing this template in articles that have link rot, but no bare URLs.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 19:26, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
Now I'm confused. Which of the many templates mentioned in this discussion are you referring to as "this template"? When you say articles "have link rot", do you mean that they have dead links, that they have unarchived links, or what? --Stfg (talk) 19:20, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I was referring to the Cleanup-link rot template. I expect some of the redirects to this template that are variations of the words "link rot" are also being added to articles that have link rot, but no bare URLs. When I say articles "have link rot," I mean the articles' external links no longer link to the intended material and have not been repaired with links to archived versions.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 21:53, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, now I understand. I see Cleanup-link rot quite a lot on GOCE drives, and the cases I've seen always meant bare URLs. Of course, maybe some of those URLs become dead links before I see them, and maybe some people use Cleanup-link rot when they see dead links, but its documentation is about bare URLs, and I think that's the most common use. So I think the move you porposed is the right one, and cases it was used to signal actualy dead links should be picked up on an individual basis (or just fixed :)) Heading over to support the RM now. --Stfg (talk) 09:09, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Category:Articles needing link rot cleanup has a huge backlog—over 4,000 articles. You could go through WP:categories for discussion procedures to rename it and its sub-cats to something like Category:Articles needing bare URL cleanup, but wouldn't it be a more productive use of time to just work on clearing the backlog? Wbm1058 (talk) 17:54, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────This template keeps evolving from what it was originally. Different groups of editors have come and gone. Each with their own POV of what it should be used for, and how it should be worded. If someone really wants to fix this, I suggest you work through the page history, and come up with a proposal covering all reasonable options. I suspect some of the templates listed at the start of this section will end up pointing at new templates.

These days, with the Reflinks tool, link rot is a worse problem that bare URLs. Fixing dead links take alot more work: checking for a changed URL on the dead link's web sight, checking the archive sites, finding an alternate citation. etc. Lentower (talk) 01:35, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree, link rot is a more serious problem. What new templates are you thinking of?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 06:18, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Which ones do you think are needed? Lentower (talk) 00:18, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't know of any that are needed. I suppose we could create a dead links/link rot article template but I'm not sure how useful that would be.--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 01:15, 20 February 2013 (UTC)
No creation is necessary. Just use one of the earlier versions of this template that actually spoke to link-rot, instead of bare URLs, and switch the redirects as appropriate. I suggest people actually look back through the template page history. Lentower (talk) 15:07, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
I did look back and didn't see any versions that weren't about bare URLs. Can you please link to one?--SaskatchewanSenator (talk) 20:39, 24 February 2013 (UTC)
  • When I really think about it, this template is arguably redundant to (just a more specific version of) {{ref expand}}. Perhaps a merge would be appropriate. --BDD (talk) 23:09, 28 February 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Bare linkname(s)[edit]

This template message recommends and automatically provides Reflinks for solution of the problem it flags. The documentation User: Dispenser/Reflinks says that it handles bare linknames --"plain links (where the reference is a link and a title)"-- as well as bare URLs and bare numerals, which suggests that bare linknames are also a serious problem. But that is buried in the Reflinks documentation and not hinted by the template message.

The template message may support revisions such as this one in the Joe Haldeman biography today, literally two revisions by one editor. Certainly it supports the edit summary, although that happens to be erroneous because one bare URL remains, now ref #12.

I created the redirect {{bare linkname}}, which I may remember to use when the article does not literally include any bare URL --as the example did and does. (Template {{plain link}} has a wholly different function.)

This editor does a lot of such work, often using Reflinks. I tried to explain the problem with bare linkname/plain links and summary "Bare links issue appears resolved", [[User talk:Khazar2#Template {bare URL} and siblings]].

