I plan a presentation on a TeX conference, which should be suitable for the very experienced audience.

In the sense of this question:

If you would like to convince TeX hackers of this site, to win new expert members, which question would you showcase?

Though votes to questions show quality and popularity, I'm looking for expert-attracting content, so I look forward to reading your personal recommendations, optimally with a short reason.

  • 3
    I'm voting this one down! I don't like the implication that we need to attract "experts". We need good questions, and for that we need people who are using TeX every day (or thereabouts). Whilst it's valuable to have people like Herbert or egreg about, the fact that they don't ask any questions makes me think that people like that are not our prime target. Sure, if experts find us and like us then they're welcome. But I don't want to put on a "face" to try to attract them because then they'll be here for the wrong reasons and won't stay. Better that they happen upon us and like all ... Oct 3, 2011 at 20:59
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    ... of what they see. I'd be quite happy to have a list of "showcase questions" which show the strengths of this site and which, if we were trying to sum up what was great about this place, would be good ones to point someone - which might be an expert - to. But I would want them to be showcase of this site, not showcase to convince an expert. Oct 3, 2011 at 21:00
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    The best contributions that I have seen on this site have come from people who weren't "experts" when they joined. It's been great to see how people who weren't really part of the TeX community have become so through this site. Me!!!, for example. I'm no TeX expert, but now I can whip up a Snake Lemma quicker than a scrambled egg. I wouldn't have been attracted by anything aimed at "experts". Oct 3, 2011 at 21:02
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    I'm not saying "don't promote the site". I'm saying, "make sure you promote this site, and not some sanitised version of it". Okay, rant over! Oct 3, 2011 at 21:03
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    @AndrewStacey I will fly to India to the TeX User Group Conference. I will make a presentation, which may include a demonstration of our site. The audience are mainly TeX experts, to who I like to show benefits of our site. I will not use a question about how I can write a tilde for the demonstration. It would be great if you would understand and respect that my question has a reason. For a wider audience I would ask differently.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Oct 3, 2011 at 21:21
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    As the stackexchange network is growing, we see more and more answers popping up on <insert your favorite search engine here> when we search for questions. This has happened for stackoverflow, which comes up regularly now, and is happening for more and more of the great sites at SX. If we only care to provide good Q&A to this site, TeX.SX will more and more be a reference when searching for TeX related questions, and this will inevitably attract experts.
    – raphink
    Oct 3, 2011 at 22:23
  • Well, I'll see if a recommandation pops up, of a fresh question which awakens the interest of TeX users (when demonstrating site features) who have been visiting Usenet (comp.text.tex), mailing lists (texhax) and forums since 20 years and more. Thanks @Raphink for your contributions!
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Oct 3, 2011 at 22:48
  • Stefan: I had hoped that I was respectful, I apologise if it came across as otherwise. I just didn't agree with what I perceived to be your motivation. As you've just explained, my perception was based on a false assumption (that this was a generic showcase). If you edit your question to include your comment then I will reverse my vote. I would make one change: your aim should not be to attract experts, but to convince them of the value of this site. It's a subtle difference, but I think it's an important one. Oct 4, 2011 at 6:28
  • @AndrewStacey: No problem, your intention is good and explaining it is as well. I edited my question to explain the motivation.
    – Stefan Kottwitz Mod
    Oct 4, 2011 at 8:41
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    @StefanKottwitz: Okay, now it's better. Thanks. Next issue: at the moment, I can't answer this question as I'm not an "expert" and don't know what might attract such. If you can describe the kind of question that might, or explain what these "experts" are like, I might be able to think of some questions that match. Oct 4, 2011 at 17:53
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    This is only half serious, but you could say "Tired of answering the same question over and over again? Have we got the place for you!"
    – Alan Munn
    Oct 5, 2011 at 1:45
  • @raph interesting that you make this point; I am of the same opinion and have brought this up on meta.so several times before, but there was resistance to the idea that this was a viable way of growing a site. While I don't think it is by any means the only way a site can grow (by having good search results) it is an essential one. Oct 7, 2011 at 1:48

5 Answers 5


Since I'm a newbie, I still have difficulties on spotting TeX challenges, but I have a suggestion: question could be picked up based on their tags. E.g., the top 5 tags are:

These tags could act as a "community thermometer", because we can see what our members are looking for. We could also play with Data Explorer and try to find any relations on questions and answerers.

IMHO a great showcase would be a list with all packages based on answers given here. That also includes the amazing "From answers to packages" repository in Launchpad.

I also support Raphink on all of his suggestions. And I want to promote suggest my own question, which Martin Scharrer provided an amazing solution: Creating a zebra effect using listings. :-)


From seeing the discussions on the LateX mailing lists in the past, I think the discussion on the river detection algorithm and defining their badness is a subject that might be of interest to TeXperts. There's no definitive answer just yet, but they might be interested in participating.


Since you are going to India, I would consider asking a foreign language unicode question.

For example, in order to use a "Sinhala" unicode font I have to use a transliteration scheme. I use the site http://www.ucsc.cmb.ac.lk/ltrl/services/feconverter/t1.html to do this and then cut and paste the unicode phrases into the LaTeX document. This is a time consuming and frustrating process. (A simple code and the associated output is given below.)


\setromanfont[Mapping=tex-text]{Hoefler Text}
\setsansfont[Scale=MatchLowercase,Mapping=tex-text]{Gill Sans}
\setmonofont[Scale=MatchLowercase]{Andale Mono}

\title{සිංහල අකුරු - Sinhala Letters}
\author{සැලෙන මනස විසිනි - by Wondering Mind}

අම්මා අම්මා මේ මට - Mother, mother, I am\    කියන්න ලැජ්ජ්යි තාත්තට - afraid to talk to farther

enter image description here

See also: A file I compiled under TeXLive 2009 cannot be compiled under TeXLive 2010

I would like to know how to type the correct unicode directly into the LaTeX document. (As you can see, the first line of the code is different from the output. The typed code is incorrect, however, the output is correct. In other words, not only I cannot type directly, but also, I have to paste the incorrect code to get the correct output. Also look at the title.)

I hesitate to ask this question here as I do not think there is a critical mass (of people) who uses Sinhala. However, you may find takers in India.

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    On the other hand, there are people who know a fair bit about unicode so if you use this as an example for a question on writing in unicode then you may well get an answer - or find that there's already an answer that you can use. Oct 5, 2011 at 8:45

There are questions that are very edgy and lead to changes in edgy software like LaTeX3 or LuaTeX. These questions should be interesting to TeXperts.

  • LaTeX3 at least might put some people off :-)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Oct 3, 2011 at 19:53

The one (not answered) about notes overflowing might be interesting, too (sorry, mostly choosing from my own questions, as I know them better).

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