Template talk:Reflist/Archive 12

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Archive 11 Archive 12 Archive 13

Show / Hide

Is there a chance that someone could develop a show/hide function for the reference lists similar to that for the Table of Contents box ? (eg {reflist|showhide} ).

The reason I ask is that on some pages (eg science pages) the reference list can be extremely long, and sometimes longer than the article itself. Now most people visiting are only interested in the main section, and don't really look at the references - and such a long list can take longer to load, and makes viewing/printing the page more awkward.

I did mention this along time ago on some other page (not this one, & I don't think it was the right one), and some thought I meant doing away with the reference list, or putting it on another page - this is NOT what I mean ... just a show/hide function that can be invoked or not by the viewer. Its still there, just not in long-hand - if they want to see the list, they click 'show'.

Obviously short reflists don't need this, but in the longer (50/100 references), this might be useful. The Yeti (talk) 17:55, 8 May 2009 (UTC)

This has been discussed several times; see the archives. There is no current way to auto-expand a collapsed box when printing. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:24, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. Looked at the archives - does seem to come up a lot in one form or another. Wouldn't that mean that there's a quite a few people who want this feature ? Maybe can be set from user preferences ? The resistance to this idea seems to be a) technical (which is a good enough reason I 'spose) & b) "this is an encyclopedia dammit and you're gonna get the references in full whether you like it or not " (which isn't a good reason, just POV). Regarding printing, again 90+ % of viewers probaly don't want the list printed anyway. If they do, all they have to do is show it ! The default could be set to show anyway. The Yeti (talk) 15:42, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
On the other hand, is "I don't want to see them" at all a good reason for going through all the effort of creating such a thing, making sure it doesn't break people's browsers, and the rest of the attendant mess? Anomie 21:12, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
A userscript or gadget for this sort of thing would probably be the way to go, if you really want it that bad. Putting it in "by default" would go against MOS:SCROLL. Anomie 21:12, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
MOS:SCROLL says use with caution, not ban it. And wiki policies/recommendations aren't set in stone anyway. If they were, wiki would never evolve. And has anyone invented a gadget ? Like the vast majority of people here I am not a programming geek, and so its way beyond my knowledge. A tick box I can handle. The Yeti (talk) 15:42, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
I keep forgetting someone changed that shortcut away from the actual Manual of Style to something rather more wishy-washy. Find someone interested to write it for you. Anomie 21:12, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
If you just never want to see the reference list, just add this to your .CSS:
ol.references, a.references-small {display: none;}
---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:28, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Well, where is this stored? As I said, I'm not a programming geek. I do get annoyed when people assume others just know 'cos its, like, obvious, what they mean. More importantly, I never said I never want to see references. The Yeti (talk) 13:52, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
A few comments: 1) The whole page's content would still get loaded, even if aspects are then hidden afterwards, so pages would not load (or render) any faster. 2) They're at the end of the article, so really aren't "in the way" of reading ever. 3) You suggested: "Now most people visiting are only interested in the main section, and don't really look at the references". I strongly disagree. Different users appreciate different aspects of Wikipedia. Some hate infoboxes, some find them very useful. Never assume your own view is the consensus and/or majority one. 4) Reference sections often contain footnotes in addition to/mixed in with the citations. 5) The wiki/freesoftware premise of Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow works better the more people there are looking at things. 6) Also, readers will be far better informed if they are clicking down to the references section to see where the information is sourced from - it's an activity we should be encouraging as much as possible. Hence, some people are distressed even by the idea of hiding citation-content. Navboxes are one thing, but References are a completely different animal. -- Quiddity (talk) 21:54, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. 1) is technical, but it is true that those on dialup sometimes have to wait ages for a page to load. 2) I never said that; but others have pointed it it shrinks the scroll bar so short sometimes to make navigation more awkward 3) "Never assume your own view is the consensus and/or majority one." Well ditto back. Actually, quite obviously there is no consensus; but the very fact that a number of users have requested such a thing over a long period of time, means a reasonable number want it. Majority or significant minority is irrelevant. Also I still contend most viewers of Wiki pages are here to view more info on a topic that came their way, and that for them references are not top of their interest. a) set it to show as default & b) the references are still there anyway. 4) The references are still there anyway, if people want them. 5) Not sure this is relevant 6) "This is an encyclopedia dammit and you're gonna get the references in full whether you like it or not." This is POV - don't impose you POVs on me. The Yeti (talk) 13:41, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Common.css now has rules that expand collapsed boxes when printing, so that now eliminates one hurdle. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 10:29, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Are you guys looking for this? User:TheDJ/foldrefs.js ?? Simply add importScript('User:TheDJ/foldrefs.js'); to your Special:MyPage/monobook.js personal Javascript page and you get a show/hide thingy for most of your references. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 11:25, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

