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Seems like someone has gone on a bizarre edit spree, deciding to randomly change $dx$ to $\operatorname d\!x$ (with no other edits). This is purely a matter of stylistic choice, and I find it really annoying to have ancient questions bumped for just this. Some of the edited posts are more than a year old.

Should such edits be discouraged? (I think so.)

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    $\begingroup$ I have pinged the user you mention. (I think it is good to let them know about the thread on meta.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Oct 23 '14 at 7:32
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    $\begingroup$ Changing was not random, the \operatorname seemed more appropriate, how ever I want to hear what council of elders has to say on styling of differential operator. $\endgroup$ – Arjang Oct 23 '14 at 8:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Arjang: Do you think we should edit $\bf R$ to $\Bbb R$? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Oct 23 '14 at 8:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Arjang Surely it was random. The same questions you edited had several answers with italic $d$:s which you left unchanged. $\endgroup$ – mrf Oct 23 '14 at 9:02
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sure we've had discussions of innessential edits before. This certainly qualifies. Don't do it. Please. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Myerson Oct 23 '14 at 9:27
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    $\begingroup$ @Arjang While I personally prefer the roman $\mathrm{d}$, not everybody does - but the more important thing is that even if $dx$ was categorically wrong (which it isn't), changing it bumps lots of old questions to the front page, hiding new questions, and it's not worth doing this for such a minor change. $\endgroup$ – mdp Oct 23 '14 at 10:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Arjang: Uniform and proper style? According to whom? I don't think there is such a thing as universally accepted style in math. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 23 '14 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ I dislike the Roman d and much prefer $dx$. I don't change other people's $\mathrm{d}x$, and I expect them not to muck about with my $dx$. $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Oct 23 '14 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ I wonder what would the reception would have been if this had been about $sin$ vs $\sin$, or $Aut$ vs $\operatorname{Aut}$. Specifically, I wonder if @Jyrki would have said the same thing? $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 23 '14 at 11:57
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 However, there are things that are not uniform. And anyways we all know the rules for minor edits. If someone edited an old post only to change $y=sin x$ to $y=\sin x$, I would certainly reject it. No matter I am a professional math typographer. $\endgroup$ – yo' Oct 23 '14 at 12:20
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    $\begingroup$ Secondly, I do not think blanket rejection is realistic: rejection should always depend on context. For example, I would reject a sin x to \sin x in an old post with few views and a negative score, but not in an old post with a high score and lots of views. So any "rules" we have should, in my opinion, be fuzzy and not concrete. $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 23 '14 at 13:10
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    $\begingroup$ (cont'd) So it behooves me to do my Lindelof -> Lindelöf edits in bursts of 2-3 at max. $\endgroup$ – Jyrki Lahtonen Oct 23 '14 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ IMO, questions being "bumped" even by minor edits is a technology problem in StackExchange that should be addressed there (e.g. through a "this is a minor edit" checkbox like Wikipedia has had for years). That tiny improvements in style or typography are being officially discouraged because the software is too dumb to know when to bump and when to leave is surely not ideal. $\endgroup$ – user139000 Oct 26 '14 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 "There is no such thing as an $\mathbb{R}$-tree"? I have seen them typeset like this (and not just in papers I've written). $\endgroup$ – Shane O Rourke Oct 26 '14 at 23:41
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    $\begingroup$ @pew But if the edit is not an improvement in typography, rather the opposite, like here? $\endgroup$ – Daniel Fischer Oct 27 '14 at 10:40
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From typographical point of view, the question whether d in dx is upright or italic is not clear at all, it varies from author to author, from sub-field to sub-field and from journal to journal. Therefore I think that we should not unify the style across the site and rather leave it to the authors.

What is not questionable, though, is that dx has to be separated from the preceding contents by a thin space (\, in LaTeX/MathJaX), unless there already is a visual separation (which is the case more-or-less only when the integrand is a large parenthesis).

And no matter what, editing dx into \mathrm{d}x or \operatorname{d}x, as well as adding the thin space, it all certainly qualifies as a minor edit.

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    $\begingroup$ Minor point: there is a difference between minor and too minor. For example, $x\mapsto -x$... is minor, but not necessarily too minor... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 23 '14 at 12:04
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 No, I believe that the one you show is small (in length), but not minor (in importance) ;) $\endgroup$ – yo' Oct 23 '14 at 12:15
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    $\begingroup$ Touché...minor is an adjective, so really we each should have followed it by a noun. You meant "minor in importance" while I meant "minor in size". I doubt SE will change the close reason "too minor" based on this imprecision though... $\endgroup$ – user1729 Oct 23 '14 at 13:18
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    $\begingroup$ @user1729 "too minor" rejection reason for edits does not exist any more. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Oct 23 '14 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ Well, this tex.SE answer states ISO 31/XI suggests the upright version, which might be considered a standard. However I agree it's too minor to justify an edit - though providing a global \d or similar might improve the readability of the "correct" typesetting. $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Oct 23 '14 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKienzler I suggest leaving ISO for the engineers and staying with typography traditions in maths: tex.stackexchange.com/questions/14821/… $\endgroup$ – yo' Oct 23 '14 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ True dat... Personally I'd prefer spending less time with norms (or typography) and more time with contents, but somehow my job's currently quite the opposite :/ $\endgroup$ – Tobias Kienzler Oct 23 '14 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for mentioning the \ that should always precede a $dx$ in an integral. $\endgroup$ – Emily Oct 24 '14 at 20:03
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    $\begingroup$ @Arkamis It's not interword space \ ! It's the thin space \, !!! $\endgroup$ – yo' Oct 24 '14 at 22:35
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    $\begingroup$ Either space will do -- as long as there is a space. $\endgroup$ – Emily Oct 24 '14 at 22:37
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    $\begingroup$ I just think we need some space. Maybe take a little break, meet up at the next partition. $\endgroup$ – Emily Oct 24 '14 at 22:39
  • $\begingroup$ It doesnt cares absolutely nothing, being "official" or not it really doesnt care at all. It meaning is obvious, it doesnt lead to confusion. $\endgroup$ – Masacroso Oct 30 '14 at 10:49
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    $\begingroup$ @tohecz I prefer not to typeset a space every time (mainly due to my laziness), since \mathrm dx creates a visual separation by change of font already. I have even included a \dd command in my own utility package just to abbreviate the \mathrm d, but I wouldn't worry about spacing if there is some other visual separation. $\int xdx$ is barely readable, but to me $\int x\mathrm dx$ is good enough. $\endgroup$ – AlexR Nov 3 '14 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexR There are zillions of ways how to do it in LaTeX, and zillions of people who like one and hate another one and ... $\endgroup$ – yo' Nov 3 '14 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexR: Whereas for me $\int x\mathrm dx$ requires significantly more effort to parse visually than $\int xdx$, though both are vastly inferior to $\int x\,dx$. $\endgroup$ – Brian M. Scott Nov 3 '14 at 22:39

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