It seems that somebody is allergic to OpTeX: Whenever I mention the example using OpTeX then a down-vote occurs. :) I use such examples only if there is a reason for it:

  • The question doesn't mention LaTeX explicitly, like here (note that this question still waits to LaTeX solution, then we get a comparison),
  • The problem is independent of used macro package, like here,
  • It is good to show an comparison of LaTeX and plain TeX code, like here.

When you are solving specific LaTeX problems then I am typically silent (because I know that such problem simply doesn't exist in OpTeX:).

I am allergic to LaTeX but it doesn't mean that I down-vote all answers where LaTeX is mentioned:).


5 Answers 5


I never downvote OpTeX answers (or answers using other non-LaTeX flavors for that matter). However, I also mostly don't upvote them, unless the question asked about that specific system. This is not because I dislike OpTeX, but because I think that in a large majority of cases such an answer is not useful for the asker.

Whether you like it or not, within the TeX world LaTeX is the standard for document processing. This means that people that come here to ask a question almost always need an answer for LaTeX. This is the language (or variant, or macro package, or however you want to call it) that their document is written in up to the point of asking the question, they can understand answers given for LaTeX, they can use LaTeX answers when continuing to write their document, and they can combine the knowledge from such answers with other information they find online or discuss with their fellow students etc. For these reasons you can safely assume if a question does not mention the language that it is asking about LaTeX and nothing else.

Seeing answers for OpTeX or ConTeXt can be interesting as a comparison, and maybe as a bit of evangelizing for awareness and potentially also the use of such systems, which is fine of course. But I think that often it will only confuse the asker, and it will not help them because they are unable to use it in their workflow. The same applies to future visitors to the question. Therefore I am not particularly enthousiastic about OpTeX answers, and I don't upvote them - but downvoting is a bit uncalled for in my opinion.

  • 4
    I fully agree. And I never downvote wipet's answers, even if sometimes they're not really up to the point.
    – egreg
    Sep 24 at 9:07

Just a bit of advice from my experiences with Tikz and pstricks. It may be that you do this already (I haven't clicked through to read your answers) but I'm not just answering for you but also for the benefit of others reaching this.

I, personally, think that seeing different ways of doing things is a really valuable part of this site and is part of why I read answers to questions I have very little interest in. Without that I wouldn't have learnt about Context or even heard of OpTex so please do continue to post such answers. In contrast to what others have said, I do tend to upvote such answers to show that I value the contribution even if I might not fully understand it.

When I find myself writing an answer using something not asked for, sometimes even explicitly, then I do try to acknowledge that fact in my first sentence. Something like "I know you asked for a pstricks solution, but for anyone else who might be interested in the same problem with Tikz, here's how I'd do it with Tikz." It may feel a bit wordy, but I find it sets the tone better than just "With Tikz" as that can come across as "Don't use XYZ, use ABC"

Admittedly, the OP in this example explicitly invited other solutions, but nevertheless I think that https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/3894/86 illustrates both the value of alternative contributions and my phrasing of introducing one.


This looks like it could be a single user, so it's hard to say much beyond 'this is not the usual pattern'. From the earliest days of the site, it's been clear that alternative approaches are allowed in answers. That can mean OpTeX or ConTeXt or ... for a LaTeX question, or vice versa, or using alternative packages/modules, etc.


My thoughts—since you have not expressed any wishes/requests/questions on this matter, I don't know if they are of any use to you—are:

Taking the fact that a contribution refers to OpTeX as a criterion per se for downvoting—not upvoting and downvoting are different things—does not seem rational to me.
I find it difficult to comment on irrational behavior, especially irrational behavior of others.

Since voting behavior seems not always to be oriented to the matter at hand/sometimes seems not to be based on rationality/objectivity, but sometimes seems to be more a matter of the amygdala being triggered one way or the other—in the context of voting-behavior you also find keywords like "sympathy-likes" which means that with some people voting behavior also depends on the level of antipathy or sympathy they feel for the author, I form my opinion about the quality of a contribution not by looking at the voting results, but by reading it.

I feel that our interactions on this platform did not start all too well, which I am not innocent of, and which, by the way, I would like to change.

IIRC I did not downvote any of your contributions. IIRC I never saw a reason to do so, as they use to be focused on helping to solve problems and/or presenting facts accurately.

With the three examples you linked, I notice that downvotes were made, but there are no comments referring to the downvotes and explaining why they were made.

I think this is not good style on the part of those who made the downvotes.

I think that those who downvote should leave a comment as to why:

A downvote is a way of stating that you believe the downvoted statement deserves criticism. Part of freedom of speech is being allowed to express this in an acceptable way.

But one should justify this rationally. The practice of just conveying by anonymously clicking a button that there is someone who finds something worthy of criticism, but not what and why, does not necessarily contribute to an exchange of ideas/views that might lead to something constructive.


Thank you all for your discussion posts. That is sweet.

But someone is trying to disgust me here and he is very succeeding. For example my last answer (two downwotes are here). I decided that it is useful to add an answer to the existed answer strictly dependent on Expl3. My answer has two parts: the solution independent of format based only on TeX primitives. And the second part is the solution based on OpTeX macros.

Suppose that somebody using plain TeX or OpTeX needs a help with "Conditionally remove trailing period" and (s)he googles it and found this page. IMHO it is useful to have such answers here despite the fact that the OP illustrated the problem using LaTeX code. Moreover, the first part of my answer works in laTeX too and it is independent of Expl3. Maybe somebody don't want to use Expl3. But there is two downvotes here.

If this is LaTeX only site then rename it to latex.stackexchange.com and I will stop to use it. Or (better): try to educate users that there is no only LaTeX when TeX is used.

There is interesting idea here that downwoting should be connected with a note why it is done. For example, the popup window should say something like "Please, put your comment why you decided to down voting here". Of course, voting is anonymous, so this should be only optional or site can enable to add annonymous comment in this case.

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