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Community Wishlist Survey 2021/Reading/Hiding References

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Hiding References

  • Problem: The list of references can be very long, and distort the expectation of how much article is remaining. Yes, this is a first world problem, I know. But it is also trivially easy to fix ;)
  • Who would benefit: Anyone who treats the length of the scroll bar as a ballpark figure of how much there is (left) to read.
  • Proposed solution: A user setting "Collapse/Hide resources by default"
  • More comments: For PC/desktop users, the sources are mostly visible/to be consulted by hovering over the reference to them, so more often than not you do not need the list at the bottom anyhow.
  • Phabricator tickets:
  • Proposer: Irresistance (talk) 17:15, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]


  • I would oppose this. For instance, on Wikipedia I would like more readers to be seeing the references section as an integral part of the article, for further reading and research (rather than treating Wikipedia as an authoritative source). I think the scrollbar will never be more accurate than a ballpark guess (there could be long external links, navboxes, categories; the article could contain a long table containing names which you'll want to skip past etc.) — Bilorv (talk) 19:59, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    • I see this proposal as a way of bridging mobile and desktop versions. Mobile already has collapsing sections, and this proposal is suggesting the same, but for desktop. JMVR1 (talk) 21:13, 17 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
      • Mobile's collapsing sections relate to the fact that there is a smaller screen and more limited scrolling capabilities, so ease of navigating between different sections is more important. There are many ways in which I support bridging mobile and desktop versions, but not this one. — Bilorv (talk) 00:32, 18 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Web format is much richer than paper format, and unless you're interested in reference list itself, you should never need to open the reference section, and should never scroll down and back up to find that information. A click on an inline citation should open a pop-up window (baloon) with all the information you need. I'd support the proposal. And I am proposing in another category the pop-up references should be further developed. Ponor (talk) 04:54, 18 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Pop-ups are disabled by default on many web browsers for security reasons, and certainly would be less convenient for me as a reader. — Bilorv (talk) 09:20, 21 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    These are not full windows, just a div element that shows up when citation number is hovered. They're already in place on en.wiki, even for anonymous users, they just don't work properly for all citation styles.
  • I'd actually a prefer a way to do this when in the wikitext editor - ref-heavy articles can be really hard to find the actual text because references take up so much space in that position. However, it seems fairly unneeded on an article-reading approach Nosebagbear (talk) 15:27, 18 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • There are articles that limit the heights of the references section and one can limit the height of the section from the individual CSS settings.--Strainu (talk) 09:28, 19 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Counterproposal: Move the references list to a separately scrolling panel on the right. Similar to the format used by some academic journals (E.g. journals published by Annual Reviews and Biomed Central). This solves the above problem and actually emphasises WP's strong focus on sources. T.Shafee(Evo﹠Evo)talk 10:01, 20 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Really like this, when responsive design/screen size permits. Otherwise I wonder which wikis would be in favor of hiding reference by default? If I recall correctly, at least one of the major language wikis does this, I'm but forgetting which. To the original proposal, I hesitate at the thought that we might reinforce for readers that it's okay to not read through to the reliable source. We need that kind of literacy now more than ever. czar 05:28, 23 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • Being able to set the references as hidden by default does not mean they are not interesting, nor that the reader does not care about them; not all readers use Wikipedia as an academic research aid, and at any rate, you can always not hide them by default ;) This is not some slippery slope towards unsourced/made up content - rather, a simple matter of convenience. I agree references are an integral part of the article. - re counterproposal - that may also be useful in some cases, so instead of having the options "Show References" or "Hide References" you could add a third choice "Show references in sidebar" - the only thing I'd add is that hiding or showing by default is very simple to do and already an existing mechanism, whereas a scroll-along sidebar is not and is considerably more work due to the revival of the browser-wars :( — Irresistance (talk)
    not all readers use Wikipedia as an academic research aid - this isn't the only reason to check a reference. If you encounter content that is surprising or counter-intuitive, it is good practice to verify the content in the source given as it could be false. — Bilorv (talk) 09:20, 21 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    Exactly.. and it's as much education (information literacy) as it is to actually provide some sort of reliability trace for user generated content. There are way too many places that DONT quote and source the content they publish. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 22:37, 25 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    I don't see how this feature conflicts with verifying sources. The sources section will just be collapsed until you click on a reference (as per my understanding). Martinkunev (talk) 14:26, 9 December 2020 (UTC)[reply]
  • If I want to print article for my children, make pdf or read about place I am currenty, I do not need references. And when I want to s find book about, I can enable them again. Collapsible reference section (before print) should be fine. JAn Dudík (talk) 11:50, 25 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]
    @JAn Dudík: I have a userscript on English Wikipedia which allows you to customize the printability of certain elements btw, including the presence of references. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 22:37, 25 November 2020 (UTC)[reply]