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VE – Basic reference dialog – Remove or disable unnecessary Insert menu options
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Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM
Referenced Files
F28075635: button-1.jpg
Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM
F28075610: basic-ref-1.jpg
Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM
F28075645: button-2.jpg
Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM
F28075620: basic-ref-2.jpg
Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM
F28075659: button-3.jpg
Jan 30 2019, 1:34 AM


The dialog box for inserting a basic reference contains a tool bar with a full set of options under the Insert menu. Of the twelve menu options, only one (Template) is appropriate for a citation. However, right now ALL of the options (such as Map, Graph, Gallery, etc.) are active and CAN be selected by the user, leading to some strange results. All options except Template should be disabled/grayed out – or better still, the Insert menu should be replaced entirely by the Template icon/button.

To open the dialog from the beta cluster: Open VE, place your cursor anywhere, and choose
Insert > Basic reference.

To open the dialog from

  1. Open VE, place your cursor anywhere, and choose Cite to open the Add-a-citation dialog.
  2. Select the Manual tab and choose “Basic form.”

Here is the dialog with the Insert menu open:

basic-ref-1.jpg (617×780 px, 77 KB)

Notice all the active options that are not appropriate in a citation. For example, I was able to insert maps and graphs. Here’s how that turned out:

basic-ref-2.jpg (605×768 px, 119 KB)


@matmarex points out below that math formulas may be used in footnotes (see his example) and that a case could be made in favor of many other menu options. I agree that this needs some discussion, and at his suggestion I'm splitting off the portion of the original bug that had to do with the "Use existing reference" button (see T214991) so that the Insert menu issues can be discussed and handled separately.

Event Timeline

I'm not sure about "Unnecessary Insert menu options". For the most part they're probably unwanted in references, but e.g. math could be reasonable (example: and one could probably come up with more-or-less reasonable examples for many others. I'm not sure if we should disallow them, and if so, we should definitely consider which ones.

I agree about "Unnecessary button" though :)

Can you split one of them to a separate task?

Yes, I see your point about math formulas, and that would go for some others as well, such as chem formulas and musical notation. Discussion is definitely needed.

I will do as you suggest and try to split this into two tasks. (Apologies in advance if I make a mess of this... I'm kind of a noob : )

Barbvd renamed this task from VE – Basic reference dialog – Remove or disable unnecessary Insert menu options, and remove unnecessary button. to VE – Basic reference dialog – Remove or disable unnecessary Insert menu options.Jan 30 2019, 9:41 PM
Barbvd updated the task description. (Show Details)
Esanders added a subscriber: Esanders.

Note also that extensions register themselves with the VE menu, so any code to limit the list would not be centralised. There are also other contexts where we may consider limited options, such as inside image captions or gallery captions, and the rules are not necessarily the same, as it's all down to quirks of wikitext to what syntax you can use.

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