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Questions about errors which in the end are caused by blank lines in math mode pop up on a regular basis (this is the latest one). Many new users haven't the experience to disentangle TeX error messages (or they simply ignore them), and in many cases the question describes what is optically going wrong, so that it is difficult to find a "standard duplicate"; for example, the linked question describes the problem as "the equation number goes to the wrong place".

Sometimes someone writes a one-line answer; sometimes the question gets closed as "solved in comments"; sometimes the answer is solved in comments but neither answered nor closed.

What do you think should be the preferred course of action?

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  • Yet another: tex.stackexchange.com/q/580210/134574 – Phelype Oleinik Jan 23 at 20:06
  • @PhelypeOleinik Yes, and again a completely different question title and description of the problem. In fact there are some questions which explicitly ask about blank lines in math. Maybe we could pick one out and use that as dupe target. – campa Jan 23 at 21:58
  • @campa -- Take a look at the first couple of entries here: tex.meta.stackexchange.com/a/2425 Might one of them do? – barbara beeton Jan 23 at 23:46
  • This is a very common problem - the problem writer reports the problem (as a question) based on their experience to date and often with a goal in mind (solving the problem in order to move forward). Since people's experience and goals can be vastly different, you can often find diverse questions with the same core problem. That's why I often tend to close questions as a duplicate of another based on the answer, not really the question. – Werner Jan 24 at 3:59
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    If there is large diversity in the questions that have the same core problem, it's probably best to write up a canonical question and answer that can be used as a definitive duplicate. – Werner Jan 24 at 4:02
  • @Werner -- I'll make a try at writing a canonical question. How does this sound for a title? "Why do blank lines always result in errors?" That's a question I can answer. – barbara beeton Jan 24 at 14:57
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    @barbarabeeton Of the existin questions this looks like something doing that job. It's not the oldest but with a relatively clear title. – campa Jan 24 at 15:34
  • The title is definitely clear. I've added it to the "Often referenced" list as the first item. Will that do it? – barbara beeton Jan 24 at 17:34
  • @barbarabeeton (Sorry for the delayed answer; busy days.) That is surely a good starting point. Alas, I was hoping to get a wider community response to agree on some standard action; in the end there's roughly a dozen users who are relatively quick in commenting/answering this kind of questions. – campa Jan 27 at 20:14
  • LuaTeX has \suppressmathparerror=1. It might be a good idea to add this to the other TeX engines as well and think about making this the default in the LaTeX format. – Henri Menke Feb 3 at 12:47

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