Perhaps the template message should specify "bare URLs, numerals, or titles". --P64 (talk) 17:23, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Sorry for missing #12. I'll go back and fill it now. Reflinks hadn't picked it up and I didn't see it on a visual double-check.
To answer the broader complaint, though, I disagree that the tag should be expanded to include instances where an article title is given as well. As with any Wikipedia tag, there's already far too many articles with this tag and not enough editors to fix them--a backlog of more than 5000, dating to mid-2011. P64's proposal would probably at least double the number of articles this template would be applicable to, and further encourage the lazy practice of tagging articles to get other volunteers to fix simple problems a tagger unwilling to fix herself. Cleanup templates are useful only if there are editors willing to tackle the backlog and actually cleanup (which, given our two-year backlog, there clearly aren't); otherwise, they're just ugly noise on the page.
In this particular case, I'm willing to add a redundant File 770 to the citation identify the site's name, as P64 suggested on my talk page--though personally I think that the URL file770.com already suggests this quite clearly. -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:12, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Suggest adding "if the link becomes broken"[edit]

I just came across this template for the first time in an article. When I read the part, "Please consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable", I didn't understand why citations that were just bare links were any less verifiable than full citations. After a little digging I found that the reason was link rot, since a citation that is only a bare link may no longer be useful for verifiability if it becomes broken, whereas a full citation is still useful if the link is broken. To clarify this, I suggest adding the phrase "if the link becomes broken" so that the sentence becomes,

"Please consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable if the link becomes broken."

--Bob K31416 (talk) 14:14, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

How is a full citation more verifiable if the link is broken? Debresser (talk) 17:46, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Because it allows you search by other information like article title. For example, if a link is simply washingtonpost.com/af322f3k32, that reference is lost if the Wash Post rearranges their site, as they recently did. But with an article title, the article can still be found at its new home. -- Khazar2 (talk) 17:54, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Still, a full citation doesn't guarantee that it will be possible to verify the citation later. Nor does a bare URL necessarily make this impossible. E.g. the link might be archived (and likely is). In view of these two facts, I think the present text is too strongly worded. Debresser (talk) 18:03, 27 July 2013 (UTC)
Every element of a full citation (title, author, publisher, publ date) makes use of the the cited resource easier to replicate, thus the article more verifiable if resource does provide verification. The elements also contributes to assessment of the sources cited, and thus of the article credibility. Every element helps inform people who read the reference, rather than follow its links if any. That includes people who consult the article as printed on paper, of course, but it isn't limited to them.
The text isn't too strong but it is partly beside the point and it is elliptical in its brevity. However, more than half the previous discussion of this template concerns how much explanation is appropriate in the template display. These templates are intrusive. There may be a consensus "when in doubt, say less" alongside the inconvenient fact "always in doubt". --P64 (talk) 20:53, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

For comparison, here is an older version[3] which I would have understood better than the current version on the template page because it has the phrases "which may be threatened by link rot" and "in the future."

This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. Please add information on the author and source, so that the article remains verifiable in the future. The "Reflinks" tool can be used to partially automate this task.

Seems like over time, editors trimmed the wording so that it was still clear to them, but wasn't clear to others who hadn't worked on it. This is a not too uncommon a mistake where writers fail to see their product through the eyes of their potential audience. --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:19, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Here's what is currently the first sentence of the template,

"This article uses bare URLs for citations."

Instead of my original proposal, suggest adding the clarifying phrase "which may be threatened by link rot", which was removed from a previous version of this template. Also, suggest not having the bold font since it doesn't work well because there is a mix of blue and black characters. Here's the result.

This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot.

The full text of the template would look like this.

