Proposal:More precise referencing

From Strategic Planning
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The status of this proposal is:
Request for Discussion / Sign-Ups

Every proposal should be tied to one of the strategic priorities below.

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  1. Achieve continued growth in readership
  2. Focus on quality content
  3. Increase Participation
  4. Stabilize and improve the infrastructure
  5. Encourage Innovation

A feature request or bug related to this proposal has been submitted to Bugzilla under ID 9106.

See Category:Proposals with Bugzilla submissions for all submitted bugs.


Currently, the ref element is quite imprecise. Let's look at the following example:

This is sentence number one. This is sentence number two.<ref>This is a reference.</ref>

It can be observed that in this example it is not clear whether the reference is linked to both sentences or to sentence two only. It is thus proposed to change the reference syntax. Look at the next example, now:

This is sentence number one.<ref source="This is a reference.">This is sentence number two.</ref>

Now, it is quite clear which sentence is referenced. This could be a tremendous improvement. The following features could become possible:

  1. Every sentence is referenced and in every case it is clear which reference belongs to a sentence.
  2. Future editors know, if they are allowed to put in a new sentence between sentence one and sentence two, without pretending this sentence to be referenced by the final ref element.
  3. References could be shown in a small box when the mouse pointer is above a sentence.
  4. The 100% reliable Wikipedia could become reality!



Precise interwiki referencing could be useful for Proposal:Preparing a translation machine, at least in cases where more or less exact translations where available.

Bubble help

Precise referencing could also be useful to show translations in a different language as bubble help (similar to Google Translate but with manually translated or manually ameliorated translations).

Side by side bilingual view

One could also implement side by side views for translated text in order to support language learning. Any computer display with Super Extended Graphics Array (1280×1024) or better should be sufficient to display articles in a side by side view. For a side by side view one should at least be able to match translated section headers to their original sections by putting them on the same height.

Key Questions

How would this work where there are multiple references to the same point?

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