When describing grids, do we want to encourage something like this:

enter image description here

or something like this "8 × 8 × 8" or "8×8×8":

enter image description here

or something different like

Disadvantages of MathJax:

  • it's a different font compared to the rest of the paragraph, so things don't look consistent/uniform
  • it loads slower, especially on browsers that don't handle MathJax well
  • it takes longer to type
  • the spacing seems to be a bit too spread out.

Disadvantages of "8 × 8 × 8" or "8×8×8":

  • You have to find the unicode symbol u+00D7 somewhere (or remember it!) and copy-and-paste it. If you're aware of this Meta post, perhaps it will be a faster way to find where to copy and paste the × symbol, but still it's inconvenient compared to 8x8x8 or maybe even $8 \times 8 \times 8$.

Disadvantages of "8x8x8":

  • It might be a bit too "tight" in terms of the kernings and maybe doesn't look the most professional (you wouldn't publish a paper in a journal like this, I think).
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Html entities work in questions (not titles though) and answers, too: 8×8×8. Not much more thinking and similar typing to MathJax. $\endgroup$ Apr 4 at 9:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン I like your answer the best: if you wrote it as an answer I'd click accept. × is even fewer keys to type than doing the MathJax $\times$ and looks better. $\endgroup$ Apr 4 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ Unicode “×” works pretty much everywhere: titles, comments, chats and MathJax. Can be inserted by pressing three keys in you have a compose key enabled (my combination is Meta + x + x). Takes fraction of a second and is very intuitive. No need to waste time copy-pasting, scrolling through char maps or remembering nonsensical codes that also fail to work half the time. $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Apr 5 at 14:28
  • $\begingroup$ Related cross-post from Chemistry.SE Meta: What's the best alternative to MathJax in titles and for one-off symbols? $\endgroup$
    – andselisk
    Apr 5 at 14:28

You mention the options

  1. 8x8x8 (8x8x8)
  2. $8\times 8 \times 8$ ($8\times 8 \times 8$)
  3. 8 × 8 × 8 (8 × 8 × 8)
  4. 8×8×8 (8×8×8)

I think options 3. and 4. are impractical, as they call for insertion of special characters. I also think the remaining options are fine - they might not be a typesetter's first choice (neither has ideal spacing in my opinion), but both get the message across just fine. That said, let me introduce another option using MathJax that mostly fixes the spacing issue (but not slowness):

  1. $8{\times}8{\times}8$ ($8{\times}8{\times}8$)

This option looks best to me so far. Here, enclosing "\times" in curly braces reduces the surrounding blank space. For a clearer comparison with 2., consider "$8{\times}8\times 8$" ($8{\times}8\times 8$).

On the whole though, I'd be happy to let anybody writing a post make their own typesetting in this regard.


Going straight to the title question (I confess I get a little loss with the description), the issue that could affect how the k-poins are indicated is that using "x" directly will depend on the type of font used. From inside Microsoft Office, for example, the symbol will look very different depending on the font. To avoid that, it is recommended to change to equation mode (math mode) (or better:move to LaTeX).

Posting in SE, you can not change the font (til my knowledge), so, using x or $\times$ symbol is almost the same for me giving me the right idea.

It could be possible to make a suggestion to users but I don't think that this is a big issue to worry about.


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