Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style (footnotes)/Archive 3

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Footnotes: ref-tag

Partially copied from the MOS -- Ec5618 02:20, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

Recently, Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason has been working on a new software footnote[1] system.

  1. ^ See m:Cite/Cite.php for details.

There may still be some bugs to be worked out, so it can't yet replace all other styles of footnoting. And since there doesn't appear to be a page dedicated to this footnote style, I'm not sure where to post. I'm trying to find a way/place to generate discussion. -- Ec5618 02:20, 3 January 2006 (UTC)

That system, currently minimally described at meta:Cite/Cite.php, is looking pretty darn good. I've been using it to good effect. I suggest that we restructure this to turn the sections describing {{ref}}/{{note}} into level-3 sections, all within a single level-2 section, then add—probably ahead of that, because I think it is a preferred method—another level-2 section in which to start writing about <ref> -- Jmabel | Talk 04:31, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
If nobody objects, I'll have a go at this in a day or two. I don't see much reason to use footnotes3 anymore, since this new system has none of the downsides of footnotes3 (although there might of course be the odd bug or two). We need to remedy this quick. I'm tired of having to refer to the user-unfriendly m:Cite/Cite.php, and frankly, I'm a bit concerned some people who don't know much about this system will pointlessly expend their energy "fixing" the footnotes. I've already had to revert one edit that switched back to footnotes3. Johnleemk | Talk 13:49, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. Just politely explain to them what we're trying to do. I'll back you up if you get reverted. Any chance of a conversion of MDAC? - Ta bu shi da yu 13:49, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
Good. The only bug/downside I can think of at the moment is that it's not possible to include a reference from within an image, or even image description. Check the code:
[[Image:Mergefrom.gif|Image description including reference <ref>There's an image.</ref>]], which produces

Image description including reference [1]

I'm not sure when this can be fixed, as even the developer hinted that it was beyond his control at this point: Apparently MediaWiki is just wired this way. (Oddly the reference does appear in the references section. -- Ec5618 14:05, 17 January 2006 (UTC)
It is odd that images behaved OK when I tested for image note sequencing on Avar's test site. (SEWilco 16:28, 17 January 2006 (UTC))

For the record, I would hug Avar if I ever met him for making this footnoting system! I've come up with an idea on how to make {{ref}} and {{note}} backwards compatible, but it would require a code enhancement. See User talk:Ta bu shi da yu/footnote-idea. - Ta bu shi da yu 14:25, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

Is there any news on this topic? -- Ec5618 11:30, 2 February 2006 (UTC)


Wikipedia:Good_article states that footnotes are recommended; here, it is stated that they're not even specifically preferred. (Personally, I think footnotes are a very poor idea. Look at the Britannica for example, there are very, very, very few footnotes: an encyclopedia is not a high-school essay; or at least, shouldn't be.) But either way, consistency would be nice. Bill 11:54, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Removed " (footnotes are recommended)" from Wikipedia:Good articles
This is in line with Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Climate change dispute 2 (ArbCom case closed 23 December 2005) --Francis Schonken 12:29, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Is your disagreement with footnotes or inline citations? Inline citations are needed so that Wikipedia can demonstrate the accuracy of the information in its articles. It is a consequence of the 'anyone can edit' principle. Britannica can get away with not citing its sources because editing is possible only by appointed (and it is assumed, qualified) people. 13:54, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Footnotes aren't specifically preferred, but keep in mind that editors might need to use them in case specific information can't be properly added to an article without distracting from the main flow of the text. It sometimes seems like a better solution. --Michiel Sikma 07:14, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Meta cite

I'm going to rewrite the how-to part of this page to meta-cite over the next few days. There was broad agreement above to do this. Hipocrite - «Talk» 16:22, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Please do so on a separate page, e.g. Wikipedia:Footnotes/Cite.php
Question: meta:Cite.php was not clear to me whether inline numbered external links are compatible with this system (and if so: how?)
Anyhow, I'd avoid HTML-like tags - can this system be implemented by something that looks a bit more familiar in wiki-surrounding, e.g. {{cite|...}} instead of the <ref>...</ref> type of stuff? --Francis Schonken 16:42, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Not a coder. Let's see if numbered links [1] work with[2] this [2] system[3]. Summary? Better than they work with ref-note, but worse than you would hope.
Better? if both start numbering from "1" (which they apparently do) this is not really an improvement... Usability near to zero, because it makes the presupposition that people who read the encyclopedia immediately remark the difference in size of the numbers between square brackets (and that they are also pre-enlightenend what this difference in size signifies)... --Francis Schonken 17:15, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Looks like the pipe to a letter refrence is wonky right now. Hold on. Hipocrite - «Talk» 17:27, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
  1. ^ There's an image.
  2. ^ a test
  3. ^ another test

Hipocrite - «Talk» 16:47, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

On that note, however, I'll talk to people to see if changing the "ref" template to use this format could be done. I think it can, but I think that it would be a bit too bold for me to try to impliment that myself. I really do believe the current footnote style has been badly depreciated, and that should go back up. Hipocrite - «Talk» 16:49, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it needs to be on a separate page. This article isn't called "ref/note templates" or anything of the sort; it's about Wikipedia footnotes, so it should describe the currently preferred footnote method. Also, calling the page "Cite.php" is really obscure, and it makes a thoroughly unimportant implementation detail (the name of the PHP file that produces this functionality) part of a guideline; that's silly. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 16:52, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Take the page name you want, but not on this page. wikipedia:footnote6 or wikipedia:Footnotes/Temp or whatever you like ("e.g." above meant that I only gave an example of what a possible pagename could have been)
ref/note and their label variants can be used on the same wikipedia page. There's nothing that says they can be used on the same page with the cite.php tags.
Avoid confusion, please! --Francis Schonken 17:09, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Footnotes/Temp now contains the edits introducing the new system. --Francis Schonken 17:31, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Let's be clear however - every time an article is made with a plain vanilla ref-note format, god kills a kitten. The longer we wait to get rid of all mention of plain vanilla ref-note style, the more dead kittens are piling up. Leave it there for Harvard, but the tags are just better than ref-note. The guideline - hell, the policy "Don't use ref-note, use ref-refrences unless there is a really compelling reason" would pass with flying colors. Hipocrite - «Talk» 17:40, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
It's not about "better" or "worse" (I also think, on first sight, I like the new system better)
It's about Wikipedia:Footnotes#Helping editors unfamiliar with footnote templates (which is a "subst:" inserted commentary on many pages now, and not OK for referring to the new system)
and about Wikipedia:Footnotes#Design goals (not the "design goals" for the new system)
and about Wikipedia:Footnotes#Migration strategy (not the "migration strategy" for the new system - is there already any migration strategy for the new system? If yes, maybe start with proposing it)
and about Wikipedia:Footnotes#How does it work? - this is not how cite.php works
and about Wikipedia:Footnotes#Converting citation styles this is the REALLY tough one, maybe read the ArbCom case before entering this minefield
and about Wikipedia:Footnotes#Disadvantages and future improvements - well some of these improvement are no longer "future" in the cite.php system, are they? This should be sorted out and an adequate description of remaining (new?) future improvement should be given...
and the WP:FN3 shortcut which is *only* the ref/label system (too long a history to tell)
please don't go live with a new how-to description without adequate examples being visible on the page
etc... --Francis Schonken 17:58, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I'm rewriting the page at temp basically from scratch to refer only to ref-refrences and harvard. Hipocrite - «Talk» 18:21, 17 February 2006 (UTC)
I moved the "footnotes" page back to wikipedia:footnote3 (where it historically comes from), and made WP:FN a disambig page, pointing to "FN3" and the temp page. That's no more than a temporary solution too, maybe the best of several bad solution, I hope.
Good idea for what you want to make of the temp page! --Francis Schonken 18:29, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Paragraphs and Early life of Joseph Smith, Jr., a featured article

ref-note and Harvard are used somwhat heavily in this featured article. Please let us know when there is an official policy change. But for the moment, I have a question about paragraphs in footnotes. I can't find anywhere that this issue is addressed. Is there a way to have paragraph breaks in footnotes? Tom Haws 18:07, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Try either <br> or (on a new line:) #:
The second solution makes a slightly deeper indent, so unless starting a sublist (using ## for a numbered list or #* for a bulleted list) <br> is usually best.
Of course, don't leave open (blank) lines, while that breaks the footnote numbering --Francis Schonken 18:57, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
That did it. Thanks. Tom Haws 19:15, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Numbering of external links and footnotes

I'm sure this issue has been addressed, but is there a plan to resolve the numbering of external links and footnotes when they are both in the same article? A consideration of converting the external links into footnotes isn't a practical solution, especially in articles with volatile subjects and frequent edits from different camps. Andrew73 13:37, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Convert to m:Cite. It's documented on one of the pages disambiguated by WP:FN. Johnleemk | Talk 14:22, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

New page is ready

I believe that Wikipedia:Footnotes/Temp, which describes the new system built into MediaWiki, is now ready to become the main footnotes page. Any objections? rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 07:35, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

I still added a "helping other editors" section, hope that's OK too. Also (provisionally) updated help:footnotes. As far as I can see Rspeer can proceed as proposed. --Francis Schonken 09:10, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I'm doing it. I'm treating this as a large edit to the Wikipedia:Footnotes page instead of a move. I don't think the distinction is very important, and I can't do a complicated move like that without being an admin. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 17:01, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

GFDL note

Some edits to this page were made in a temporary version by User:Hipocrite, User:Francis Schonken, and User:Rspeer. See the contribution history of the temp page. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 17:01, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Multiple-link style difference from Meta

I've noticed that en:Wikipedia has implemented a style difference from the apparent default described in m:Cite/Cite.php: multiple links to the same note have backlinks that are lettered (e.g., a, b, c…) rather than sub-numbered (e.g, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3…). This makes more sense to me, in that the only place the sub-numbers show up is in the "references" text that already displays the main note number, making its repetition in the backlinks redundant. Also, the use of letters is less likely to confuse readers, as they are clearly distinct from the numbering.

I would like to implement this Wikipedia style tweak for en:Wikiquote, but I can't find the customization that makes this change. I didn't notice a relevant specification in either MediaWiki:Common.css or MediaWiki:Monobook.css, and the text at m:Cite/Cite.php makes me think it might be a developer setting (possibly cite_references_link_many_format_backlink_labels). Could someone clue me in on how to do this? Thanks. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:02, 4 March 2006 (UTC)


I've searched Bugzilla for a bug report about superscripts increasing the line height. I couldn't find one, but I'm not familiar with that site. I suspect, though, the problem is that superscripts (and subscripts) would have to be much smaller than they are in order to maintain the same line height, but this would render numbers unreadable on small monitors. The only solution appears to be to increase the line height or wait until we've all got 20" monitors. Alan Pascoe 16:33, 4 March 2006 (UTC)

Some browsers allow you to use your own style sheet to override the author's settings (I use Opera 8.51). I've experimented with some CSS and managed to improve the line spacing, but the superscripts are rather faint. I entered this into my stylesheet:
sup {
  font-size: 70% ;
  vertical-align: 30% ;

sub {
  font-size: 70% ;
  vertical-align: -10% ;
This was about the best I could do with my monitor, which is a less-than-sharp 15" CRT. With a large LCD it might be possible to do better Alan Pascoe 22:58, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
I've just noticed that another user had already posted a similar fix: Wikipedia_talk:Manual_of_Style#Superscripts and line spacing. The suggestion here though was to use the Wikipedia user style sheet, monobook.css, which is better because it will work for all browsers and apply only to the Wikipedia site. 16:13, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
This fix is better also because it maintains the original size of the superscript text. Alan Pascoe 14:02, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
As an aside, it also works with subscripts, which cause a similar problem in chemical formulae, e.g. Aniline. Use the same CSS, except change the selector from sup to sub, and put a negative sign in front of the value of the bottom property. Alan Pascoe 17:08, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

What to do with separate footnotes and references

It has been my stylistic approach to separate references and footnotes into two sections. For examples, see Jello Biafra, Grunge music, or Fight Club. Under Footnote3, this worked perfectly fine. However, I'm not sure how it will work out under this new format. It may work out well if Footnote3 is still available to use separately, but I'm not entirely sure if that will work. -- LGagnon 23:22, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

There's no reason you can't do this. It's just that doing it would sort of defeat the purpose, since the new system allows quick maintenance of footnotes and addition of new sources. But still, there's no reason you can't do it. Just do <ref>Foo, p. 79.</ref> instead of <ref>Foo, Bar (2000). ''Bleh'', p. 79. FUBAR Publishers. ISBN 999888776.</ref>. Johnleemk | Talk 01:10, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
I didn't mean the page numbers, though that would be an issue too. I meant the separate "Notes" and "References" sections that appear in those articles. What would result is that they would be integrated, which in my opinion would be stylistically ugly. -- LGagnon 01:20, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

What's the problem? Just do this: ==Notes== <references/> ==References== *Foo, Bar (2000). ''Bleh''. FUBAR Publishers. ISBN 999888776. Johnleemk | Talk 03:32, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

The problem is that the citation links are needed for both the Notes and Reference sections. Each note and reference refers to a specific passage or sentence, and both need that pointed out in some way. Thus, it would be useful if, like in Footnote3, Citephp included a second method of denoting footnotes so that footnotes could appear in separate sections instead of all in the same one. The main problem here is, as far as I can tell, a technical problem that the programmers didn't consider when they created Citephp. And don't get me wrong; I appreciate their work. I'm just concerned as to how the new restrictions inherant in Citephp will effect the structure of articles. -- LGagnon 03:59, 6 March 2006 (UTC)
Eh? I don't quite get it. User:Johnleemk/mockup shows the implementation of my proposal at the top, and shows the old way of doing footnotes at the bottom. (At least, that was how I did things with {{ref}}.) Johnleemk | Talk 15:00, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Mixed citations and footnotes

I also don't really get what remaining problem LGagnon precisely alludes to. Maybe the example below might clarify (sorry for other <ref> notes on this page also showing up in the "Notes" list below, but I think you get the idea of what I mean):

/Mixed citations and footnotes

Or was this still not what you meant? --Francis Schonken 15:19, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

This may work, assuming that note_label isn't phased out (is it part of Footnote3? If not, will it stay?). The plans to phase out Footnote3 may cause us to have to further develop Citephp to be able to give both abilities. -- LGagnon 23:34, 9 March 2006 (UTC)
Just because it's deprecated doesn't mean the templates will be deleted. Johnleemk | Talk 09:55, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Just rewrote intro of wikipedia:footnote3: the method for linked harvard refences explained on that page is, AFAIK, neither "deprecated" nor "phased out". That was only a matter of choice when the new "wikipedia:footnotes" guideline was written, explaining the <ref>...</ref> tags, that this new guideline would not contain on one page the details of two inherently different systems: one realised with html-tags (for numbered footnotes), another realised with wiki-templates (for harvard references): there was no need to copy-paste three quarters of the old guideline in the new one (this possibility was tried at first, but made the new guideline fairly unintelligible and messy). --Francis Schonken 12:54, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
Good in some ways—bad in others

If you only use Harvard-style references, this system works great. But if you also use paragraph-length notes (as I often do—sometimes it's necessary to separate tangential information from the main body of the article), it creates an editing nightmare. Imagine a whole paragraph of unrelated text insert right into the middle of another paragraph! Well, I suppose there's no perfect solution. And I must admit that this is a substantial improvement over previous systems.
-,-~R'lyehRising~-,- 13:12, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

? "If you only use Harvard-style references, this system works great": which system? Footnotes with <ref> tags, or: Footnote3/Harvard variant, or: the combination of the two as I explained above. If you mean the combination, you shouldn't have problems with what you portray, the combination is intended to separate the tagential info (in <ref> style footnotes) from harvard references, accomplished with the appropriate footnote3 system (ref_harvard/note_label combination of templates). Of course, at that time get rid of all other types of ref/note templates: replace these by the <ref>-style tags.
So, I don't see exactly what problem you want to picture, could you explain? Of course, inserting long tangentially (un)related comments is maybe not advised in any style neither in footnotes nor in harvard references. That relates to content-type guidelines/policies of wikipedia, wikipedia:footnotes is only technical how-to for realising numbered footnotes. Whether or not meandering text is a good idea for wikipedia is not covered by this technical guideline. But generally, I see no reason to promote it. --Francis Schonken 13:37, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

sometimes it's necessary to separate tangential information from the main body of the article

It is? — Omegatron 20:45, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

ease of use

Once i figgered out how to use the new system it seems quite easy to use, however I found working out how to use it (from this page) difficult. I don't deny that all the needed info is here but it is a bit confusing, especialy on the issule of multiple footnotes; for example, it needs to be clearer that it doesn't matter what text you put in the second, third etc.. ref's.

