Showing $\frac{|\overrightarrow{A_1B}|}{|\overrightarrow{A_1C}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{B_1C}|}{|\overrightarrow{B_1A}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{C_1A}|}{|\overrightarrow{C_1B}|}=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur

Does anyone regard the above as an inappropriately long subject line for a question?

It exceeds the number of characters allowed. Do those who make the rules and those who write the software understand things like this?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ It seems that you are talking about this recent question: Showing $\frac{|\vec{A_1B}|}{|\vec{A_1C}|}\frac{|\vec{B_1C}|}{|\vec{B_1A}|}\frac{|\vec{C_1A}|}{|\vec{C_1B}|}=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur Do you suggest an alternative title? $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 20:19
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @T.S : Why would I be the one asked to suggest an alternative title when I am the one suggesting that this title should NOT be considered too long? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ Well, (1) I did not see you suggested "this title should NOT be considered too long" in your post but only later in your comment. (2) the one I linked is different from yours: they used \vec while you use \overrightarrow and that's why I asked if you suggest an "alternative". (3) I'm one of those who upvoted this post; this is of course not relevant to your question though. $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Commented Sep 22, 2020 at 1:40

2 Answers 2


Your proposed title is

Showing $\frac{|\overrightarrow{A_1B}|}{|\overrightarrow{A_1C}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{B_1C}|}{|\overrightarrow{B_1A}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{C_1A}|}{|\overrightarrow{C_1B}|}=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur (215 characters).

Since \newcommand is now local, I believe it is safe to do [Edit: as per Martin's comment, this may not be so safe]

Showing $\newcommand\Y[3]{\frac{|\overrightarrow{#1_1#2}|}{|\overrightarrow{#1_1#3}|}}\Y ABC\Y BCA\Y CAB=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur (145 characters, under the 150 limit)

The MathJax result is the same: yours is

Showing $\frac{|\overrightarrow{A_1B}|}{|\overrightarrow{A_1C}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{B_1C}|}{|\overrightarrow{B_1A}|}\frac{|\overrightarrow{C_1A}|}{|\overrightarrow{C_1B}|}=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur

Mine is

Showing $\newcommand\Y[3]{\frac{|\overrightarrow{#1_1#2}|}{|\overrightarrow{#1_1#3}|}}\Y ABC\Y BCA\Y CAB=1$ implies $AA_1$, $BB_1$, $CC_1$ concur

If you want to slightly mess the formatting, you can replace the three $, $s with \ for 3 more characters.

PS the frustration is not unwarranted but the website designer(s) likely had to work around certain compromises; not assuming their lack of understanding would perhaps result is less downvotes (not that it matters, in meta of all places).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ As far as I can tell, newcommand can still "leak" from the titles: Should titles be included in begingroup..endgroup (similarly as posts and comments)? (Unless it has already been fixed, but the bug is not marked (status-completed).) In fact, the answer saying that macros in the titles should be blacklisted gained some support. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 8:32
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak ah, well that's unfortunate then...not that I disagree with the proposal! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 8:40
  • $\begingroup$ I will also add that there is a recommendation against macros in the title here: Guidelines for good use of $\rm\LaTeX$ in question titles. Still, that recommendation was likely given for the reasons related to the scope of macros (which, in this case, also include posts showing the title among related/linked questions). So if this problem is fixed one day, then this recommendation will become less important. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ Just as a test whether the difference between macros in a title and macros in the body of a post still persists, I have posted this question: math.stackexchange.com/q/3824320 I will eventually delete it, but I will leave it around for some time - in case somebody wants to experiment with this question or what happens if another question is linked to it, etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 8:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have added a bug report also on Meta Stack Exchange: Shouldn't the titles be enclosed in the begingroup..endgroup, too? (Sorry for the digression from the original topic, which was shortening of the title - still, macros in the titles are somewhat related.) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2020 at 9:30
  • $\begingroup$ Are you saying this \newcommand should be in the body of the question and it will be effective in the title? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 16:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MichaelHardy I believe that won’t work. It definitely won’t work if it shows up in related questions since the body isn’t loaded in that situation $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 23:48


E.g., click on "edit" to see my almost instantaneous improvisition of the proposed title:

"Showing $\frac{|\vec{A_1B}|}{|\vec{A_1C}|}\frac{|\vec{B_1C}|}{|\vec{B_1A}|}\frac{|\vec{C_1A}|}{|\vec{C_1B}|}=1\iff AA_1, BB_1, CC_1$ concur."

Even shorter:

Do $\frac{|\vec{A_1B}|}{|\vec{A_1C}|}\frac{|\vec{B_1C}|}{|\vec{B_1A}|}\frac{|\vec{C_1A}|}{|\vec{C_1B}|}=1\iff AA_1, BB_1, CC_1$ concur?

I tested it, and the question's title immediately passed the software's muster.

I suspect the software counting characters does not have a separate loop when encountering mathjax, to differentiate the characters in mathjax, know that it is mathjax, then render the mathjax to count actual characters rendering, and give it a pass. The software counts, most efficiently (to not delay successful posting), the total number of characters in the title field.

  • $\begingroup$ Another way is to combine the LHS as one fraction which saves at least ten characters. $\endgroup$
    – TheSimpliFire Mod
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 18:47
  • $\begingroup$ @TheSimpliFire good point! $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 18:50
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ +1, this sort of MathJax hack has been occasionally useful to me in the past. Other ways you can do this sort of thing are reducing the number of \mathscr, \mathcal, \mathbb and other such tags by extending them over punctuation (make sure this doesn't alter the punctuation too much, though!). Perhaps a feature request or further discussion of improving the title character counting when encountering MathJax might be in order. $\endgroup$
    – KReiser
    Commented Sep 12, 2020 at 20:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ BTW, a possible reason for the downvote(s) could be that the "implies" was turned into an "$\iff$". Changing the \iff to \implies $\implies$ does not make either of them over the 150 limit. A second reason could be that its essentially the current title of the linked question, and therefore might be seen to sidestep what OP wanted to discuss (despite the comment showing the linked question coming after this answer). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 7:55

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