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Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Citations/Reuse of VE-citations, allowing new text to be added

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Reuse of VE-citations, allowing new text to be added

  • Problem: Making a VE-citation is easy, but contains a lot of details. I often use the text from a book to assure the reader that my citation is correct. You can see the article of Konrad Adenauer as an example. If would like to refer the same book and the same page once more, but to a different text, I have to make the same work twice. My wish is that I could be able to reuse the citation, but at the same time change, page number, the text from the book etc, and still be able to stay in VE. Now I have to turn to stone age editing, and copy and paste! Perhaps this wish should be posted somewhere else?
  • Who would benefit: I would!
  • Proposed solution: Se above.
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets:


  • Trygve W Nodeland: I don't know what's available on no.wiki, but en.wiki has Template:Rp (which can be placed after the in-line citation to denote different page numbers and even quotations) and Template:Sfn (which allows a common reference to be placed in a Bibliography section and then simply reference with author/page/quote in-line). Would something similar work for you? Huntster (t@c) 14:01, 2 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
An there's also en:w:Template:Quote, which you can put in ref. All of these (except Rp) requires additional manual work (setting ref=harv or ref=harvid). It would be nice if it was done at least semi-automatically in VE (by ex. drop down for ref field in citation with harv/harvid options, or by choosing on sfn dialog to which ref it links) -- 16:05, 2 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
See also WMDE_Technical_Wishes/Book_referencing. JAn Dudík (talk) 18:27, 2 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Is it possible something could be worked out to make these templates more conspicuous or more available? I edit primarily in en.wiki, and after over a decade of editing, I've never seen any of the templates you've just mentioned. I would love a simple way to reference different pieces of the same work while having all the references connect to each other in the reflist as part of the same work. Lawikitejana (talk) 08:11, 4 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry, Lawikitejana, but I don't think you can do this easily even in "stone-age editing". :) I've used rp for page numbers, but not quotes. The problem is that this:

Something is true.<ref name=test>testref</ref>{{rp|quote1}} So is something else.<ref name=test/>{{rp|quote2, which is really quite a long quote, and will look odd in the article text}} This means that...


Something is true.[1]:quote1 So is something else.[1]:quote2, which is really quite a long quote, and will look odd in the article text This means that...


  1. a b testref
...which is unusable for long quotes, as the quotes are displayed inline. My usual reason for adding quotes from sources is for verification, so the quotes are usually a sentence or two. ::::SFN/Harvard also does not allow you to use the same ref name with different quotes, if I understand rightly (see section on "Additional comments or quotes). In fact, I think you can only have one quote per source!
On the other hand, WMDE Technical Wishes/Book referencing looks wonderful. I think you would use it like this:

<ref name=test>testref</ref>

<ref refines=test>p. 123-163</ref>

<ref refines=test>"quote3"</ref>

I strongly support "Book referencing", and of course I'd support VE being able to do it, too. HLHJ (talk) 00:23, 18 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I agree this is an issue and I've encountered it myself. It's not clear to me how to solve this in VE. The wikitext solution to this on en wiki is to use Harvard citations (see: w:Template:Harvard_citation). We have some open tickets about using harvard citations in VE here: task T144695. However the technical solution to doing this was never resolved. This is also different from the proposed solution here, which is simply to repeat the text just with minor variations - this is technically feasible but I'm not sure how people would feel about the resultant wikitext. Mvolz (WMF) (talk) 12:43, 6 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
    • Trygve W Nodeland would a keyboard shortcut that allowed you to *duplicate* the reference in VE, i.e. Ctrl+D, as opposed to copy the reference to the same one, be a workaround for you, and maybe for wikis that don't have special templates to do this? Mvolz (WMF) (talk) 12:53, 6 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
      • I have bumped to very similar need as originally described: sometimes I need to make a citation to the same piece of source but just a different page, webpage etc. and then your solution - creating a new reference prefilled with the same desfription instead of giving a new link to the already existing reference - would be handy. Not sure what keyboard shortcut / button would be the best UX-wise. aegis maelstrom δ 17:44, 11 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I think the solution to this is resolving the WMDE work regarding this referencing, which I could swear has been proposed before for the CommTech team but it's not jumping out at me in previous results. --Izno (talk) 19:03, 6 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • I use both source editor and VE and the problem is not specific to the tool but the underlying way we do citations. The workaround a lot of people do is just to cite "Snodgrass, p45" assuming there is a full and unambiguous citation to Snodgrass already in the article. This can be done in VE (Cite > Manual > Basic). Similarly VE users can add the {{rp}} but I think that solution sucks as you have the citation down in the References section and page number back in the article text (not at all helpful). What a VE user can't easily do is to copy-and-paste an existing citation and just change the page number, because copying a citation in VE implies reusing a citation and so copy-paste-change gives you two citations but both to the 2nd page number. To be exact, that only happens if you are using one of citation templates that are "built in" to the VE (cite web, cite book, cite news, cite journal). If you use another style of citation, then you can open a pre-existing citation, copy the contents, create a new citation, paste and change, as the VE treats the citation and the contents of the citation as distinct elements for editing purposes, whereas it treats a citation of cite book/web/news/journal as a single unit for editing purposes. For most purposes, the "single element" solution is fine. This change-of-page number situation is the one time it doesn't work so well, but as I say, it's symptomatic of a larger problem, which remains unsolved. The change-of-webpage scenario (when there are multiple entries to related things each with their own webpage on the same website) seems less common in my own editing experience but I agree it occurs. In the VE, what we could do is extend the Cite from Auto / Manual / Reuse with a 4th option "Changed Copy" which allows you to select an existing citation (like Cite > Reuse) but then takes you to a pre-filled Edit > Manual dialogue to make the page (or whatever) change; this would seem to be re-using existing components so should not be very hard (famous last words). Kerry Raymond (talk) 22:11, 16 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  • Kerry Raymond is quite correct: the real problem is "the underlying way we do citations."
VE (and also {sfn}) generates "named-refs" (the "<ref name=" construction) for making a note ("footnote") appear in more than one location. Use of this for citations – and more particularly, for full citations – is fundamentally flawed because it precludes annotatng specific in-line ciations with page numbers, etc. (Except with the grotesque {rp} template.) This incidentally (and likely unknowingly) puts users of VE in violation of WP:CITEVAR when they edit an article using a different style.
Movlz says that "the" solution is {Harv} templates. Strictly speaking that is one solution. For those editors allergic to anything named "Harvard" another solution is to directly generate a wikilink compatible with the CITEREF value used in the citation templates. Either way is better than trying to enhance the fundamentally flawed "VE-citation". J. Johnson (talk) 00:00, 27 November 2018 (UTC)[reply]