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Community Wishlist Survey 2023/Editing/VisualEditor should use proper names for references

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VisualEditor should use proper names for references

  • Problem: There should be proper names for references possible in the VisualEditor
  • Proposed solution: Currently the VE utilizes only nonsensical :0, :1 or such als names for bundled references, not proper (<ref name="Me">), the authors have no say in this regard and have to correct this later in the source code to proper, human names. If such a proper name there could be used from the beginning, with the implementation of such a bundled reference, this would be of great help for all those, who would like to work later with the text.
  • Who would benefit: All authors, that work on articles, especially those, who use the wikitext editor
  • More comments:
  • Phabricator tickets: task T52568, task T92432, task T245199
  • Proposer: Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 10:25, 24 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]


  • Support: Yeah the :0, :1... ref names assigned by the VE aren't exactly great. There should be an option in the VE to name them. Findingmoney100 (talk) 16:54, 24 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
  • @Sänger: This was actually investigated in 2019 as part of Community Wishlist Survey 2019/Citations/VisualEditor: Allow references to be named. Unfortunately, it was determined that allowing a manual name to be provided for a reference was too complicated to implement, on top of concerns with usability, especially among new users. Imagine, as a new user, all you have to do is enter a URL into Citoid and you get a reference. It would be an odd thing to ask them to also provide a "name", even though this name isn't visible anywhere to VE users or readers. Regardless, we did determine that creating automatic names based on citation data (such as the domain or author name) is feasible.

    Does this counter-proposal sound okay to you? You can learn more by reading our status update on that project. We hope that even though you won't be able to manually provide arbitrary names, that having automatic names like "example.org-0", "example.org-1", etc., is still better than ":0" and ":1". Let us know what you think, and thanks for participating in the survey. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 18:10, 25 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]

Anything is better then the stupid ":0" and ":1", whoever came up with this non-solution was obviously not a Wikipedia content contributor, but someone restricted to technicalities.
There is something mentioned about 2021, what happened that year? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 22:26, 25 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
In 2022 we had a similar wish which made it into the top 30: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Community_Wishlist_Survey_2022/Editing/VisualEditor_should_use_human-like_names_for_references KSiebert (WMF) (talk) 14:32, 26 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
It was quite top of the list, but as absolutely nothing has happened in this regard, be prepared to get such wishes every year, until the lots of devs employed by the WMF, i.e. us, will finally fix this bug.
As a side note: Why is here an answer button (in the old nice layout with brackets and without screaming), but using it results in en error? Either it works, or it should be turned off. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 16:38, 26 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Agree with MusicAnimal that it would be better to continue automatic naming, but then in a more sensible way (author-last name + year, with fallback on editor/publisher/newpaper and no year). Can this wish be reworded? Or better to start a new wish? Femke (talk) 20:47, 26 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Imho this would be a solution for my wish. Whether you chose one yourself, of some software generates some better name automagically is secondary, we just need to get rid of those colons and numbers, they are a bug, not a feature.
So I don't know why I should change anything or write something new, as this is already an accepted solution. OK, really choosing the names would be even better, as authors are far better in such stuff then bots, but better 70% then stuck to the complete nonsense. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 05:12, 27 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Sänger: if we/you rename it to last year's wish, it'll be clearer for votes imo. Femke (talk) 17:27, 30 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
You mean this one? I think, I forgot an interim i my last answer, as that's not far enough for my wish, it'll be just an interim solution, far better then the extremely annoying non-solution now at work, but not my wish. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 17:44, 30 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Sänger We've got just one day to figure this out. Above you said the automatic (and sensible) names would satisfy your wish, but you're saying VisualEditor should use human-like names for references from last year, which proposes the same thing, doesn't go far enough for you. I think we simply re-title your wish as suggested, or even use the same proposal from last year, then we're good to go. Is that alright? It's even better if you're okay using the wish from last year, as I can copy over the translations as well. Let me know what you'd like to do and I can do all the editing for you :) Thanks! MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 21:42, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
As I've said: that would be a fine interim solution, but not my wish. It should be possible for the user to define a name, users are better in doing this, if they know, what they are doing. VE is fime for n00bs, that would do something wrong possibly, but giving the users a possibility to correct it is the far better solution.
Last years wish still stands, it was not worked on, so it's still a valid wish the devs at WMF should work on (and no, this is not just for the small amount of Comminty Tech devs, this is the community wishlist, all the devs of the WMF should work on this). Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 21:55, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I agree, and having talked with the Editing team it seems being able to add a custom reference name is doable, it just doesn't make much sense for a VisualEditor user, as they won't know what a "reference name" means because they don't see the wikitext. It adds another step to adding citations, something that we know is critical and should be easy for new users.
I'm going go with just re-titling to "VisualEditor should use human-like names for references" and leave the rest of your proposal as-is. Hope this okay, and thanks for participating in the survey! MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 22:02, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Imagine, as a new user, all you have to do is enter a URL into Citoid and you get a reference. It would be an odd thing to ask them to also provide a "name", even though this name isn't visible anywhere to VE users or readers. What about asking for the name only when copying (re-using) the reference? --Matěj Suchánek (talk) 08:43, 20 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
No, every other citation software will auto-generate something like Sänger-2023 with no problem. I asked for the same in Community Wishlist Survey 2023/Editing/Clean up Visual Editor wikitext output. Regards Matthias (talk) 20:08, 25 January 2023 (UTC)[reply]

