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When writing a question/comment/answer to math.stackexchange, one really often is confronted with the use of the \mathbb{} command. Is there any simplification possible, for example writing

$$\text{\Z} \Rightarrow \mathbb{Z}$$ or does one always have to write those longish command?

Thank you, Tom

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    $\begingroup$ For a slight improvement $\Bbb Z$ yields $\Bbb Z$. $\endgroup$ – user642796 Nov 20 '13 at 11:32
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    $\begingroup$ If you write $\newcommand{\Z}{\mathbb Z}$ then you can use $\Z$ in the rest of your post. Like here: $\newcommand{\Z}{\mathbb Z}\Z$. This should be used carefully. You can have a look at other posts related to newcommand and def. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 '13 at 12:11
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    $\begingroup$ There was recently a related discussion at meta.MO: A set of basic LaTeX macros for MO? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Nov 20 '13 at 12:12
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your advices! $\endgroup$ – BIS HD Nov 20 '13 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ Dear down-voter.. how can I improve my post? $\endgroup$ – BIS HD Nov 20 '13 at 15:18
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    $\begingroup$ Votes on meta indicate agreement or disagreement with the suggestion made, not that the question is correct or incorrect. (I did not vote.) $\endgroup$ – Did Nov 20 '13 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, thanks for your answer! I think my post might be misleading in the way that it was just asking, if there is one, not proposing one. That's why I added the "support" tag, which was deleted now. Anyhow, I learned a bit more, which is great! :-) $\endgroup$ – BIS HD Nov 20 '13 at 15:25
  • $\begingroup$ Suppose I use \newcommand in my question. Then, if someone gets the Latex code of one of my formulas, can he just paste it into his answer? $\endgroup$ – GEdgar Nov 21 '13 at 14:09
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I think we need to avoid non-standard commands in general. Many people prefer to use different naming conventions for their $\LaTeX$ custom commands. For example I use double letter for blackboard bold fonts; f prefix for Fraktur, c for calligraphic, s for script. So I would write \sF\subseteq\cP(\RR)\cap\fA for $\mathscr F\subseteq\mathcal P(\mathbb R)\cap\mathfrak A$.

Forcing me to deviate from that and use \Z, and equally appalling is forcing others to use my custom shortcuts is just wrong in my opinion.

As pointed out you can use the shorthand \Bbb{...} for example $\Bbb{|R^N|=|R\setminus Q|=|N^N|}$ is just \Bbb{|R^N|=|R\setminus Q|=|N^N|}.

For very long posts where you would use certain symbols often enough you can add \newcommand at the top lines and use these in your post. Note that using that may cause ripple effects at any text using those commands below your redefined (or newly defined) commands.

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    $\begingroup$ Yes, forcing is bad.... $\endgroup$ – user642796 Nov 20 '13 at 14:35
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for your post. To clarify, I didn't want to force anybody into using my abbreviations. I was just asking if there are any simplifications for \mathbb. I would not have a problem if there was a non-standard abbreviation list available for everybody - if there is one. Nobody should, however, be forced into using it. $\endgroup$ – BIS HD Nov 20 '13 at 14:39
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    $\begingroup$ @Arthur: Forcing is great. But this sort of forcing is not proper and in fact collapses all the ordinals to be finite! $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 20 '13 at 14:50
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila This has nothing to do with forcing. If it was possible to use \Z as a custom shortcut, you wouldn't have to use it. You could still use \Bbb Z or \mathbb Z. It is just that you can also use \Z. This is not forcing anybody, this is a form of extended freedom. $\endgroup$ – Kasper Nov 21 '13 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Kasper: Our views on what counts as forcing differ, then. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 21 '13 at 11:22
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila I'm not a native english speaker, but according to this source: "force: to make somebody do something that they do not want to do". If \Z was a custom macro, and you don't want to use it, nobody is forcing you to use it. At MO 1.0 there were a few custom macros and nobody was complaining about them. $\endgroup$ – Kasper Nov 21 '13 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Kasper: I'm not a native speaker either. But my definition of forcing is quite wide. I consider the case of "Oh here is a very convenient shortcut that you can use, or keep up with the old and cluttered way" to be forcing. I consider the fact that it is becoming increasingly harder to surf parts of the web without a Facebook or G+ accounts forcing. I consider the fact that certain hardware comes with particular software forcing. Sure I can choose not to use it, but if I do, then I am forced to do it that way. That is point number one. [cont.] $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 21 '13 at 11:45
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    $\begingroup$ [...] Point number two is the fact that a lot of people on this site are not $\LaTeX$ expert. MathJax itself is not a 100% $\LaTeX$ environment either, but the incredible similarities do help people to transfer knowledge from one to the other. Adding non-standard shortcuts is going to interfere with that, and in my view, it will force a list of shortcuts designed by someone onto people that don't really have a choice in the matter. Even if no one puts a gun to your head, there are sophisticated ways to force you into doing something. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 21 '13 at 11:47
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila With similar reasoning I could argue that I'm forced to use the macro names Donald Knuth once invented. I'm forced to type \frac{a}{b+x} instead of (a)/(b+x), which I would prefer. But wait forcing is bad... So let just not use any of those macros. Okay, nobody would be able to type math anymore, but at least nobody is forced ! ... I find this reasoning silly. I would prefer typing this math language at MSE. But I don't feel forced in any way. I feel grateful that there is at least a way to type math at MSE. $\endgroup$ – Kasper Nov 21 '13 at 12:12
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    $\begingroup$ @Kasper: I don't understand what do you want from me, from this discussion, or otherwise from Donald Knuth. Please leave me alone. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Nov 21 '13 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ In the same way I would feel grateful if there was a way to type math macros using convenient shorcuts instead of the old and cluttered way. I don't care if it is \Z or \ZZ or both. $\endgroup$ – Kasper Nov 21 '13 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila "Please leave me alone" sounds a little bit dramatic... I'm just trying to express my point of view. Which is that adding some custom macro's like \Z or \ZZ would be a good addition to MSE, and that your reasoning about why this would be a bad addition to MSE doesn't make sense to me. Just wanted to clear this up, I'll leave you alone ... $\endgroup$ – Kasper Nov 21 '13 at 12:32

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