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Recently I edited my first post here (about tfrac and sfrac commands) by adding a MWE and an output picture.

I did it because I like to see these two elements in an answer. In this particular case, it also permits to compare the size of the different commands "outputs".

But my question is: Is it always a good idea to edit an answer in order to add a MWE and the corresponding output? Even if the answer just give a simple command like here (where the neq command is given)?

I mean, can I do it without any hesitation when I see an answer without these two features?

What if the author likes his/her answer to be very concise?

I understand that edit should be carefully used, so I don’t want to disturb anything by doing this…

1 Answer 1

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I'd recommend not editing others' answers and adding MWEs with output, because invariably your choice of what is minimal might not be the same as someone else's. For example, some people use

\documentclass{article}
% preamble stuff
\begin{document}
% stuff
\end{document}

as their MWE template, while others use

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
% preamble stuff
\begin{document}
% stuff
\end{document}

(when a font-specification is independent of the answer/solution) or even

\documentclass{standalone}
% preamble stuff
\begin{document}
% stuff
\end{document}

(when standalone is a non-standard or base class for a document and therefore is technically not minimal. In fact, standalone may not be included in all (La)TeX distributions.).

The best suggestion would be to comment on the post and request the OP to do that, or write up your own MWE and output and post that in a comment for future visitors (code can be posted on Pastebin and images just with a link after adding it to a dummy post). Something like This answer, [compiled into an MWE](<URL>), produces [this output](<image URL>).


For your own answers, I'd highly recommend posting a minimal example and output, because it makes the content far more consumable to the viewer. Spoon-feeding viewers with readily-consumable content means less effort to understand what's going on and should be more valuable.

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  • Well, my first edit will be the last ;)
    – zetyty
    May 17, 2023 at 6:17
  • 2
    @SylvainRigal edits are a vital service on this website, please be joking :) Hope to see you in the queue when your edits are reviewed, your contributions are appreciated, edits to questions are pretty standard (annoying when a 2k rep user edits it afterwards before its been approved) but answers are quite particular as each user has their own style etc
    – JamesT
    May 17, 2023 at 12:12
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    @JamesT Yes I was joking don’t worry, and I understand and agree with Werner position.
    – zetyty
    May 17, 2023 at 12:49
  • Related question: what about encouraging answerers to provide MWE and output in their answers, for e.g. with additional rep or something (if answer accepted)?
    – zetyty
    May 19, 2023 at 18:34
  • @SylvainRigal: The same thing holds, regardless of whether the answer is accepted or not.
    – Werner Mod
    May 19, 2023 at 18:58
  • @Werner Ok I think I wasn't clear sorry. In my previous comment I talk about the idea of a kind of "new feature" which permits to encourage people to include a MWE and an output in their answer. A way, for e.g., would be to award more rep to an accepted answer if it contain a MWE and output. The same mechanism could apply for upvote rep also...
    – zetyty
    May 20, 2023 at 6:35
  • @SylvainRigal: This would not be possible, as that would require special handling of this site as part of a larger network. While we encourage MWEs and output, other sites don't need that at all.
    – Werner Mod
    May 20, 2023 at 17:05
  • @Werner Ok copy that. Thanks for your patience...
    – zetyty
    May 20, 2023 at 19:51

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