Is it wrong to make a post without mathjax? Should all such post be rewritten using TeX?

I think there is no doubt that if the someone uses kind of ASCII to write mathematical symbols, the post will become more readable after editing it and using TeX. In such cases editing the post is obviously the best thing to do.

However, sometimes people make posts in which they do not use TeX, but the posts are perfectly readable. (Although such cases are probably very rare.)

An example would be this question. Just in case someone will TeX-ify it, I'm adding link to the history of revisions, too. Despite the fact that the question is readable, it was suggested (already by two users) that the OP should rewrite it using TeX.

What is the community opinion on this?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ TeX, as long as it is not done badly, makes it quite a bit easier to "take in" a short piece of mathematics quickly. The post you refer to is readable, but not optimally so. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2012 at 6:52
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ I agree with Andre and Gerry. On a different note, I've been noticing more people commenting to the OP to TeX their questions. I don't know how I feel about this. If it's the case that the OP is being sloppy and lazy, simply not TeXing because they don't want to spend the time, that's one thing. But it's far more likely that they simply don't know TeX, and it's a bit nontrivial to start. Why does not one of the commenters simply edit (or suggested edit) it themselves? Flipsidedly, perhaps it is our intent that any user who asks sufficiently many questions must learn and use TeX? $\endgroup$
    – davidlowryduda Mod
    May 29, 2012 at 8:43
  • $\begingroup$ @mixedmath: I first learned about \operatorname because people edited my posts; editing peoples posts is a great way to make them learn TeX! $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    May 29, 2012 at 10:34
  • $\begingroup$ Alas, I seem to have messed up your point by engaging in wholesale TeX-ifying. It was prompted by the fact that the question was not actually included in the post (something which long-time users know is a peeve of mine), plus some grammar fixes, and as long as I was at it... $\endgroup$ May 29, 2012 at 16:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Arturo I don't see a problem - anyone who is interested can see the original version in the revision history. And BTW thanks a lot for your editing. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2012 at 16:51

1 Answer 1


On the whole, my opinion is that if it doesn't affect readability, leave it alone. I'd say the example you point to is borderline; it's readable, but TeX would improve it. I wouldn't put in the work to TeX it myself, but if someone else wanted to do it I wouldn't stop her. And if I'm editing something for some other reason, then as long as I'm there I'll put in the TeX if it's not too much work for me.

  • $\begingroup$ Would you stop me if I wanted to put the work? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    May 29, 2012 at 6:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't think I could, even if I wanted to. $\endgroup$ May 29, 2012 at 6:22

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