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Reflist with embedded refs no longer shown in section preview
Open, Needs TriagePublicBUG REPORT


When editing the references section of a Wikipedia article that uses the {{reflist|refs= ... }} syntax to embed the references within that section, and previewing the edits, it used to be the case that all references would be previewed, even though they are unused within that section. In the past few weeks, that behavior has been broken, so that a references section consisting only of {{reflist|refs= ... }} previews as blank. This makes it very difficult to edit these sections by themselves, because preview becomes useless.

Steps to Reproduce: Create a document with references inside a {{reflist|refs= ... }} template (but no external uses of those references) and preview it

Actual Results: Nothing is displayed

Expected Results: The unused references are displayed

Event Timeline

Restricted Application added subscribers: Liuxinyu970226, Aklapper. · View Herald TranscriptFeb 16 2020, 11:35 PM

Hi @DavidEppstein, thanks for taking the time to report this! Do you have a link handy to an example article where this issue can be seen?

Sure — go to, edit the references section using the source editor, and preview. I don't think the visual editor can handle the reference style of that article easily so I haven't tried that. If it makes a difference I am using the monobook skin.

RexxS added a subscriber: RexxS.Mar 28 2020, 6:56 PM

If you look at a large article with lots of references, the usefulness of seeing the references in preview mode is even more obvious. If you look at

Doing maintenance work on those 100+ citations was far easier when I could preview them, particularly as I had them sorted alphabetically by reference name.

As you would expect, the preview is missing in Monobook and Vector, regardless of what browser I use.

Izno moved this task from Unsorted backlog to Defect backlog on the Cite board.May 5 2020, 11:26 PM