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Central feedback page for Reference Previews.

Reimplimentation of Reference tooltips gadget

9 (talkcontribs)

This tool is doing the same job that the Reference Tooltips gadget has done for years. And it does it better. This one has that same horrible Visual Editor design style that is infecting Wikipedia and is too big with too much borders. (talkcontribs)

I meant "Reference Tooltips does it better" but can't seem to edit my own comment. This comment system is using that horrible style too.

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for your feedback.

Yes, Reference Previews are pretty similar to the Reference Tooltips gadget. Because the gadget doesn't work well on all wikis, e.g. the German Wikipedia, there was a community vote to have the functionality inside of a MediaWiki extension.

There are some differences between the gadget and the beta feature, though. For instance:

  • more visual consistency with Page Previews
  • the titles of the popups make it easier for readers to estimate if the source is trustworthy

Please note: The feature is now in beta phase. The point of this phase is to find out what is working well and what is still needed to make this a well usable feature. If you have specific feedback, you're very invited to share it, as it helps us improve the feature.


Lourdes Cardenal (talkcontribs)

Muchas gracias por esta herramienta tan útil. Saludos ~~~~ (talkcontribs)

How does it not work well on the German Wikipedia? I have found no specific discussion of this in English and I even translated the German version of the Reference Preview article and it doesn't say there's any specific problem due to it being the German Wikipedia, just that they use an fork of the reference gadget there instead of the reference gadget itself. So what specifically is the problem on the German Wikipedia? Is it a technical issue? Something else?

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Hello! This is the page on dewiki where the feature was wished for (Technical Wishes survey 2017, in German):ünsche_2017/Lesen#Vorschau_von_Einzelnachweisen

It describes that there are several problems with the version on dewiki, amongst others:

  • accessibility issues
  • small font size
  • irregular clicking behavior, e.g. you sometimes can't copy content from the preview

The page above links to another page (also German), which mentions more problems:äge/Archiv/2012/August#MouseOver_bei_Einzelnachweisen (end of the section)

Hope that helps,


Mirer (talkcontribs)

I too like the old tooltipp more - and I use it on "de" too.

The problem "small font size" is right now - to me - a strength, since I get to see the full text (with comments and citations). Whereas in the new extension I sometimes can't even see all the important infos.

Maybe the new extension could be made configurable? At least with css-hacks described on a help page.

Ita140188 (talkcontribs)

The new tool, as most of the tools based on the new design, is much worse than the previous tool. For long citations, the tool display an ugly and awkward scrollbar, while wasting a lot of white space on the sides. The old tool on the other hand is much more space efficient and user-friendly.

Danbloch (talkcontribs)

I, too would be very unhappy if this replaced Reference Tooltips. It's bigger and more obtrusive, and adds a header and footer which serve no purpose.

Reply to "Reimplimentation of Reference tooltips gadget"

The new "Reference previews" feature: two previews appear

Summary last edited by Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) 16:19, 12 December 2019 3 months ago

Sorry, I haven't read m:WMDE Technical Wishes/ReferencePreviews#Try the beta feature. The answer is there.

ParticipantOfTheEncyclopedia (talkcontribs)

Hello! I have enabled the "Reference preview" in Beta. However, I've decided to remove it. Example: The problem: when I hover over a reference, two previews appear:

  1. The first preview is the one that you could see earlier.
  2. The second preview is the new preview from "Reference previews".

There should be only one preview, not two. All previews have the same content on them. The placement of the two previews is different. Sometimes you can see two previews and the first one hides the second one, sometimes you can see every preview.

(I've tested it on ru-wiki and on en-wiki).

Summary: there should be one preview, not two.

"jump to reference" link is hard to reach

RoySmith (talkcontribs)

When you hover over a reference, you get a card with a "Jump to reference" link at the bottom. The problem is, when you move the mouse pointer from the current position to the link, if you go outside the boundaries of the card for more than a short time, the card is dismissed.

For people with impaired manual dexterity, getting the pointer to its desired location without deviating from the card boundaries can be challenging. On some devices (touch-screens, trackpads, etc), it may be challenging even for people with full dexterity.

