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The campaign to get SE to become an institutional member of the TUG (see Do we want Stack Exchange to become an institutional member of the TUG?) had a very happy outcome. From my reading here and there, I've gathered the impression (perhaps false!) that this is the sort of thing that SE in principle is in favour of. So I have another suggestion along these lines.

I should say before I say what it is that I have contacted neither party in this regard so do not know if either side would be amenable to this suggestion. My purpose is to determine the support from our community (the TeX-SX site) before deciding whether to take it further. Of course, if either side stop by they should feel free to say "Yes, this would be great" or "No, we'd never consider this".

Here's the suggestion. The one TeX-related site that I'd say has had the most beneficial impact on the TeX scene in decades is without doubt detexify. I'd be willing to bet that we send a heck of a lot of traffic to detexify. What if there were a discreet link on the detexify site that said something like:

Detexify is (partially) sponsored by TeX-SX. If you've got a question about TeX that detexify can't answer, try there.

I probably have the syntax all wrong, but by my count there are 50 posts on the main site containing the word "detexify". Given the number of times we duplicate back to the original "How do I look up a symbol?" I'd say this was a vast under estimate of its importance on this site alone.

So … what do people think of this idea? Should we pursue it? Are there things that I've not thought of?

(Edit There's an 8 month-old post on the detexify blog that suggests that the writer of detexify would not be opposed to receiving funds: http://detexify.posterous.com/detexify-needs-help)

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    Today: TUG; tomorrow: The Whole Word! ;-) – Martin Scharrer Oct 10 '11 at 7:55
  • It was meant to be "Today: TUG; tomorrow ..." but the ellipsis got removed by the SE engine. – Loop Space Oct 10 '11 at 7:57
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    If you use a "proper" ellipsis mark instead of three periods, it doesn't get culled. On Ubuntu, you can press Ctrl+Shift+u to enter the unicode mode, and then type 2026 followed by Enter to get the mark. On Windows, you'd press and hold Alt and then type 0133 on the number pad… – Jake Oct 10 '11 at 8:41
  • Alternatively, as I just went through some hoops to get SCIM installed and working, on my Debian system, I can just type \dots to get … Although, strangely, now the "Add comment" isn't working. – Loop Space Oct 10 '11 at 8:44
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    @Jake: given the discussion, I noticed that you hadn't replaced the ... in the body of the question with an ellipsis. Now fixed. – Loop Space Oct 10 '11 at 9:55
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    Are you sure you want the link to be 'discrete'? – Alan Munn Oct 11 '11 at 13:36
  • @AlanMunn: Not at all. Perhaps the correct impression would have been better conveyed by "not annoying". – Loop Space Oct 11 '11 at 13:53
  • @Andrew Right, however all links, even the annoying ones are, by definition, discrete. The annoying ones, however may not be very discreet. (Spilling again.) – Alan Munn Oct 11 '11 at 15:00
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Sounds good to me, this would certainly attract a number new users and readers to tex.sx. I have no idea if there's more money to spend, but we could certainly offer a Community Promotion Ad, since detexify doubtlessly is something "your community would genuinely be interested in" (ibid.). Seeing the high number of symbol-related questions, keeping detexify in the mind of our readers is important.

A combination of some text and graphic link (tex.sx logo) might be nice, e.g. down where there's already a sponsor ad to zweitag (server sponsoring).


Update:

We're now mentioned at http://detexify.kirelabs.org/symbols.html, which is not the page where you can sketch a symbol, but the one that lists all the symbols:

Screenshot of detexifysource

Is this thanks to Paulo's request?

  • We'd need a picture to go with the detexify ad. Any takers? – Seamus Oct 13 '11 at 11:48
  • I don't have any graphics skillys, but there's the picture from the iPhone app, which is the favicon as well. However, as there are highly skilled people around here, something with a half-finished sketch of a cool symbol that needs to be recognized would be cool. – doncherry Oct 13 '11 at 12:31
  • @doncherry: thanks for the logo, I'm working on an ad based on it. :-) – Paulo Cereda Oct 13 '11 at 13:02
  • @PauloCereda: You're most welcome, I'm excited for another ad by you :). (I don't know anything about the legal situation though, you might want to contact Daniel Kirsch before publishing anything.) – doncherry Oct 13 '11 at 13:03
  • @doncherry: thanks for the kind words. :) Great idea, I'll contact Daniel about the ad. ;-) – Paulo Cereda Oct 13 '11 at 13:08
  • @PauloCereda: Any response? – doncherry Nov 22 '11 at 18:47
  • @doncherry: Unfortunately, no. I'll try it again. :) – Paulo Cereda Nov 22 '11 at 19:01
  • @doncherry: Sadly, I had no response from Daniel. I've sent two emails about a detexify ad, but no answer so far. :( – Paulo Cereda Dec 21 '11 at 11:04
  • @PauloCereda: Well, but at least he seems to have received the messages, as he included the link. He seems to be pretty busy with the new version. We should probably contact him again when it's released. Nonetheless, I think a community ad for detexify would be nice, just seeing how many questions still pop up that could be answered with by it. – doncherry Dec 21 '11 at 13:06

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