This article uses bare URLs for citations, which may be threatened by link rot. Please consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable. Several templates and the Reflinks tool are available to assist in formatting. (Reflinks documentation)

BTW, if anyone objects and doesn't feel any change is needed, and there is no support for the change or any other change, I'll just go away. But if there are no objections, I'll make the edit. --Bob K31416 (talk) 17:04, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. But I'd give it two days to wait and see if there are any objections. Debresser (talk) 18:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good to me too. -- Khazar2 (talk) 18:37, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
Oppose Link rot would be much less of a problem, if each citation included a quote from the reference. This is best done by the editor who initially adds the citation, & is next to impossible after a link goes dead & is unarchived, that is, when it's broken.
It is far less work, than checking all the archive sites, then trying to find an alternative source, when a link goes broken.
Adding quotes also let's the reader quickly find the interesting part of a very long reference, and increases WP:V. Lentower (talk) 19:40, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
@Lentower How is all that a reason to oppose adding the words "which may be threatened by link rot"? Debresser (talk) 22:25, 29 July 2013 (UTC)
I just made the edit per consensus. --Bob K31416 (talk) 21:08, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Does this tag add any value to readers?[edit]

It certainly makes an article uglier, and noisier, and more confusing to readers not versed in WP argot, but does it add any positive value to anyone who is just a reader, not an editor? If not, then why ought it to be visible to readers? --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 19:05, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia holds that every reader is a potential editor. Debresser (talk) 19:40, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
The point being? The worse we make this encyclopedia, the more we encourage readers to become editors? Are we that near to perfection? I have been more active lately, but still, I dunno. Not ready to declare victory just yet. :) --Hobbes Goodyear (talk) 02:00, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
The point being that the tag is not only for editors, but for all readers, because all readers are potential editors. In addition, I don't think the tag, or any other maintenance tag, makes the article ugly or noisy or confusing. Nor does the community think so. Debresser (talk) 21:49, 16 June 2014 (UTC)
A reader who sees this tag knows that some of the references used for any inline citations may be out of date (if websites have gone down, moved, etc.). I found that very helpful when I was only a reader. Millahnna (talk) 22:10, 16 June 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks may be going away[edit]

FYI - Reflinks may be going away - see User:Dispenser/Toolserver migration. I hope this doesn't happen, but if it does, we'll need to change the verbiage of this template. GoingBatty (talk) 02:19, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks is gone now, so I've removed mention of it from the template.  :-( GoingBatty (talk) 00:19, 1 July 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks is back[edit]

Should the link be changed to something like [4] ? (its broken as it is now) Christian75 (talk) 19:12, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

https://tools.wmflabs.org/dispenser/view/Reflinks is broken too.  :-( GoingBatty (talk) 21:27, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
@Christian75: Reflinks is back up, so I've fixed the link as you suggested. GoingBatty (talk) 22:00, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
E.g. http://tools.wmflabs.org/dispenser/cgi-bin/webreflinks.py?page=Open_Source_Initiative&client=script&citeweb=on&overwrite=&limit=20&lang=en is what's working for me. I got there by clicking the Reflinks link that I installed the standard way, so it's on all en.WP pages in my browser. — Lentower (talk) 22:08, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
@Lentower: I changed the template like this. Is that OK with you? GoingBatty (talk) 22:14, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
@Lentower: Correction: I changed the template like this. GoingBatty (talk) 22:47, 3 July 2014 (UTC)
@GoingBatty: Thanks. Works just fine. — Lentower (talk) 03:00, 4 July 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks is down again[edit]

  • Reflinks has been taken down again. I really hope that we can get it back somehow! --Jax 0677 (talk) 07:04, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

"New" Reflinks[edit]

A new program to semi-automatically fill out references, possibly "beta", is available at "Fengtools reflinks". (It is different from the program created by User:Dispenser). --Zfish118 (talk) 01:02, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

  • Reply - Amen! --Jax 0677 (talk) 01:56, 12 September 2014 (UTC)

Reflinks rewrite[edit]

I propose that we add my Reflinks rewrite into this template. It still has some bugs (see User talk:Zhaofeng Li), but it's ready for use. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

P.S. Proposed change: ...and the [https://tools.wmflabs.org/fengtools/reflinks/result.php?nofixcplain=y&page={{FULLPAGENAMEE}} Reflinks tool] are available to assist in formatting. ([[User:Zhaofeng Li/Reflinks|Reflinks documentation]])

Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 15:05, 26 September 2014 (UTC)

@Zhaofeng Li: I think you have done a great job creating a new tool and being responsive to bug reports and suggestions. I support your proposal as long as you also update Template:Cleanup-bare URLs/doc#How to use as well. Thanks! GoingBatty (talk) 23:26, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, will certainly do that. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 23:46, 26 September 2014 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Since no one has objected to this change, I've added the tool and updated the documentation. Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 09:56, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
@GoingBatty: Could you check if everything is okay here? Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 09:56, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
@Zhaofeng Li: Looks good to me. Have you let Ohconfucius know that you're referencing his wonderful tools in the documentation? GoingBatty (talk) 20:09, 30 September 2014 (UTC)
Oh right, I forgot it. I've left a message on his/her talk page, and your comment should have notified them too. Face-smile.svg Zhaofeng Li [talk... contribs...] 23:17, 30 September 2014 (UTC)

New name for script[edit]

The Reflinks tool has been renamed to Refill, but I'm not sure how to fix the template. The template goes to the old Reflinks page right now, instead of the Refill page.David O. Johnson (talk) 22:41, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

@David O. Johnson: If appears that the template links to the reFill tool, but still refers to it as "Reflinks". There multiple ways to fix the template:
  1. Update the template to point to Dispenser's original Reflinks tool and documentation
  2. Update the template to make it clear the links go to Zhaofeng Li's reFill tool and documentation
  3. Update the template to point to both tools.
How should we make this decision? GoingBatty (talk) 04:33, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
Just a note that I've done #2. Zhaofeng Li [talkcontribs] 06:55, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

VisualEditor guidance[edit]

In addition to ReFill, VisualEditor offers a one-click option to fix bare URL references (https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T114564). This should probably be mentioned in this template. ESanders (WMF) (talk) 13:54, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Cleanup tags[edit]


The cleanup backlog, as probably everyone knows, is massive, and this month in particular seems to be going mad, but when I'm trying to clear through the backlog it seems like most of them these days are from this template. So my question is, does this template really need to add tagged articles to the general cleanup list? My understanding of the cleanup category is that it's mostly for article with serious formatting/presentation/content issues that affect the reader. To be honest the bare url articles are really clogging it up and getting in the way of finding the articles that need real cleanup. I totally acknowledge that bare URLs are a serious issue for the encyclopaedia, but we don't add, say, articles tagged with "More footnotes" template to the cleanup backlog, which I would say are similar to this template, ie. concerned with the sanctity of the referencing system, rather than the usefulness as an article. What does anyone else think? Has this come up before? What is the rationale for adding them to the cleanup list? Jdcooper (talk) 01:40, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

The problem is basically technical, and can be fixed almost automatically. Debresser (talk) 15:04, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Sorry, how do you mean? Jdcooper (talk) 18:13, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
The type of tag to include in "Articles needing cleanup" should be tags of a technical nature that can easily be fixed, as opposed to serious issues that need research and serious work to fix. Debresser (talk) 23:19, 12 February 2017 (UTC)
Ok I get that, but it's breaking the backlog. Out of 755 pages listed as needing cleanup since February 2017, 545 of them are bare urls. Whether or not it is easy to fix, isn't it a referencing issue, so would make more sense to list in Category:Pages with reference errors? Jdcooper (talk) 13:55, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
I think the reason is that a bare URL is not an error in the reference, rather a stylistic issue. Debresser (talk) 16:59, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Ok maybe wrong category, but you get my point. It's not a stylistic issue though, it makes zero difference to the reader. It's a reference issue because having no data jeopardises the reference in the long term. Jdcooper (talk) 21:37, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Let's try and seek consensus whether this is a stylistic or reference issue, and decide the question based on that. Debresser (talk) 05:17, 23 February 2017 (UTC)