That works nicely and it now expands when printing. Only quirk is that when the list crosses a page boundary, the references reset back to the left column. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:53, 13 May 2009 (UTC)---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:53, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
Another quirk: if there is a box on the right, then the hide/show link is obscured; see Cytron Masters. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:47, 13 May 2009 (UTC)
I tend to agree with Quiddity. Problem with above script and previous attempts is that when you click the reference link (i.e. the [1]) nothing happens unless you already expanded the folded references.
Apis (talk) 03:04, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
Another problem with the script: if there are multiple sues of {{reflist}}, only the first is folded. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:45, 15 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's hardly perfect. I'm not using the script myself for that exact reason. They are also very difficult to solve, and would require adding hooks to all http links in the page basically. It's not worth it to me, but if anyone wants to run of with the code, be my guest :D —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 18:50, 15 May 2009 (UTC)

3-column caveat

Under Template:Reflist#Multiple_columns there is a warning against using 3-column mode because it is inaccessible to users with small monitors. After running tests, I also find that for extensive reference lists, it also uses more screen space, because the amount of white space increases relative to text. It also makes footnotes far more difficult to read on screens with resolutions below 1024x768, since lines are chopped into short segments. Perhaps a statement to this effect should be added to the documentation. I've found 3-column mode so detrimental to legibility in almost every case that I've encountered it, even on 800x600 and higher resolutions, that I now pretty much automatically change it to 2-column or single-column mode. We should consider simply eliminating the 3-column option for Reflist. Can anyone think of examples where 3-column mode is better than 2-column or single column? I can't. —QuicksilverT @ 00:40, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

I imagine the only time a 3-column reflist would be beneficial is on an article that relies extensively on book references. Learned Hand is the article that came to my mind, but I've never added anything other than {{reflist}} or {{reflist|2}} to articles. --auburnpilot talk 00:48, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Learned Hand is almost a good example. It uses the shortened notes method, but then the added note content mucks it up. I would just as soon do away with the column numbers and have standard and shortened modes with a default of 1 and 3 columns, with classes so that readers could set whatever they wanted. I tried to initiate something like this some time ago, but every discussion on columns (see the archives) has gotten bogged down to the point that that there is no consensus to do anything. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 01:06, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Reflist|3 or 4 is broken on some browsers, so regardless of screen resolution issues, shouldn't be used. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 13:29, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Considering that the columns feature only works in Gecko based browser, could you elaborate? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:22, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
No, I can't really ... there were so many discussions spread across so many different Wiki pages of how it's broken in certain browsers, that I can't recall where to find them. SandyGeorgia (Talk) 14:27, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
How about Template_talk:Reflist/Archive_2008#Bug_with_3_or_more_columns_on_Firefox. This has been fixed in FireFox. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 15:12, 29 May 2009 (UTC)


== What happened to

, thank you. Green Squares (talk) 17:18, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

If you mean {{reflist|3}}, then no changes have been made since October. What browser are you using and what is the problem? ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:45, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
Nope I mean Reflist|3 Green Squares (talk) 19:16, 29 May 2009 (UTC)
As did I {{reflist|3}}. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:29, 29 May 2009 (UTC)

Removing the option of specifying more than 2 column

I propose we remove the option of ginving the option for using more than 2 columns using this template, based on the following arguments:

When reading articles on Wikipedia, the usage of 2, 3 or 4 columns for reflists seems rather arbirtary, random and inconsistent. I do not believe this is something that should be decided on an article-by-article basis (unlike the use of either 1 or 2 columns, of which one usually has a clear advantage on readability depending on the number and type of references.)
Even though have a monitor with a resolution of 1920x1200, I find the width of a 4-column reflist too small. When using a lower resolution monitor like 1024x786 it becomes quite unreadable and the same arguments apply to a 3-column reflist when using an even lower resolution (netbooks?) or larger font size.
  • An alternative solution may be specifying a minimum column width, but I do not know if this supported by CSS.
I find the the use of an odd number of columns aestetically unpleasing. Is this just me of do others agree?
  • An alternative solution would be a way to override these settings in my personal stylesheet. Is this possible?

