Last modified: 2008-04-09 10:28:56 UTC

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Bug 13653 - <references/> with no <ref> in article body should not output an error
<references/> with no <ref> in article body should not output an error
Product: MediaWiki extensions
Classification: Unclassified
Cite (Other open bugs)
All All
: Normal normal with 2 votes (vote)
: ---
Assigned To: Nobody - You can work on this!
Depends on:
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2008-04-08 13:16 UTC by Nicolas Dumazet
Modified: 2008-04-09 10:28 UTC (History)
4 users (show)

See Also:
Web browser: ---
Mobile Platform: ---
Assignee Huggle Beta Tester: ---


Description Nicolas Dumazet 2008-04-08 13:16:21 UTC
A page with only "<references/>"

Will output a big, red "Cite error: Invalid <references group="" /> tag; group name "" not defined in <ref>"

I'm marking this as a critical issue, because according to the last dumps it affects more than 10K pages on fr: (Still counting how many en: pages are affected)
Comment 1 Aryeh Gregor (not reading bugmail, please e-mail directly) 2008-04-08 13:26:29 UTC
Why is this behavior incorrect?  If there are no <ref>s, it makes sense to raise an error if <references /> is present.  For instance, on enwiki, a <references /> with no refs will almost always give you an empty ==References== section, which is wrong anyway.  The error message does what it's supposed to do, draw attention to a mistake that should be fixed.

Arguably, you're right, this mistake is a minor one that would best be handled silently.  Honestly, our error-checking is very inconsistent and it's hard to say whether we should be silent (which we usually are) or noisy (which Cite usually is).  Either way, this is not major.  A few articles will look a little odd and people will fix them as they see them.  It helps to draw attention to articles without references, too.  ;)
Comment 2 ThomasV 2008-04-08 17:48:25 UTC
it also currently affects a few thousand pages on wikisource,
because the proofreadpage extension automatically appends <references/> 
to page footer.

I blanked the error message on and, until the issue is resolved.
Comment 3 BrownHairedGirl 2008-04-08 20:13:00 UTC
A noisy warning about empty is wrong because it's a technical warning in the absence of a technical problem.  An empty <ref></ref> tag is a problem, because it indicates an incomplete footnote, but a <references /> tag without references is not a technical problem. Making it appear to be one will simply trigger the removal of <references /> tags  from articles which are currently unreferenced, which is a very bad idea.

That might sound like a good idea, having just encountered dozens of articles which had <ref></ref> references but no <references />.  That's a real problem, and it's more likely to occur if <references /> is removed from every article which is currently unreferenced ... and it's a much more serious problem than the minor stylistic glitch of an empty ==References== section.

Unreferenced articles should be tagged with {{unreferenced}}, and one widely-used  way of doing this is to add a section ==References== <references /> {{unreferenced}} -- in other words, the <references /> tag is already in place for when refs added.  Why impede this usage?

Comment 4 Derk-Jan Hartman 2008-04-09 10:28:56 UTC
Fixed in r33003

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