Today a added information regarding unimath-symbols to the top answer of How to look up a symbol or identify a math symbol or character?. @Speravir objected that I am significantly changing a non-CW question and should better add additional information as a separate answer instead. Instead of having a long discussion in the comments to that question, I'd like to discuss here how to treat that question.

Undoubtedly, the How to look up a symbol or identify a math symbol or character? is one of the most important questions on this site. We link constantly to it, making it the top “faq-question“. Ideally such a question should have a canonical answer that contains everything one needs to know about it. Usually we do that by adding a CW summary answer, but unfortunately that question doesn't have one. (It is the 14th post¹ ever written on the site, so it is understandable that it wasn't handled in the best way.)

The OP of this question hasn't been around since last October, so we can't just add a CW answer now as it will never get accepted. The owner of the accepted answer is @Rebekah who last visited the site in May (so there is some hope that she can be reached if necessary). Nearly all of here reputation comes from this answer. The answer currently has 153 votes and the second highest answer has 42. So it will be very hard for any additional answer to rise to the top.

So, what should we do to improve this question?

  1. Make Rebekah's answer CW. (Will that rob her of nearly all her reputation?)
  2. Treat Rebehak's answer as CW without actually making it CW.
  3. Add a new CW answer and try to gather enough upvote?
  4. Nothing.
  5. Something else?

¹ If I haven't miscounted it is question number 8. As an interesting side note, the second question posted on TeX.SX is closed as a duplicate.


2 Answers 2


I don't see the problem with the edit. The key information was added by the OP, and the edit is enhancing it for a relatively small number of cases. Making an answer CW is about cases where the person posting the answer feels it's appropriate, for example when we convert someone's comments to an answer or when we are looking for a question without a single answer. In the case in question, there is a good answer and the information was provided by the person gaining the rep.


I also don't see any problems with that edit. I think Speravir's discussion is not applicable to TeX.SX since we are very lucky to have a community in which the members don't care too much rep points or anything alike. (I have just commented on Own answers should be possible to be accepted after some(?) votes of commited tex.se users in a similar vein.)

It's NOT relevant having 2000 points from a "lucky" answer, on the contrary, I think it's fun to have such answers with unforeseen popularity. Moreover, Caramdir is far from the need of rep points so no damage is done. There are many other examples where some edit of user A leads to a lot of reputation points for the original answerer B. So is this a bad thing? I really don't think so. This is one of the reasons why I stopped (or even canceled accounts) spending time on other SX sites just because of this justice in the name of rep points attitude. We know the users who are masters of TeX and we don't care who is having how many points.

Frank Mittelbach has 14k and I have 17k! Gedaada here... :-) So, the reputation system does not represent the mastery on the subject.

I'm happy that we are not counting coins and also I wish we stay that way.

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