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Warning 945 Unused Span Anchors

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 7 Jan 2022
Location: Worldwidemap
Surnames/tags: data_doctors db_error_945
This page has been accessed 2,102 times.

Description of Warning - 945: Unused Span Anchors

The profile has HTML SPAN anchors that are not used for inpage linking.

Description of SPAN anchors and links to them: Span anchor is set by <span id='name'></span> and links to it are set by [[#name]] or [[#name|link text]]. That creates the inpage link to the anchor and clicking on that link scrolls the page to the anchor location where you usually read more about something. While such linking is not recommended on WikiTree, it is not forbidded and the use is not a subject of suggestions. But there can be errors using such links and they are reported. Possible errors are that there are Duplicated span Anchors, where 2 anchors have the same name, Missing span Anchors where there is a link to an unexisting anchor, Unused span Anchors that lists all anchors that are not used and Too many inpage links where there is just way too many of them,

Content of info column: Anchor name(s) that are not used.

Possible Causes

  • Link to the anchor was deleted.
  • Copy/Paste of the anchor from another profile.

Action Steps

Remove the unused anchors.

Warning Status

For each Warning you can set status. You can set it as Corrected, Not corrected, False Warning, Proposed merge or just add a Comment.

If there are related errors for the profile, you will also see them on status page.

Full description is available on Status Help Page.

Questions and Discussions on this Warning

You can read what other people have asked here db_error_945.

You can also share your best practices, experiences, problems about the Warning by posting a question in G2G. If you create a new G2G discussion for this Warning, add tag data_doctors and db_error_945.

Technical Stuff

The biography is checked for the presence of unused SPAN anchors. They are reported if there are 3 or more unused anchors.

Suggestion reports

You can see the weekly prepared list of the latest suggestions prepared on September 17th 2023. You can also get the online report on WikiTree+.
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Comments: 23

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I wish to register an objection to this project treating unused span anchors as "problems" and prompting users to "fix" them by making non-functional edits to profiles. I have only become aware of this because recently a user did extensive damage to a profile that I manage in the process of trying to "fix" this "error". [Yes, I could and did undo it all. Still....]

It is true that the span tags in question in the particular profile are not currently in use. But they are not there by accident! Each span delineates one item in my list of "additional sources". The list entries, and the span tags, were created by my (experimental, unpublished so-far) application that reformats gedcom data into documented, narrative profiles in wiki markup. Why the list, and why is each entry given a name? After each fact is documented there are sometimes still some sources that apply to the facts in that profile that didn't make it into ref tags... they go in the Additional Sources list, with identifying tags, so that it will be easy to "promote" them in later edits in the profile that reference the span.

So, in terms of the page content here, I suggest that this is another "Possible Cause": someone put them there intentionally as a convenience to make future editing simpler, and easier to complete without unintended consequences in a complex profile.

Perhaps that's not a super-great idea. I'm not married to it; but it's not done at random and not done for no reason, either. And it's perfectly legal, and apparently harmless. What's the issue?

It seems to me that cuing users to make edits to profiles when the edits have no effect on the form, fit, or function of the profile, is not necessarily a good idea. Because each edit, as we see, entails a risk, and each time one person edits, someone else needs to go review it.

Please consider removing this condition from your list of "errors", or otherwise please consider modifying your guidance in some way with consideration to my concerns.

posted by Thomas Shanley
edited by Thomas Shanley
Hi, Thomas

Span anchors are HTML code WikiTree does not recommend using on person profiles. Usually, the span anchor is an "in-page link" to a span ID on the same profile. The suggestion is created when the span ID does not exist, usually deleted when the profile is cleaned up from an old gedcom import leaving the unlinked HTML span anchor. These should be removed. The current AGC app does this, and apps using HTML code are not generally recommended either.

Inline citation using ref tags is preferred, and inline citations do not need to be named unless the same citation is used for more than one fact in the profile's biography narrative. Jules removed the name for this reason, and other cleanup on Ticehurst-199, which you restored, and none of the references are linked to the external records, which is also preferable on WikiTree.

Removing unlinked span anchors is the correct resolution, and you say they are there for a reason for additional sources, which are all clearly visible on the profile under the "See also" list under sources.

The problem with the sources on the profile you mentioned is that none of the sources, whether inline citations or additional under "See also," have any links to the external records and, therefore not easily reviewed by other genealogists.

You said: "So, in terms of the page content here, I suggest that this is another "Possible Cause": someone put them there intentionally as a convenience to make future editing simpler and easier to complete without unintended consequences in a complex profile," which is not a good idea as it is HTML code is not the accepted standard for WikiTree.

The help page for this states:

Wiki Markup is Standard Unless specifically recommended against on a WikiTree help page or style page, all wiki markup tags can be considered standard. WikiTree will attempt to support them if it doesn't already. We will publish a specific rule recommending against them if necessary.

HTML Tags and Inline CSS are Non-Standard Unless specifically recommended on a WikiTree help page or style page, all HTML and inline CSS should be considered non-standard. Although we do not have rules about all possible combinations of HTML and CSS, when no rule means it's not supported. It is not officially recommended. It is not part of the recommended style.

Ales puts a lot of work into the suggestions, and the suggestions caused by HTML coding in profiles help remove that coding from person profiles. If he needs to add to this comment, he will do so.

For help, you might want to review some of the apps already in use that helps with sources and formatting for sources. These are available on the Apps page, and each has its help page linked along with installation instructions.

Take care ~ Sheryl Moore, a PC for the Data Doctors Project.

posted by Sheryl Moore
Hi Sheryl,

Thanks for all that.

HTML tags - not recommended seems pretty clear (now!)...

I see I still have plenty to learn about WikiTree.

I do think you have mis-characterized the profile in question and the changes to it, and I will PM you about that.



posted by Thomas Shanley
Hi, Thomas

I am glad to hear that. I didn't go into a full exam of the profile, but enough to answer your post. I welcome any messages and will do my best to review it if I mischaracterized anything.

Feel free to message directly rather than post on help pages;, the team will get any messages both ways.

Take care ~ Sheryl

posted by Sheryl Moore
The profile Sheryl mentioned had another suggestion on it (Error 943: Duplicated span Anchors) and that was the reason someone corrected the profile. Having 3 S1664 span tags has no usefull purpose and indicates possible duplication. As for Suggestion 945 it indeed doesn't affect the display of the profile and it is only a warning, that you know you have unused span tags on the page.

While adding "Possible Cause": someone put them there intentionally as a convenience to make future editing simpler, and easier to complete without unintended consequences in a complex profile. It could be listed but I think in your case with name S1234 noone knows what the source is from the head and you have to look into it anyway. I did see spans like "1800Census" and for those you could argue with future use of the span anchor.

In my opinion S1234 anchors are just GEDCOM import IDs and should be replaced with inline citations if someone is ready to do that.

posted by Aleš Trtnik

Categories: DD Suggestions Help