This is mostly about formatting.

Whenever I see a post that does not uses the proper formatting somewhere on it I edit the post and add it. The problem is, sometimes it's a really small thing - or sometimes the question is still perfectly understandable, it just looks terrible.

I am mostly concerned that I'm wasting my time and the time of those who actually have to review my edits. Some people may consider some of my changings too superfluous to matter. In my defense, well, maybe I'm just a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to those things and I do believe they matter.

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    $\begingroup$ About frequency of edits (which is not exactly what you are asking): If you do it only to relatively new posts, you do not have to worry, I'd say. If you edit old posts, you should not too much at the same time, see here: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/5068/… $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 12 '14 at 15:22
  • $\begingroup$ This post also seems related: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1880/… $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 12 '14 at 15:23
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak i usually edit mostly new and relatively new posts, yes. i read Eric Naslund's (very relevant) question but i'm trying to address some different issue, which is, basically: is it worth it to change understandable things in order to make them look better/ clearer? thank you for your comments. $\endgroup$ – essay May 12 '14 at 15:27
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    $\begingroup$ Well. One of my questions was edited with \$l \rightarrow\ell\$. I wasn't aware of the nice \$\ell\$ before and liked it. Now think about peoppeople who don't use \$\TeX\$, they will be fascinated by the nice formulas and maybe will even start using them themselves. $\endgroup$ – WalyKu May 12 '14 at 18:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Kurtovic that was a such a nice comment and a nice way to see things, thank you so much. $\endgroup$ – essay May 12 '14 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @sylvia you seem to be a really thoughtful and beneficent person. Thanks from the community for that. More people like you is always good. Keep up your judicious editing. $\endgroup$ – J. W. Perry May 13 '14 at 1:40
  • $\begingroup$ @J.W.Perry thank you so much for your kind words. as a math lover i find this site one of the most beautiful, useful and also kind (not to mention selfless!) things i ever came across. i want to give my contribute to such a thing in the best way i can. :) $\endgroup$ – essay May 13 '14 at 11:25

As a rule of thumb, I'd say

texifying is (usually) fine, (just) fine-tuning formulas is (usually) superfluous.

So e.g... I don't know... converting 2^0,5+3^(1/3) to $\sqrt2+\sqrt[3]3$ is useful (esp. while the post is still new), but (just) changing $\int f(x)dx$ to $\int f(x)\,\mathrm{d}x$ (or some \frac to \dfrac or smth else like this) is (no less than) superfluous.

Also I'd say there is an exception from the 'texifying is fine' rule: we all like tex, but (just) changing 1 to $1$ or p to $p$ is, IMO, pointless.

  • $\begingroup$ i suppose i can give you the specific example that caused this question: in a title, i considered changing f: X --> Y to $f: X \to Y$. worthless? $\endgroup$ – essay May 12 '14 at 15:29
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    $\begingroup$ @sylvia I'd say, if it's a new question — please fix it. If it's some old question — perhaps that would be a too minor edit. $\endgroup$ – Grigory M May 12 '14 at 15:52
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    $\begingroup$ Tex in titles can cause the front page to load slowly for some, so I would not change f: X--> Y to $f: X\rightarrow Y$. Also, I do not think that \dfrac should, in general, be edited in. See here. $\endgroup$ – user1729 May 12 '14 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @user1729 Well, yes, there were such concerns in the past, but nowadays tex de facto is used in titles everywhere... (As for dfrac &c, yes, I agree; just in case: my examples are arbitrary, not taken from actual sylvia's edits.) $\endgroup$ – Grigory M May 12 '14 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ Use of MathJaX in titles has been discussed extensively, see for example the list of questions linked to this one: meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/10617/… To summarize it (at least the way I see it): There is no real consensus, various users have various opinion on this issue. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 13 '14 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Just to clarify: I spent a while wording the first sentence of my previous comment, but as I read it now it isn't as clear as I wanted. I meant to say that I would not change it, but I don't mind what others would do. $\endgroup$ – user1729 May 13 '14 at 8:34

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