Similar to this question although about a different edit

The help page on editing lists these as the most common reasons to edit a post:

  • To fix grammar and spelling mistakes
  • To clarify the meaning of the post (without changing that meaning)
  • To include additional information only found in comments, so all of the information relevant to the post is contained in one place
  • To correct minor mistakes or add updates as the post ages
  • To add related resources or hyperlinks

No help page goes in-depth about what formatting should warrant edits. Common sense would suggest that if the whole post is capitalized, bolded, in italics, etc. there is reason to edit - or that if there is a giant wall of text there may be reason to add headers, or blockquotes, or bullets.

I think too much of anything is a reason to edit a post, but that just as bold, italics, etc can make headers or show emphasis, so too can TeX editing. It may not be the intended use, but that does not make it "incorrect". See this post of mine, for example - I believe using TeX formatting to show emphasis is not "wrong", just "different" and that there is no reason to edit it out.

Is it justifiable to edit TeX out of a post just because it is being used to show emphasis in a different way, as opposed to mathematics?

  • $\begingroup$ @JDługosz I would like your feedback here if possible $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Nov 25, 2016 at 14:30
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Be aware that he won't get notifications about being @ mentioned here since he has not posted on it. $\endgroup$
    – Tim B
    Nov 25, 2016 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


respect the CSS and site design

Some people overlook provided features for markup (headers) or don’t trigger the recognition of numbered lists and bullets properly, etc.

Don’t make up your own formatting by hacking the other format details: this is fragile in the face of CSS/design changes, has not been checked on various browsers, and doesn’t provide the proper semantic structure for JAWS etc.

Making one particular post look different, just to be distinctive, is not a good presentation on a presentation that combines multiple posts.

avoid gratuitous use of MathJax

This has whole meta threads elsewhere.

  • it’s not perfectly supported on all platforms and browsers.

For example, on my tablet it lays out fine on Firefox but gets measured sizes wrong on Chrome. The replacement image will overlap the word or punctuation that follows, lines don’t align, etc.

  • it is slow

Instead of the post just popping up ready to read, it has to go through and replace each slug with the image, reflowing the layout after each one. A post peppered with these is annoying and makes you wait it out, for no good reason. And then it’s a mess on Chrome as explained above.

  • it destroys accessibility

Much ado is made of WAI, WCAG, etc. People do read articles on platforms with poor graphics, slow processing, javascript disabled, images not shown until clicked.

Why make it harder to read and/or more annoying, for no useful reason?

in particular

A MathJax expression that’s a bunch of variables multiplied together, itself inline in a regular header, does not look good. You didn’t evaluate the visual result on a variety of browsers and platforms, just eyeballed it on your single situation. Beyond the points raised against hacking presentation made above, it was hideous (on one of my systems).

  • $\begingroup$ I have some comments on this but for the sake of avoiding extended discussion see here $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Nov 28, 2016 at 3:35

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