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Help talk:References

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No fair - this was going to be my next. Keep»»» going ««« 20:53, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Sorry. But there's about 10 others you could create if you wanted to. And it's still your project. And feel free to edit it. What do you think of it?ThunderkatzHo! 20:59, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Probably better than I could have done, I's only kidding - it is a wiki after all. Im really suffering with that purple people eater- took 3 minutes to load this page!!! Keep»»» going ««« 21:11, 12 August 2007 (CDT)

Unsourced statements.[edit]

I have deleted a small part which talks about reasons for inserting a "fact" tag. It refers to authors putting fact tags in articles they write themselves "if you're not sure of (the facts) yourself". I have added a comment stating that the original author is responsible for "putting up or shutting up" if a fact tag is added. I rather think it's bad practice to encourage authors to put fact tags in their own articles for others to prove or not. What do we think? --Bob's your unkle 04:05, 12 September 2007 (MDT)

OK, think it wos me wot dun it - my bad! SusanG 06:34, 12 September 2007 (MDT)
Lets' see what the consensus is. The above is just my opinion.--Bob's your uncle 06:43, 12 September 2007 (MDT)
NO! - you're right - I was trying to insert some lightheartedness in - without thinking obviously. SJGsjg 06:54, 12 September 2007 (MDT)

Named refs[edit]

At some point, this should include references with a name, so that you can use the same citation more than once. If I have time later in the day, I'll try to include this. VirileSterileblah, blah, blah 07:11, 12 September 2007 (MDT) Done. VirileSterileblah, blah, blah 18:11, 12 September 2007 (MDT)

References that are not references[edit]

A comment inside a ref tag that is not a reference of any type. Usually an inane comment that the editor mistakenly thought might be amusing. Why is my question? Is this accepted practice at RW?--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 16:00, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

The new article template includes ref tags with the argument 'group=note', which files them in a different section. Maybe some people are lazy and forget the argument. We should probably be consistent, either freely mixing refs with notes or enforcing separation. Queexchthonic murmurings 16:03, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
In settings less jocular than RW, these would be called explanatory footnotes. I don't mind seeing them commingled with the notes which cite reference sources. Some RW editors use them where a simple parenthesis would do. Maybe they think that clicking to the bottom of the page enhances the comic timing of their witticism.
With that being said, there is some degree of acceptance here, if the mob's stylistic history counts for anything. I'd rather not go down the road of "everything not prohibited is compulsory" but when in doubt, ditch that kind of "reference," sez I, or put it inline between parentheses. Alec Sanderson (talk) 16:18, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
There's a case to be made for them aiding with flow. Asides in parentheses often break the flow of reading, particularly when the aside is quite large (or indeed are already inside a set of parentheses. Plenty of them can probably be put inline directly, with only a little tweaking. That aspect's just a style thing; the commingling with references probably needs consistency once we have consensus. Queexchthonic murmurings 16:23, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
I think this has been widely abused, and as Alex says, such quips would be usually be better incorporated in the text, using parentheses if necessary. It is certainly irritating to click a ref only to find an aside that the culprit editor found amusing.--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 16:23, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
If group=note is used, then the inline link is formatted differently, BTW, so it can't be mistaken for a reference. Queexchthonic murmurings 16:25, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Unless I'm mistaken, up to now RW has used a "Footnotes" section indiscriminately for references, explanatory notes, and idle quips. Too lazy to check the MOS, I am easy with either organization, and I'm not even that dogmatic about consistency. If there is strong consensus one way or the other, that's fine too. I totally agree that long parenthetical asides break the flow, which is usually not a nice thing. Alec Sanderson (talk) 16:31, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Commentary and/or quotes are fine in a reference note, but should include links that, yanno, reference. I'm strongly inclined to revert mere editorial "references" in the vast majority of instances.---Mona- (talk) 16:38, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Hmmmmm. Sadly, the MOS seems to state this is just fine but keep it to a minimum:
Sometimes "references" are actually random afterthoughts. These are good for adding slight asides or clarifications that don't work in the main text above. However, these should really be minimised; a good indicator is that if your reference or clarification is longer than the sentence, or even the entire paragraph that you're referencing or clarifying, integrate it into the article text instead. Another good indicator is that if the article contains more than about 5 references but clearly most of them aren't normal external links or citations, it may be time for a bit of a rewrite.--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 16:44, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Thaty's prolly not a bad approach. One editor in particular is very fond of inserting tendentious editorials without actual references [cough,coughAvengercough,cough] but those can be handled as any other edit and reverted for idiocy. At a site that has a snarky POV it can be fun to use the notes less formally, if doing so minimally.---Mona- (talk) 16:54, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Are you jumping on the "Footnotes are teh worj of teh devil" bandwagon just to have a jab at Avenger??--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 16:58, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
What bandwagon? Quit your shit-stirring, Arisboch. Alec Sanderson (talk) 17:05, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Paravant pulled a rule against refs on talk pages out of his ass to beat Avenger of the head with, which this thread here reminds me of.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 17:34, 11 November 2015 (UTC)


  • Paravant didn't pull any such thing out of his ass.
  • Yes, many RWians will remember the cluster fuck that Avenger brought upon his own intransigent self.
  • Refs on talk pages are a colossal PITA.
  • Avenger has a wooden head.
  • So do you, Arisboch.
  • Mona didn't jump on a bandwagon, but offered useful commentary in an adult discussion.
  • She also established some context regarding the Avenger talk-page ref cluster fuck.
  • You jumped in to "defend" your tag-teaming asshole buddy.
  • Fuck off into a dark cold smelly place.

If I missed anything, feel free to not offer your two pfennigs. Alec Sanderson (talk) 17:52, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

"Adult discussion"? You wouldn't know about adult discussion even if it hit you against the head.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 17:55, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
See, that is the thing about adult discussion. It does not involve hitting. Go away, little boy. Alec Sanderson (talk) 17:59, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
But for you, it does involve foaming at the mouth, as we can see in this thread.--Arisboch ☞✍☜☞✉☜ ∈)☼(∋ 18:13, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
I think splitting footnotes into "refs" and "notes" (tentative title) is not a bad idea per se but they should be clearly findable in the stuff below the edit box (you catch my drift?) Also, I don't see why they should not be used on talk pages, but thaen again, neither does anybody besides Paravant... Avengerofthe BoN (talk) 18:11, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Stop being such a whiny bitch about the discussion you lost AND the vote you started and then also lost. --"Paravant" Talk & Contribs 18:13, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Not to mention revisionist historian. Just because you say something Avenger, that does not make it a truthful explanation of what happened.--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 00:05, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
"but thaen again, neither does anybody besides Paravant" Goddamnit, Avenger, are you completely incapable of recognising when the consensus doesn't support you? Do I really have to go and dig out the section in the archives and rub your nose in it? Queexchthonic murmurings 10:31, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Will it actually change anything or will something else equally stupid be the new chosen subject for going on about? WalkerWalkerWalker 10:35, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
RationalWiki:Saloon_bar/Archive247#Footnotes_on_talk_pages Here we go. The vote was 8 to 2. "neither does anybody besides Paravant". Avenger, could you acknowledge how utterly wrong you were with that statement? It would go a long way to dispelling any appearance of bad faith on your part. Queexchthonic murmurings 10:43, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, I remember it well. A rather puerile attempt at revising history. --TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 11:03, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Footnotes as explanatory text rather than citations are OK, occasionally, in moderation. Unfortunately Avenger & maybe one or two others (same users who kept putting them on talk pages) are putting in absurd numbers of pointless non-citation footnotes, so we end up with entries like bombing of Dresden that appears at first glance to be well cited but actually just has a load of fluff at the bottom of the page & only a couple of actual sources. It's sad that we'd need to lay down rules about this sort of thing rather than follow common sense when it's only one or two editors are messing up articles like this. Re the grouping thing & having separate notes and references sections (as in Gamergate), I'm really not a fan of this. It's better to keep them together but just keep non-citation footnotes to a minimum. €₳$£ΘĪÐWeaselly.jpgMethinks it is a Weasel 19:11, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

