The question "Did Euler make the elementary mistake […]" sees something like a micro edit war centered around the formatting of the title. The original post used pseudo-math mode to represent the square root symbol:

Did Euler make the elementary mistake sqrt{-2} sqrt{-3} = sqrt{6}?

A subsequent edit by a new user (approved by two users with some experience on skeptics.SE) changed this to syntactically valid LaTex math mode:

Did Euler make the elementary mistake $\sqrt{-2} \sqrt{-3} = \sqrt{6}$?

Soon after, the title was changed again by another relatively new user by employing "Unicode instead of pseudo-TeX". The same two users who approved the previous edit also approved this edit:

Did Euler make the elementary mistake √-2 √-3 = √6?

Today, nine months later, the title was edited yet another time by a new user back to the LaTex math mode format. The user who approved this edit is the author of the original question.

Even though I can read math mode myself, I think its use is detrimental to the readability and accessibility of the site if valid alternatives like Unicode representations exist. But is there a consensus on this issue? Which way of formatting mathematical formulas is preferred on skeptics.SE?

  • 1
    Note: Rolled back the change, and imposed a lock for 24 hours while this is considered.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Mar 2, 2021 at 16:15
  • 3
    The editor who made that change has 4K rep on math.SE and 103 here, so they probably assumed (incorrectly) that LaTeX works here (too). Mar 4, 2021 at 2:00
  • @Fizz That's a misconception I see at least four or five times a year on various SEs.
    – user11643
    Mar 10, 2021 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


We want titles to be readable by the widest audience possible. Therefore, if there is a representation that the site can use to display the actual symbol, then that is the way to go.

For math symbols, some SE sites support MathJax, but Skeptics.SE does not, so Unicode √ is the best we have.


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