Q: On that issule, why does the software require that any text is used in second third etc.. ref's I found myself just addeding an arbitary "p" as it seemed a waste of space writing out the actual ref again.

Anyway, cheers for making a neew system, all in all I think it will work better then the varrious old ones.--JK the unwise 12:00, 6 March 2006 (UTC) (P.S: My first attemp to use it is at Left-wing politics

Just finnished February 15, 2003 anti-war protest, MAN that took some time, please no one tell me they have a bot that could have done it in 5 seconds!--JK the unwise 14:45, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

Footnote size for when there are many

I've seen several pages with a smaller font size used for the footnotes, and personally I like the look of it. I don't know if it has been mentioned in any of the style pages, but it seems like it should be addresssed? I've seen both <div style="font-size: 90%"> or <div class="small"> followed by </div>. Шизомби 23:17, 9 March 2006 (UTC)

  • One of the biggest problems with footnotes is that they tend to mess up the formatting of the article (and as usual, the typical, canned Wikipedia response is the old "somebody needs to get to the bottom of this!" ;p ). Consequently, with regard to this problem I ask: why must a footnote necessarily have to look like a footnote—that is, why must it be superscripted? To get around this, I created my own template (using the Footnote3 system) and just made it a normally-sized bracketed number—in fact, I've seen footnotes done this way on some web pages. As a result, my paragraphs remain properly formatted, and the footnotes are largely unobtrusive. My belief is that it is more important for Wikipedia article to be readable rather than to rigidly adhere to a standard that creates an eyesore for the reader. (That being said, I should note that I have been using the new system on certain articles, just to see how it works out. And my system will probably get edged out anyway, whether I like it or not. ...despair...)
    -,-~R'lyehRising~-,- 13:43, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
    • ? Footnote3 for numbered footnotes is deprecated. Non-superscripted footnote numbers are even more confusing with automatically numbered external html links, than what I commented on above.
      Further, I thought Schizombie was talking about footnote text (which appears below on a page), not about the reference numbers in the body of the article text. --Francis Schonken 14:00, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
      • Yes, I was asking about the footnote text that appears at the bottom of a page. Шизомби 20:49, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
        • In response to the original question, I have just been looking at the Cape Horn page where the references text is set to use <div style="font-size: 90%">. I think this looks good (although particularly because I'm using Firefox and a custom sans-serif font - not so good in Internet Explorer where Arial is enforced by Wikipedia), but it should use a class. Halsteadk 13:53, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

multiple references problem

i have multiple text pointing to one reference, i.e.

mytexttexttext ref name=slime moretexttexttext ref name=slime.

so the ref text from the first ref is used. the ref text from the second ref is just dummy text. but as i am always chopping up the article, i end up like this:

moretexttexttext ref name=slime mytexttexttext ref name=slime

now my references are screwed up, because it tries to use the ref from what was formerly the second reference, which is just dummy text. i now have to manually go & find the actual ref text and move it to the new first ref. this is hard work, and has happened a lot on The Illuminatus! Trilogy. is there no way to somehow flag a ref as an "anchor" ref, and the others as "child" refs pointing to the text defined in that anchor ref? Zzzzz 22:09, 10 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I think a simple way to accomplish this would be for the software to use the first non-empty ref. Then, as long as you use empty references (like <ref name="slime" />) for all but one reference, the order doesn't matter. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 03:03, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
    • whats the process to get it fixed? Zzzzz 10:52, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

As a temporary workaround, repeating the same text for every ref to the same footnote can be used. This is a bit more sloppy on resources (while not using the shorter closed tag), but avoids errors when moving text around later, like this:

text...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref> text continues...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref>
Text continues further...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref>

which doesn't change the footnote text after refactoring:

Text continues further...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref>
text...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref> text continues...text...text...<ref name="repeattext">This will show up below</ref>

--Francis Schonken 13:19, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

doesnt really help if i need to edit the content of the reference... i then need to go & make the exact same edit on all the others in case i need to move them around afterwards... —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zzzzz (talkcontribs)
I see. Maybe ask User:Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason if the tweak proposed by Rspeer would be hard to implement in cite.php. Or alternatively, start a bug report about it (I think at meta there's an entrance to the bugzilla application for the wikimedia software somewhere, try: m:bugzilla), or post a message at m:talk:Cite.php. --Francis Schonken 13:51, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
thx, i mentioned it on the cite.php talk page. Zzzzz 14:06, 11 March 2006 (UTC)

Quality of writing and footnotes

I notice that editors are starting to switch to the <ref></ref> footnote system, and while it makes pages look neater once saved, it makes them very hard to check for flow of writing. If you compare this page, for example, without the footnotes and here with the footnotes, you can see how much harder it is to copy edit once the citations are inserted.

Can anything be done to make the citation stand out from the body of the text; for example, can the words inside <ref></ref> be rendered in a different font, different size, or different color? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:25, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

From my understanding of HTML and CSS, the answer to your second question is no. I suppose the various citation templates could be used instead. Another solution was used for Windows 2000, but I found it a bit unwieldy (although others may disagree). All in all, I still find this new footnoting system better than the old one. The old one when it comes to URL sources relied on the URL remaining up and not changing substantially. The new one allows us to add the information of when the page was viewed so that fact-checkers can at least try to verify matters. Johnleemk | Talk 17:48, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I agree that it's an improvement on the old system, which in part is the problem, because it's likely to be more popular for that reason, so it'd be good to find a way to make it interfere less with the text flow. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:52, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Windows 2000 puts each footnote on a new line, which due to the way HTML and wikimarkup work, will only put a space between the end of a sentence/paragraph and the footnote. Therefore, it usually (but not always) looks sort of tidy during editing, but readers can't tell the difference. Johnleemk | Talk 18:00, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Are we talking about the same thing here? The question, based on the links above, is what <ref> tags look like during edit, not as rendered on the displayed article. Why would Windows 2000 act differently for a ref tag in the edit window textarea, when it's not an actual tag at that point? Why wouldn't it be the case in WinXP (where I've not seen what Johnleemk seems to be describing)? Why wouldn't it be affected by different browsers and versions? ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:34, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Uh...I'm talking about the article Windows 2000, not the operating system. Look at the wikimarkup for the article. Johnleemk | Talk 17:38, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Well, don't I feel stupid, doubly so because what you were describing was a variation of what I took some trouble to explain that I'd also done (see below). I don't know why I so thoroughly misunderstood your statement, Johnleemk, given my own attempts to do essentially the same thing. My sincere apologies! ~ Jeff Q (talk) 20:30, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
All the text within the edit box appears within textarea tags on the HTML for the entire page in the browser window. However, the ref tags in the edit window don't appear as tags in the page, which means it is not possible to distinguish between the reference text and the rest of the text. Alan Pascoe 20:45, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
Alan, sorry if I'm being dense, but are you saying it's impossible to make the refs look different when editing? SlimVirgin (talk) 20:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)
I wouldn't say impossible—I'm not an expert—but the straightforward way of using CSS to change the appearance of the text within the <ref> tags doesn't appear to be available, because the tags don't appear in the markup for the whole page. You can see this by selecting 'View, Source' or similar from your browser menu bar. Alan Pascoe 22:41, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

One thing I've tried to do to make <ref> elements easier to understand and edit is to try prettyprint formatting in the edit window. I put each ref element on a separate set of lines, with just the open/close tags on 1 line each, and the material inside (which can get to paragraph length with cite tags and explanatory text) indented with 2 spaces, making the whole element visually obvious and separate from the surrounding article text, like so:

… and Mike Nelson took over the host role.
   ''[[Mystery Science Theater 3000]]'', episode #513, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die".
   <small> Nelson had previously played assorted supporting characters.</small>
 A debate developed over…

However, I've seen two problems with this. First, since there is a line break between the article text and the ref element, there will be a space between the article text and the footnote in the rendered text, which some people don't like. More importantly, there seems to be a bug with the whitespace squeezing, at least with my browser configuration (Firefox on WinXP, no CSS customization). When I did some major footnote restructuring to fix Team B's broken ref/note footnoting with now-functional ref/reference tags, the first Tom Barry citation (name="remember") interpreted the initial space as a call for a PRE tag, placing it first in the 9 footnotes and messing up the format. I experimented but couldn't get it to behave, even though all 8 of the other tags were so formatted but rendered properly. The potential for browser bugs (vs. MediaWiki bugs) spooked me, so I abandoned the strategy. But if it is a MediaWiki issue, fixing it would be a convenient way to provide visual formatting hints to set off the new ref tags. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 22:59, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Coloring the ref text selectively would be possible with Javascript. Wikipedia tends to be leery about implementing new Javascript, but you could try asking at MediaWiki talk:Monobook.js. —Simetrical (talk • contribs) 04:49, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

citation location

This may be obvious, but the proper location of the citation is after the punctuation,[1] like this.[2] This is supported already by the examples in the page, and is further supported by the first example on this page that cites the Chicago manual of style. I don't have an explicit guideline directly from the Chicago MOS, but I have never seen footnotes in a print source formatted like this[3]. Also, I know of at least two people who have supported this format in the past: Bishonen and Fallout boy. In the name of maintaining consistency on Wikipedia and looking professional, any objections to stating that the proper location is immediately after the punctuation? —Spangineer (háblame) 06:16, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I agree should be positioned after punctuation, but there is a editing style consideration. Some have suggested (above) placing <ref> tags on new line to aid readability whilst editing, particularly if several citations occur in sequence. One can of course run them together (after the punctuation), but this can be very difficult to follow if the citation templates extend over several lines; example:
This is well proven.<ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><ref name="C">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref> However many disagreed with this in the past.<ref name="D">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><ref name="E">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref> The solution was found in 2003.
  • Placing each citation on its own line however causes a problem as to what to do with the space after the punctuation: Placing after the closing </ref> its existance is not apparent (space at the end of a line), and it can't appear at the start of the next sentance appearing on the next line (wiki-markup indents lines starting with a space). The fudge is to place citations before the punctuation, and the punctuation at the begining of the next line which highlights the continuation of the text. Hence for the example given:
This is well proven<ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
<ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
<ref name="C">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
. However many disagreed with this in the past<ref name="D">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
<ref name="E">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
. The solution was found in 2003.
  • I know which one I find easer to read whilst editing. I agree (in advance) that the only purpose of wikipedia is to have a good encyclopedia to read, not have something nice to edit with, but still have a look at how much clearer the editing markup is for Epilepsy#Legal implications or look at the whole complex Lyme disease article to realise that there is a need for some help with clarity when editing (these are good articles with well verified & cited sources, but trying to copyedit read the markup is difficult). David Ruben Talk 14:45, 21 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I see the editing advantage, but the problem with that is that there will be spaces between the citations, causing the possibility of text wrapping to the next line. In my opinion, it's even more important to avoid spacing throughout to prevent that from happening, because having a random citation floating at the beginning of the next line looks even worse than having a citation like this[1]. As you said, reading is the most important consideration. I think it makes more sense to make editors get used to skipping everything between ref tags than make the readers put up with an unconventional and ugly citation style. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 16:17, 21 March 2006 (UTC)

Wouldn't this work (creativity with html commentary tags):

This is well proven.<!--
  --><ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><!--
  --><ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><!--
  --><ref name="C">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
However many disagreed with this in the past.<!--
  --><ref name="D">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><!--
  --><ref name="E">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
The solution was found in 2003.
without the "nowiki" tags

This is well proven.[1][2][3] However many disagreed with this in the past.[4][5] The solution was found in 2003.

references section

(sorry for other references on this page showing up also:)

  1. ^ Template:Cite journal...
  2. ^ Template:Cite journal...
  3. ^ Template:Cite journal...
  4. ^ Template:Cite journal...
  5. ^ Template:Cite journal...

--Francis Schonken 01:10, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Hmmm - I agree works and even looks good whikst editing :-) Just a shame need to resort to html for what is meant to be an inherent feature of wikimedia, also I dread to think what happens when a user forgets or deletes the closing '-->' - (rest of article disappears!). David Ruben Talk 01:19, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

That's an extremely good idea. I think I'm going to use that at my most recent citation heavy short article. That's especially useful for some of pages that use alot of the templates. Personally, I like it when I can write articles like welding and only have to put a name and a page number in each reference, but sometimes that isn't possible. As for people forgetting to close the tags, I hope they notice =).
With this in mind, do you think it'd be OK to add the location guide to this page? We could even include that HTML cheat as an example of how to be editor-friendly and reader-friendly at the same time so that editors are aware of that idea. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 02:46, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Indenting the "arrows" that precede a footnote text even looks better in edit mode --Francis Schonken 09:38, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

This works well, but there is a catch to remember if editing within a wikilist. See the great improvement in ease when editing Lyme disease between these 2 versions. The catch is that if one is within a list ('#' or '*'), then an additional set of <!-- --> is required to link back to any continuing sentances of text, otherwise a new line is forced - these additional tags I did not indent in the Lyme disease example.

So compare:

This is well proven.<!--
  --><ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
However many disagreed with this in the past.<!--
  --><ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>

...which gives as expected:
This is well proven.[1] However many disagreed with this in the past.[2]

But if the paragraph is in a list (note the addition of a '*'):

*This is well proven.<!--
  --><ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>
However many disagreed with this in the past.<!--
  --><ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>

...a line-break occurs on returning from the 1st citation back to text:

  • This is well proven.[1]

However many disagreed with this in the past.[2]

The solution, in lists, is therefore to link subsequent text AND ALSO provide the space between the punctuation and the start of the next sentance (note the space before the word 'However'):

*This is well proven.<!--
  --><ref name="A">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref><!--
--> However many disagreed with this in the past.<!--
  --><ref name="B">{{cite journal...|...|...}}</ref>

...which gives, as we seek:

  • This is well proven.[1] However many disagreed with this in the past.[2]

I think the extra effort is well rewarded with ease of scanning through a text when editing. David Ruben Talk 00:43, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Noting reprints in footnotes?

No response at Citing Sources, so I'll try here:

What is the proper way to note the reprint of an article in a book?

Article full citation
Book full citation (reprinting Author (year))
Article full citation (reprinted in Book full citation)
Book full citation (reprinting Article full citation)

? Thanks. Esquizombi 09:53, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

There's no consensus on how to cite. Just as long as it's readable and contains all the pertinent information, I suppose whatever method you prefer would be best. Johnleemk | Talk 17:35, 13 March 2006 (UTC)


Is there any way to get rid of the brackets around the superscript number? I think it looks much better without the brackets (see Saddam Hussein's article for an example), but I still want to use <ref>, not {{ref}}. Any ideas? AucamanTalk 02:33, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

No, but I will help you argue against them with the developer.  :-) I heard they were only there to make the clickable area bigger, but this could be done with css padding instead. I would much prefer solitary numbers. — Omegatron 03:46, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Well I'm not sure what the alternative would look like, but I'm sure both versions would have their advantages and disadvantages. But it would be nice to give users options. I don't think it's a big deal. AucamanTalk 08:53, 15 March 2006 (UTC)
I personally prefer the brackets, as it clearly shows that it's separate from the text. For an ongoing discussion on this topic, see Template talk:Citation needed, where people are constantly battling over this. Sections 1-4 and 6 have particularly in-depth discussions on the matter. Blackcap (talk) 17:33, 6 April 2006 (UTC)

Explanation too difficult ?

  • Whilst I really appreciate this new Cite:ref system, the explanation in general in wikipedia on adding references to articles is awful. There are far too many pages (historical & present) with long-winded explanations which are as much about self-justifying the need & development of a new system as actually guiding a wikinovice (who might only have just learnt to use ‘==’ for section headers and ‘~ ~ ~ ~' signatures). I accept that this is largely because there is no fixed official policy on footnotes/references, just a series of optional options.
  • The current mix of options is a mess: with many articles having both in-line references[3] and the new system too, with resulting clash of numerical link values.[3] (I suspect too that in-line references are going to prove tricky come the hardcopy Wikipedia 1.0)
  • Using one of the {{cite ...}} templates can help establish some consistency of style. Yet I must confess that despite no longer being a total wikinovice, it took me several days of searching before I stumbled upon the full list of Category:Citation templates and realised that these can be included between the <ref> tags. (Wikipedia:Citing sources only on its last line mentions <ref>, which it links to Cite.php rather than this article, and only about two thirds the way down a link to Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles/Generic citations – how silly of me to miss it the first few searches I tried) .
  • The original description of Cite.php was mostly about the software implementation that I still don’t quite fully understand, and the description on Wikipedia:Footnotes is too long winded. By this I mean it also describes its development, that it is not policy but only a suggestion etc - and whilst all true enough, is hardly inviting nor a simple “Idiots guide to Cite:Ref”.
  • I've had a go at an alternative, simpler (I hope) description in my sandbox (see WP:Cite:Ref). My suggestion is that Wikipedia:Footnotes becomes the overall (one screen’s worth) discussion on the variety of optional footnote methods, with a link to a separate clear description of the cite:ref / citation-template use. So (with some trepidation) let me know your thoughts on my rewrite suggestion :-) David Ruben Talk 02:26, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • In order, my responses are: Yes. YES. Yes. Yes. Good work. In your example, though, I'd make the citation location consistent (after punctuation please, including commas), and also rename "References" to "Notes" and move that bulleted reference into a new "References" section. We definitely need a simple and compact basics guide to citation formatting, and this is a good place for it. Nitty gritty details can follow, but it's already hard to get people to reference stuff, so let's at least take away the excuse, "I didn't want to read a 10 page essay on the history of footnote systems on Wikipedia". —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 04:08, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Thanks - are citation references best placed under a section call "References" rather than "Notes" or "Footnotes"? The latter 2 seem more typographical terms to describe how a citation superscripted flag links to details appearing at the bottom (foot) of a page, rather than what a reader reads as being the list of references (i.e term 'footnoes' is a typographical process vs 'references' being a reader-meaningful object). It would be simpler (less section headers) if all work used to write an article appears under the one heading (references) with <references/> tag followed by a bulleted list ("External links" then identifies for example an organisation, rather than specific information on their web site). Or have I missed a longstanding consensus wikipedia policy ? David Ruben Talk 17:42, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Not policy, but definitely convention (see the FAs passed in the past few months). I agree with you that one heading might be simpler, but in general, notes are in a "Notes" section and they refer to references in the "References" section. See welding for an example on an article I wrote. However, in cases were each references is used only one or two times, there's no special "References" section and just a "Notes" or "References and notes" section, in which the only thing that appears is the <references/> tag. See New England Patriots for an example of that. I think the main reason that two sections are usually used is because the list format is different—references are listed alphabetically, and notes are listed by the order of their appearance in the article. It's the same principle as the writer who has both an endnotes page and a separate work cited page. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 00:35, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you, I was confused because in the previous system of {ref|:xxx} - {note|:xxx}, the 'ref' obvious meant 'refer' or 'reference' (it would have made more sense if the system had choosen {cite|:xxx} - {note|:xx} instead).
  • Most of the medical articles I have seen, tend to have many more citation notes than comprehensive reference sources (example see Acne vulgaris with 17 citations and just 2 references). So presumably the 'norm' I should be seeing in medical articles is for a "Notes" section (with just the <references/> tag) and just occasionally "Notes & References" if there is a lone additional specific reference used as well ? David Ruben Talk 01:08, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Normally people call the section "Notes and references" even if all that are in the section are notes; not sure why. Before that Acne article I had never seen an actual example of combining bulleted general references and a numbered list of notes in the same section. Again, it really depends on the style of the editor. I personally prefer print sources whenever possible, and thus usually write articles with a high citation to reference ratio (that is, I use authoratative and comprehensive sources that thoroughly describe the subject). Others prefer using many more sources (more diversity can mean better balance), and as a result normally only have a few citations per reference (often websites or periodicals, but sometimes book sources as well). For me, it makes sense to have two separate sections, for those other people, it makes sense to have just one. But in that one section, they won't actually have a separate listing of references; it'll just be numbered notes with all the citation information imbedded in the note. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 02:55, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I definitely agree with the simplified introduction to recommended footnoting. Instead of talking about "flushing out" references, however, I'd describe the use of the references tag in terms ordinary reader/editors would be more likely to understand. Example: To display the references in a list (complete with links to and from the citations), place the <references/> tag under a section heading like "References" or "Footnotes". I would also like to have an example of how to use the ref tags in a more readable form instead of crammed into the text without any visible separation, making it hard to find, let alone review and edit, these tags. (I suggest something along these lines above in #Quality of writing and footnotes.) But regardless of these 2 points, the need for a simple, straightforward intro is critical. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 04:35, 22 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Thank you for suggested rewording that I have tried to work in and I also have tried the citation separation suggested previously on this talk page :-) David Ruben Talk 17:42, 22 March 2006 (UTC)

Helping unfamiliar editors

Hi there, I've made a minor edit to the concealed message written for the benefit of unfamiliar editors, many of who will be people new to Wikipedia. Many of them will likely not understand Wiki markup sufficiently well, and be confused with [[Wikipedia:Footnotes]] in the edit interface. As the message is concealed, there will be no clickable link, and if they do not understand markup they may not be able to get here. Most people who use the net with any frequency however know what a URL is. Hope the minor change is satisfactory. I have also changed the template accordingly. regards —Encephalon 01:40, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes in image captions???

It doesn't seem to be supported. Take a look here. How does one get around this? Any ideas? AucamanTalk 12:55, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

It's a known problem, but it's not the fault of m:Cite. It's a problem with the MediaWiki software in general. Johnleemk | Talk 15:02, 23 March 2006 (UTC)
In case anyone's wondering, I have no idea how to work around this problem. You could probably resort to the old {{ref}} system for now. Johnleemk | Talk 16:23, 24 March 2006 (UTC)
This could be related to bug 4723. See also an example of this bug. --Michiel Sikma 10:31, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

You can cite about the image caption in the passage of the text. -- Zondor 00:08, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

A better idea

We really need a good references system, and I'm glad this was finally written. It's got a lot of shortcomings, though. I've proposed a new syntax that puts the context of the references in the references section instead of cluttering up the article text, and some other changes, like subreferences for each referenced fact. I've written it up (with an example) here: m:Talk:Cite/Cite.php#A_different_idea. Please comment. — Omegatron 17:50, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Bolded arrows

I've noticed that references with more than one reference point have arrows that aren't bolded. This makes them look out of place with the rest of the arrows. On my browser, it shows up pretty different (see link for example). Maybe this could be fixed by putting the arrow with more than one reference point in <b></b> tags? --Michiel Sikma 10:30, 26 March 2006 (UTC)

<ref> tags too verbose

Overall I like the functionality the <ref> <reference> tags provide, how easy they are to insert, and how they look once rendered. I have a problem with how they affect the rest of the editing process, however. By placing the reference itself in the text, the flow of the text is disrupted, both lexically and semantically. This makes the text harder to read and edit. Most Wiki tags and templates are pithy and unobstructive enough that the user can easily read and edit the text. Clumps of these <ref> tags interfere with that.

I think a better solution would be to have a ref tag like this: <ref name="Wilson"/> paired with a reference tag like this:

== References ==

<reference name="Wilson">"My Reckless Youth," Wilson, Woodrow, Life/Times Books, New York, 2003.</reference>

This requires more keystrokes, but it leaves the text in a shape that is cleaner, more flowing and easier to read and to edit.

Above added by User:Tomcool 16:52, 27 March 2006 at top of discussion
  • The above is I think wrongly marked up for the idea being suggested? As it is, it is just a rewording of the previous {{ref|xxx}} with full details given in the references section by {{note|xxx}} details. The problem with this system is the need for manual ordering of the reference section & problems of duplicate citations.
  • What I think was meant by Tomcool was using in the main article just the placeholder <ref name="xxx"/> and then providing altogether in the reference section all the full citation details with <ref name="xxx"> details </ref> and still using a single <references/> to list all the references in order.
    • However this has been suggested already (this thread added to top of talk-page), and basically amounts to taking the full details from the last, rather than the first, occasion of a <ref> tag.
  • It helps to both sign ones talk-page entries and place new threads at the bottom of a talk-page rather than at the top ! I move this to the bottom of the discussion to maintain chronology next... David Ruben Talk 19:52, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

Font size

In practice, it seems that reference sections generated with this system are generally in a reduced font size, with something like this:

<div style="font-size: 0.85em;">

It seems that this should be mentioned somewhere on this page. However (as can be seen in the last few main page featured articles that use this system, say), there seems to be no standard to the font size that people are using. Actually, looking through some of them, people seem to be using percentages, and I've seen everything from 85%, 90%, and 92%. Has anyone suggested a standard to this? If not, is anyone intending to do so? –Unint 02:52, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe there's no standard because people tend to reduce the size based on how lengthy the references are? If the references stretch for pages and pages, then they'd probably use 85%, but if they're just a half a page long, 90% might do. Johnleemk | Talk 06:37, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
I think I've seen as low as 75%, but IMO 85% is the best option if we're going to standardize it. 90-92% really isn't all that different from just leaving it at normal size. If we want a guideline, it should say something like the font in large notes sections is typically reduced to 85-90% of normal. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 18:42, 4 April 2006 (UTC)
Don't arbitrarily change font sizes, please.Omegatron 18:29, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
Does that mean we should be trying to eliminate font size reduction in references sections altogether? Or that I should just go and change it to a percentage in the article that I took that example from? –Unint 00:33, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, Omegatron, please explain what you're saying. What is "arbitrary" in your opinion? To me, reducing large notes sections to a smaller yet readable font is a great idea—it's not like we're varying font size within the prose itself; rather, we're taking an appendix type section and shrinking it so that it's easier for the reader to get to the external links. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 01:24, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
You should not be setting non-standard font sizes in articles at all. They should be changed in the site-wide style sheet, if at all. Talk about it on MediaWiki talk:Common.css; don't make it inconsistent between articles. — Omegatron 01:51, 7 April 2006 (UTC)
Unfortunately, decreasing the font size is now standard practice in FAs. I agree that we need consistency, but that's what we're working toward here. If it's possible to implement such a thing through the .css, great, let's look into that too. But if that doesn't work, it's going to be a tough battle to get people to change all font sizes back to normal. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 02:08, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Hi all. There is a proposal to put the font size for <references/> into CSS: Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#proposed change to css --Ligulem 12:22, 17 April 2006 (UTC)


This is a great replacement for {{ref}} that appears to have never been publicised. Should the wikipedia:footnote3 page be updated to include this, even if all these templates are deprecated? (After all, a number of articles -- including Albert Einstein -- use {{rf}}.) For one thing, it avoids that nasty problem with screwing up the preview function. (Maybe we could incorporate this functionality into {{ref}}...) Johnleemk | Talk 17:04, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Problem is that if I add a reference to the top of the page, I have to change the numbering for all the citations manually. What nasty problem with preview are you talking about? —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 17:47, 11 April 2006 (UTC)
When you preview an article using {{ref}} and click a footnote, it takes you to the main article, destroying all your work (unless you use a superior web browser, AKA anything other than MSIE). Johnleemk | Talk 18:43, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

{{rf}}/{{ent}} are a.k.a. "Paul August's templates", see Wikipedia talk:Footnotes/archive2#Manual numbering versions of templates "ref" and "note". I once asked Paul August to see to it that their use would be somewhere described in a guideline. When, after long discussion, he promised to do what was necessary within a few weeks (well, that was months ago), nothing followed any more.

I'd support converting all pages containing rf/ent footnotes to cite.php footnotes. That might be a bit drastic, and would need consensus before proceeding, but I don't think it a good idea to keep active templates that are not properly documented (which their creator was apparently not prepared to do). --Francis Schonken 18:09, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree with you; perhaps doing it on a case-by-case basis on more popular articles would be a good start, and once it's largely out of use, deprecate it. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 01:08, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I don't like cite.php

I have to say I really don't like this new format. I understand that it's a lot easier in some ways, but personally I much prefer using the {{Ref}} and {{Note}} systems. I prefer not having the citation text within the body of the article text, as that makes the editing window display rather cumbersome and hard to filter, and I also dislike the fact that it creates double citations for sources used more than once in an article. I also dislike the lack of alphabetization, I grew up and went through school drilled in MLA citation, where you alphabetize all your sources, and I really like a nice, clean, alphabetized references section.

Now, I'm not against people using the new cite.php system, but what bothers me is that I spent about a three week period formatting citations on an article that was previously uncited, and two times now other editors have come in (in perfectly good faith) and converted it to cite.php, and I personally don't want that in that article. Just looking back through this discussion page's recent discussions alone I see several editors expressing dissatisfaction with the system, for a lot of the same reasons that I dislike it. What I do not understand is why there is this insistence on the Ref template page that that system is deprecated...where and when was this decided? Could someone reference me to that discussion? Because just looking at this page alone it does not seem like there is consensus for deprecating Ref/Note and exclusively using cite.php. Can we not let this be decided on a page by page basis, and not go around doing mass conversions on pages already nicely formatted in a different way? Am I not the only one who feels this way? Ëvilphoenix Burn! 00:27, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I was wondering about that myself, after I saw Wikipedia:Template messages/Sources of articles#Citations for footnotes and for linking, which still lists {{ref}} and {{note}} alongside the {{cite}} templates. Anyone want to clarify what's going on here? Is this just a very gradual process? (For the record, I used cite/ref about once before finding the new system and ever since I have been unsure as to how the two reconciled... So they don't, apparently.) –Unint 00:51, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Evilphoenix, are you aware of the ability to use the <ref name="Blah"> tag? That allows you to use the same reference multiple times without repeating all the information within the text. That eliminates one problem you mention, if I understand you correctly. As for making the edit window ugly, that's true, but the problem can be alleviated by the judicious use of html comments—see Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering (something I wrote) for an example. Finally, as for the references section, I agree with you there too. Another article I've written, Welding, has both a notes section and a references section, which I think is the best way to go when you have only a few sources (generally print) and alot of citations.
Certainly, Cite.php isn't perfect, but I think it's a major improvement over ref/note because of the hassle of non-automatic numbering and having to edit in two places to take care of a reference. As for discussion, there really wasn't all that much that I'm aware of that took place on wikipedia (see m:Talk:Cite/Cite.php for most of it). A number of FAC contributors got on the bandwagon and started making the switch, though it's still possible (but not common) for articles to get through FAC with the ref/note system intact. —Spangineer[es] (háblame) 01:05, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

it would be nice to be able to have all the <ref>blah</ref> tags at the bottom of the article and then just be able to reference them with like <ref id="foo1991"/> in the text. I can't stand having the whole reference in the article body. In my ideal world it would work something like BibTeX, but I know I'm dreaming here :) Until its possible to keep the refs out of the body of the text I'll keep using the Footnotes3... - FrancisTyers 13:26, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

That would just restore all the problems we want to fix in the first place by forcing a note to be edited in two places. Circeus 14:40, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Its not a bug its a feature. Seriously. :) On the other hand, you would only have to edit the actual reference "once" then you can use it anywhere in the text — just like BibTeX. My chief gripe about Footnotes3 is that the notes can become unordered. That could easily be fixed with this system. - FrancisTyers 14:50, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the notes can become unordered, but you have a lot more control over note ordering than you neccessarily do with cite.php. Cite.php is fantastic if you want a one-to-one ration between notes and citations, but doesn't work if you want alphabetical citations, which is what I personally prefer. Ëvilphoenix Burn! 15:20, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
I think it's the exact opposite—when you have more than one citation per reference, use both a notes and references section, like in welding. What's the problem with that? Very little referencing information in the edit box, and an alphabetized list at the end. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 17:39, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
Problems solved by Cites.php that your proposal restore:
  • You still need to edit two different parts of thearticle to add a note
  • A note or footnote may still lose it's second part
  • All notes still need distinct names, hence possible confusion and mis-linking.
Circeus 15:11, 17 April 2006 (UTC)
In the References section, something like [A one line version would be fine too, e.g. K. E. Watkins, N. F. Dronkers and F. Vargha-Khadem (2002) "Behavioural analysis of an inherited speech and language disorder: comparison with acquired aphasia" in Brain. Vol. 125, pp. 452-464 (Oxford: OUP)]
        author          =       {K. E. Watkins and N. F. Dronkers and F. Vargha-Khadem},
        title           =       {Behavioural analysis of an inherited speech and language disorder: comparison with acquired aphasia},
        journal         =       {Brain},
        volume          =       {125},
        pages           =       {452-464},
        location        =       {Oxford},
        publisher       =       {Oxford University Press},
        year            =       2002

Then we can cite that wherever we want in the text, e.g.


You could even make something for page numbers, \citep{Watkins2002}[453] or similar. - FrancisTyers 15:34, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

But I don't see those as problems at all. I don't mind editing stuff in two different places, it's no different whatsoever than writing a paper for school. You make your reference in your paper, then you make your citation on the Works Cited page. It's basically a trade-off...being able to conveniently edit the citation, for the coders benefit, or being able to easily edit the article, for the writers benefit. I prefer easy editing of the article, and editing in two different places is worth it to me. I like notes having distinct names, because then you can have control over how they're listed in the References section. Yes, you have to be careful and know what you're doing, but that's true about a lot of things on here. If you're careful with your linking, it works alright. Ëvilphoenix Burn! 15:20, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

Agreed. It really needs to be changed so that the reference text is in the References section, where it actually appears. I get the impression that people were in such a rush to get a real references system that they didn't try it in realistic situations much before implementing it. It's better than templates, but still needs a lot of work.

I've already proposed a bunch of changes for a newer version of cite.php that would be backwards compatible here: A different idea. It expands the <references/> tag out into <references></references> and allows you to put the reference text inside the tags. Also lots of other optional changes, but that's the main idea. — Omegatron 15:30, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

You still need to edit two different parts of thearticle to add a note

My proposal solves this by allowing you to add a note in a single place, and it is moved into the references section when you save the page (and possibly auto-named, if you don't give it a name.) — Omegatron 15:42, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

I am in complete agreement with Evilphoenix. In some articles, some editors prefer a different look, one which is approved by Wikipedia, unless someone wants to change that too. There seems to be a steamrolling effect here, where a relative few have gone and started altering articles, without discussing the changes in the article talk page. I am most concerned about the upsetting of an article I worked on, namely Retreat of glaciers since 1850. While the article is on the main page, the citation style was changed completely and when I reverted back, I was reverted again...I'm not pleased with this manner of behavior, especially after seeing that there are others that do not like this new style. Retreat of glaciers since 1850 used the Harvard (or I should say Harv_ style which automagically superscripted the author's name in article text) and we changed over to this style after the article was in ref|note style because we wanted it to look scientific by having the end notes in the cited references section all be alphabetical. Our article also has a lot of numbers and figures that are confusing enouh for new editors to grasp...adding a pile of reference material eats up a lot of the editing window, and alongside the   and other formats, to anyone not used ot editing here, it must look almost like code and not text. But mostly, I'm pissed that a relative few seem to think they have the best thing going and have decided to deprecate templates and march into article space and shove this down our collective throats. I may be convinced that this new style is best, but that's going to be hard if the manner in which the evidence to prove it's better is going to be delivered to me in this take it or file an Rfc approach.--MONGO 12:44, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I echo MONGO's comments. The manner in which this is being pushed into implementation is disturbing. Placing the reference text inline is not only disruptive of the flow of text, it is also a bigger hassle to deal with when adding additional inline references to the same reference as the entire text of the first reference must be located and moved if the new inline reference precedes the first. In addition to issues with the mechanics of the new reference format, it does not support different styles of reference, such as the harvard reference style. There also seems to be a number of outstanding bugs with the style itself that would further suggest against mass conversion of existing references. —Doug Bell talkcontrib 18:16, 18 April 2006 (UTC)
I third the comments of MONGO and Doug Bell. There are good things about m:Cite.php, but there are also a number of distinct disadvantages with it. Shoving it down the throats of editors who actually work on a specific article is obnoxious and in bad faith. Claiming that Harvard references are suddenly deprecated, in the absence of any WP process, but simply because a tool has been written to do conversions, is even worse.
The right thing to do is place a comment on a particular article's talk page letting editors who may be unaware of it that m:Cite.php exists, and that an automated conversion tool exists, should editors wish to convert the style. Out of however many millions of editors WP has, obviously a lot of them are unaware of the current state of technology changes underlying WP. But in the case of Retreat of glaciers since 1850, we actually had this specific discussion several months ago, and made a conscious, consensus decision to go with Harvard referencing. We're not idiots: we made that decision for specific reasons... maybe consensus can change with discussion, but not by fiat. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:49, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Nobody has properly addressed the really bad problems inherent in {{ref}}/{{note}} that Cite.php solves perfectly. These things tend to get terribly out of date. Oftentimes an editor may remove a sentence from an article (and, understandably, its ref). Now, all of a sudden all of the notes after it are misnumbered. Or even worse, suppose someone moves something around in an article. You'd have to spend awhile recording the new ordering and then moving all of the notes around in the references section accordingly. And many articles have problems with old notes that are no longer referenced still sticking around. And I've seen a fair number of refs whose corresponding notes have either been renamed or deleted. The old system is an unmaintainable mess. --Cyde Weys 18:22, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

The problems that m:Cite.php introduces obviously need to be balanced against the different problems it solves. For many uses, the newer system is better; for many other uses, the new system is worse. I know Cyde that you are proud of your automated conversion tool, but the work you did on it is apparently blinding you to the several fairly serious problems that continue to exist with m:Cite.php. Just covering your ears and chanting "la la la" doesn't solve the problems with m:Cite.php (though I have hopes that they will eventually be solved by software changes. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 20:15, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Lulu, what was your point, other than to insult Cyde by accusing him of "covering [his] ears and chanting 'la la la'"? I presume you are actually trying to understand the varying issues people have with both systems, discuss possible remedies and approaches openly, and work together with other editors to acheive consensus? I humbly suggest that your arrogant insulting demeanor might be counter-productive. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:48, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Interesting discussion! You may be interested in how this relates to Wikipedia talk:Citing_sources#Footnotes vs. Harvard references, as well. --J. J. 21:47, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Good job

This is a smart approach, Francis. —Encephalon 12:03, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

multiple references to the same source, but with different page numbers

For example, see quasi-finite field. Check the history too, we tried a few different options. I would like to have just one entry in the "references" section, and give different page numbers in the text itself. It seems a bit clunky to do this with a separate "notes" and "references" section. Is there an option with <ref>/<references/> to do this? Dmharvey 21:28, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

That would be kind of nice, but no, I don't think there's any way to do that. For the articles like that that I have written (like gas metal arc welding, for example), I have both sections (references and notes) --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 22:01, 17 April 2006 (UTC)

TfD nomination of Template:FootnotesSmall

Template:FootnotesSmall has been nominated for deletion. You are invited to comment on the discussion at the template's entry on the Templates for Deletion page. Thank you. Francis Schonken 12:21, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

When Harvard is (much) better than m:Cite.php

There are many times when Harvard references are preferable to m:Cite.php for a given article. Fortunately, Wikipedia:Footnotes continues to reflect this fact. Specifically, in scientifically oriented articles, an alphabetical list of bibliographic references that may be multiply referred to by name is vastly better than an order-of-first-occurence list of references by number only. This was an issue recently on Retreat of glaciers since 1850, when it was on the front page, and overzealous WP:BOLD deleted the consensus opinion of editors. (see also its talk page for some discussion of this).

In general, m:Cite.php is very well suited to footnotes: i.e. annotation of the main article flow that elaborate on some specific point in the article but would disrupt flow. It is far less well suited to citations which are bibliographic in nature (where it is still relevant to support specific assertions by reference to specific external sources).

The current limitation in the MediaWiki software and m:Cite.php is addressable in prinicple. But it doesn't do what is needed as currently implemented. The system does allow named references as well as inline ones. The problem is just that it forces in-line description on first occurrence, which is too narrow. I think something that would solve the issues would be allowing an "invisible" section to layout the references as actually desired (alphabetical, etc). For example, if I could do this, I'd probably use it more widely:

 <ref name=alpha>Alpha, Bob.  ''Cool article on topic''</ref>
 <ref name=beta>Beta, Sally. ''Sally weighs in''.  Note that Dr. Beta revises 
 this analysis in ''Later work''</ref>
 <ref name=gamma>Gamma, Yuri. ''Yet another one''</ref>
== Main article ==

 A number of experts contend Foo.<ref name=gamma/><ref name=alpha/>.  However, 
 other experts believe Bar might hold.<ref name=beta/>  The intermediate, Baz
 position is sometimes held by both sides.<ref name=alpha/><ref name=beta/>

This would let us put all the references together in a block, including annotation to the citations themselves. But it would also allow easy reference by name, and in orders other than the prose sequence (and also repeated references to the same source). This particular solution would still require listing references at top rather than at bottom, which might be a disadvantage; probably more important is that it would still use numbered references rather than named ones.

Another improvement that would address this might be to provide an option to the <references/> tag. E.g.:

== References ==
<references style=name/>

In my imagination of this, this would cause all the note links to use the reference names rather than sequential numbers; as is fitting to certain article topics. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:37, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

Just in case this might be an easier path to implementation, perhaps we can consider sorting by the "name" value. Since many name attributes would probably already use author last names as Harvard-style abbreviations of citations, and since one or two characters can be prefixed to the name value to force whatever order is desired, this might be easier to accomplish than sophisticated style-based methods. (Or not; I haven't thought it through. I just offer it as a possibility.) ~ Jeff Q (talk) 08:44, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
When using Footnotes3 I always try to use authordate in the reference names. Excepting webpages etc. - FrancisTyers 17:33, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

The ideal reference/footnote system wishlist

It seems that no one is fully happy with the current reference systems (templates, cite.php, etc.) I've proposed a new version of cite.php and other people have proposed other versions. My proposal would solve many of these, but let's take a step back and think about exactly what we want it to do first.  :-) Add/change whatever you think would be ideal. — Omegatron 16:52, 19 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Backwards compatible with the current systems
    That only makes it almost impossible to create a system with references at the bottom without requiring reworking of wikicode in thousands of pages. Circeus 01:06, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
    I don't understand your comment. — Omegatron 03:20, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
    If a new system is devised that centralize refs, hundreds of article needs to have the refs moved around, and there is no Whatlinkshere system we can use to spot them all. Circeus 15:02, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
    I still don't understand. Why would hundreds of articles need to have the refs moved around? — Omegatron 15:07, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
    His comments make sense under a misunderstanding that the system to be created should cause all existing articles to be displayed in the new system's format. I think we're referring to not breaking existing articles, not to instantly converting existing articles to a new system. (SEWilco 04:11, 26 April 2006 (UTC))
  • The content of a reference or footnote should be in the References section of the source code
    • so as not to interrupt the article text
    • so that it can logically be edited in the same place it appears in the rendered page
  • References should be easy to add without editing two places at once.
    The preceding two criteria you just mentioned are mutually exclusive, thus making this proposal unworkable. --Cyde Weys 18:27, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
    No they aren't. My proposal handles this fine. Besides, this is supposed to be a wish list.  :-) Trying to gauge what everyone wants, without thinking about how to implement it yet. — Omegatron 19:48, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
    Easy to add, not easy to modify ;-) I think the last proposal regarding this involved reference text inserted directly in a section being moved to the bottom when the article was saved; but there are probably cleaner ways of doing this. Kirill Lokshin 18:30, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
    The distinction between a note and a reference may be important here. A note is generally short, and insering something like {{note|Sagan, p. 57}} is not obstrusive to the flow of text. The reference, the complete bibliographic information can be put at the bottom of the page. This does mean you have to edit two places to add a citation from a new reference, but only once to add further citations to an existing reference, or to make a brief digressive note that is not a citation (although I can think of only a few examples of it not being better style to simply incorporate such a note into the text). Shimmin 18:52, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    Good point. — Omegatron 20:20, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    Consider other meanings of "editing two places at once". You're assuming the present single-edit-window interface. Bug 2745 suggests also showing an edit window for a "References" section. What one edits in a References window depends upon what annotation methods the software supports. There have been proposals which imply database-lookup interfaces for each citation. (SEWilco 03:47, 26 April 2006 (UTC))
  • Section editing and previewing should still work usefully (if you want to change a reference's text, edit the References section. If you want to edit the text that is referenced, edit the section it is in.)
  • It should be possible to organize the References section in different ways, either as a viewer choice or as an editor choice:
    • Chicago Manual of Style references in which each source is numbered in the order they appear in the article with ibid for multiple references to the same source.
      • Multiple references for a single fact are not allowed in this system, which could cause problems (a single number in the text corresponds to a listing of both sources)
    • Harvard style where the references are listed by author alphabetically?
    • Subreference style where references to a specific page/table/chapter appear as a sub-list of each reference?
    • Some ultimate combination of all of these?
    This doesn't seem to discuss the issue of different ways to represent the inline reference (i.e. [1], 1, (Smith), (Smith), etc.). —Doug Bell talkcontrib 19:45, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    Well, which do you wish it created? — Omegatron 20:18, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    The representation is trivial. The problem is in allowing enough information to be defined so it becomes possible to show the info in several ways. For example, if <ref> supported "author=Smith" and "year=1921" parameters then either [1] or (Smith) or (Smith 1921) can be created for the representation of the information. I'm not saying that is the best implementation, but is one option when using Cite.php type of technology. Don't confuse a database with the reports created from its information. (SEWilco 04:05, 26 April 2006 (UTC))
  • It should be possible to create separate "Notes" and "References" sections (if there are reference works which are not cited, for example).
  • It should (somehow) deal with footnotes that include explanatory text, with or without a straight citation as well.
    In what cases are explanatory text appropriate? Is there any time when explanatory text should exist on the same page but in a different place? I can't think of any. — Omegatron 20:22, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    Extended comments on rarely-used alternate names for historical topics are often put into a footnote; otherwise, the first sentence of the article becomes unreadable. And obviously any citation might have additional text annotating the source. Kirill Lokshin 22:21, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    Hmm.. Do you have an example? — Omegatron 22:45, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
    My favorite example for the alternate names; I can't think of an article with source annotations off the top of my head, but I assume those would be more common in places where certain sources may be controversial. Kirill Lokshin 22:49, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
I've added a point about separate note/reference sections; and using "Ibid." isn't really necessary, and would probably complicate the implementation. Aside from that, looks good. Kirill Lokshin 17:10, 19 April 2006 (UTC)
Link to [[m:Talk:Cite/Cite.php#"<ref>" and within-outside text issue|this]] in case it's pertinent here. Regards, David Kernow 17:28, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
  • It should be possible to have two columns of references rather than just one gigantic list. —Michiel Sikma, 15:30, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Proposed new WikiProject

User:Cyde has proposed at WikiProject Fact and Reference Check a new project aimed at dealing with the ref/note → cite.php conversion activity. I generally support the use of the cite.php system but ... there are enough arguments here that bring up cases where the negatives outweigh the positives that there should be some guidelines for when one system should be preferred over another.

Most of the arguments against the current implementation of cite.php revolve around two issues

  • breaking page flow
  • use of first instance numbering scheme

I think this group discussion here could come up with a couple of guidelines so that such an emergent WikiProject would help without contributing to controversy (a couple of other WikiProjects I've been involved with had actors that contributed to turmoil and divisiveness rather than quelling it ... I don't want to see that happen again if it can be avoided).

For instance, if an article is today primarly of ref/note or cite.php format, stick with how it presently stands until a better cite.php function can be created. I don't think this is unreasonable consider the vast number of articles that don't use either format right now.

Regards, User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 00:55, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Keeping articles with how they are for now sounds excellent. Thanks. Ëvilphoenix Burn! 03:34, 20 April 2006 (UTC)
I second that...I see no reason to start going around and altering thousands of articles just to get them all to follow this new style...especially since I for one am not convinced that it is that much of an improvement.--MONGO 09:48, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Putting roller skates on the horse

JA: That's not how the Automobile got invented. The way I see it, a lot of time and ingenuity is being wasted on a system of citation that experienced scholars just plain don't use anymore, and never will again, for all sorts of reasons that would be immediately obvious here if WikiPedians had a longer history of actually sourcing their contributions in any routine and systematic way. Here are some of things that normally become obvious when you do this all the time.

  1. Once you get more than a dozen or so items in your list of references and/or bibliography, then it's time to use an alphabetized list for both.
  2. The list of references needs to be in one place, not scattered throughout the text. This allows for (1) easy error correction and omission checking, by virtue of the parallel comparison of literature entries that it facilitates, (2) extracting the references whole hog from an article, as scholars already familiar with a topic often find that the literature section is the only thing of real interest, for instance, if it cites sources that they haven't seen before. Further, this practice helps to prevent the erosion of accurate citations that inevitably occurs as editors will tend to use more and more abbreviated reference entries as time goes on.

JA: I'll add some more items as they occur to me. Jon Awbrey 12:26, 20 April 2006 (UTC)

Proper mixture of note types

Earlier in this discussion, Francis Schonken provided an excellent example of where it is desirable to combine footnotes with citations: /Mixed citations and footnotes. The article on my classmate Jello Biafra is also a good example of more-or-less this usage "in the wild" (also mentioned somewhere above).

Often in those cases, it is desirable to allow citations to follow Harvard style (name of source in body, alphabetical listing at end), but still enable annotational footnotes. The more I have followed the discussion here and on some related talk pages, the less I think <ref> by itself will allow us to do what is necessary.

Basically, the m:Cite.php system is pretty good for footnotes, but it is more-or-less worthless for citations. There are some other problems with m:Cite.php too: chiefly the fact that you can easily and innocently change first occurrence of a particular named reference, hence messing up the article. Trying to shoe-horn citations into the system, which is really not suited to them, seems like the worst issue though.

I think what I will do is create a semi-bot to fix some of the problems with m:Cite.php referenced pages. Doing this is a bit more complicated than Cyde's refconverter, but should still be possible with a couple hours of programming. Here are the capabilities I'd like to implement:

  1. When multiple occurrences of the same m:Cite.php named reference exist, move the one with descriptive content to the earliest position.
    • If multiple occurrences have contents, provide a manual choice of which one is "authentic"
  2. In a user-guided manner, convert m:Cite.php references that look like citations to either Harvard or Label reference templates.
    • What's the criterion for "looks like"? Maybe start with ones that are entirely {cite XXX} templates.
    • Any better idea of what a citation is (as opposed to a footnote), from a robot perspective?
  3. Create separate "Footnotes" and "References" sections for the two types of notes.
  4. Put the whole thing on a web interface that lets users make the necessary decisions with checkboxes and the like.
    • The final result should be text that a user may manually copy into an article. I definitely don't want to have some errant bot make bad decisions without human guidance.

I looked over the PyWikipedia library, which looks easy to use. So I guess I'll get started. The page User:Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters/citation_tool will have project information. Of course, I'll release any code I write to the public domain, and all that. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 19:17, 21 April 2006 (UTC)

Clever idea, but it must be pointed out that anyone eventually wishing to use such a tool would need to keep this firmly in mind. Kirill Lokshin 19:46, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
I'll add a note to the page to indicate very explicitly that it should only be used when doing so meets the consensus of article editors. It's exactly the problems caused by blithe application of refconverter that made me realize that a "Harvardification" tool would be helpful... but most certainly I don't want the obvious symmetrical issue of uninvolved editors imposing their generic preferences for Harvard referencing; those decisions are for the editors actively involved in a given article. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 20:19, 21 April 2006 (UTC)
Looks good...I support this. Not being the best with the programming end of things nor the implementation of the use of this one article with about a have dozen or so Harvard style footnotes converted as an example would be most helpful.--MONGO 09:23, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Reached "useful"

I still need to play with the tool to get it to automatically do more of what I want. But I think I've moved it along far enough to be of some genuine use though. Take a look at User:Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters/citation tool, and particularly at the examples linked on the project page. So far it only identifies some genuine and non-obvious problems that exist in m:Cite.php referenced pages, including two that I found "in the wild" (I copied the problem pages to the project area in case someone fixes the issues I identify)... the next thing, certainly, is to generate the a recommended replacement wikitext when problems are flagged. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 07:33, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

new style footnotes template?

just wondering, is there a template setup for use with the new system? i've searched about but couldn't see anything, but what i'm meaning is something like this;

According to scientists, the Sun is pretty big.{{ref|Miller, E: "The Sun.", page 23. Academic Press, 2005}}
The Moon, however, is not so big.{{ref|Smith, R: "Size of the Moon", Scientific American, 46(78):46}}


with any extra paramaters being passed through using |'s. --MilkMiruku 01:03, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Such a setup is well outside the reach of usefulness for wikipedia. However, there is a template that can be subst'ed for the bottom references: {{footnotes}} Circeus 01:27, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
i would argue that it would be easier for newbies and others to use familiar template code to cite references, rather than having to use an html style code syntax. {{footnotes}} contains <references/> so that's kind of what i'm talking about, but why subst it plus some hidden text describing how to use it in rather than just using {{footnotes}} on an article? --MilkMiruku 01:43, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I guess the template system (double curly-brackets) isn't used because jumping back and forth between number and note is too sophisticated for it. If it is possible without being too clunky, then yes, I wonder why the new system isn't implemented that way. I think I'd like there to be better discrimination between footnotes and references, though. I'd say that superscripted numbers link to footnotes, not references. Regards, David Kernow 11:17, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

Question about clarity of the vertical arrow

I am a Wikipedian who has written quite a number of chemical engineering articles. I have been using <ref name=whatever>some reference</ref> to define my references and then <references/> to get them displayed in the References section.

I notice that when I use a reference only one time, the vertical arrow in the Reference section listing is very thin and spindly and hard-to-see. But when I use a reference multiple times, the vertical arrow and the accompanying superscripts (a b c ..) are quite bold and really stand out well. My question is why can't the arrow for a single-use reference look just as bold and well-defined as the arrow for a multiple-use reference?

As an aside, I must say that the how-to-use discussions at both Wikipedia:footnotes and at Cite.php need to be completely re-written by a non-computer guru so that we ordinary mortals can understand them. They are virtually incomprehensible at the moment.- mbeychok 18:43, 23 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm partially responsible for the page. I hoped to make it more accessible when I edited it, so I'd like to know what parts are unclear. The part I can identify that's unclear now is the lead section, which talks about a .php file and a MediaWiki extension, instead of, you know, footnotes.
I tried to get this called the "ref-tag" system, so that we're not exposing a pointless technical detail (the fact that its code resides in a file called Cite.php on the server) in the very name of the system, but unfortunately Cite.php seems to have stuck.
The article m:Cite.php is really about the code in Cite.php, on the other hand. It is a technical document aimed at developers. If anything intended for Wikipedia users is linking to that page without clarifying that it's not written for users, that should be changed.
Finally, I don't like the vertical arrow either, but there were a lot of people clamoring for it for some reason. It's fuzzy for most people because it's not one of the characters font designers put a lot of effort into designing well. It's particularly fuzzy for some people when it's blue (as a link), which probably has something to do with anti-aliasing working differently in color. But since people didn't like the caret (^), I'm not sure what we should do. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 20:43, 23 April 2006 (UTC)
Just in case there may be others reading this dialogue who can be helpful, here is a screen shot ==> Image:Footnote arrow screenshot.jpg of what the references section looks like in TA Luft#References using my WindowsXP browser and my flat-screen LCD monitor.
As for it possibly being caused by Microsoft ClearType anti-aliasing, I'm no computer guru but I must say that this has not ever occurred for any other live hyperlinks (which are also blue) on any of the multitude of web sites (or anywhere in Wikipedia) that I have visited ... so why does it occur only when using Cite.php?? There must be something that can be done to correct this. - mbeychok 00:02, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

More about cite.php's poor rendering of reference arrows

If we look at the cite.php references in Tourette syndrome, they render as daggers and straight vertical lines, and they are all bold and well defined ... but they are at 80% font size. I changed them to 100% font size and then they looked exactly like the poorly defined vertical arrows I've been seeing on my IE browser. Look at these two screen shots of the Tourette references, one is using regular 100% font size and one is using 80% font size ==> image:Tourette references 100%.jpg and ==> image:Tourette references 80%.jpg