Ruud 11:46, 30 May 2009 (UTC)

Try this in your Special:MyPage/monobook.css (or other user css file):
.references-column-count {
    column-count:2 !important;
    -moz-column-count:2 !important;
A minimum column width is supported by CSS, but for some reason people tend to use the count instead. As for odd numbers of columns, I have a friend who fears odd numbers but I don't know how common such a thing is. I don't see any need for removing the option, particularly since 3 columns is often appropriate in articles using shortened footnotes. Anomie 13:21, 30 May 2009 (UTC)
I think that it depends on what's in the columns. If the this template is being used for short citations ("Smith, p. 251.") then even four columns would fit on most computer screens. I think that editors who find three or four columns being used for full citations are frequently justified in knocking it back to two, however. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:00, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Wish list: combine unref

I realize that this would require substantial changes, but: is it possible for this template to recognize when <refs> are/aren't present in the article, and to change its behavior accordingly?

In particular, if {{reflist}} is placed on a page with no ref tags, then I'd like to see it display a note similar to {{unref}} (or perhaps to {{no footnotes}} or {{citation style}}), and place the article into a relevant category. It would need to be configurable, but can it be done at all? I see this template placed occasionally on articles with no refs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:07, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

I don't think so. Reflist can only change the formatting of the reference list generated by <references />. There is no way for this template to detect the presence or absence of any of the reference list content. Your request would take a developer change to cite.php. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 18:45, 11 June 2009 (UTC)

Continuing the references

Template:Reflist#Continuing the references is just wrong, and I have never see this used. This documentation sections shows how to manually add references to the reference list using a numbered list— those numbers will obviously duplicate those generated by {{reflist}}. Every instance that I have seen of manually listed references, they are in a list separate from {{reflist}}. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 02:30, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Seems useless to me. Anomie 02:47, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I've seen that system used with bullets (*) instead of numbers (#). WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:43, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

minor edit request

Reference 36 (amphixious genome): The Nature issue is from 2008, not 2000 as listed. I discovered this while checking out this reference, but am unable to fix it. Bob Plaag (talk) 16:59, 24 June 2009 (UTC)

This page is to discuss the Reflist template. If a reference is factually wrong, please discuss it on the article talk page. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 17:24, 24 June 2009 (UTC)


is there a way to make this template collapsible on pages? Mike McGregor (Can) (talk) 07:19, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but don't. //roux   07:44, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Reflist could wrap the references in a collapsible box, but:

There is some JavaScript code that will do this on an individual basis:

  • Add importScript('User:TheDJ/foldrefs.js'); to your Special:MyPage/monobook.js
  • Caveats:
    • Reference links do not work when the box is collapsed.
    • When the list crosses a page boundary, the references reset back to the left column
    • If there is a box on the right, then the hide/show link is obscured
    • If there are multiple uses of {{reflist}}, only the first is collapsed

---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 07:46, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

As was repeatedly pointed out in discussions leading to the above policy links, this can all be fixed if someone's willing to put in the time on the MediaWiki side. Need to have a way to automatically uncollapse and/or remove scroll boxes from print layouts, and to have that be sticky and automatic for disabled users at their Special:Preferences page. Can do about half of it with good CSS, but to do it right requires some real work. MrZaiustalk 10:07, 25 June 2009 (UTC)
Rules were recently added to MediaWiki:Print.css to expand boxes on printing; I don't know if that can be done for scroll boxes. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 11:26, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

Unexpected behavior

I see that the template uses "{{#tag:references||group={{{group|}}}}}". There's probably good reason for this, but it had an unexpected (by me) effect which had me chasing my tail for awhile today. <References /> (now) empties the stacked Refs; more Refs can then be stacked and <References /> re-used. {{reflist}} doesn't behave at all like that. Note the following:

  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of a book written in 2000 by an author named Smith, with no page number specified.[1]
  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of pages 3-5 of a book written in 2000 by an author named Smith.[2]
  • This is a text supported by a second reference to the citation which does not specify a page number.[2]
  1. ^ Smith 2000
  2. ^ a b Smith 2000, pp. 3-5


As opposed to

  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of a book written in 2000 by an author named Jones, with no page number specified.[1]
  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of pages 3-5 of a book written in 2000 by an author named Jones.[2]
  • This is a text supported by a second reference to the citation which does not specify a page number.[2]
  1. ^ Jones 2000
  2. ^ a b Jones 2000, pp. 3-5



as opposed to

  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of a book written in 2000 by an author named Adams, with no page number specified.[1]
  • This is some wikitext supported by a cite of pages 3-5 of a book written in 2000 by an author named Adams.[2]
  • This is a text supported by a second reference to the citation which does not specify a page number.[2]
  1. ^ Adams 2000
  2. ^ a b Adams 2000, pp. 3-5


Where it matters, I'm working around this now. It had me pretty confused for a while, though. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 07:56, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

