I would like to know as curiosity, or as a reflection or thought that maybe can be useful the following question (I didn't add answers on this site Mathematics Stack Exchange and I don't help to adress the need to the New Contributors in his/her first questions here).

The situation is that I believe* that some new users don't know how type formulas in the language that is used in the site Mathematics Stack Exchange (my concern is for the first question of some new users that I evoke that are students), thus my belief is that the first question of some new contributor can not be formatted in the best way, if maybe he/she is not stuck but doesn't know how type formulas the post that I evoke can be telegraphic, and maybe some user can not add more details in comments.

Question. What should be the itinerary to edit a good post with formulas for a new user (I mean that he/she is editing for first time a post, and has the need to learn how edit those formulas in the body or with the purpose to add a comment)? Many thanks.

I emphasize that I'm asking this information in case that this is legitimate to ask this.

*I, of course, support the effort culture, and maybe my beliefs doesn't care of all causistic or maybe are biased or wrong.


For some time, a new user to the site was shown the following page before asking their first question https://math.stackexchange.com/questions/ask/advice (due to a recent SE modification this likely changed, I'll need to find out what it shows now).

It started:

Welcome to Mathematics Stack Exchange!

To improve the chances of your question getting an answer, make sure that it:

The link goes to MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference which summarizes most standard commands.

Since a few months the situation is that this is shown to new users asking:

Screen-caputure from ask page

Again we have

Uses MathJax formatting for math formulas

Furthermore the help center contains a section on editing help that also links to that post https://math.stackexchange.com/editing-help. This site might seem hard to find, but it is actually directly linked from the editing window under "more".

That is, even if somebody only explores the editing-window for how to input a formula, they should stumble over the instructions.

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    $\begingroup$ Many thanks for your answer. $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 29 '20 at 23:14
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    $\begingroup$ You are welcome. I never miss a chance to mention the "advice" page as it is not so widely known as it is shown only at the very start and many users joined before it was introduced. $\endgroup$ – quid May 29 '20 at 23:15
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    $\begingroup$ Is the advice page still shown before the first question? My impression was that it was removed at the time of this announcement: The new ask page is now live on the network! $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak May 30 '20 at 6:36
  • $\begingroup$ Many thanks @MartinSleziak I don't know all details, my problem is that I don't remember the exact itinerary that I did when I was user for first time (with this account approximately a year ago, and for other account now deleted). Maybe was my decission don't read the MathJax basic tutorial and quick reference for the first time that I've edited a post on MSE. Any case my impression is that maybe some new user doesn't read (is stuck) or doesn't want read this tutorial, even is it is a good advice and required to type formulas. $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 30 '20 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ I add that I don't know if there are many or few generic New Contributor (my concern is for students) that edit his/her first question or comment in this Mathematics Stack Exchange don't formatting MathJax for his/her math formulas. Addtionally I wan to add that I believe that for some sites Stack Exchange isn't required learn a specific language to add a post, for example see the recent question with identificator 100252 from Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange (I hope that it is right to refer this post as a generic example here, feel free to delete my comment if this is wrong). $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 30 '20 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak good point. Presumably not. I had not realized this change. It be interesting to know what exactly is shown now. $\endgroup$ – quid May 30 '20 at 10:11
  • $\begingroup$ I've decided accept your answer after you've included more information in your last edit. Even it seems to me that your post is aesthetically beautiful including the miniature of a screenshot. $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 31 '20 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ @user759001 thank you for the feedback. Credit for the screenshot goes mostly to Martin Sleziak who provided it. $\endgroup$ – quid May 31 '20 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know what visual elements (for example slides or a video) are legitimate in this site Mathematics Stack Exchange or feasible with the purpose to illustrate to a generic New Contributor how to type formulas in this site for first time. This include more advanced ways as the exploration with the right bottom of the mouse (Show Math As > TeX Commands). Maybe there is some young student that is stuck in a problem and can not overcome the wall to type formulas in tex or comments. There are persons with great skills to learn quickly a thing and other with a learning that is more humble. $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 31 '20 at 11:26
  • $\begingroup$ @user759001 it would certainly be possible to link to videos about this. The question is if suitable videos exist. I also have doubts that the actual problem is the lack of available information. Many users are not willing to invest their time to make better contributions unless forced to. Often it is not a lack of ability but a lack of incentive. $\endgroup$ – quid May 31 '20 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ If it is legitimate to add quality videos, maybe some user (maybe a professor or a teacher) have the ability/skills to create these from his/her generosity and patience (adding slides and his/her voice for the explanation). I have no skills to do it. On the other hand I think that I am not overreacting: each person has specific circumstances in the real life, for example more or less chances, a different background... to learn a specific thing. The cost of knowledge can be different for different persons. $\endgroup$ – user759001 May 31 '20 at 12:13

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