<ref> tag why a default

+4 votes
I don't use inline citations . For me with low vision they are entirely too confusing. But that's not the issue. I know they are not required. I remove the reference tag as they are irrelevant in profiles I create SOLELY. Everyday I get two or three people add <ref> to the beginning of a profile I created. They add nothing else. I find it aggravating. I take the opportunity to look over the profile and often find a simple error like a silly typo or a capital letter in the middle  of a word. So it actually helps frame my WT tasks for the day. But I am wondering why is there so much activity around adding useless <ref> tags?  Is it a way to accumulate points? Why not spend five minutes looking at the profile and see if there is anything else that needs simple correction?  

(Note for anyone interested - the <ref> tag changes the line spacing and the font and to me is unreadable. So when anyone decides to add inline spacing to a profile I created I abandon it. This is fine if someone wants to take it over, but usually they don't.)
in Policy and Style by Susan Fitzmaurice G2G6 Mach 4 (43.1k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

Looking at your contributions history, I see that the code that other people are adding to your profiles, and that you are removing, is <references />

That is the code that causes footnotes to appear if someone has used "ref" tags to create inline citations. If you delete it, the footnotes will be invisible to readers of the page. If no one has created inline citations, that code should not affect the appearance of the page.

Yes Ellen, I understand that, and do appreciate that, but it seems a waste of time to me to just add <ref> to a profile and do nothing else to it. It does act as an incentive for me to review that profile and usually add more to it, so it is not all in vain.
That code is added automatically when a new profile is created. Thus, a person might say that you are wasting your time by removing it.

Absence of that code causes problems when another contributor reformats the profile or adds new citations using the "ref" coding. Because the code is supposed to be present by default, contributors often don't notice its absence.

3 Answers

+5 votes
I'm not quite clear on what you are referring to (pun intended).  Could you give a link to a profile this is happening on, please?
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)

Wiggs-56 is a profile I could add a complete and sourced profile to, but I can't read what is there.  All the sources citation information is single (or less) spaced, while the profile is wider spaced. Some of the words are italicized and in a light font.  I know it is  a gedcom import, but this is what happens to any source once it becomes an inline citation. I use a screen reader to help read a profile once created - but the screen reader reads EVERYTHING so even that becomes unusable when inline citations are added.  

That Wiggs-56 profile is an example of an ugly GEDCOM import from 2013. It's hard for any human to read, but it would be exceptionally painful to read with a  screen reader.  Unfortunately, many GEDCOM imports are much worse than this one.

+5 votes
an inline reference adds the superscript number to that reference,  you do not have to read it as it is just a pointer... when you click on number it will take you to the bottom of the profile into the sources section where you can read, in normal size, what the reference is.

using inline reference ties that reference/source to the statement.  if all you do is list sources at the bottom there is no way to determine what facts they support in the biography.
by Keith McDonald G2G6 Mach 9 (91.5k points)
edited by Keith McDonald
Keith the problem Susan is having is that she is using a screen reader to help her read the profiles. A human eye would realize that the superscript number is for the reference in the source section. The screen reader would not. It would read everything which creates a disjointed profile when read in that fashion.
Darren thank you for understanding. So few people use screen readers it is difficult for them to imagine how difficult inline citations are for meto read.

Untrue. You can make a statement at the end of each source stating what specific information it sources. I do that unless the source is something obvious like a census, social security, find a grave, etc. I cite page numbers and quote sources.  Here's an example - see the last source  Penninger-194

Screen readers read EVERYTHING you see when a profile is in edit mode, even if you are reading the public profile.

sure, you add what the source is for in the sources instead of letting the inline ref do it for you....   more work, same results
Yet it is easier for her to read it the way she does it for her. It is still providing a source which is what is important.
Inline citations create more work for me, and usually result in headaches and a lot less productive work.
+3 votes

Last week the Data Doctor challenge was about reference tags. If there was a <ref> tag without a </ref> tag then that renders an error. It can remove a profile completely blank sometimes. It is also a permanent error so some Data Doctors may decide to work on them even when there isn't a challenge in that area. Fixing this can be a simple task. Some people do just fix one tiny thing without checking for other issues.  

The tags themselves are not useless to everyone but I can see how they are useless in your personal experience. 


by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
Ah, that explains why so many new <ref> tags. I have been very busy improving profiles lately of account of (to me) useless <ref> tag additions.

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