5
$\begingroup$

I've had questions with MathJax in titles edited converting the MathJax to ? or closely-matched ASCII (Chemistry SE example), and I've had titles with Unicode replaced with the equivalent MathJax (Physics SE example).

Is there a preference for this site? It may have mattered to search engines years ago but I'm not sure it does now, and if it does, which will now work better.

For example I've just asked What does capital sigma followed by an integer (Σn) mean in terms of coincident grain boundaries? currently sans Mathjax.

| |
$\endgroup$
5
$\begingroup$

Disadvantages of using MathJax in titles:

  • Question isn't considered for the Hot Network Questions (but that shouldn't be a goal in itself)
  • MathJax isn't always rendered correctly in the search results (both on the site itself and on Google)
  • MathJax in titles isn't rendered in the mobile apps (but they have been deprecated anyway)

Advantages:

  • It looks nicer

Things to consider:

  • What if a user using a screen reader reads your question? It's a reason for not using MathJax for regular formatting. I don't have any meaningful experience, it would be interesting to know what happens when using Unicode. Or what they do when encountering a complex formula in a question body which must be formatted in MathJax in order to be understandable by most users.
| |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your speedy answer! I've found and added examples of each to my question. So for the Physics SE question the moderator's edit blocked my question from the possibly of becoming an HNQ? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 30 at 8:35
  • $\begingroup$ What about quotation marks in titles, do they affect the ability to become HNQ? I'm curiosu why this question: hsm.stackexchange.com/q/12200/8052 didn't become HNQ yet. $\endgroup$ – Nike Dattani Aug 31 at 22:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani too little voting in the question's early days, I guess. 24 hours after posting, it was at +3 and both answers at +2. I've seen questions/answers with lower scores entering HNQ (e.g. a question at +1 and one answer at +3) but that's 8 hours after posting, which makes a huge difference. Still, I'm positively surprised at the amount of votes/attention that question got without being on the HNQ list. It might have hit HNQ if it were posted on another time of day (contradicting my analysis here, but I didn't know much about HNQ back then). $\endgroup$ – Glorfindel Sep 1 at 5:43
5
$\begingroup$

Just for explanation, here are some meta posts that clarify the position of Chem/Phys SE on using Mathjax in titles.

Chem: https://chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/261/is-mathjax-in-titles-a-problem-and-why, https://chemistry.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/253/should-we-revisit-the-url-slug-issue/254#254

Phys: https://physics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/12706/is-mathjax-in-titles-ok

To summarize, Chem takes a harder stance against Mathjax and says if there is any reasonable alternative, it should used. They feel the issues it causes with rendering on other sites and searching for questions aren't worth the improved formatting.

Phys sets a lower bar for what questions "need" Mathjax in the titles and feels that Unicode can lead to an inconsistent appearance of questions on the site.

It seems to me to come down to whether they want to emphasize internal or external use of the site. Mathjax looks nicer for existing users, but may cause problems for searches down the line. Unicode isn't as well formatted, but external searches will have an easier time finding these questions.

| |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It should be pointed out that on chemistry this is a very old and consistent thing, changing it now would lead to editing chaos. We don't really want this. The rest may be okay sure effects. One of the main problems we saw was the ce part of the macro for chemistry. A very beneficial side effect is that (e.g.) water (or many other chemical names) will be picked up better by search engines than the sum formula (and I think it's more understandable). The post probably contains both. Für actual maths, we have not been that zealous for some time. There's examples/answers on meta.chemistry. $\endgroup$ – Martin - マーチン Sep 26 at 14:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .