Suppose I write $$ 1+2+3=6 $$ and so there are profound consequences....


Before today, once the $\TeX$ was rendered, I could keep typing and still see the displayed $\TeX$ as I typed. But today it's behaving differently. I can wait for the $\TeX$ to get rendered, but then as soon as I type one character I just see unrendered code, and then I have to stop typing and wait for it to get rendered again.

What's going on?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Yes, the same with me here. +1 $\endgroup$
    – user21436
    Mar 11 '12 at 20:52
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ What you describe is how the site has always behaved to me... except when I couldn't type because it was so busy rendering that it slowed down accepting new text. I wonder if it is an attempt at fixing that... $\endgroup$ Mar 11 '12 at 22:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Yes, I see the same buggy behavior. The change must have occurred today, since it was working ok earlier. Perhaps this has to do with the upcoming changes that Geoff mentioned in comments here. Hopefully they will revert this change, since it makes MathJax preview unusable. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 '12 at 0:04
  • $\begingroup$ This is the most obnoxious change in software I've ever seen. $\endgroup$ Mar 12 '12 at 3:33
  • $\begingroup$ All math rendering stopped working for me a few hours ago. Before, it was working pretty well except sometimes after a post when it would crash. Where can I find out more about how to tweak, troubleshoot, view development status? Apologies if question is too obvious or misplaced here. $\endgroup$
    – bgins
    Mar 13 '12 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ Stopped working for me, too. Safari 5.1.4; in fact I just installed 5.1.4 is that related to the failure of math.stackexchange math rendering? $\endgroup$
    – GEdgar
    Mar 13 '12 at 14:27
  • $\begingroup$ The problem was fixed not long after I posted this. :-) $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '12 at 17:43

The fix deployed was adding a slightly longer delay during editing - it appears to have a net negative impact on users who currently have system specs that have no issue rendering mathjax realtime. I will backout this change and work on a better solution that involves the ability to toggle rendering.


There is a new version of the MathJax preview code that is now being used on math.stackexchange.com, and I hope that it will resolve the problem you have been having. It should also provide faster math preview and more responsiveness while typing. It is a complete rewrite of the code that hooks MathJax into the editor, however, so be sure to report any other problems that you might have.

  • $\begingroup$ For me, MathJax rendering is now much worse than before, now freezing quickly in both Chrome and IE. Perhaps this is a temporary cdn problem and not a problem with the change. The site is currently unusable for me. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ I have not been able to reproduce the problem in either Chrome or IE. Both seem to work well for me. Can you use the About MathJax item in the MathJax contextual menu and tell me what font mode is in use (it is displayed just below the MathJax title at the top)? Also, have you cleared the cache and restarted the browsers? Also, which version of IE are you using? $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ The problem seems to have gone away, so perhaps it was a cdn problem. I'm using Chrome 17, otf fonts, IE 8.0 eot fonts. Are those fonts problematic or non-optimal? (presumably those are the defaults, since I don't recall configuring anything). $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ The problem is back again. Both IE and Chrome are wedged again, sigh. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 21:04
  • $\begingroup$ About the fonts, I was trying to determine if you had the STIX fonts installed (and so were using local fonts rather than the web fonts). Would you be willing to install the STIX fonts for a test? I am still not able to reproduce the issue in either Chrome or IE (and have tried hard to do so). What flavor of Windows are you using (I have been testing Windows 7)? $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ I tried the stix fonts a long time ago but I found that they displayed much too ugly for my taste. That was well over a year ago, so things may have changed. What do most developers and power users use, web or local fonts? What are the tradeoffs? $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 21:47
  • $\begingroup$ I don't really like the look either, but I'm only suggesting it as an experiment, as I'm trying to find out if it is the font loading (which is rather delicate) that is leading to the problem, or if it is something else. If you could try out the current STIX fonts and get a better editing experience, that would give me valuable information. Then you can remove them again if you don't like the look. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:02
  • $\begingroup$ As for the tradeoffs, using a local font is faster since the font doesn't have to be downloaded over the network, so most power users do that. It is also possible to install the MathJax fonts locally, though there isn't a nice convenient package for that. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:03
  • $\begingroup$ Alas, I have too much state now (over 100 browser frames) to risk losing it on an experiment (I reboot only rarely to avoid losing state). But I see the same problem on multiple machines with different browser versions etc. As for tradeoffs, yes I knew that, but I wondered if there were less obvious issues, perhaps affecting this problem. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:07
  • $\begingroup$ OK, I understand. Since I can't reproduce the problem myself, I won't be able to do the experiment myself. Perhaps someone else who is experiencing the difficulty will give it a try. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ What's the experiment? Perhaps I can try it out next time this occurs. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ The experiment was installing the STIX fonts, but that would require restarting the browser, which you don't want to do. But that's fine. $\endgroup$ Mar 27 '12 at 23:55

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