What are the pros/cons of using two asterisks vs using mathjax when trying to italicize something in a question? Thanks in advance.

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    $\begingroup$ Why is this getting downvoted? I think it’s a fair question for a relatively new user. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2019 at 18:57
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    $\begingroup$ downvoting here, just means people usually disagree with the premise. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Dec 3, 2019 at 19:28
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    $\begingroup$ Recently I had a post edited and the editor used asterisks instead of mathjax, so I am just trying to understand the reasoning behind that action. Perhaps I could have been more clear what my intent was with this question. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2019 at 19:30

2 Answers 2


Drawbacks of using MathJaX I can figure are:

  • MathJaX can possibly fail with Javascript disabled ( as it's an AJAX ( Asynchronous Javascript And XML) library emulating LaTeX) which loses the effect.
  • Markdown doesn't take a menu to copy a phrase from.
  • It might be confused for actual math content, on a math website.
  • The word or phrase, won't necessarily be searchable, if the search engine it is searched for on, doesn't peek inside MathJaX markers.
  • Putting a word on a new line takes no less effort
  • It's MathJaX, not TextJaX so you have potential to look like a fool.

Pros of using MathJaX:

  • Nobody of sane mind, will be willing to edit your words, quote you, or copy your work as is.
  • You can add a reference handler to the word, for those that ignore it.
  • You can create a post that eats up data, as it requires more processing.
  • You can rotate it to make it even more noticable.
  • You can add color, make it larger, and add Caligraphical fonts, and move it around the page to be a big fertilized lawn.
  • Etc.

Use mathjax for mathematics, not for text formatting. The mathjax italics happen because mathjax thinks "abcde" is just a string of variables.

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    $\begingroup$ Then it should lose \Large etc as the normal LaTeX wikibook wouldn't allow it. \text is also not the greatest command to have as you can type words between displaystyle math. neither is \mathit as it's meant for italicizing in math mode. $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Dec 3, 2019 at 18:50
  • $\begingroup$ Okay found a use for \text and \Huge UPC-A barcoding lol $\endgroup$
    – user645636
    Dec 4, 2019 at 18:56

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