What Weaseloid said.---Mona- (talk) 19:19, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
I might just add that my bringing this subject to the Bar had absolutely nothing to do with footnotes on talk pages. Rather, it was the double factors of irritation at having the article reading experience ruined by going to the footnotes section to check a reference only to find it was not one, and the impression given that some articles are well cited when in fact said citations are just editorial drivel and bad jokes.--TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 00:02, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Yeah, Alec seems to have read my reference to Avenger as having something to do with the talk page kerfuffle. I didn't have that at all in mind. He adds many, many of the irritating "reference" notes you are properly bugged by in our articles.---Mona- (talk) 00:09, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
If you remember, many of his talk-page refs were the irritating type without substance, making his defense of them doubly ludicrous. Alec Sanderson (talk) 00:15, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Oh, he did that tons on the Zionism talk page. It was utter horseshit. But I was too new then to object. Later, I would read articles and have the same experience WiganPier has had, to wit: Checking the note only to find it's a pile of editorializing crap, often enough from Avenger.---Mona- (talk) 00:28, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Sigh, okay Mona, I think we all have an inkling that you and Avenger aren't BFFs, but your jab threatened to derail a discussion that was only connected to Avenger in the most tentative way, so can we please get back to the topic at hand?
On that note, I plead guilty to use the "ref.s as commentary"-style that some editors find so irksome. I personally don't mind it, and used it simply because I saw it was widespread already and thought it worked. I did, however, split commentary and ref.s in the case of World War I by using the 'group=note' format for the former, since it had both a boatload of ref.s and some rather hefty explanatory comments, and I should probably do the same for the monster William Lane Craig (WLC) article at some point. I do see the point of using 'group=note' to separate commentaries from ref.s and perhaps RW should stick to that systematically, in which case a rather hefty clean up operation looms. I don't think that commentary should, per default, be written into the main text, as a lot of these are SPOV comments which would break the flow of the existing text. The other kind, as represented by the WWI article, is where I and others have inserted some hefty explanatory footnotes for those who'd like to have a fuller picture while attempting to avoid the tl;dr phenomenon for the casual reader. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:24, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Update: I've revised the WLC article to conform to the same split between comments and ref.s, using 'group=note' for the former, that is used for WWI. The comments that remains in the ref. section now pertain directly to the ref.s, e.g. pointing out when something is found verbatim in several sources or sketching what other (typically evangelical BS) stuff is found in a source. See if you think the WWI/WLC formats work and please do edit/contribute to either article in general. ScepticWombat (talk) 08:54, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
This has prompted some good discussion involving experienced RW editors. Would it be appropriate to move the discussion to the relevant policy talk page to avoid it being buried in the Bar archives? I would strongly suggest that --TheroadtoWiganPier (talk) 09:18, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Do it! Go nuts! ScepticWombat (talk) 09:36, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
As in Ohio State? WalkerWalkerWalker 09:39, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

LQT + references in talkpage posts = beautiful handling. WalkerWalkerWalker 10:50, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

Wait I lie the little ↑ links all point to the first anchor of whatever name on the page... which makes sense. But other than that, nice and pretty. WalkerWalkerWalker 13:07, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

I, for one, greatly prefer the formatting style used (for example) here, in CarpetSmoker's Penn & Teller: Bullshit article draft. I think it looks way, way better than just clumping refs and notes together (as in the case with the bombing of dresden article) while also allowing for that type of commentary that is - quite honestly - a necessary feature here, one which allows our multiple authors to extrapolate on tangents, to provide additional information where needed (as should be encouraged due to the intrisic benefit of atleast corroboratively supporting claims made with additional information) and finally - for purposes of certain comedic timing. All of this while not breaking the flow of the main text by employing too many parenthesises. I don't at all support Weaseloid's suggestion of "just keep[ing] non-citation footnotes to a minimum", since - to me - that appears to amount to either; us providing less information/analysis/commentary (by us, then, simply removing or abstaining from providing the type of information that notes would provide and provide today where utilized) or; us not failing to provide the information per se, but losing the formatting benefits by - again - merging that information into the main article - e.g. via parenthesis' instead of notes. A practice which offers precisely zero formatting benefits over using notes and refs and, indeed, merely risks cluttering the text substantially. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:29, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

We should steal w:Template:Notelist and the related templates so we have letters and Roman numerals.—Ryulong (talk) 00:33, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Second. WalkerWalkerWalker 12:23, 13 November 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I think those would need someone to steal w:MediaWiki:Cite link label group-lower-alpha, w:MediaWiki:Cite link label group-lower-roman, etc. (I think), which I cannot do. WalkerWalkerWalker 12:42, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Same work, different pages?[edit]

Suppose that I have two references that look something like the following:

  • Cooper, Rick. "Chupacabra Gardening", Skyvole Publishing, 2013, pages 13-15
  • Cooper, Rick. "Chupacabra Gardening", Skyvole Publishing, 2013, pages 30-33

The two references are identical, except for which pages they're referencing in the book. Is there a way to combine the references, but including the varying information about the page numbers? -- Kaban-kun (talk) 01:23, 8 April 2017 (UTC)