There are a couple of tickets about the citoid UI in VE that have been open for a long time without resolution and need input from design.
These have to do with using citoid outside of the current paradigm, which inserts a single template inside a ref tag.
- From the reference dialog (to allow replacing references) see: https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/mediawiki/extensions/Citoid/+/483337/ and T208981
- From a template - T168334 (solutions below don't address this and is a complex problem)
- In a bulleted list - T95702
- Using harv citations - T144695
And there are some related issues, like being able to get to the reference dialog instead of opening up the template directly, which impact this: T71498
And problems with the wrong template being used for a resource i.e. cite web instead of cite news, i.e. T97936
So there are a couple of different solutions to these various problems of which https://gerrit.wikimedia.org/r/#/c/mediawiki/extensions/Citoid/+/483337/ was trying to solve:
One, make it easier to get to the reference dialog (either by adding a button to do so, or by opening it automatically instead of the template), and two, offer citoid from the menu in the mini editor in the reference dialog for replacing references.
Or, we could offer citoid from certain templates so the user can click insert template -> cite news > press magnifying glass which fills in the template > insert template -> save ref. This would allow people to insert templates without having to insert the ref, and also offers a way for people who prefer to use the correct template to select it themselves.
Or, there is the approach in the current gerrit patch which is to put a "replace reference" button at the bottom of the reference dialog, which allows you do back to the original citoid dialog to use the automatic tab.