This topic belongs to the more general discussion: What goes in the FAQ?

I'll make a start with the first FAQ section. Here is my proposal, following the FAQs of SO related sites:


What kind of questions can I ask here?

tex.stackexchange.com is for TeX and LaTeX enthusiasts and users. If you have a question about ...

  • TeX or any of its descendants like LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX and ConTeXt
  • TeX distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX or MacTeX,
  • (La)TeX related software and tools like BibTeX, LyX, LaTeX editors, viewer and converter software

... then you're in the right place to ask your question!

The best questions contain some code. Their answers will most likely give concrete code back to you.


The FAQ continues:

Please look around to see if your question has already been asked (and maybe even answered!) before you ask...


I omitted the word 'expert', as I believe this site supports new users as well.

Further, I know that this site is not the perfect place for very specific questions regarding a certain editor or software. Though possibly help is available here because many of us use some of the common editors and tools. It might be hard for a new user to find the correct forum, mailing-list or wiki for a very specific piece of software. If a question is hard to answer here, we know where to lead the questioner as we know the resources. That's the reason why I included such related software: we don't sent the questioner back just because his question concerns a LaTeX IDE feature but not LaTeX itself.

Another FAQ entry or link could write that clearly. Remember the venn diagram on the about page: if the sets stand for TeX, LaTeX and friends: related software, then tex.stackexchange.com could be the tiny asterisk in the middle, their intersection.

up vote 5 down vote accepted

What kind of questions can I ask here?

tex.stackexchange.com is for enthusiastic users of TeX, LaTeX and related systems, people who love to create well-structured and beautifully typeset documents. If you have a question about ...

  • TeX or any of its descendants like LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX and ConTeXt
  • TeX distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX, or MacTeX
  • (La)TeX related software and tools like BibTeX, LyX, LaTeX editors, viewers, and converters

... then you're in the right place to ask your question!

These questions are answered by other enthusiasts and by experts in the world of TeX, who are happy to share their techniques and expertise with others.

To help people answer your question quickly and precisely, remember to ask clear questions and, if possible, to include a small example of code that shows the problem that you want to solve.

  • So this is my proposal. It tries to gather the ideas already proposed by everyone else, and adds a few things of my own. Please feel free to edit the text to improve it, just leave a comment to note what you've changed. Also note that (as far as I can see) it's not possible to change the title: What kind of questions ...? – Juan A. Navarro Aug 31 '10 at 11:56
  • Minor stylistic thing: "by other enthusiasts and by experts". Without the second "by", the "enthusiasts and experts" get grouped together, then the "other" is applied, and so by implication the person asking should also be an "enthusiast and expert" instead of just an enthusiast. – Loop Space Aug 31 '10 at 12:08
  • Yes! Please go ahead and edit the text! – Juan A. Navarro Aug 31 '10 at 12:20
  • Okay, I did. I also fixed a few other minor linguistic things to (I hope) make it clearer. – Loop Space Aug 31 '10 at 17:25
  • I think it starts looking quite nice, I'm still not super-happy about the wording of the last paragraph. Any ideas? When should we make it live? – Juan A. Navarro Sep 2 '10 at 12:34
  • 1
    I've edited the FAQ to this. – Joseph Wright Sep 4 '10 at 6:00

Just to reiterate the points I made in comments to this on the "What goes in the FAQ" question:

  1. I agree with dropping the word "expert". I can see that it might help attract experts to the site, but I think that the negative in dissuading non-experts to sign up is greater. I would expect an expert to be able to assess the site without worrying about individual words much more than a non-expert. So I think that a non-expert would notice the word "expert" much more than an expert would notice that it wasn't there.

  2. I do want something about answering questions high up in the FAQ and not relegated to lower down. I think it's an important part of what will make this site work. It won't work if it's just "Ask Stefan" (just since you're currently top of the board!), or at least it won't achieve it's true potential if it is. So I want the expectation to be clear right from the start that people shouldn't just come to ask a question but also to have a look at other questions to see if they're about to answer them or to learn useful hints and tips about other bits of TeX.

    But maybe that belongs more on a "welcome" page (can we have one of those?).

  • I agree, also new visitors should feel invited to give answers and to comment to discussions they might see. – Stefan Kottwitz Aug 30 '10 at 21:56
  • I think that the best welcome page is the current one, as it gives a glimpse of the questions that are being asked and answered at every single moment and shows that the site is pretty much alive and active. There's no better welcome page than seeing the site up and running every day :) – Julian Lamas-Rodriguez Aug 31 '10 at 20:43
  • @Julian Lamas-Rodriguez: By "welcome page" I meant the page that gets linked to by the banner that new users see: "Welcome to this site ... take a look at the FAQ". I don't think that the FAQ is all that useful for someone totally unused to the SE setup, and those are the people most likely to click on it. I certainly don't want to change the front page! – Loop Space Sep 1 '10 at 7:58
  • Ops! Sorry! I misunderstood you. My fault. – Julian Lamas-Rodriguez Sep 1 '10 at 19:03

I'm less sure about just dropping talk of experts here: certainly we don't want people to think they are not welcome if they are not experts, but it is attractive to say that the site has experts who answer all kinds of questions.

This might work best if we combine it with Andrew's request to encourage answering. How about something along the lines of:

What kind of questions can I ask here? Who will answer them?

tex.stackexchange.com is for TeX and LaTeX enthusiasts and users. If you have a question about ...

  • TeX or any of its descendants like LaTeX, XeTeX, LuaTeX and ConTeXt
  • TeX distributions like TeX Live, MiKTeX or MacTeX,
  • (La)TeX related software and tools like BibTeX, LyX, LaTeX editors, viewer and converter software

... then you're in the right place to ask your question! These questions get answered by other enthusiasts and users, like you, from new users who have recently figured out the answer to your problem themselves, to well-known experts in the world of TeX who know the software inside-out.

Not beautiful prose, but I think it conveys the general idea.

  • Yes, now that I see this then I like it. What I don't like about the current FAQ (ie not Stefan's proposal) is that it says "this site is for experts". What I wanted was to say "this site is for everyone". You say that as well, but you add - and I like this - the fact that there are experts here so there is a high chance that a question will get an answer. – Loop Space Aug 31 '10 at 10:47

What about questions about typography and style? This category is somewhat orthogonal to the topic of the site, but is still relevant (although possibly subjective). Certainly not many people would be able to answer expert questions, but perhaps the community could be of assistance with recommendations about good style and formatting.

  • This kinds of questions are definitely on-topic, specially about how to get this features in (La)TeX. But I don't think we need to mention every possible topic in this short FAQ entry. – Juan A. Navarro Aug 31 '10 at 22:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .