In this question on LaTeX on SO, dmckee edited his answer to suggest the Stack Exchange site for answering questions on TeX and LaTeX. Now, LaTeX has always been a slightly uncomfortable fit on SO, since part of it is programming and part of it is simple layout. It's been accepted there since it's really impossible to tell in general whether a question will require programming or simple layout.

Given that we seem to have a functional Stack Exchange site, and assuming that it winds up being an active site post-beta, should LaTeX continue to be on topic in SO?


2 Answers 2


I don't see how the creation of another site should affect the topicality of SO. And as other people have said, there's no problem with overlap, and SE sites aren't designed to be necessarily disjoint.


While I mostly agree with Philip, it could make the difference between a marginal site staying alive or going quiet. (I don't know how the LaTeX beta is going and not the foggiest on what the beta graduation criteria will be.)

While in beta, I think it's clear these questions should remain on-topic at SO—if a site can't get enough participation in that situation to leave beta, then perhaps it should stay in beta or fall by the wayside. I'm definitely not opposed to gently nudging barely-programming and non-programming questions towards the beta site, however.

Even a site that leaves beta might hit a periodic or random dip in participation (I bet the end of the school year will affect LaTeX this way), and you'd want any "fleeing to SO" (because of the near-guaranteed participation levels) users to be gently directed back to that site.

Finally, it will always depend on the content of the question, just as for text editors and many other topics.

  • One of the specific issues with TeX/LaTeX is that it is often not possible to tell, when asking a question, whether the answer will involve programming or not. It will likely become clear in the answers, but by then it's too late to ask the question elsewhere. Commented Sep 2, 2010 at 18:19
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    @Gnome @David I've tended to answer LaTeX questions on SO and also point the OP to tex.SE. I agree that we need to point people to tex.SE, but we shouldn't make them unwelcome on SO at the same time. Commented Sep 3, 2010 at 10:46

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