What does this mean? "The biography has unmatched <ref> tags."

+2 votes
All of the answers are wonderfully detailed but as a practical matter not usable at least by this user.  How do you find an unmatched tag?  How do you fix it?  If it really matters why does the error message say go ahead and override it?
in WikiTree Tech by John Kessler G2G3 (3.8k points)
edited by John Kessler

Someone attempted to use inline referencing and that warning or error notice merely indicates that the set of tags, the space in between them  -- <ref> <ref /> is empty of content 

On this playlist at Data Doctors Project Video Collection are a number of videos produced by WikiTree Tech to explain / tutor us ... among them is one on the <ref> tags use, which will explain it more clearly than I can 

I do not find videos helpful, too transitory. but your answer gives me more to go on than I had. I even used the google enhanced search using "The biography has unmatched  <ref> tags" as the search subject and it came back with nothing found.

The biography has unmatched <ref> tags. 

Susan, can you edit your answer to have the correct format of /ref so it doesn't confuse people?

1 Answer

+7 votes
Best answer
John, if you are using inline citations, the citation begins with <ref> and must end with </ref>. It does need to be corrected and not overridden because it affects how everything displays.

The ways the missing </ref> can be found...

In edit mode, turn on the enhanced editor which can help you see what should be displayed text and what should be sources. If a source citation is highlighted in lavender and looks extremely long, that may be where the </ref> was left out.


My preferred method is to use the "find" feature of my browser. I have it look for <ref>. Whenever it finds a <ref>, I then look for the end of the citation to make sure there is a matching </ref> to end the citation.

If you continue to have difficulty, please let us know which particular profile has the error and I know someone will jump in and help you by correcting it or telling you where you missed putting in the </ref>.
by Nelda Spires G2G6 Pilot (349k points)
selected by John Kessler
Apparently I must be using inline citations but I can only guess as to what that means.  The last programming I did was Basic and Fortran, the first on what looked like a glorified type writer and the latter on punch cards.  I will try the search method you suggested and see how that works.

John, thanks for the star. I think they call all the tags and such here "Wiki mark-up." What it equates to in my estimation is very basic html which we used to use back in the early 90s to build webpages. 

If you want to use inline citations, that's great. If you don't, you can list your source citations below the == Sources == and <references/> down at the bottom. If you choose to do that, you will not be using <ref> and </ref> tags at all. Start each new citation with a * to give it a bullet to make it look neater and so people can tell where one source ends and the next begins.

If you do choose to continue to use inline citations, one way to make sure you will always have matching tags is, when you are ready to insert a citation, click on the C in the edit text (above the bio editing box.) An automatic <ref></ref> will be placed. Then you just type (key) your citation between the two tags so it begins with the <ref> and ends with the </ref>

You can also mix your type of citations. Sometimes you may want a particular source to go with a particular fact. That's when you'd use an inline citation. If it's just a general reference and doesn't go with a particular fact, you can place it below == Sources == and <references/> in a list as I explained above. 

This page on Sources may be helpful for you.

If you learned Basic and Fortran back in the day, I know you'll be catching onto this quickly. All the best!

John, I remember manually creating those punch cards!  My bones creak thinking of how old we must be to remember those and the punch card wreaths.  Of course, the 'kids' don't have a clue what we are talking about!
Nelda, I do a 'find' for the ref, but I use <ref so it will also show the <ref name ones, also.
When this message or suggestion is seen, looking at th eSources section of the profile in Preview or Public mode will show some 'code' like 'li' or 'ol' for a specific source or a running together of biography text and source information, which will indicate usually where the missing 'ref' is.

Linda, true, you can do it that way, too. I didn't know if John was quite ready for <ref name> yet, although I'm sure he will get there soon. smiley <ref name> is mentioned on that page help page link I gave him so he can give that a try. 

I meant that 'when you are looking for the ref' you need to include the 'ref name' or you might not find the problem 'ref' statement.
Too True.  Thanks for your comment.

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