One possible fix would be to increase the duration of the timeout. Another would be to move the link so it's closer to the initial cursor position. Another might be an option to have the card latch open until explicitly dismissed.

Reply to ""jump to reference" link is hard to reach"

page preview in Wikipedia no longer works for me

JontheDuke (talkcontribs)

About 2 days ago the showing of page previews has 100% stopped working. (I use Firefox) I have spent over an hour trying suggestions found by using google but nothing has worked. There is no option on any gadget I can see to alter this. I have been doing page refreshes after trying various chnages - don't ask me to tell you, it's too much for me to remember. Just what is going on? I have got used to this facility and it's not as though I don't contribute to Wiki. I do because I realise its value. Please can people who know how to do it get it working again? :-( I have just tried it in IE11 and it WORKS (I was trying to stop using that). (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the report. Unfortunately I currently can't reproduce the issue. I tried with Forefox 70 on the English Wikipedia, and both Page Previews (when hovering links to other articles) as well as Reference Previews (when hovering the numbered footnote markers) work. Note that both need to be enabled in your preferences. Additionally, the feature might be disabled via a cookie in case you are not logged in. Look for a link "Enable previews" at the bottom of the page and click it, if it's there. Cleaning your browsers cache (including the cookies) might as well be worth a try. --Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE)

JontheDuke (talkcontribs)

Hi Thiemo Kreuz, thanks for replying. Sorry my reply is late but I have been diverted to ther things. Using Firefox, I found an option in Wikipedia which allowed the showing of some text when I hover the cursor over a pale blue link, but it's not the same as I used to see. So I took photos of the same wiki page, using cursor hover over the same link, using Firefox, IE11 and Chrome. The latter two browsers displyed in the same way, (but differently to the way Firefox is displaying now) and in the way the Firefox used to do for me. I would like to send these photos to you but haven't found out how to, or if that's possible

I prefer the way that Chrome and IE11 display. Is there an option I can set to get Firefox back to the way it used to display for me?

Kind regards,


Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

I would love to see these screenshots. You can upload them on Commons, or on Phabricator when logging in with your wiki account.

Reply to "page preview in Wikipedia no longer works for me"
Jc86035 (talkcontribs)

In a significant number of articles, certain reference lists indicate footnotes, not sources (notably, {{efn}} lists, which use the lower-alpha reference group). Would it be technically possible to display something like "Note" instead of "Reference" for such lists? "Reference" incorrectly implies that the note text indicates a source.

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

@Jc86035Thank you for your feedback. We will discuss it in our team when we pick up work on this feature again. We're currently focussing on a different project.

Reply to "Footnote lists"

How do I keep the Preview Window up even after leaving its 'area'?

Kennedy Domingos (talkcontribs)

help me?

Thiemo Kreuz (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Thanks for the feedback. As of now, this is not possible. I recommend clicking "Jump to reference". You will find the contents from the popup a second time at the bottom of the page.

Reply to "How do I keep the Preview Window up even after leaving its 'area'?"

Related work with Wikidata as target project

Hjfocs (talkcontribs)

Hi there,

First, thanks for this effort, it looks promising! I just wanted to mention a related tool for Wikidata, which previews the textual content of a given reference URL in a Wikidata statement: m:Grants:IEG/StrepHit:_Wikidata_Statements_Validation_via_References/Renewal/Midpoint#Reference_preview It is currently in its very first version, and doesn't use MediaWiki OOUI, but I think it can be of interest for the next steps of Reference Previews.

Hope this helps!

Screenshot of the reference preview buttons, item-based view
Screenshot of the reference preview facility
Michael Schönitzer (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Nice Tool, thanks for pointing us to it! I think there's no overlap or competition between the two since they have similar but different targets. If you see it any different let us know! And if you are stuck with developing your tool or have any questions to mediawiki fulltime-devs feel free to visit the Technical Advice IRC Meeting.

Hjfocs (talkcontribs)

I totally agree with you. Are there any plans to include the textual content of a reference in Reference Previews? I would love to hear your thoughts on possible implementations.


Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)
Michael Schönitzer (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

No, this is not planned – at least not for the near future.

Jeblad (talkcontribs)

Extracting text from a PDF and other Postscript-based docs is non-trivial. Many single column science papers are easy, but a fancy multicolumn layout can be very difficult.

Reply to "Related work with Wikidata as target project"

Suppresses ability to click citation marker to jump to reference?

Colin M (talkcontribs)

Without this feature enabled, I can click citation markers ([n]) and my browser will jump down to the relevant footnote in the references section. With the feature enabled, I cannot do this. Clicking the citation marker does nothing, though I can get the same behaviour by clicking on the "Jump to reference" link in the preview pop-up. I hope this is just a bug rather than intended behaviour, because I think it's a problem for a number of reasons:

  • For users who have previously relied on this behaviour, it breaks their expectations and forces them to learn new muscle memory.
  • It breaks user expectations with respect to how web pages are supposed to work. These citation markers look like links - they're blue, when I hover on them my cursor turns into a pointer and my browser shows a url in the bottom-right. And that's because they are links - they're <a> elements, they have an href. Using javascript to subvert this basic behaviour is hella confusing.
  • Even if I can retrain myself to stop trying to click these links, the new method of getting to the reference is slower and more error-prone. I need to position my cursor on the citation marker, wait for the pop-up to appear, then carefully move the cursor into the tooltip (which is possibly above, or possibly below), and to the "Jump to reference" link. God help me if my cursor drifts a pixel outside the bounds of the pop-up or I need to start the process again.

I didn't see an obvious advantage of this feature over the existing Reference Tooltips gadget, but I was willing to give it a try, until I hit this issue. Until this is fixed, I would consider this feature a clear step backward from the status quo.

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

@Colin M Thanks a lot for your feedback. I'll pass it on to the team.

Have a good week,


Reply to "Suppresses ability to click citation marker to jump to reference?"

Beta not automatically enabled

Summary by Johanna Strodt (WMDE)
Kaartic (talkcontribs)


I have enabled the "Automatically enable all new beta features" option, globally. So, I thought the "Reference previews" beta feature would be automatically enabled. But when I checked the Preferences page in Wikipedia, the features was not enabled.

Why isn't the feature enabled automatically?

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Hi Kaartic,

thanks for letting us know. Which Wikipedia did you check?Y

You mean that the checkbox for Reference Previews wasn't checked in your preferences, right?

If it was checked, but the feature itself isn't showing, one reason might be that you have the Navigation Popups gadget enabled.



Kaartic (talkcontribs)

> Which Wikipedia did you check?

English Wikipedia

> You mean that the checkbox for Reference Previews wasn't checked in your preferences, right?

Yes, I had to enable it manually.

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Thank you. I've created a Phabricator task for this (T236780) and we'll look into the issue.



Lofhi (talkcontribs)

If this is of course a useful feature, the popup is really too big. The scrollbar that appears when the height limit is reached may be a problem: all the text should be visible without any further action from the reader. Maybe the font size should be a little smaller and so should the padding. Perhaps the shape of a flattened rectangle is more appropriate and discreet.

One last remark: the popup should appear either on click or on hover. So there are just a few details to change in my opinion and that would be perfect.

Johanna Strodt (WMDE) (talkcontribs)

Thanks @Lofhi, I'll pass your remarks about the design on to the team.

About your last remark: Could you explain why having the popup either on click or on hover would be important for you?



Lofhi (talkcontribs)

It depends of the preferences of the user. Some don't want to be distracted by an unwanted pop-up because the delay before the popup appears is too short (since it's can't be modified). So they may want a click option to avoid this case!

Lofhi (talkcontribs)

Other remarks:

  • If an internal link is present in a reference and you click on it, it opens a new tab... even if the internal link points to an anchor on the article itself.
  • As a result, bibliographic references don't work. This is the case, for example, with the references generated with the Sfn template on Wikipedia in French. The bibliographic reference should also be displayed just below. 

I don't know if that's clear. You can try with the article "Alain Madelin" on frwiki. Look for the 9th reference and click on "Lamy 2016".

Reply to "Popup is too big"
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