What the heck are human-like names btw? I asked for proper names, why did you change it? Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 23:41, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

@Sänger Wait one moment, I will fix this. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 23:51, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
@Sänger Okay, please don't move the page as that won't work as expected now that I approved the proposal. I can take care of renaming for you. Is "human-readable" okay? "Proper" sounds a bit ambiguous, but as long as we're not implying custom names as we were initially, it doesn't matter. MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 23:54, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
As for why "human-like", I just went with what was used last year. "Human-readable" is better but I think voters know what is meant by "human-like" (as in names that humans would create, not :0, :1, etc. that machines make). MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 23:55, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
No, proper is completely fine, no need to change it whatsoever. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 23:56, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Okay :) It may take a few minutes to change this, so hang tight (the translation subpages and what not all need to be moved, too) MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 23:59, 8 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
The translations I did are already with the proper title, not the machine-readable stuff you invented. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 00:01, 9 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
I don't know what you mean by machine-readable stuff that I invented, but anyway the move is now complete :) Thanks again, MusikAnimal (WMF) (talk) 00:09, 9 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Human-like is Ingrid, John, Laila, or such, at least for me as a human. Perhaps machines interpret something else in it, at least they can manage those completely nonsensical :1 etc, that someone obviously without any knowledge of Wikipedia editing invented. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 00:15, 9 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

This has been a perennial Community Wishlist item since at least 2017, possibly earlier. As I understand it, WMF is already committed to solving this; see task T92432 as well as other tickets. For many other related links, see w:WP:VENAMEDREFS. Mathglot (talk) 22:28, 10 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]

I should add here that user script RefRenamer by User:Nardog fixes these *after the fact*, converting all VE numeric-name references to Lastname-YYYY where feasible, and to other reasonable choices where necessary. Mathglot (talk) 22:40, 10 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
Is committed to solving this seems to be a wee bit exaggerated. Since 2017 they managed to invest millions in useless and completely unwanted projects like rebranding or FLOW, while this heavy bug is still not fixed. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 23:45, 10 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
FLOW has definitely not been invested to after 2017, but yeah, it's just a straw man. --Matěj Suchánek (talk) 08:40, 20 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]
It's not s straw man, it's one of many examples, where the ivory tower burned lots of money against the communities while don't gibe any thought about real wishes. Grüße vom Sänger ♫(Reden) 12:38, 20 February 2023 (UTC)[reply]