There is no question but that the font size changes the appearance entirely! It is somewhat ridiculous for us to see entirely different looking references depending on the font size. Cite.php should abandon the arrows and go back to using the caret. - mbeychok 17:12, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, mbeychok, neither for the TA Luft article, nor for the Tourette syndrome article things look that way in "my WindowsXP browser and my flat-screen LCD monitor" when applying wikipedia's usual skin - might I ask whether:
  • You use another skin (I mean: not wikipedia's default "MonoBook"); or standard skin with non-standard settings?
  • You changed CSS settings and/or font size in your browser and/or applied other browser options/settings?
...which I sort of think as no "hyperlink" line shows under the links (standard MonoBook has such lines for links) --Francis Schonken 18:41, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Francis, I use the standard MonoBook skin. No, I have not changed any CSS settings ... I don't even know what that means. Have you looked at my screen shots of the Tourette article references? If so, how do you explain the difference just from changing font sizes?- mbeychok 19:47, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
I have also noticed the issue when Footnotes are reduced to sizes lower than 85%. It is quite serious and I think a warning should be placed in the page about it. The issue is not with Cite.php, which has no control over how exactly the character is displayed (I have no doubt that macs can display just right at 80%), but with the exploitation system. Circeus 21:00, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
This is a browser rendering bug, which varies as you change the font size (try ctrl+scroll wheel), and I see it in both IE 6 and Firefox (though the default size renders fine in Firefox)
Just so people aren't arguing about where the fault lies... — Omegatron 21:47, 24 April 2006 (UTC)
Omegatron, assuming you are correct and I have no reason to believe otherwise, should this bug not be resolved somehow?? After all, IE is probably the most used browser in existence. Again, I never had this problem with the caret (^) that was used, instead of arrows, with the Ref Label and Note Label system of footnoting. Why not go back to the caret? - mbeychok 23:10, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Changed back to caret

Since it fixes a usability bug, I've been bold and restored the caret instead of the arrow. Hopefully nobody was so attached to the arrow that this will become a big deal. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 19:23, 26 April 2006 (UTC)

The caret looks absolutely awful. I really hope that it's changed back to an arrow. I've found that using the normal arrow (without bold) yields proper results in most browsers (that I've tested) on 100% size and 85% size. Really, you don't need other sizes besides these two. Simply use 100% for a few references and 85% for a lot; this works well in all the setups that I've tested. I really hope that it is changed back soon. —Michiel Sikma, 20:10, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Ugh, the caret is ugly as hell; what's wrong with the arrow? --Rory096(block) 20:16, 26 April 2006 (UTC)
Below a given size, the arrow becomes a pipe. Also, the arrow has distinctly differing aspects when linking and not linking. Circeus 00:18, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Good for you, rspeer!! I am all in favor of the caret!! It looks much better than the spindly, faint arrow for did for single-use references on my IE browser. - mbeychok 01:34, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
The arrow symbol is not supported well by many fonts. See the discussion above. Demanding specific percentages is not going to make a difference; it really depends on how many actual pixels high the arrow is going to be on someone's screen, and whether their font rendering system tries (and utterly fails!) to smooth it.
The arrow looks distinctly less readable than the caret on many systems, including (accordng to Mbeychok) the default setup of Windows XP Home, so this is a usability bug that affects many Wikipedia readers. Remember to keep readers in mind; editors may be more technically advanced and able to tweak their fonts, but they aren't the entire audience of Wikipedia. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 04:13, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't get it. The arrow looks fine on the default Windows XP Home setup (without Cleartype) if the arrows are non-bold and at either 100% or 85% size. 85% size seems to have become the dominant "small" size among editors, and most featured articles that I've seen use it. Rather than enforcing a different (and less correct, arguably) character for all articles, we should make all arrows non-bold and make it policy to have the references either at 100% size or at 85% size. —Michiel Sikma, 06:38, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
I don't care about what's "correct". Both an arrow and a caret do a perfectly fine job of pointing upwards. If you want to argue over the semantic meaning of symbols, try joining the silly debate at C Sharp about whether # is an acceptable way to write the sharp symbol. Anyway, maybe Mbeychok has changed his font sizes or screen resolution at some point, or maybe you have, but the point is that the moment an anti-aliasing system (it doesn't have to be Cleartype-style) hits the arrow, it smudges it, because the arrow has no hinting. And if an anti-aliasing system doesn't hit it, you've got a 50% chance of getting something wonky and lopsided. Until there's a font designer who wants to do the thankless job of hinting symbols that people almost never use, and that font becomes standard across operating systems, the caret works much better. rspeer / ɹəədsɹ 17:03, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Like I said, both with and without Cleartype, the arrow without bolding looks fine, at both sizes 100% and 85%. I've found that the only situations in which they are not rendered correctly occur when an unreasonable font size is used (such as 75%) or when the arrow has been bolded (there is no bold information for the arrow, which means it will be rendered as faux bold). —Michiel Sikma, 08:43, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Michiel, it also depends on the fonts installed on people's systems. Note that some computer manufacturers bundle fonts with computers, and a lot of computers come with word processing packages that install their own fonts (MS Office, MS Works, Lotus SmartSuite, Corel WordPerfect, to name a few).
How is this relevant? This site uses the "sans-serif" font. Internet Explorer and Firefox use Arial as default font on Windows, and usually Bitstream Vera on Linux. Helvetica is a widely used default on Mac, and then there's Opera which uses Verdana by default. Are these exotic fonts? No, they're not. They render the arrow pretty well in most cases. —Michiel Sikma, 08:43, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
By the way, I should add that I think usability is the most important factor. If there's no good way of getting an upwards arrow to show up correctly in most important operating systems, then I guess a caret is the only solution. I just think it looks a bit bad. —Michiel Sikma, 08:59, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
The caret looks horrible.  :-) Sure, the arrow doesn't render correctly on my machine some of the time (Firefox bugfix?), but the caret is worse. Is there a middle-ground compromise? Perhaps an image of an arrow? What are we really trying to say with the arrow/caret? We're trying to say that you can click it to go back to the point in the text where the reference was cited. Is there a better way to notate this? — Omegatron 17:01, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Here are a few symbols that may work:
  • Δ Δ Δ Δ (Delta)
  • Λ Λ Λ Λ (Lambda)
  • (black up-pointing triangle)
  • » » » » (right-pointing double angle quotation mark)
  • ~ ~ ~ ~ (tilde)
  • (ellipsis)
For comparison:
  • (up arrow)
  • ^ ^ ^ ^ (caret)
None of them look that great to me. Evil saltine 23:09, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
An image would definitely fix any kind of anti-aliasing problems. Downside is that it doesn't scale along with the page when viewing it in a different font size, but all normal lists have images as well, anyway. —Michiel Sikma, 12:46, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
I'd definitely avoid images. I mean, just a few days ago the size-reducing template for footnotes ({{subst:FootnotesSmall}}) was voted keep, and FA review often leads to footnotes being reduced in size (if they weren't already), so unavoidably we're going to see more of that in the future. --Francis Schonken 13:21, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
What does arbitrary resizing of text have to do with images? I think an image would be a good choice. The triangle would work, too. Looks fine at all sizes in both browsers that I use. — Omegatron 13:51, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes mock-up

  1. a b c d Biafra, Jello. "Platform for 2000 Green Party Presidential Primary". March 7, 2000.
  2. a b "Biography of Jello Biafra" (2001). Retrieved Feb 19, 2005.
  3. a b Huey, Steve. "Jello Biafra". All Music Guide. Retrieved Feb 20, 2005.
  4. a b Vander Molen, Jodi. "Jello Biafra Interview". The Progressive. February 2002.
  5. Biafra, Jello. "Running for Mayor". I Blow Minds for a Living. San Francisco: Alternative Tentacles. 1991.
I don't like any of them much. I would much prefer to have the footnote's number being a backlink, with no additional symbol between that and the footnote text. That is unobstrusive, gives a large, clickable area, and is semantically just as meaningful as having a caret or up-arrow (or whatever other symbol we want to invent here.) The only case where this makes no sense is if there is a many-to-one relationship (several places referring to the same footnote); this is rare and we must do something special in that case anyway. Arbor 17:15, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
The ▲ looks good to me ... just as good as the caret. If we get a consensus to use the ▲, then I strongly suggest that it apply to all of the footnoting methods across-the-board that currently use either the caret or the arrow. For example, the {{ref label}} and {{note label}} method was changed a few weeks ago from the caret to the arrow ... it is one of the methods that should be included in my across-the-board suggestion. - mbeychok 18:11, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Just voicing my support for the caret. The triangle looks too bulky, and the arrow too spindly. The "right-pointing double angle quotation mark" looks nice, too.
  1. » Biafra, Jello. "Running for Mayor".
-- Ec5618 10:27, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that the ▲ looks awful. —Michiel Sikma, 06:03, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Ugh, I really hope someone changes it back to the arrow, which was much better IMO. How many complaints have there been from people not having the correct fonts installed? If it aint broke, don't fix it. jacoplane 08:07, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed; but, since revisting the above, it seems the arrow too is not universally favored, the solution might be to include setting the footnote link-back character among user preferences. Any chance this might ever happen?  Regards, David Kernow 13:07, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

I much prefer the upward-pointing arrow to the meaningless carat too, but it seems to be too problematic in Windows' font rendering. Perhaps a graphical arrow would be a better solution.

But I think this would be much less of an issue if the back-link were moved to the end of the citation.

  1. The back-link is not a label for the citation (the number is), it is a supplementary control, which would be typically used after reading the citation.
  2. The back-link at the front degrades the visual representation of a list of citations, by destroying the uniform line of author names following their number labels.
  3. The back-link is an optional helper link, not a critical interface element: in typical use the browser's back button already fulfils the same function.

The back-link would be less graphically prominent at the end of the line, where it belongs. Whether mis-rendered arrow or inappropriate carat, it would be less of a visual blot on the page in its proper place. Michael Z. 2006-05-08 15:19 Z

Request for Comments

I have opened Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Cyde to try to resolve some ongoing problems with conversions of articles in other reference formats to m:Cite.php, where contrary to consensus. I welcome your input. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 23:18, 24 April 2006 (UTC)

Thanks, Mongo, for adding the non-mandatory note

Mongo, thanks for adding that alert at the start of this article that use of the Cite.php method is not mandatory and that we are free to use other methods. - mbeychok 01:42, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Proposed "How to use Cite.php" section for beginners

Below is a proposed "How to use" section that I believe is a better explanation for people not knowledgeable in computerese jargon (like myself, for example). Any comments? And before anyone raises objections to my use of bolded text in places, I firmly believe it enhances the explanation very much. - mbeychok 22:23, 27 April 2006 (UTC)


References and Reference Lists using Cite.php

Multiple insertion of the same reference

On the Edit page, this is placed at the first insertion point of citation:

<ref name="Perry">Perry's Handbook, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill Co., 1984.</ref>

This is placed at the second insertion point of citation:

<ref name="Perry"/>

This is placed at the third insertion point of citation:

<ref name="Perry"/> ..... and so forth for further insertion points

Single insertion of a reference

For the single insertion of a reference, the "name" parameter is not needed. On the Edit page, this is placed at the insertion point of citation:

<ref>Excel For Dummies, First Edition, Hungry Minds, Inc., 1980.</ref>

What is produced at the points of insertion

These are what is produced and note that the reference numbers in blue are automatically generated. Clicking on any one of the reference numbers causes the screen display to scroll down to that reference number in the Reference List section:

First [4] text word referenced to Perry's Handbook
Second [4] text word referenced to Perry's Handbook
Third [4] text word referenced to Perry's Handbook
The only [5] text word referenced to the Excel book.

Producing the reference or footnote list

On the Edit page, this is placed in the References or the Footnotes section:


This is what it produces and note that the list numbers are automatically generated:

  1. ^ a b c Template:Cite journal...
  2. ^ a b c Template:Cite journal...
  3. ^ Different example details
  4. ^ a b c Perry's Handbook, Sixth Edition, McGraw-Hill Co., 1984.
  5. ^ Excel For Dummies, First Edition, Hungry Minds, Inc., 1980.

Notes on the Cite.php method

  • Clicking on any of the reference markers like [1] inserted in the text of an article causes the screen display to scroll down the point where that reference is located in the Reference List.
  • Clicking on the blue superscript a on a reference in the Reference List causes the screen display to scroll back up to the point where the first reference to Perry's Handbook was inserted. Clicking on the blue superscript b causes the screen display to scroll back up to the point where the the second reference to Perry's Handbook was inserted. Clicking on the blue superscript c causes the screen display to scroll back up to the point where the the third reference to Perry's Handbook was inserted ... and so forth.
  • Clicking on any caret (^) on a reference in the Reference List that has no associated superscripts causes the screen display to scroll back up to the point where that single-use references was inserted.

- mbeychok 22:23, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Maybe a good idea to have such less complicated "manual" on help:Footnotes, and link that page more clearly from this more detailed guideline page. --Francis Schonken 09:19, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Francis, how about an additional section both here on Wikipedia:Footnotes and on Help:Footnotes entitled "How to use footnotes for Beginners" or "Footnotes for Dummies" or "Footnotes for Newbies" or ??? - mbeychok 02:37, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

Sorry to have to inform you all about this incident, but user:omniplex just put Help:How to use Cite.php references up for deletion at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Help:How to use Cite.php references.

I thought it a good idea to have the Help:How to use Cite.php references page with a short and easy intro to cite.php footnotes, but others apparently prefer messy pages where technical manuals and short intros are all pasted next to each other on the same page... Anyway, you'll have to go vote at MfD if you want to keep the separate "for beginners" help page. --Francis Schonken 19:13, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Please help test Citation Tool

The tool (semi-bot) that I have been working on, Citation Tool has reached a usable and useful state, I believe. The purpose of this tool is several fold, but the main (and implemented) goal is the detection and guided correction of errors in m:Cite.php markup.

As of this exact moment, the tool does the correct diagnosis of two types of errors. By later today, it should also be able to propose specific modified text that corrects the errors (sometimes requiring operator decisions). The web page for the tool also links back to the edit page for a given corrected article. Notice that any modification made based on the advice of Citation Tool is made under the user's own WP username. The two types of problems currently identified are:

  1. Multiple <ref name=...> tags with the same name but different contents (hence hiding all but the first in the rendered page).
  2. Empty <ref name=...> tags that occur before ones with content. Same basic problem, but this is especially easy to inadvertantly create if articles are reorganized.

These type of errors seem to occur quite frequently "in the wild".

The proposed changes made by Citation Tool do not change the referencing style or technology used on a page (currently: plans are underway to aid insertion of Harvard references as an adjunct to footnotes, where a mixed style is appropriate). So as far as I can see, the changes proposed by the tool should be non-controversial. The only possible issue I can see is that editors might disagree about whether a currently hidden footnote content is or is not better than the one that had been visible; but that's a pretty regular editorial/content issue, per article.

