Help:Extension:Cite

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The Cite extension has the ability to detect errors. This page documents the error messages and provides an understanding of the problem and solutions.

Overview[edit | edit source]

Cite extension is the software extension for the footnotes system. Two HTML-style tags are used to define and show the references.

<ref>

Single use footnotes are defined by enclosing content within <ref>...</ref>:

<ref>content</ref>

A footnote used multiple times may be defined with a name:

<ref name="foo">content</ref>

To invoke a named footnote:

<ref name="foo" />

Footnotes may be defined in groups:

<ref group="foo">content</ref>

Names and groups may not be a numeric integer. The quotes are optional unless the name includes a space, punctuation or other mark. It is recommended that names be kept simple and restricted to the ASCII character set.

<references />

To display the reference list, after all of the <ref>...</ref> tags, include:

<references />

To display footnoted defined in a group. include:

<references group="foo" />

Error messages[edit | edit source]

The messages will show as bold red.

Message Problem Solution
Messages in the body of the article
Invalid <ref> tag;

refs with no name must have content

There is no content between the <ref>...</ref> tags. Either put content between the <ref> tags (<ref>content</ref>), or (if you're reusing a named reference that's been defined elsewhere in the article) use a single tag <ref name="ref_name" />.
Invalid <ref> tag;

refs with no content must have a name

A named reference has a malformed name. This is produced by a construct like <ref />, which makes no sense. As above, either create a full reference (<ref>content</ref>) or give the tag a name (<ref name="ref_name" />).
Invalid <ref> tag;

invalid names, e.g. too many

A named <ref> tag has too many parameters You can only specify two parameters, name= and group=. You can't, for instance, format a reference with <ref style="color:red;">content</ref>, or give it an id.
Invalid <ref> tag;

name cannot be a simple integer. Use a descriptive title

The name of the reference is a pure number. To avoid naming conflicts (as unnamed references are automatically assigned numbers as names) this is not allowed. Rename the reference to contain at least one letter (eg <ref name="foo" /> instead of <ref name="123" />). It's good practice to give references meaningful names anyway. Make sure that when changing the name you update all the tags that refer to that reference!
Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag A reference is missing the closing </ref>. Make sure that you are either using a closed pair of tags (<ref>content</ref>), or one single tag with a forward slash at the end to mark it as a single tag (<ref />)
Messages at the end of the article
Invalid <ref> tag;

no text was provided for refs named $1

A single ref tag named "foo" (<ref name="foo" />) was invoked, but there is no full reference named "foo" (<ref name="foo">content</ref>) from which to get the reference text. You may have misspelt the reference name, or used special characters that look the same but are actually different. For instance, <ref name="foo-bar">content</ref> and <ref name="foo–bar" /> are not the same: one contains a hyphen while the other uses an ndash. To avoid this sort of error, try to stick to the characters available on the standard keyboard. Alternatively, the full reference may have been removed from the article with other content. In this case the text of the reference will be available in the page history, and you can convert the single <ref /> tag into a full reference.
MediaWiki:Cite error references invalid input The <references /> tag is malformed. You need to ensure that the <references /> tag is properly formed.
Invalid <references> tag;

no parameters are allowed. Use <references />

Parameters such as style= or id= were passed to the <references /> tag.
Invalid <references> tag;

parameter "group" is allowed only. Use <references />, or <references group="..." />

The <references /> tag is malformed.
Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references /> tag was found The <references /> tag was not included at the end of the article. Add the <references /> tag at the bottom of the article, below the last set of |ref= tags.
The <ref> tag immediately before <references /> does not have a closing </ref>. Fix the <ref> tag as explained above
There are <ref>...</ref> tags after <references />. Move the <references /> tag (or the {{reflist}} template) to below the last reference.
The use of <ref>...</ref> tags followed by a <references /> tag occurs more than once on the same page, but the <references /> tag is produced by a template (e.g. {{reflist}}). There is no solution other than avoiding the use of a template if possible.
Ran out of custom backlink labels.

Define more in the [[MediaWiki:Cite references link many format backlink labels]] message.

A named reference was used more than 702 times, thereby exhausting the list of available labels ("a", "b"... "aa", "ab"... "zy", "zz"). It should probably never be necessary to cite one source this many times. Consider whether some cites can be combined or removed, or edit MediaWiki:Cite references link many format backlink labels to add additional labels (maybe "aaa", "aab", etc).
<ref> tags exist for a group named "$1", but no corresponding <references group="$1"/> tag was found, or a closing </ref> is missing The group parameter was used in a reference, but the corresponding <references /> tag was not included with a group parameter Make sure that there is a <references /> tag on the page with the appropriate |group= parameter set.
The reference immediately before <references /> does not have a closing </ref>. Fix as for normal <references /> tags as explained above.
There are <ref>...</ref> tags using a group after <references />.
Other messages
MediaWiki:Cite error key str invalid Internal software error. These messages should never occur. If you see them in articles, please contact the MediaWiki developers, who may be able to resolve the situation.
MediaWiki:Cite error stack invalid input

Technical information[edit | edit source]

Internal messages are generated by the Cite.php extension and shown as a MediaWiki message. See the Parser hooks section of Special:Version for the installed version of Cite.php. These messages are in the MediaWiki namespace and can be modified only by admins.

Cite.php internal message MediaWiki message
Cite error Cite error: $1
Cite error key str invalid MediaWiki:Cite error key str invalid
Cite error ref no input Invalid <ref> tag;

refs with no name must have content

Cite error ref no key Invalid <ref> tag;

refs with no content must have a name

Cite error ref numeric key Invalid <ref> tag;

name cannot be a simple integer. Use a descriptive title

Cite error ref too many keys Invalid <ref> tag;

invalid names, e.g. too many

Cite error references invalid input MediaWiki:Cite error references invalid input
Cite error references invalid parameters Invalid <references> tag;

no parameters are allowed. Use <references />

Cite error references invalid parameters group Invalid <references> tag;

parameter "group" is allowed only. Use <references />, or <references group="..." />

Cite error references no backlink label Ran out of custom backlink labels.

Define more in the [[MediaWiki:Cite references link many format backlink labels]] message.

Cite references link many format backlink labels This is a list of the backlink labels used in the reference list, currently from a to zz
Cite error references no text Invalid <ref> tag;

no text was provided for refs named $1

Cite error included ref Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag
Cite error stack invalid input MediaWiki:Cite error stack invalid input
Cite error refs without references MediaWiki:Cite error stack invalid input
Cite error group refs without references <ref> tags exist for a group named "$1", but no corresponding <references group="$1"/> tag was found, or a closing </ref> is missing