It has nothing to do with "{{#tag:references||group={{{group|}}}}}". MediaWiki caches the output of templates with no parameters to save having to parse them over and over and over, so using {{reflist}} multiple times doesn't work like you'd expect. This can currently be worked around by specifying any parameter; in the future, if the devs implement a more thorough template cache, it may require a different value for the parameter for each invocation. This is mentioned in the template docs, see Template:Reflist#Caveats. Anomie 11:09, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 04:23, 17 July 2009 (UTC)


İs there a slidable version of reflist template as in tr:Zaman (gazete) Obuli (talk) 00:03, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

It is called scrolling; no — see the above discussion. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:47, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Font size

Has anyone else noticed that the font size for references has gotten bigger recently? However, I see that nobody has changed the template since 2008. Is this some kind of MediaWiki change? Timmeh (review me) 14:58, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Are you using the Vector skin? Because that may be related. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 15:23, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yes. It must be the Vector skin. I'll have to leave some feedback on that. Timmeh (review me) 15:39, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
I've also noticed the increased font size. I don't know what a "Vector skin" is, but I assume it must be "used" in order for the font in Template:Reflist to return to its normal state. Does this mean the source of the problem is known and can be addressed? Thanks. Rich jj (talk) 14:36, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
The vector skin is the new layout used when you click that "Try Beta" link at the top of the page next to your username. So only people that are in the Beta should be seeing this issue, if it is a vector issue. If others are seeing the same, then the problem is elsewhere. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 17:39, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Maybe the vector skin is intentionally eliminating/"improving" the small font size? If you search through this talkpage's archives, there are many threads discussing the font size (and multicolumns) as being problematic. -- Quiddity (talk) 18:13, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

The font size is actually defined in MediaWiki:Common.css as .references-small { font-size: 90%;}

In this example, the first line is normal, the second is wrapped in <div class="references-small">:

This is reference text.
This is reference text.

The actual font size will depend on your browser, as none of them render font sizes the same. I would have to use a screen ruler and switch off Vector to do some more checking. Whatever the probelm, it is not in {{reflist}} nor the CSS rule. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gadget850 (talkcontribs) 18:33, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

FWIW, I just used firebug to measure the text in both Monobook and Vector:
Monobook, normal text at 12.7px
Monobook, small text at 11.4333px
Vector, normal text at 13px
Vector, small text at 11.7px
What seems to be happening, at least in my copy of Firefox 3.0.12, is that 12.7px is rounded up to 13px and 11.4333px is rounded down to 11px in Monobook for a difference of 2px, while in Vector 11.7px is rounded up to 12px for a difference of only 1px. Anomie 03:08, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
The base font was indeed changed in Vector, in an effort that hopefully will generate more consistent font rendering across the different browsers. We can easily fix this at any time, but personally, I think we should just hang back for a little while and revisit this later. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:07, 15 August 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't matter to me, IMO Vector is ugly and I won't be using it. But at least we seem to now know the cause of the problem. Anomie 01:32, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

cite.php update

The cite software has been updated to define named references within the reference list:

This is a reference.<ref name="refname1"/>

<ref name="refname1">content</ref>

This is a reference.[1]

  1. ^ content

Reflist has been updated with |refs=

This is reference 1.<ref name="refname1"/>
This is reference 2.<ref name="refname2"/>
This is reference 3.<ref name="refname3"/>

<ref name="refname1">content1</ref>
<ref name="refname2">content2</ref>
<ref name="refname3">content3</ref>

This is reference 1.[1] This is reference 2.[2] This is reference 3.[3]

  1. ^ content1
  2. ^ content2
  3. ^ content3

The error messages are being worked out at Help:Cite errors. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 12:05, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Brilliant! Hesperian 12:39, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
This is good news indeed. Kudos to the folks who did this. You rock. -- Fullstop (talk) 14:03, 17 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm calling these "list-defined references" unless someone comes up with a better name. They can be used with groups as well— I'm working out the nuances. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 14:27, 17 September 2009 (UTC)

Adapting reflist to separated-out references


So that means {{reflist}} may need adapting. Certainly we'll need to work out how to bot-edit articles to separate out the references when {{reflist}} is used, as the vast increase in editability of wikitext is really really just such a good thing and almost certainly cooler than two columns of 90% text. (I say "almost" because I'm sure someone will disagree.) What needs to be considered? Are there any changes needed to {{reflist}} to make this easier? - David Gerard (talk) 00:00, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Hint: look at the previous discussion. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 00:50, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
Werdna is certainly deserving of a great many free drinks, but in this case I was the one to implement the change. Dragons flight (talk) 02:47, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
You're claiming the credit but not the beer? Your priorities are back to front. Hesperian 02:53, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
My mistake, sorry! Come to London and you can get a beer too ;-) - David Gerard (talk) 07:47, 18 September 2009 (UTC)