Well... the other issue is that the tool might be buggy, since it hasn't been banged on by anyone other than me yet. That's why I'd appreciate some other people using it, and paying attention to results. If the diagnosis or proposed solution seems to be wrong for certain pages, that matter needs to be identified and fixed. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 21:41, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Citations and punctuation

A line has recently been added to say that citations should go after punctuation. Why is this? It means that a citation is in a different clause or sentence to what it's referring to. It looks completely illogical. Is it a UK/US difference in preference? If it is, the general practice of not mandating either way but requiring consistency within an article should be followed. Worldtraveller 09:54, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

I wondered about this myself...what I usually do is end the sentence with a period, immediately add the reference and then ensure a space exists after the end of the reference and before the next sentence...either way though, having the refence inside the sentence is probably better.--MONGO 10:28, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
In the recommended form, the citation is not in a sentence or clause at all; it's between the sentence or clause which it supports and the next sentence or clause. The citation is not, logically, part of the sentence it supports (since it can't support itself ;)). Personally, however, I couldn't care less where you put the citation as long as you're consistent. HenryFlower 10:31, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

See above (Wikipedia_talk:Footnotes#citation_location) for the reasoning. I felt that it's pretty well established that citations follow punctuation, based on my interactions with others here and the Chicago Manual of Style. Personally, I've never seen a published document where superscript footnotes/endnotes are placed before the punctuation. I'm not sure what you mean about it being in a separate clause—there's no space between the punctuation and the citation, and there's a space following the citation. I would think that that makes it clear that the citation is refering to what precedes it. To me, it looks much neater this way. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 17:55, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

One more thing that might perhaps show that consensus exists for this standard—often, the citation style in FACs is totally disorganized, with spaces and punctuation thrown around haphazardly. I have changed many articles to reflect the location standard currently in the MOS, and have only been challenged on it twice that I can recall. One of those times, I was reverted but another editor (User:Eternal Equinox) came through several weeks later and changed it back (see [4]), and it's been like that ever since. The other time was on a current FAC, so I'm waiting on that one to see where this discussion goes. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 18:09, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

As much as national conventions or specific external style guides, I think WP guidelines on puncutation and notes are optimized for presentation on the WWW (while not being anything terrible for print presentation). Some conventions that look pretty good in books printed at 2400 dpi, and that use micro-spacing, typographic quotes, and proper ligatures, just don't render so well on computer screens. Obviously, display technologies vary and generally improve; but keep in mind people in poor countries who likely have relatively crude computer displays, as a baseline (my sub-pixel anti-aliased 1440x900 MacBook LCD is pretty state-of-the-art... how would a WP page look at 800x600 on a CRT with mediocre convergence?)

For example, to my mind, the first of these is vastly more readable as a web document:

  1. Dr. Joseph Wu comments that, "All foos are bars".[17]
  2. Dr. Joseph Wu comments that, "All foos are bars."[17]
  3. Dr. Joseph Wu comments that, "All foos are bars"[17].

YMMV. Lulu of the Lotus-Eaters 18:48, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Practice varies with respect to the placement of reference citations before or after punctuation; most writers wisely opt to place them after (as in example 1), for the logical aspects pointed out above, and for visual neatness. The latter is particularly problematic when more than one citation appears before a punctutation mark.

With respect to the placement of the stop before or after the closing quote marks, many North American writers prefer the before option, which is, IMV, not logical. The practice is common for direct quotes in fiction throughout the English-speaking world, but extending this to other registers is a regrettable practice.

You could lose the dot after 'Dr'.

Tony 02:13, 30 April 2006 (UTC)

  • At the risk of throwing (another) spanner in the works, I find instances where a distinction between placing a footnote marker before or after a period (full-stop) can be useful. For instance:

This is the first sentence of the paragraph. This is the second and final sentence of the paragraph[1].

This is the first sentence of the paragraph. This is the second and final sentence of the paragraph.[1]

In the context of text where footnote marking is position-sensitive, I would read the footnote marker in the first paragraph as applying only to the second sentence of the paragraph. In the second paragraph, however, I'd read the marker as applying to the whole paragraph (or, if not at the end of a paragraph, to more than the single sentence preceeding it). Subtle, but something I've seen and appreciated. Regards, David Kernow 20:03, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
PS I note that at present the <ref> link-back character has been changed to a caret (^). This is an insubstantial character at normal font-size which becomes very insubstantial at the reduced font-size footnotes tend to use. Would someone with the means to restore the up-arrow or another more substantial character please do so?  Thanks, David

It wasn't long ago that it was changed from a caret to an arrow. ;) HenryFlower 20:34, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
In theory, however, one would never see the first example, because the author should put a citation after the first sentence of the paragraph to indicate the source of that sentence. As it is currently, only half of the paragraph is properly sourced. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 22:20, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Let's remember that we're talking about footnotes on Wikipedia, not footnotes in general. In a Wikipedia article, most sentences are not and should not be sourced with footnotes. We source specific categories of statements (such as quotations and contentious propositions). It's unlikely that a whole paragraph will require sourcing. (And that kind of system for distinguishing paragraph from sentence citations, while elegant, is not something that could ever be consistently used on a wiki with thousands of editors passing through). HenryFlower 22:25, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
There we disagree. Even general information should be sourced, but to do that, the best way is to get a general reference and use that one reference for an entire paragraph. If more than one reference is used to write a paragraph, put in two citations. If done properly, it's usually pretty simple to cite every fact in an article while only using 1-3 citations per paragraph. Remember that we here at wikipedia have an even greater need to cite our sources than Encyclopedia Brittanica, because I'm just a college student writing articles way outside my course of study. I've got to prove that it's not just me talking, and to do that, I have to cite published works. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 22:31, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Also, if I'm bouncing back and forth between sources within the same paragraph, I'll just put both sources at the end of the paragraph, rather than putting repeat citations after each sentence. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 22:38, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem with that is that it's not very wiki. It's fine if the reader knows that "this is a Spangineer article, and that's the way Spangineer does it" (but then those people will already know that Spangineer is sound, and won't worry about his sourcing). But once, in the wiki way, someone else edits the article, or the reader moves on to another article, the system breaks down and no-one (except Spangineer) knows what the references are meant to be referencing. Sourcing selected specific points is the only system that can reasonably work across the wiki. HenryFlower 22:52, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
Unless of course everyone sees the light and realizes that I'm the one doing it right, and they follow my lead =). You're right though—there have been times where people add stuff to articles I've written without providing sources. That makes me have to either revert or find a source for their contribution. Eventually we might have something cool where editors attach a reference to each addition (like in a separate edit box) so that it's always clear what came from where, but at this point, there will always be some ambiguity. The goal ought to be to reduce that as much as possible, but we've got to have readability too. Perhaps we could use {{inote}} in certain cases, to provide specific details that might not warrant an appearance in the references section. --Spangineer[es] (háblame) 23:00, 2 May 2006 (UTC)

Resizing footnotes - what is going on?

Could someone tell me what is going on re. the resizing of footnotes?


  1. there was NO consensus to resize all footnotes to a uniform format via wikipedia's stylesheet, when this was discussed at Village Pump/proposals (section now archived);
  2. When the template for resizing ({{subst:FootnotesSmall}}) was proposed at TfD, it SURVIVED the vote, and there are many articles that apply resizing of footnotes to, e.g., 85%, 90%, 92% (smaller than 90% is discouraged, but some articles still have 85%, etc...)

Now apparently, someone PUT A RESIZING IN WIKIPEDIA'S CSS (or in cite.php? I don't know)... which, when combined with the ALLOWED template for resizing, leads to unreadable small fonts.

Could someone stop this nonsense, which has been overriding community consensus, thanks! --Francis Schonken 10:12, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

This is the most stupid thing ever. Who has done this? There are a gigantic amount of articles which set the size outside of the reference tags. A lot of articles, including the one I'm actively contributing to, simply put a div at size 85 around their references if needed. A lot of FA do this, too. It baffles me how anyone could have made this change in his right mind without realizing that it would break a LOT of featured articles. For now, please just roll this back! —Michiel Sikma, 06:05, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Seems that the change was done by User:R. Koot. See here: Wikipedia:Village_pump_(technical)#Change_to_MediaWiki:Common.css_requested_for_references (if you, too, disagree with this change, please let them know there). Here is a diff. —Michiel Sikma, 06:27, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
see this (even if this looks OK on your screen, believe me, it is NOT OK)...

This edit to MediaWiki:Common.css is responsible, in part, for the change. I suggest taking the matter up on MediaWiki_talk:Common.css. Rob Church (talk) 06:15, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Link-back character

Also, would someone please restore the up-arrow or another more substantial link-back character than the caret currently being used. The caret character is already pretty small at normal fontsize, so at 90% or less... Thanks, David Kernow 09:51, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Ideas about overcoming m:Cite.php problems

Now that I've got Citation Tool to pretty much automate fixing actual errors in m:Cite.php referenced articles, I've started thinking more (with some helpful suggestions provided to me) about the usability problems of inline <ref> tags.

Basically, many editors find that long citations in the middle of wikitext disrupt the appearance of the edit window, and make it more difficult to edit articles. A number of editors have expressed an interest in being able to group reference contents together in one place and refer to them where needed using <ref name="foo"/>. Maybe that just means that the {{ref|foo}} templates really aren't that bad; but there's something to be said for a more unified referencing system.

I've played around a bit with what can be accomplished still using m:Cite.php, even in its current form. I'd be very interested in what editors think of either this modification of a real article:

Or look at this test case with a bit more explanation of what's going on:

LotLE×talk 02:57, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

I've been looking this over and I like minimizes the space it takes up in the editing window text...again, can the refences be at the end of the article rather than the beginning and is there anyway to eliminate the "a" and "b" in the cited section, unless it is a multiple thing. I know you gave me answer on this already, so I'm just being redundant for the sake of being so. The format is not as complicated as Harvard style and I think can be quickly learned.--MONGO 03:09, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Interesting idea, but there's an obvious problem: editing the citations requires editing the entire article, since they're contained in "section" 0 instead of either the "References" section or the section being cited. Sort of the worst of both cases in terms of section editing ;-) Kirill Lokshin 03:15, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I think that is what I meant, trying to fumble my way through it...if the cites are subsectioned, can they be placed in the end.--MONGO 03:27, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I pretty much agree with Kirill Lokshin here. If it were possible to put this block of references at the bottom of the article rather than at the top, that would be a lot nicer. I don't think the main complaint is about editing the whole article as such, but rather about the first occurrence being hard to find, and often looking disruptive when the content interrupts text flow. Unfortunately, m:Cite.php currently insists on first occurrence being the definitive one. Something like looking for "first non-empty occurrence" would solve a lot of this. Then we could but the whole hidden <div> think down in the "References" section, immediately before the actual <references/> tag. That would still allow footnotes to be defined inline where such was desired, but give the option of forward reference to names that were defined in one place (even a mixture of the two in the same article could be useful). LotLE×talk 03:32, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
I really like what has been done here and am interested if there has been any progress in changing cite.php code to allow reference lists at the bottom! InvictaHOG 02:22, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Ooh, that's quite ingenious. I'd proposed the same thing below, but using a "hide" tag within the reference itself to avoid the superfluous backreference ("a") being generated. Stevage 12:48, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Live "hybrid references"

Since I posted my comment on the "hidden refs", I figured out how to properly hide them, and implemented "live" versions at Cuba and Shoshone National Forest. There's an informal "project page" at User:CitationTool/Hybrid referencing. I'm still waiting on the code changes to let us move those reference blocks to a later section of the page; but if the code change is made, it should be a simple cut-and-paste to move the identical reference block down, where used. LotLE×talk 03:40, 12 May 2006 (UTC)

Fixing non-1st ref content

The major remaining headache with Cite.php references is that a non-first <ref name="foo">Details</ref> element will not have its contents rendered by <references/>, even if all the earlier tags are empty. If this limitation was lifted it would both avoid the problems created by innocent insertion of references earlier in text (including because of section refactoring), and also allow editors the option of grouping references details in one place.

Above, I presented some attempts at grouping references within a <div style="visibility:hidden"> block. This sort of works, but requires reference be specified at top, which is undesirable. If the same general style could be used with references specified at bottom (i.e. just before the <references/> tag), that would be useful for many articles (depending on style desired by editors of particular articles).

I do not have the MediaWiki software installed, nor do I know the process by which code changes are implemented on Wikipedia. However, looking at Cite.php, it appears the fix should be extremely simple:

--- Cite.php    2006-05-04 13:12:19.000000000 -0400
+++        2006-05-04 12:47:24.000000000 -0400
@@ -291,7 +291,12 @@
                                } else
-                                       // We've been here before
+                                       // We've been here before 
+                                       $found_text = $this->mRefs[$key]['text'];
+                                       if ( empty($found_text) and !empty($str)) {
+                                          // If no text found before, use this text
+                                          $this->mRefs[$key]['text'] = $str;
+                                       }

As I said, this is untested since I have not installed MediaWiki (and it's been a bit over a year since I touched PHP). Can someone test this for me, and especially get this or something like it added to the working code (all rights to my changes released, blah, blah...). LotLE×talk 17:17, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Have you heard anything back from anyone about your proposal? Any updates? InvictaHOG 02:24, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
No, but it took me a while of falling on deaf ears here to figure out that a better place to report it was at: <>. I did that just recently; hopefully some regular developers will address it (if you know any to nudge...). LotLE×talk 03:32, 12 May 2006 (UTC)
Fwiw, I had requested this at [bug:6997]. I had a subsequent request, that of allowing footnotes to be invisible. This would allow you to do something like this (using round brackets instead of point ones for convenience):
(ref name="foo"/) blah
(ref name="foo"/) bloo
(ref name="foo" hide="true") but actually some really long multiline footnote(/ref) <-- first definition of footnote, doesn't actually show up in rendered page
(references /)
The goal is to address the concerns of those that hate (ref) tags because they force you to put the content of the footnote in the body of the text. Stevage 12:45, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

New proposal regarding resizing issue

See: MediaWiki talk:Common.css#Proposing other solution (at least part of a solution for the future)

Please give me some time to make this work technically, might be a good part of a solution. --Francis Schonken 14:58, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Footnotes referring to previous footnotes?

I'd like a footnote to refer to another named footnote, for example:

1. A footnote
2. Smith J.,, "How to rename footnotes on Wikipedia articles" publ. 2005 Wikipedia
3. Another footnote
4. Smith (2005) op cit, See footnote [2]

Since footnote numbers change, I'd like to name footnote 2, eg. <ref name="smith2005">.. etc, but don't know if it's possible to include the generated footnote number in another as shown above? Perhaps something like, <ref>Smith (2005) "op cit", see footnote [<ref number="smith2005" />] </ref>? --Iantresman 10:35, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Nested footnotes

To give it a name, I think you're referring to "nesting" footnotes. Indeed, it doesn't seem to work! Looks like something our technical folks might be able to figure out. An alternative is to just put two footnotes in the same part of the article. See my test: User:RockOfVictory/Footnote_nesting. --J. J. 14:49, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for that, though I think nested footnotes would provide additional functionality, whereby (a) a footnote in a footnote would create a new footnote, rather than (b) referencing an existing footnote. Nice workaround though. --Iantresman 21:48, 7 May 2006 (UTC)


The superscripted numbers should have a title= tooltip containing as much of the text of the reference as will fit. 23:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

References/Citations/Footnotes - and a 'while you're reading' idea

I really like this system, but the results at the bottom of a well-referenced (and noted) article is a mess. Intermixed references/citations/Footnotes are not really benificial for 'quick' comprehension that should be the web... there must be some way of splitting this same system between different uses. And if you applied the same code between <ref> <foot> and <cite> tags? (and why not <web> while you're at it?) This would be the simplest way of providing users of this system a few more sorting options - and a cleaner pagebottom!

