# Should we have MathJax? [closed]

We share some ground with Electrical Engineering - according to our on-topic rules - whenever it gets specific to the Pi. As such there are posts out there that could benefit from a readable typesetting of mathematical formulas.

Therefore the question is: Should we have MathJax enabled on our site?

A discussion should cover the relevance of a typeset mathematical notation for our site in terms of user experience and the question of effort vs. need (e.g. this old discussion hints that it is heavy).

MathJax of course requires additional formatting by the user. So it is definitely safe to assume that newcomers would need to be helped at this. However, the main use case would not be questions but comprehensive answers. I'd expect that our dedicated personnel giving such answers will pick up the notation in due time (see basic tutorial and quick reference to get a feeling).

Some examples:

## closed as primarily opinion-based by Ghanima♦Jan 17 '16 at 22:48

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

• How would MathJax work does it require extra formatting by the user? Can you proviide some examples where this would help. how would this interact with source code (which should (I assume not have this applied to it)? – Steve Robillard Dec 11 '15 at 14:31
• @SteveRobillard, find your comment addressed in edit and "answer" to illustrate the issue. – Ghanima Dec 11 '15 at 15:44
• I am not trying to be a jerk, but can you provide some example questions/answers from this site. Ideally with and without MathJax (I realize this may not be possible without having it enabled for the site). – Steve Robillard Dec 11 '15 at 15:54
• There you go. Looks cool, does it not? ("This is the mathematical notation you're looking for." "He can go about his business." "Move along.") – Ghanima Dec 11 '15 at 16:13
• I have one more question, if we enable this and it has negative effects (performance etc.) can we revert back without problems. – Steve Robillard Dec 11 '15 at 16:16
• Well. Text bodies will have things like $$something-something$$ in the clear, if reverting back. Nothing that could not be edited out of course. Can we query the data base for a string like "" to fix it? – Ghanima Dec 11 '15 at 16:23
• Adding answers so ppl can vote if needed :) I think the circuit schematic thing would be much more helpful though... – Wilf Dec 14 '15 at 1:08
• @Ghanima There's data SE for querying stuff data.stackexchange.com/raspberrypi/revision/415506/530422/… (involves SQL'ing) – Wilf Dec 24 '15 at 20:45

This does not seem to have wide community support, and the community has questioned the potential value this feature would add. As a result we will not be implementing this feature.

How would this interact with source code (which should (I assume not have this applied to it))?

Tested that on EE, seems to not collide with code. Before introduction of the feature this would have to be checked in detail of course.

• They have code blocks also on EE, they probably would notice... – Wilf Dec 14 '15 at 1:10
• @Wilf, so it would seem. – Ghanima Dec 14 '15 at 8:25

NO, this site is for the Raspberry Pi, not maths :)

• I agree. Schematics would be much more useful. I see some users use paint just to illustrate what they're doing. – Gene Dec 19 '15 at 6:41
• The Mathjax would only work in Questions and Answers - NOT in comments like this? I am not convinced that working just with HTML and Unicode would be any harder, and that is just as usable - if I have time I am quite happy to refer to an <b>I<sup>2</sup>C bus</b> or point out that V<sub>cc</sub> is <i>4.75.0±0.25 Volts</i> - it is just it doesn't actually work here. – SlySven Dec 24 '15 at 1:35
• You also have to allow java-script from mathjax.org to operate which is yet another site to enable if you use NoScript and allow cross-site requests to the same site if you use RedirectPolicy in Mozilla browsers! – SlySven Dec 24 '15 at 2:08
• @PandaLion98, I think both techniques have their merrit, and I don't think we have to pick one over the other. We can decide whether we need any or both of them. We'll get to the matter after christmas. – Ghanima Dec 25 '15 at 12:55
• @SlySven, heavy tagging does not work in the comments either way. But I think that both HTML tags and possibly mathjax are the most helpful in questions and answers only. Not having either in the comments section is only a very minor drawback. – Ghanima Dec 25 '15 at 12:57

In 45 years working as an Electrical Engineer I have rarely needed mathematical symbols. (I did once write a specification which used matrix algebra to explain the operation — this used Micro\$oft equation editor.)

The rest of the time I used standard mathematical notation (as used in FORTRAN), which most engineers can read.

I often use Unicode symbols e.g. Ω μ λ ² ± to make posts more readable but these need no special tools.

The vast bulk of users on raspberrypi.stackexchange seem to have problems with current and voltage. They don't need fancy mathematical notation.

YES, it's brilliant and would be useful here