Joseph Wright pointed out the following questions:

Where we see a divide in the TeX Exchange Community regarding whether or not to have TeX allowed on the site. Namely because people tend to not properly mark their source code in their questions and thus the rendering of TeX actually hinders the forum. However, a simple reminder when posting new questions may be enough to resolve that issue...

I personally am in favor of having TeX on TeX Stack Exchange. Especially having used MathJaX which is implemented on other S.E. sites like Mathematica Stack Exchange in conjunction with TeX source code (as Mathematica has a TeXForm function and its behavior may wish to be modified) without issue.


So I would like to propose the following:

  • As it would make sense -- in some cases -- to be able to render some things in TeX when asking questions can we not have MathJaX on the site, with a reminder when asking new questions (or under the How To Format box on the right) to make sure source code is not rendered \(...\)?

  • Alternatively, could TeX Stack Exchange get an account with an online TeX editor like ShareLaTeX thereby allowing us to upload our M.W.E.s for others to see and comment solutions / problems?

Questions on StackOverflow with tags like javascript or html tend to have links to online editors such as JS.Fiddle, which is useful for showing how to get around a specific bug. While there is no official standard on S.O. for how to answer javascript questions, one would be hard pressed to find questions lacking a link to such a site.

I proposed ShareLaTeX as it:

  • has access to all the ctan packages without having to download them which some users may have to do if they wish to answer the question.
  • has various compilers like LuaLaTeX, XeLaTeX, etc
  • allows for collaborators (users answering the question) and chat (thereby clearing up chatty comments)
  • serve as a reference point to find code that answers new questions
  • 7
  • Integration with an online service would be useful for some questions (those with a LaTeX full example where the issue is not related to a particular TeX system), but is outside of what can be altered 'locally'. (Also covers only LaTeX, not plain or ConTeXt ...)
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Dec 7, 2016 at 10:20
  • it's not that hard to generate output and post a copy in a question or answer: meta.tex.stackexchange.com/questions/5954/… Dec 7, 2016 at 13:14
  • 2
    ShareLaTeX and Overleaf do not have the newest versions of the packages. For example ShareLaTeX now has biblatex 3.2 and Overleaf has 3.4 while the current version is 3.6. Their upgrade is periodical so it may be it is a problem if you need a recent feature.
    – CarLaTeX
    Dec 8, 2016 at 7:47
  • 1
    @CarLaTeX good point. If a partnership were to arise they might be savvy to update more regularly. Anyway, it was just an idea.
    – SumNeuron
    Dec 8, 2016 at 8:44
  • This has been proposed and discussed so many times before that no more discussion makes sense to me. Voted to close as a dupe.
    – yo'
    Dec 28, 2016 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


We are not divided at all but anyways, just to summarize the previous discussions

  • As the name implies MathJax is for ... Math. It is not a TeX support at all. MathJax is nothing related to TeX. It emulates the syntax of the amsmath (and a little TeX) but from its output to how it renders stuff is completely different. So when you say TeX support, you mean math rendering of TeX.
  • Reminding the users don't solve anything. As we constantly see in the newcomer questions, many people don't even read the warnings after TeX compilations let alone coming here and bothering to read the reminders.
  • Copying the code locally (with our greasemonkey scripts) and clicking a button is much faster for many of us rather than waiting for sharelatex, overleaf or any other online platform. Besides you have to rely on the external party. We don't control which version of TeXLive they use. We don't want to wait or we can't see what happens on MikTeX or Windows or etc.
  • TeX has a lot of friends such as ConTeXt and so on. They cannot be handled properly (including plain TeX flavors).
  • Time has shown that we (askers and answerers regardless of rep points) can operate pretty well without having things rendered. Also page loading behavior is pretty nice. I cannot say the same for Math.SE or mathoverflow sites.
  • Compiling a JS or any other language is more tedious than a TeX document which can even be compiled on a terminal inline. Thus those benefits are not carried over here. Also versions of those languages change very slowly. For TeX every recent package has an update period of 3-4 months.

Hence the benefits stated here are not valid. But I'm hearing a lot of positive stuff about KaTeX. For my subjective view, I would leave some room to change my opinion if it can be integrated into SE.

  • Percusse, Thank you for your informed response. I only looked at the those questions and it seems that there was a divide where perhaps there was not.
    – SumNeuron
    Dec 7, 2016 at 13:14
  • SwiftLatex looks maybe a little more promising then the other alternatives. It’s AGPL licensed (which I honestly don’t know much about), but it seems you can host it yourself under some conditions. If Tex Stack Exchange could do a similar thing to the JavaScript hosted on the stackoverflow site maybe embed an iframe of the preview and only run it on the click of a button, not preventing page loads. SwiftLatex also has a WebAssembly Engine which means it runs native compiled code sandboxed locally in your browser.
    – John
    Dec 25, 2019 at 7:38

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