I've had a couple rejected edits dealing with converting math->MathJax. I think I'm starting to see why. On the suggested edit form that reviewers see, the MathJax doesn't convert to the final form.

I borrowed this following equation from this question.

So what we should see as$$\mathbf{F}=-k\frac{\sqrt{|e_1e_2|}\text{sgn}(e_1)\text{sgn}(e_2)}{r^2}\mathbf{u}_r$$

The reviewers see as:


Which is the exact same thing: only not converted into the nice symbols but in the raw, ugly code text.

I think this needs to be fixed. I'm not a reviewer myself, but I can sympathize with them: I wouldn't approve this edit if it looked like that (doesn't improve readability.)It takes time to read through MathJax/LaTeX code to ensure that it's okay. It's gotten to the point where whenever I put math into MathJax as a suggested edit, I include this line for my edit summary:

"Changed the math to MathJax. Please only reroll this edit if you look at what the MathJax looks like in proper format. On the base format, it looks like a lot of messing with $'s and \'s."

So this needs to be fixed. I'm hoping there's some way to implement the finished code into the writing for the review ques for suggested edits: that's why I'm tagging this . Are there any ways to spread awareness/fix this issue? I've also seen this post dealing with this issue that I think is relevant.

Also: Should there be another post (more generalized about rendering MathJax in pending edits) on the main Meta Stack Exchange?

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    $\begingroup$ Just as an FYI I almost rejected one of your edits for exactly this reason until I read through the MathJax enough to convince myself that it would compile correctly. Now I pretty much always accept your MathJax edits, assuming you did it right. Not a great system. $\endgroup$
    – bendl
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ I have rejected a few of your MathJax edits, not because I don't understand the MathJax but because a lot of the editing you are doing is converting things like 52m^2 into MathJax when they would be better being left as normal text. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ I agree with @Bellerophon that mathjax isn't always the best solution, especially when the existing text was already fine, but I also think that this is something that should be fixed, since latex is supported. $\endgroup$
    – AndyD273
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ MathJax is supported on the site, except in the review queue. That is annoying. When I see them, I simply avoid them because I don't know how to read it. But I've read your other post and I might have a stab at it $\color{blue}{eventually}$. Oh it work it comments too! $\endgroup$
    – Vincent
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 19:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Vincent $Thanks$! I didn't know about that and I am as much pleased as I am surprised :) $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Re your last question: a post on Meta.SE will get more attention but also have more competition. Feel free to work out the proposal here before taking it there. We've been told it's fine to make feature requests (and report bugs) on per-site metas, so asking here isn't wrong. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon: I understand that superficial edits like that are more for the aesthetics: I don't particularly mind when those are rolled back. It's just when I invest a lot of time on a more intensive math formula edit that I get frustrated. Thanks for letting me know $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ @MonicaCellio, Thanks for the feedback. Not sure whether I'll post on Meta.SE or not: I'll wait until I've accepted an answer. $\endgroup$ Commented May 15, 2018 at 13:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Anonymous There's already a post on the main meta about this (plus a handful of duplicates). $\endgroup$
    – Laurel
    Commented May 16, 2018 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


I don't have any such edit to look at immediately, so I'm going from memory here. Please excuse any inaccuracies.

There are different "views" of posts in the review queues. Particularly, there is a source view and a "rendered" view. These are good at different things, but one thing the "rendered" view is decidedly better at is showing Mathjax.

Whenever reviewing anything involving Mathjax, unless the change is trivial, it's often better to look at the rendered view.

That said, I'd like to say two things.

First, I personally find that edit summary somewhat condescending. I see what you're trying to say, but it's not really necessary to say it the way you're doing. May I suggest simply sticking to the facts of what the edit is about and why? You might try something like

format formulas using MathJax

to highlight the purpose of the edit without it coming across as telling reviewers "you better have a xxx good reason if you're going to reject this or change it later".

Second, as already raised in part by Bellerophon in a comment as I was starting to write this; while MathJax is a great addition to the site (and we lobbied early on to have it enabled), it comes at a cost. If simpler alternatives can be used to achieve the same result, then consider using those instead. While it can be legitimate to change 50 m^2 into 50 m<sup>2</sup> (which renders as approximately 50 m²), it might not be warranted to invoke MathJax there; $50 m^2$ or even $50 ~\text{m}^2$ doesn't add anything over the HTML variant, and can detract from the readability of the post if nothing else then by the resultant highlighting of the number. Especially if the post does not otherwise use or benefit from MathJax, at best such an edit introducing MathJax provides no improvement, and might be considered detrimental. Even "no improvement whatsoever" is a perfectly valid, system-provided reason to reject a proposed edit.

So on the whole, by all means go ahead and propose edits to introduce MathJax where appropriate, but keep in mind that MathJax isn't always appropriate, and maybe tone down the edit summary a little. And of course, don't spam the front page with edits. It's likely plenty to propose edits to a few questions, and any answers to those questions at the same time (since answers piggyback on the question's front page entry), per hour.

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    $\begingroup$ Rendered output doesn't seem to render MathJax as far as I can tell. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Bellerophon Are you looking at an edit where the entire MathJax formula data is part of the edit? I definitely recall it not working when not everything is shown. Either way, if that's the case, then that might be worth a non-site-local discussion on Meta Stack Exchange, but considering that MathJax uses an external library, might be non-trivial to implement... $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 17:59
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelKjörling, just edited so as to remove the "condescending" text and cite a source. Thanks for the heads up. $\endgroup$ Commented May 14, 2018 at 20:58

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