Please discuss any ideas and issues about TeX Community Polls in this thread to keep it tidy.

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    "Daily vote limit reached" :-( I didn't know that there is a vote limit for comments. – Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 19:28
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    We got the first Community Poll caused badge: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/badges/54/pundit – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 10:27
  • @MMartinScharrer: It is amazing how quickly you hit that when reading over those, doubly so the 'packages you have used (more then once or twice)' one! – Canageek Oct 28 '12 at 2:11
  • I'm amazed that I am not the only one that uses LaTeX to make pen and paper RPG props. – Canageek Oct 28 '12 at 2:16

11 Answers 11


Editing polls after they started

I suggest polls with votes should not be changed regarding the meaning. Edits not affecting the meaning are welcome, such as improving the form or giving further explanation.

Example: Tips that can be regarded as best practices in LaTeX has been changed to What is your tips when writing a document with LaTeX to reduce complexity?

Such edits make already existing comments and votes invalid and should be avoided.


Question: I've used the following packages / classes

This question spans a little to wide. Really adding any package you ever used is simply to much. It should be packages (and classes) which are used on a regular base, but not necessarily for every document.

One other thing is PSTricks and PGF/TikZ with all there additional libraries/packages. We might move them to own poll questions like "I'm using the following TikZ libraries" etc.

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    PSTricks packages other other the core and conversion tools have been removed from the comments. – xport Jul 19 '11 at 20:59
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    Thanks @xport. It is a good question but because there are so many LaTeX packages we need to restrict it a little. – Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 22:07
  • Do font packages count? I was assuming no, but if they do then I'd have to add a few packages to that list (lmodern cfr-lm...) – Canageek Oct 28 '12 at 2:14

Subjective topics

Are subjective topics desired here? I would say yes, since it's a poll and we could get top lists of what is liked and disliked, in contrast to the main site.

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    Indeed, actually we want subjective topics! – Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 20:07

Yes/No questions

In writing one question I thought about whether it was OK to post yes/no questions.

Should they be allowed? If, how should they be asked?

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    I think Yes/No questions should be allowed in general. Maybe point out that you only await a yes/no answer. Questions should then be not not to specific, so that we get a decent balance between yes and no responses. – Martin Scharrer Jul 19 '11 at 19:06
  • In addition, I'd post a yes and a no template answer. – user10274 Jan 7 '13 at 10:23

Providing choices on own polls, and making a choice

I noticed it happens that somebody starts a poll and provides a substantial amount of choices in comments to it. I recommend to handle poll starts the same like poll votes: this can mean even if I start a poll, I don't provide several good answers (I might like) but choose the favorite, main item and start with this. For example, it's good to ask for a main LaTeX advantage and choose one, but not to ask for any and everybody clicks nearly any item.

Polls are very significant if we choose one or perhaps two, but not ten items.

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    Indeed. As I pointed out in the poll 'Rules' the creation of a comment will count as a vote for it due to the inability to vote for ones own comments. People should only add comments as choices for which they would vote themselves. I myself did this so far by adding mu choice and mentioning potential other ones as <sub> .. </sub> text in the poll question. This simplifies it a little for other people and pushes the poll question in a certain direction. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 15:06
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    Said that, I think it is fine if people add multiple comments as long they apply all for them and it is a suitable multiple-choice question. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 15:10
  • For explanation, I noticed it here, where 6 favorite aspects were posted. Just as example, not wanting to offer criticism but to discuss here. – Stefan Kottwitz Jul 20 '11 at 15:27
  • @StefanKottwitz Those aspects are all favorites of mine (that is, I vote for them). Maybe too many for the format of a poll though! – N.N. Jul 20 '11 at 15:31
  • @N.N. of course I understand that, every one of them is good and would be among my favorites too. Just thinking sometimes I would let choose the very, very favorite ;-) and that poll was an occasion to think about it. – Stefan Kottwitz Jul 20 '11 at 15:39
  • We should also keep in mind that not only the votes are the important user input but also the questions (answer posts) and answers (comments) the users provide. So having a question with a lot of answers might not be bad as long the answers are valuable and non-trivial. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:18
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    Maybe we should introduce a rule that people should not add more than three comments for every poll question (at first). This would cover most cases where people have multiple preferences. If further preferences exists and these didn't got added after a while (some days) by no one else they can then be added. This would avoid overloading the thread with content from a single person. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:25

Question Tips that may be regarded as best practices in LaTeX.

