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Adding support for math notation

I believe the MathJax should also work in Stack Overflow, not only in stats, math... SE sites. It is suitable in many questions and answers. It would make such posts much more readable.

marked as duplicate by Kevin Montrose Sep 15 '11 at 18:44

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    @Kevin Montrose Is it not OK to re-request a feature-request that is over 2 years old? What is the proper technique for trying to persuade you guys to change your mind on something? – Michael McGowan Sep 15 '11 at 20:54
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    @Michael, thank you for your effort. In these situations, not very rare unfortunatelly, the SO/SE community seems pretty rigid. Stop discussion. Duplicate, not a real question, not constructive. Dot. – Tomas Sep 15 '11 at 21:03
  • @Michael - the same objection still applies. MathJax is really really heavy (and getting heavier, this has come up on Math.SE), and not commonly needed enough to include. I figured closing as duplicate was better than copy/pasting Jeff's old answer. – Kevin Montrose Sep 15 '11 at 21:09
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    @Kevin There has been some discussion here by Tomas that perhaps it could somehow be done on demand. I don't know whether that is feasible, but that point did not seem to be addressed in the referenced post. However, I don't think adding that in a 2-year old "status-declined" post is likely to advance the discussion at all (whereas it might have a fighting chance in a fresh question). – Michael McGowan Sep 15 '11 at 21:15
  • One answer in this question would also be eligible for MathJax: stackoverflow.com/questions/7843048/… – Tomas Oct 21 '11 at 13:12
  • I completely agree! I would like to put a bounty here to draw attention so that users may decide if they share this or not. – Revious Oct 2 '14 at 14:48
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    don't remove auto-notices unless you can reopen the question, or question was reopened. – nicael Oct 2 '14 at 14:52
  • @KevinMontrose: is it possible to go deeper in the question? What do you mean by "MathJax is really really heavy"? Wouldn't be possible to download it only if used in the page by the user? In a dynamic page this would take some fraction of second to include the js code dynamically. At lest it should be added to section like this one: datascience.stackexchange.com/questions/1059/… – Revious Oct 2 '14 at 14:52
  • @nicael: thanks for explaining, sorry I didn't know.. – Revious Oct 2 '14 at 14:55
  • I just used MathJax on SO assuming it would work, and was frustrated when it didn't. I was talking about very mathy stuff, so it would've been appropriate. Though I agree, it wouldn't be for 95-99% of questions and answers. – Omnifarious Aug 10 '18 at 2:20

Speaking as someone who is both a mathematician and a software developer, I agree that this would be beneficial. However, Jeff Atwood disagrees that the benefit is worth the heavy burden this markup places upon the system. While I do think it would be nice, I'm not in a position to know what the burden would be relative to the benefit.

  • thanks for response... I understand that mathjax could be very demanding having much expressions on the page, but, is mathjax really so demanding when you use it only here and there? – Tomas Sep 15 '11 at 14:43
  • Tomas, I would not think it is so demanding and I struggle to see what the big deal is, but you would have to take that up with Jeff. – Michael McGowan Sep 15 '11 at 14:59
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    @Tomas, the thing is, MathJax is a javascript library, you can't choose which pages it gets loaded on, so if you want it to be able to work everywhere, it has to get loaded everywhere. Given that the dev team are completely obsessed with shaving off the tiniest millisecond on every page served, statistically speaking there's near-zero justification for including MathJax support. We're talking 2000000+ questions (and rising). What percentage of those require MathJax? – Benjol Sep 15 '11 at 17:56
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    @Benjol, the mathjax library could be loaded only for questions where it is used in. And loading it for editing wouldn't be such a problem I think, moreover you cound use on-demand loading then (either implicit or explicit - e.g. by user switching it on). – Tomas Sep 15 '11 at 18:10
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    @Tomas, when do you decide (and how) that it is 'used'? Auto-detecting and user switching it on both feel a bit kludgy to me, especially, as I said, given the very low percentage of questions where it applies... – Benjol Sep 15 '11 at 20:03
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    @Benjol, when do you decide (and how) that it is 'used'? I think it is quite simple to see if MathJax is used in particular question or not. As for the editting, script autoload upon writing first MathJax sequence would be appropriate I think (you normally wait for MathJax expressions to render anyway). – Tomas Sep 15 '11 at 20:43

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