I like the design of "photography etc." and I love the idea of a weekly image. I was wondering if it would work here, and if people would like to have such an option.

I suggest the following: We have a weekly contest, like in photo.SE voted and commented (and ofcourse, saved for posterity) any TeX related entry is accepted with the following condition: Source code must be included, and right for reuse must be as liberal as the rest of the content for the site. I expect that most of the time we'll get TikZ...but that's fine. We should perhaps have some rules regarding size or aspect ratio that should be upheld. Every week, the winning entry from the previous week takes the stage with a brief explanation, a longer one could also be accessed (along with the source code ofcourse!)

The point is that most of the entries we have, have to do with stuff that doesn't work, and we hardly get to see stuff when it works and is nicely polished. It would be really nice (I think) to have a post saying something like "I needed this, but didn't know how to do FOO so I posted THIS question got a reply by BAZ and here's the result!" (of course, images do not have to be the result of a posting here....)

That would only be the explanation of the typeset image, but the image itself would/could/might appear alongside the top of the page, or something like that.

What do you people think?

To start with, and see if we even have sufficient entries for such an ongoing competition, we could leave the design alone and simple have a page dedicated for such distractions....

  • Thanks @Caramdir, that was a silly glitch... :-) Dec 17, 2010 at 11:38

3 Answers 3


That's interesting. However, on our site it might be much harder than on a photography site, where each user may have hundreds or thousands of photographies readily available.

But a TeX showcase with several competitive contributions each week seems hardly possible to me, at least long-term. A monthly TeX sample sounds more realizable. Instead of comparing very different contributions, like a TikZ example vs. a nice table vs. dynamic pdf content, there could be one topic for each month.

How may it work?

  • There could be a monthly posting on meta: What shall be this month's topic? Users could post suggestions which are voted on, as usual.

  • The suggestion with the most votes will make it to the main site: a call for contributions to this month's topic.

  • The contribution with the most votes will get a prominent place on the site.

Who has got very nice examples, may always suggest it for a month, perhaps promoting it by some information. Of course suggestions may be repeated, especially if they just did not make it in a previous month.

TeX.SE is still a Q&A site. However, the competition consists of questions asking for good solutions on certain topics.

The results may contribute to the promotion of our site, and a high-quality TeX showcase could grow month by month.

  • Hmmm. I'm not sure what I think about the two-staged voting system (one for the topic, and one for the image) but I'm willing to keep it in the back of our collective minds. I agree that 1 image per week sounds like a lot...on the other hand, 12 per year sounds like very few...How about we do not decide yet, but rather try to get things going and see if people have nice contributions to give. It should all be done in meta to avoid rep-whoring, but it would be nice to have a direct link to it from the main site. Dec 17, 2010 at 10:52
  • 1
    @Yossi: I think once per month is quite good. I'd rather like people spending their time here in answering questions; this can already be very time consuming ... Dec 17, 2010 at 12:59
  • I'm not going to argue over the exact implementation details. Especially since we still haven't seen whether people like this idea or not. Also it would be nice to hear from Jin to see if we could have a TeX showcase for the resulting winners (and runner-up's). In addition, we should decide if it should go on the meta or main site, etc. Dec 17, 2010 at 13:05

Yossi, currently the design for the TeX isn't set up to do this. For the Photography site, I simply used the site message box to display the weekly photo descriptions. And the rotating photo is actually the background image of the header. I manually update every Sunday night. I think in the future, we'll come up with something more dynamic and automated.

But first, maybe find out if there's enough interest for this. I think a monthly event would be good. I suggest have the site message on parent TeX linking to this post, or a separate poll one to see what people think. Only a small % of users actually visit Meta.

  • Wow! Dedication! I'd try to throw that job on the admins...if possible. For us I think it would be nice to also have a growing page of the featured images, although, if we have a dedicated tag that might be enough... Dec 17, 2010 at 21:00

(This is where I wish we had a proper forum for discussion as this would work better in that format ...)

I think that there are three separate proposals here. The overall proposal is finding a way for us on this site to "celebrate TeX" (and TeXnicians); namely to have our own showcase of TeX. Where the triple separation comes in is what to celebrate it and where the samples come from.

  1. Featured answers: One of the easiest things to do would be to have a "featured answers" section. Voting is one thing, but every now and then there's an answer that really everyone ought to read, either an answer that shows something beautiful or something that teaches something fundamental about TeX (or some macro package).

  2. Competitions: This would also be quite easy, given a sufficient source of competition ideas (easiest would be graphics but I'm sure that there will be others).

  3. External examples: This would be "real world" examples that showcase particularly amazing things to do with TeX. TeXample.net springs to mind as the sort of thing that this might be like (only for all of TeX, not just TikZ).

The first two wouldn't be too hard to do because the things that we would showcase would already be formatted correctly for the site. The third feels the most like what happens on the photography site, but there the similarity ends. A photograph is self-contained and doesn't require extra explanation. Whereas "real life" examples of TeX tend to be included in much longer documents, and the key part of the source may be difficult to extract. Also, many may not be immediately obvious what they are doing: getting the spacing right in some complicated piece of mathematics may be something that everyone should see, but something that takes time to appreciate.

So I'm in favour of 1 or 2 (or both) and whilst I'd love to know if there's a place for 3, I don't think it would be easy to fit in with the design of this site.

  • I like the featured answer idea...any ideas on how to implement this? should there be a question "nominate your suggestion for the featured answer of the month of X?" and then we vote on the suggestions? It would be nice if it were less obtrusive somehow... Dec 20, 2010 at 8:18

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