Frequently, I see users--often users with some $>1$ amount of reputation--who, while using MathJax, have some fairly annoying flaws: for example, $pi$ instead of $\pi$ or improper use of curly braces (e.g. $A_(1)$ instead of $A_{(1)}$). Most often these are just annoying but sometimes they can be genuinely ambiguous or even nonsensical.

I have certainly seen many commenters direct newer users to the MathJax tutorial. However, I have very rarely seen commenters suggest MathJax tips to users with poor MathJax skills with the goal of improving the OP's formatting for future questions.

Is making such suggestions considered proper and worthwhile? Is there a reason this isn't done more? If such suggestions are considered proper, are all such suggestions considered worthwhile: should nitpicky details like $cos x$ instead of $\cos x$ be brought up or just errors that actually effect understandability?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Personally I mention stuff like \cos in the edit summary - so maybe OP can learn also from there. But if there is need for longer explanation, comment might be reasonable thing to do. I think that comments like that are not uncommon. You can try yourself whether you can see such comments if you search for some reasonable keywords in comments $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 9:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ For example you might try: formatting, MathJax, LaTeX, typeset, etc. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ And you can similarly search in SEDE for edit summaries to see whether they contain some keyword, for example MathJax. This might help to check whether some users leave MathJax tips in the edit summary. $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ Off Topic. As a self-education device I often hit the edit button to see how a particular format was created in MathJax. I tried it just now on this post but was blocked because editing isn't allowed. Is there an easy work around? $\endgroup$ Dec 4, 2017 at 15:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @StephenMeskin Right click Show Math As -> TeX commands $\endgroup$
    – kingW3
    Dec 4, 2017 at 16:23
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It seems no one has answered your question: "Is making such suggestions considered proper and worthwhile? " Yes, it is!! Those sorts of tips in comments helped me way way back when I first came to the site, to more quickly learn how to use mathjax. I have certainly left a lot of tips since then, e.g., when a post with trig functions is correctly formatted, except for the "$cos x, sin x, tan x...$. In such a case, I'll show how to format trig functions, same with \ln, \log, \gcd, \operatorname{Funky}(x) etc. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Dec 6, 2017 at 1:59
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Another reason to use \cos x rather than cos x is that MathJax will be able to generate the proper output for screen readers and other assistive technology (\cos x can be read as "cosine x", while cos x is read as four separate letters, "c-o-s-x"). $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2017 at 18:58


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .