Say you have a new user of TeX systems, presumably migrating from more DIY editors. Let's say this user does something like the following:

Why can't I make the Tex logo?

I can use \Tex! \\Tex is a lot of fun! \\Latex and \Tex are nice!

Obviously, the issue is a mistyping/misunderstanding of TeX's name, but something more sinister is at play that is completely unrelated to the question. The user is constructing paragraphs how he or she normally would using a DIY editor, by inserting manual line breaks.

Extend this scenario to any and all others we've seen, and you can see why it isn't always such a clear-cut answer. (That is, asked this question, and I would point out both errors.)

Is it appropriate to inform the user that this is bad style, even though it isn't related to the question? Where is the line drawn for such dangerously bad style that warrants such attention?

  • I feel like this has been asked before, but I couldn't find a question that fit this scenario. Feel free to close as a dupe if you find it. Jul 18, 2013 at 19:10
  • 11
    Quite often I add some comments about the style when I write an answer.
    – egreg
    Jul 18, 2013 at 19:43
  • @egreg it is a little more awkward when you don't know the answer to the original question... Jul 18, 2013 at 19:45
  • 10
    If the style is really bad, leave a comment.
    – egreg
    Jul 18, 2013 at 19:46
  • 1
    .... with a best-practice example at TeX.SX Q & A or texdoc somedoc documentation/web links to add to egreg's comment Jul 18, 2013 at 22:49
  • @texenthusiast Is there a big-list of these best-practices on TeX.SX? I vaguely remember seeing one once upon a time (before I made an account), but I don't know if my mind is playing tricks on me; I haven't come across it since. Jul 24, 2013 at 18:23
  • Is this best-practices tag at tex.sx that you are looking for ? Jul 25, 2013 at 0:48
  • @texenthusiast I had honestly forgotten about the tag, but I seem to remember some 'classic newbie mistakes' thread. A little digging, and I think it may have been this. Jul 25, 2013 at 3:43
  • I feel like I jynxed it: Q#125924. Jul 29, 2013 at 18:06
  • @Sean, here's another one with more upvotes: What are the most common mistakes that beginners of (La)TeX and Friends make?
    – alexis
    Apr 13, 2015 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


If I had posted this question, I would be very happy if someone pointed out to me that this is not the best way to go about using LaTeX. People have in fact added some instructive "by the way, you probably wanna do X like Y instead" in comments to my questions.

As long as the comments on the "bad style" are either given as comments (and not as answers) or tagged onto a real answer to what the OP is asking, I don't think there should be any restrictions on such pointers at all.

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