Also, how about a little addition to end this very 'paper-esque' habit of having to flip to the page bottom to see references? Since the tag content is already extracted during the php page assembly, why not add an extra line to insert it into the 'reference number's "title" tag? (As in [<a href="#anchor_five" alt="whatever" title="reference_from_tag_here">4</a>]) - this would make the reference appear while the mouse is over the wee inline reference number that remains small enough to be unobtrusive. Thus, if the reader wants that reference desperately enough he can click down to it, but if not he can continue reading uninterrupted. The wee floating tag may be a bit small (long) to contain all reference text in some cases, but on the other hand I wouldn't suggest using the very obtrusive 'floating div' system. But to each his own tastes. Just my two cents.

--THEPROMENADER 07:25, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

No space between period and ref

Per the most recent edit, I agree that putting a space between a period (or other punctuation) and the following <ref> tag looks bad. At the least, we should not recommend doing so; I'd actually rather specifically advice against it. LotLE×talk 07:37, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

The problem is also that such a space makes the footnote wrap to the next line. To avoid that we would have to use &nbsp; instead of a simple space char. I don't think this is worth the trouble. See also my testpage at User:Ligulem/work/fn1. --Ligulem 09:05, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
It doesn't make it wrap to the next line for me. Perhaps it depends on the browser. If we didn't have the square brackets, it wouldn't look so bad without a space, but with the brackets, it's very crowded. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:12, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
It wraps to the next line in Mozilla Firefox 1.5 and Internet Explorer 6.0 (both running on Windows XP Pro, patched with all SP's and security fixes). Which browser does not wrap to next line? --Ligulem 09:33, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm using Firefox on a Mac. SlimVirgin (talk) 09:47, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that when editing, it looks very messy to have the whole thing running together on one line. This is yet another case of suitability for readers clashing with suitability of editors. :( Johnleemk | Talk 09:22, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. It looks messy in edit window. That's really bad. HTML comments could help, but they are a pain to use also. Sigh. --Ligulem 09:33, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I just noticed that we could insert a space between "<ref" and the closing ">" (example [5]). This would make the text flow to the next line in the edit window only. --Ligulem 09:42, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
It's generally hard to edit with these refs inserted, particularly when there are several in one paragraph. Is there any way of making the words inside the ref tags look different in edit mode from the rest of the text? SlimVirgin (talk) 09:45, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Not to my knowledge. But that would be cool. With an external editor, that would not be too hard to program. Maybe there is even one out there that could be configured to do so. There are a lot of editors for programmers that can do syntax highlighting (html for example). The edit window is generally a real pain to use for larger text anyway (it also laks some important editor capabilites like a decent undo/redo). The inline refs are making that even worser. --Ligulem 09:57, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I wonder how we could find out whether it's possible. I love these refs but they make copy editing really hard. I'm pasting an example below: if you look at it in edit mode, it's practically impossible to see where one sentence ends and the next begins. SlimVirgin (talk) 10:07, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Some legal scholars have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, [1] including prominent international law expert [2] [3] Julius Stone [4] and Eugene Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School, Under Secretary for Political Affairs under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and one of the dafters of UN Security Council Resolution 242. [5] According to Rostow "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there." [6]

In reply to SlimVirgin: I fully agree with you. Editing this kind of stuff is awful. The edit window is technically too limited to help out here (and my programmer knoweldge hints to me that this won't change anytime soon). The only thing that comes to mind is that we could add some spaces/newlines or html comment. For example this would be ok (at least wiki-technically, see wiki source in edit mode):

Some legal scholars have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, [7] including prominent international law expert [8] [9] Julius Stone [10] and Eugene Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School, Under Secretary for Political Affairs under President Lyndon B. Johnson, and one of the dafters of UN Security Council Resolution 242. [11] According to Rostow "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there." [12]

Of course, reading this kind of wiki-source is still awful, but the referencing content is somewhat set separate. --Ligulem 11:16, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

That's a bit better, thank you. I'll give it a try. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:13, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Edit window formatting and wrapping

I think a couple things might be unclear in the above discussion. If a space is left between a period and a <ref> tag, the note will not automatically wrap to the next line (in either edit window or as rendered). It's just that it has the opportunity to do so. Exactly when that happens depends on browser, font used, size of screen, size of browser window, etc. You can definitely force the effect by playing with the sizing of your browser window, in pretty much any browser (other than 'lynx', I suppose). But it's not something as simple as IE vs. Firefox.

For example, by selectively resizing my window, I got SlimVirgin's example to render like:

Some legal scholars have argued that the settlements are legal under international law, 
[13] including prominent international law expert [14] [15] Julius Stone [16] and Eugene 
Rostow, Dean of Yale Law School, Under Secretary for Political Affairs under...

Which is definitely not good (it was a bit smaller than I happen to size normally, but not anything extreme; I did, obviously nudge it until it did just the wrong thing I wanted to demonstrate... but this will happen with a certain frequency at any browser size and enough notes).

In any case, I find that a space between the period and the ref looks absolutely awful even when the note doesn't wrap to the next line... and even worse when it does, of course. So I'd really like the guideline to explicitly say not to do that. There are several approaches to improving readability in the edit window, while not leaving a space. Let me mention a couple:

This is main text.<ref >A footnote for the text.</ref>.  And some more text.

By putting a space in <ref >, the footnote may wrap to the next line in the edit window, but won't leave extra space as rendered. If a reference has a name, it achieves a similar effect:

This is main text.<ref name="foo137">A footnote for the text.</ref>.  And some more text.

This lets the edit window wrap before 'name' if it needs to. Adding XML comments also lets you force layout without affecting rendering:

This is main text.<!--
--><ref name="foo137">A footnote for the text.</ref>.  <!--
-->And some more text.

However, I find that the use of citation templates, apart from their basic advantages, also lets you be more presentable with the layout of inlined references. Here's an example I gave in a discussion on my talk page:

In the first few months after the attacks, most representatives from these professions 
who gave statements to media outlets lauded the "performance" of the Twin Towers, 
suggesting that loss of life could have been far worse if design and construction 
of the buildings had been of lesser quality. Radical design decisions made by the 
WTC team were compared to more time-tested [[skyscraper]] designs. A report entitled 
"World Trade Center Building Performance Study"<ref>{{cite book
 | editor=Therese McAllister
 | date=May
 | year=2002
 | title=World Trade Center Building Performance Study
 | publisher=[[Federal Emergency Management Agency|FEMA]]/[[American Society of Civil Engineers|ASCE]]
 | volume=report 403 
 | url=
}}</ref> issued by the [[Federal Emergency Management Agency]] (FEMA) in May 2002, 
pronounced the WTC design fundamentally safe and attributed the collapse wholly to 
extraordinary factors beyond the control of the builders.

I think that gives pretty good visual separation of the note, albeit occupying a bit of space in the edit window. LotLE×talk 19:38, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Nice description. Thanks LotLE. I just would like to add that (for those who like it, no intention to urge anybody to do so) you can add spaces and newlines between "{{" and "cite book" (the name of the template). To the wrapping thing: it can happen also in between multi-footnotes[13] [14] (← like these) if they are separated by normal spaces. If you want to avoid that, &nbsp; must be used instead of a plain space char. --Ligulem 21:37, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
Can someone explain the point of these citation templates? They seem to create extra work for no benefit that I've ever seen. I'm afraid I didn't get the point of Lulu's examples. The first one he said looked bad, for example, looked fine to me. I think we should do what most publishing houses do, regarding whether to leave a space before ref or not, but I'm looking through my bookshelves here, and it isn't obvious whether there's a space or not. If we could get rid of the square brackets, that would help a lot. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:43, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
On looking bad: I suppose one part is just an aethetic thing I can't convince you of. Looking at the "Some legal scholars..." quote above, I find " expert [14] [15] Julius Stone ..." really jarring to look at with the spaces scattered among the text and notes. But if you don't, you don't. However, look at note "[13]" in the same sample. In that, the note is on an entirely different line than the clause it supports, which is bad beyond mere aesthetics: it's directly disruptive of reading flow. LotLE×talk 22:21, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
There is no need to use those citation templates. Some like them, some not. They do have pros and cons. --Ligulem 21:58, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
It is a somewhat separate issue from footnotes, but I see two main advantages to citation templates:
  1. Consistency of reference format across articles. We can change, site-wide, the style guide used for everything that uses, e.g., a "cite book" template. No doubt, any concrete change might raise disagreement; but think also of republishers of WP content. Presumably someone assembling all the WP articles on, say, Geology, into a printed book or CD version (think developing world) might want all the citations to match Chicago Manual of Style. With templates, that's doable, without them it's effectively undoable.
  2. Future tool enhancements. This doesn't exist now, so it's somewhat speculative; but not improbable (i.e. I could program it later). If you wanted to know every article that refererenced "A book written by Charles Dickens", or a "A magazine article published in The New Yorker", you'd have a pretty darn hard time extracting that from unstructured textual references. However, some super-duper future tool can much more easily extract such information from the structured format of citation templates. Such a tool might be something like an enhanced "what links here", or it might be some sort of indexing or citation analysis tool (or something I haven't thought of).
In my mind, citation templates are a really good thing. If nothing else, they help remind editors of desired data fields in references. But YMMV. LotLE×talk 22:13, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Multiple sources cited for one fact - stylistic question

This came up on the (predictably contentious) Hamas page. I may not be exactly right in my account of what happened there, but that's not really the issue. It was something along these lines: some editors wanted to state that Hamas was "best-known" outside Palestine for suicide bombings, and provided five citations supporting that - a reasonable procedure given the controversial and quantitative nature of the contention, which was somewhat diluted in later edits. If I recall correctly, other editors on the talk page remarked that this was "too many citations", and removed some or all of them.

Now clearly, having multiple footnote indicators coming together is unnecessary and ugly, but removing valid citations is not the way of dealing with it.

I would propose that this article recommend, where one fact or contention is being referenced, that all sources being cited for it be combined into one footnote. This is normal procedure in published texts, where I don't recall ever seeing something like this.[15][16][17] (That is the result of typing: <ref>Smith, 2005, p. 5</ref><ref>Lammens, 1898, p. 75</ref><ref>Tishrin, 26 August 2004</ref> .) This alternative[18] which results from typing this: <ref>Smith, 2005, p. 5; Lammens, 1898, p. 75; Tishrin, 26 August 2004</ref>, also looks a good deal better. Any comments? Palmiro | Talk 12:17, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

That's what I've always done for multiple citations, for what it's worth. A problem that comes up is the case where one or more of these is a backlink to a previous footnote (<ref name="Foo"/> rather than <ref>Foo, 57.</ref>), which obviously won't work as expected when combined. This is avoided in cases where article editors use a new footnote for each citation—common where reasonably thick books are being cited—but is going to be a problem in articles that have a significant number of backlinks (which tends to happen when heavily citing websites or newspaper articles). Kirill Lokshin 12:23, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
True, though of course this problem could be avoided were we to wean editors off websites and newspaper articles and predominantly on to reasonably thick books, and think of the other benefits ;) Palmiro | Talk 12:29, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
That'll never happen. Most people willing to use book sources already do, and convincing or persuading others who are more comfortable with citing their newspaper or reputable websites to dig up books to cite instead will be hard. (I'm sure there's something at WP:RAUL about this.) Johnleemk | Talk 17:07, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
I propose adding trhe following:
Where possible, combine all citations for one fact or contention into one footnote, rather than adding multiple footnotes to the same place in the text.
Any comments, ideas, or suggestions for better ways of phrasing/explaining this? Palmiro | Talk 12:40, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
Looks fine to me. Kirill Lokshin 12:56, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Help:How to use Cite.php references up for deletion at MfD

Just informing, the vote is going on at Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/Help:How to use Cite.php references. See also above at #Proposed "How to use Cite.php" section for beginners --Francis Schonken 19:20, 17 May 2006 (UTC)

Comments inside ref tags

I found recently that addition of <!-- and --> delimited comments inside the <ref> and </ref> tags results in an odd error.

User:Ceyockey (talk to me) 16:09, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Example outside

Example inside

References section

  1. ^ FAQ on Israeli settlements, CBC News Online, February 26, 2004. URL accessed April 10, 2006.
  2. ^ Pomerance, Michla. The Legality of the Iraq War: Beyond legal pacifism, The Review, April 2003. URL accessed April 11, 2006.
  3. ^ International Law: Blaming Big Brother: Holding States Accountable for the Devastation of Terrorism, 56 Oklahoma Law Review 735, __ __.
  4. ^ Lacey, Ian, ed. International Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (pdf) - Extracts from Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations by Julius Stone, Second Edition with additional material and commentary updated to 2003, AIJAC website. URL accessed April 10, 2006.
  5. ^ Rostow, Eugene. "Resolved: are the settlements legal? Israeli West Bank policies", The New Republic, October 21, 1991.
  6. ^ American Journal of International Law, 1990, volume 84, page 72.
  7. ^ FAQ on Israeli settlements, CBC News Online, February 26, 2004. URL accessed April 10, 2006.
  8. ^ Pomerance, Michla. The Legality of the Iraq War: Beyond legal pacifism, The Review, April 2003. URL accessed April 11, 2006.
  9. ^ International Law: Blaming Big Brother: Holding States Accountable for the Devastation of Terrorism, 56 Oklahoma Law Review 735, __ __.
  10. ^ Lacey, Ian, ed. International Law and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (pdf) - Extracts from Israel and Palestine - Assault on the Law of Nations by Julius Stone, Second Edition with additional material and commentary updated to 2003, AIJAC website. URL accessed April 10, 2006.
  11. ^ Rostow, Eugene. "Resolved: are the settlements legal? Israeli West Bank policies", The New Republic, October 21, 1991.
  12. ^ American Journal of International Law, 1990, volume 84, page 72.
  13. ^ foo
  14. ^ bar
  15. ^ Smith, 2005, p. 5
  16. ^ Lammens, 1898, p. 75
  17. ^ Tishrin, 26 August 2004
  18. ^ Smith, 2005, p. 5; Lammens, 1898, p. 75; Tishrin, 26 August 2004
  19. ^ this is the note, comment following ref tags
  20. ^ this is the second note, comment preceding ref tags
  21. ^ this is the third note, comment inside ref tags
I've known about this problem for quite some time now, so I think the developers should know about it as well. You could always check the known issues section of m:Cite... Johnleemk | Talk 14:28, 19 May 2006 (UTC)