Archive for December, 2011

Happy Holidays!

2011-12-24 by Stefan Kottwitz. 0 comments

Decorated tree

It’s been a pleasure being here with you this past year. Happy holidays, and a peaceful time for everybody!

The nice tree has been decorated by Altermundus, you can see on TeX.SX how it’s been made.

Seasons greetings!

by Paulo Cereda. 1 comments

May peace, love and prosperity follow you always! Merry TeXmas!

Community leadership

2011-12-20 by Joseph Wright. 2 comments

I’ve blogged before about what I get up to as a moderator on Here, I’d like to look at this from a slightly different perspective: what is the role of the moderator on

Currently, the site has three moderators: Stefan Kottwitz, Martin Scharrer and me. If you take a look at our user IDs and log in records, you’ll see that Stefan and I have been visiting the site from almost day one (or actually day one, for me!), while Martin started slightly later but is currently the most highly-rated user on the site. So we are all experienced contributors.

Jeff Atwood (StackExchange supremo) wrote a blog entry a while ago about moderation, where he talks about how he sees the role of the moderator. Each StackExchange site has taken it’s own path, and how the moderators fit into is therefore unique to us.

So what is our role? I’d say it’s primarily ‘community leadership’. We all leave a lot of comments, do quite a bit of voting and are active on the meta site and in the chat area. Stefan went out to India to talk about (and other ways of getting TeX help), and at least one of us is present during the regular ‘Answer the Unanswered’ sessions. We all answer questions too, but probably have backed off a little so that newer members of the community can get involved.  Of course, there is a bit of real moderating to do too, looking at the flags and deciding what to close. But that’s quite a light task. I think that’s a good thing: we do have a community on, and it’s proving to be a good way to support TeX users.

TeXtalk: an interview with Martin Scharrer

2011-12-19 by Paulo Cereda. 0 comments

Welcome to the TeXtalk! For the third episode of the series, we have a legendary guest: our friend Martin Scharrer, moderator, highest rep user (54k+) and package-writing machine! Martin is surely the TeX version of Jon Skeet. It was an awesome interview!

more »

Non-Standard Code – A Workaround

2011-12-11 by droratariah. 5 comments


After answering the question about macro for \left( and \right) I realized that there’s a discussion worth considering behind the scene here. In particular, one can consider a beautiful solution, like the one of Herbert’s. This kind of answer, by all means, addresses the question posed. However, alongside, it also introduces several issues which might suggest that a better course of action is to be taken. Non standard code examples, like these which can be found in the question mention, as well as in many other threads in TeX.SE, have one prominent drawback, namely, they turn the code into a non standard one. I believe that for simple standard tasks (like the one dealt with in the question I started this post with) a more standard solution, in terms of TeX should be used. Let it either be code reuse or collaboration, non standard code serves as a problem. On the other hand, typing the full and standard TeX code can be sometimes be lengthy and tedious. Just like one won’t change the syntax of a for loop in any programming language, although it is being extensively used, one should not change, in my mind, the essence of TeX code. The alternative’s, which I would like to introduce and account my way of using, goal is to enable efficient typesetting process on the one hand, and maintain the resulting source code as standard as possible. It is called code snippets. more »

Building documents with rubber

2011-12-04 by Paulo Cereda. 15 comments

It’s common to compile our documents a couple of times to ensure, amongst other things, correct cross-referencing and indices. Sometimes, we also rely on a Makefile in order to make things easier. Now enters rubber, a powerful tool to help us on our building adventures.

more »