I really don't think this question fits the poll format. There are questions on the main site where such matters can be validly discussed, like Techniques and packages to keep up with good practices. The polls are for questions with simple, undebatable, straightforward answers, answers that you don't need to think about; a prime example being I'm using the TeX distribution .... The best practices, however, need discussion; people might want to express their concern about a tip, add a little detail to an answer and so forth. Furthermore, this question doesn't really seem to have any statistically interesting value to me.

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    Yes, I agree. This question isn't very good for the existing format. It also requires longer answers. On the other way it looks to me as a kind of inverted version of I find the usage of the following (La)TeX code should be avoided (created by me), which I find OK. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:15
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    Indeed, but while many of the bad practices are quite universally disapproved of (there's even l2tabu), the good practices might much more be a matter of taste. The bad practices are simply bad and to be avoided, no matter if (to put it in TeX terms) badness 1000 or badness 10000; a good practice, on the other hand, might be goodness 5000, but there could be something being goodness 6000 that could/should be used instead, which again requires discussion. – doncherry Jul 20 '11 at 16:22

My favorite aspects of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems are?

There seem to be several different answers to this question that are related to extensibility. It would be nice if we could merge them.


System Message to attract more people?

I remembered that we can display system messages like we did for the election. They should be only used sparely e.g. for important announcements. The community poll is of course much less important than the elections, but I wonder anyway if we should announce it to people in form of a system message. We don't use this feature very often and we could dust it of again for this.

On the other side we already have the Community Ad for it and the system message is a little obtrusive. Maybe we should also wait until the number of questions has been settled.

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    I don't think a system message is necessary for this, the community add suffices. (Maybe there's a way to display this ad more frequently than others?) We might reconsider it once the quality of the polls is established. Meta-meta question: Should I downvote this question-answer of yours because I don't approve of this proposal or rather not (and just comment) because I don't think it is a bad question? – doncherry Jul 20 '11 at 16:28
  • @doncherry: Feel free to down-vote it so that we can have an indication. I myself are not sure about it, but simply wanted to mention the possibility so that it can be discussed. The community ad can't be given a higher priority than others, except if we would add it multiple times :-) – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:31
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    We should have definitively have a system message for the birthday party! – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:32

IMHO, this poll: https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/a/3152/11002 is complicated and does not fit into the Poll scheme, it is not well stated and it is very difficult to say what type of options-comments are acceptable. That is the reason why I downvoted it.

As well, the first two comments seem to be only a "hot-head" reaction to the discussions over this answer: https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/89316/11002

Last two cents: I do not see other reason for that one but to make people with the ability to type with 10 fingers to feel like someone good if they can hit the triangle next to these options.

  • I downvoted this post because I think it is your personal preference. Why does it not fit into the poll scheme? :-) – kiss my armpit Jan 7 '13 at 0:23
  • Any discussion will not make my head gets hot and boiling. Everything just to fill my boring free time. :-) – kiss my armpit Jan 7 '13 at 4:51
  • @AdorableCreature There are at least 20 reasonable answers to this poll that I could write -- do you really want me to do that? The question is not well stated because it is not clear what specifically you ask for. – yo' Jan 7 '13 at 8:57
  • I like your "hot-head" reaction comment. :-) – kiss my armpit Jan 7 '13 at 11:05
  • I upvoted your comment and please don't delete it. :-) – kiss my armpit Jan 7 '13 at 11:59

Regarding introductory LaTeX reading

Tiny detail @MartinScharrer: The name of the document is The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX2e, not A ( Not So ) Short Introduction to LaTeX2e. It's a minute detail and I don't know if there's a way for you to edit this comment, I just thought I'd let you know. Never mind if it's too late.

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    I copied the name from CTAN: ctan.org/tex-archive/info/lshort/english where it says "A" not "The". I didn't checked the actual document, though, where it indeed says "The". Also, as a moderator I can edit comments without time limitation, so I corrected it now. Thanks for the feedback. – Martin Scharrer Jul 20 '11 at 16:10
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    -1 Flagging the moderator instead of creating a new answer will be better. :-) – xport Jul 20 '11 at 16:31
  • @xport: True, I hadn't known moderators could edit comments, so I didn't think of flagging. Seeing this comment and your "comment format" thread, I hope you didn't take my criticism of your "best practices" poll personally, I wasn't intending to upset you, sorry if I did. – doncherry Jul 20 '11 at 22:20

I hit this banner while ticking the "packages I have used" .. of course X)

of coourse

Would it make sense to make an exception for the poll?

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