Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Citations/Mini-editor for citations

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Random proposal◄ Citations  The survey has concluded. Here are the results!

Mini-editor for citations

  • Problem: When working with large articles, you often look at the citation list (in Read Mode) and see a problem (maybe an error report, maybe a misspelling, maybe missing some field that could/should be added, possibly be a reuse of another citation). But it's very hard to find the citation you want to change in a large article. If read mode, you can click on the caret symbol or the a/b/c list to be taken to the citation in the text in read mode. I'd like to be able to click a little pencil icon (or similar) beside each citation and be taken to a little dialogue box where I could fix the citation or have a Reuse selection (similar to the Visual Editor). I use both source and VE in my work and neither handles "find that one citation in a large article with many citations" very well (with wikitext, you are drowning in text, with VE, you can't see the citation without clicking on each one in turn). So I'd like a solution in both please! For bonus points, the edit-citation tool would also have a button to "edit the whole article, positioning me at the citation in question" section for those situations when fixing a citation involves repositioning in the text (such as the very-common need to moving the citation to after the punctuation, when the newbie has put it before the punctuation). Also on a shopping list would be a button to "add on the archiveurl/archivedate/deadurl fields" for this (i.e. archive on demand). I manually archive most URLs I use as citations as deadlinks later are no help to the reader and hard to fix if not pre-emptively archived).
  • Who would benefit: Anyone who maintains large articles with lots of citations. And increasingly we are in maintenance mode for many articles.
  • Proposed solution: Described above. For VE, I'd like it similar to the current Edit citation dialogue. The real value-add is the "edit and jump straight to the citation I am wanting to work with" and avoid the stuffing about searching for the citation in the article and sometimes changing the wrong one by mistake.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Kerry Raymond (talk) 06:57, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've been replacing "ibids" from hundreds of articles this week and I needed such a tool so badly. If we don't make it easy for people to work with citations, they will just do the easy things (endless fiddling with minor copyedits and endless recategorising). Maintaining citations is not fun, so please make it as easy as possible so more people will do it. Kerry Raymond (talk) 06:57, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Holy Flying Spaghetti Monster, wouldn't that be fantastic? Drives me crazy trying to fix these little pesky problems in cites within long articles. Yet citations are essential to making Wikipedia as useful and as credible as we all want it to be. Lawikitejana (talk) 08:15, 4 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes! Excellent proposal. Such a tool would save tons of time and improve citation quality immensely. Mark D Worthen PsyD (talk) 15:27, 8 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
For VE, would the ability to click on the text of a reference in the reference block and have it link to the reference editor for that citation address the problem? Mvolz (WMF) (talk) 14:28, 16 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If you are already in the VE, yes, that would be useful. But not in Read mode, as clicking there has a very different semantic to the reader (would need a different "trigger"). Kerry Raymond (talk) 21:45, 16 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Error handling for ref tag problems (unclosed ref tags, ref tags missing the last slash, etc.) would have to be considered carefully. HLHJ (talk) 22:52, 17 November 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I just requested a rapid grant to enhance the ProveIt gadget. The ProveIt gadget is a reference manager for Wikipedia that currently works only on edit mode, but that could be extended to work in read mode in the way requested here. Please feel free to add any comments, questions, ideas and endorsements to the grant, thanks! Felipe (talk) 19:48, 4 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]