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So, I'm a new user and trying to figure out how things work around here. I saw a post in which someone forgot to put one of their math equations between dollar signs, so it came out in raw LateX rather than in a readable form.

I saw an 'edit' button, and went "I'll just be nice and edit this in". Saw that it'd then enter a queue to have the edit be confirmed, which is fine...but then when I went to try to submit it, I got an error message saying edits had to be at least 6 characters long. I can see why one might not want people going in to edit minor spelling mistakes, but it seems like this is a pretty common edit to want to make....should I just put a comment in for the original poster to fix, or is there some other way around this, or...?

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My suggestions, in decreasing order of preference.

  1. Try to improve the post in other ways. Rare is a question that cannot be improved. Even rarer is an impeccable question by a user who forgets dollar signs.

  2. Leave the post as is. Some 2k user will notice the missing markup and fix it.

  3. Work around the restriction in some way: insert whitespace into a formula, or invisible HTML entities in text  , etc. Adding an empty formula is probably the worst option in terms of rendering speed.

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  • $\begingroup$ There are some posts I've seen that were well-written, but the user thought that MathJax would render \begin{align}\end{align} like LaTeX does (and thus they didn't enter dollar signs). I thought 2k users were still subject to character edit limits... but maybe not. (Aside: do HTML comments work for the character limit? I don't want to test it and bump a post by accident.) $\endgroup$ – apnorton Oct 1 '14 at 4:16
  • $\begingroup$ huh. I guess MathJax made the dollar signs on align environments optional now. Nevermind about that. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Oct 1 '14 at 4:17
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    $\begingroup$ #3 is terrible, in my opinion. There's no point in going through the whole edit review process just for adding two dollar signs. $\endgroup$ – Najib Idrissi Oct 1 '14 at 7:38
  • $\begingroup$ 1. is often not possible. I almost got banned from editing because of some 2/3 edits that added $s and changed the grammar. $\endgroup$ – ghosts_in_the_code Nov 8 '14 at 4:48
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The workaround, which should only be used when absolutely necessary, is to write ${}{}{}$ at the bottom. It renders invisibly.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks, working on learning the ropes :) $\endgroup$ – Alan Oct 1 '14 at 1:37
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    $\begingroup$ Please don't. At least use  . Including junk mathjax slows the page down for everyone. $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Oct 1 '14 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ Fair enough--I'll leave this answer here so people can see that it's not recommended. $\endgroup$ – apnorton Oct 1 '14 at 20:29

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