A while ago I posted an answer to the MathJax tutorial meta question about the right way to write a degree symbol. The latest edit (with which I'm not really happy) discusses, among other things, the absence of a \degree symbol in MathJax. But as far as I understand the docs, it should be fairly easy to provide a macro of that name for the whole site, with whatever implementation you consider most appropriate. Benefits:

  1. Would express intended meaning in the math markup, for the sake of editors.
  2. Might also emit that name to screen readers, I believe. Warrants testing.
  3. Does not depend on weird ways for entering ° on keyboards that don't support it.
  4. Implementation can pick whatever TeX notation renders best in a given MathJax version.

Currently suggested implementations include °, ^\circ and ^\text{o}. Semantically I prefer the first, but I get the impression that I'm in a minority here, and with this definition my main concern about doing the semantically right thing in the post itself would still be addressed.

  • 1
    Regarding screen readers: I tried out ChromeVox on the linked answer to the MathJax tutorial question, and it successfully read $45^\circ$ (that is, 45^\circ) as "45 degrees". I think less intelligent screen readers that don't catch this won't do any better with a \degree command that unpacks to ^\circ, since apparently they try to read the underlying MathML, which will look like <msup><mn>45</mn><mo>&#x2218;<!-- ∘ --></mo></msup> either way. – Misha Lavrov Oct 9 at 0:55
  • The circle in $45^\circ$ looks small. So perhaps $45^\mathrm{o}$ is better. – GEdgar Oct 9 at 12:41

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