I happened over to SO today and saw that there are still a fair few TeX questions being asked (and answered!) there. I left a few "try this on http://tex.stackexchange.com" comments, but I feel that those work best if they are added very soon after the question is asked (and before any answers are posted). So those who are a bit more regular visitors to SO might want to look out for such questions.

I also just asked about formal migration on meta.SO: Can SO questions on TeX be migrated to tex.SX?

Also, if anyone has a good comment that we could adopt as a default for leaving on such questions, please let us know (and format it suitable for cut-and-pasting, so ensure that URLs are fully visible).

  • There are some people over at stackoverflow who wouldn't agree with you; see the comments to this question. I'm not sure what to think of this. Nov 18, 2010 at 16:28
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    @Hendrik: I'm not going to get into a fight with this ..., so I'll comment here where (presumably) that person will never venture. I love this proliferation. I go to MathOverflow for maths, I come here for TeX, and I ignore SO almost completely! Whenever I do go there, I get completely swamped and feel bewildered. Here, and at MO, I feel like I know the place, I don't have to hide in a little corner for fear of meeting Jon Skeet. Nov 18, 2010 at 16:55
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    @Andrew: I myself feel the same you do. I just wanted to point out that some people over at SO don't. Nov 18, 2010 at 17:44
  • Just to note that the counter-argument also arises on SO: many TeX questions are not about programming per se, and so can be regarded as 'off-topic' there.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Nov 18, 2010 at 20:36
  • @Joseph: I'm not sure that that's the counter-argument. Surely that's the same argument, but from the SO perspective rather than the tex.SX perspective. Nov 18, 2010 at 20:38
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    @Andrew: after a few days of keeping an eye on SO I'm seeing most questions get a friendly comment letting them know about this site. So I think the message is getting across. Nov 21, 2010 at 17:09

4 Answers 4


What about:

You can find an entire community on the [TeX StackExchange](http://tex.stackexchange.com/), where no TeX-related question is too small.

It does not say "You should ask this question elsewhere." It does not say "People who use TeX should use the TeX SE instead of SO". It just says that if you are looking for a focused TeX group it's there.

  • I like it. (and some more characters to take me over the limit) Nov 19, 2010 at 21:33
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    I like it. However, i do think that if the question in question has been asked (and answered) here, we should try to link to it in our answer. Nov 21, 2010 at 23:36

I browsed the tag-set. and posted a few comments. one question asked something that we had already answered quite fully here. In cases like this, I suggest that we give a reference to the question on TeX.SE, so that we also demonstrate that the answer already exists, and not only that TeX.SE is a good place to ask the question..


I created this tag set, of Tex&friends qns outside this site, with exactly this purpose in mind.

  • I'd forgotten that. Thanks for the reminder. Nov 18, 2010 at 18:50

Simply redirecting people to this site saying "maybe you can find an answer here" is incredibly unconstructive and should imho be avoided. Such advertising (I'd call it advertising, yes) is not appreciated by those running the site nor those who are asking the question.

What I'd rather suggest is that links to this site should be included as a helpful addition to an already posted answer, around the lines of "should you need more help, you are welcome to use SE's LaTeX site as a compliment".

  • It's not an advertisement if you don't know the answer and you're pointing them in a better location to ask the question. Nov 23, 2010 at 10:34
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    Absolutely not -- when you ask a question, your opinion shouldn't be "let these people do the work for me", but rather "I tried to work it out and failed, what to do next?". Submitters are usually expected to do some work on their part and be patient -- we're not being paid for answering questions. And it's not advertising either -- one and the same company controls all the sites, so no loss there. Quite the contrary -- people often "come for the answers, stay for the questions", as far as I can tell. Nov 23, 2010 at 10:54
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    I disagree on both points as well. At heart it comes down to the relationship between SO and its daughter sites. Are we cast out, to fend for ourselves? Or is SO a benevolent parent, handing out scraps that it no longer needs. Adding a comment to an already existing answer is pointless: we need to get them before they've gotten an answer on SO. Nov 23, 2010 at 11:33
  • We clearly have different views on how communities should work. To me, there is nothing more irritating than someone just sending me to another site - I'd much rather get help and recommendations about where to seek help in the future. Martin: if someone has tried working it out and failed, again it is better to answer the question than to simply redirect, is it not?
    – Doggie52
    Nov 24, 2010 at 10:15
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    Yes -- redirect to people which are supposedly experts in the topic, so that you can get a real and detailed answer. SO gets a huge amount of questions every day -- the marginal ones can easily get buried, and TeX is by no means mainstream topic such as C#. You need to have a particular knowledge about its innards and philosophy, and 99% of SO denizens have no chance to answer appropriately beyond questions with LMGTFY answers. This was the reason side communities were created in the first place, although there is clearly some overlap between them. Nov 24, 2010 at 22:45

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