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I was wondering if it would be possible to enable LaTeX mark-up on the site, as is done on the Math Stack Exchange and numerous other Stack Exchange portals. It would be immensely useful when an answer/question requires some mathematics. How do we go about enabling LaTeX support?

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    $\begingroup$ It's been asked already. Understanding that LaTeX support comes at a cost, could you make your case for it in an answer to that question? (See the proposal on the Space Exploration site. A decision probably won't be made until after the private beta. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 25 '13 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ @JonEricson what do you mean that LaTex/Mathjax comes with a cost? Does the site have to pay money for it? Astronomy belongs to the natural sciences and in order to ask meaningful higher-level technical/theoretical questions (conversely to just popular science questions) it should be installed right from the start. In fact I am very astonished that this is not the case here ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Sep 25 '13 at 18:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: The cost is that pages are slower to load since the work must be done on the client side. Several sites that assumed they would need it from the start (e.g., Philosophy) did not actually need LaTeX support. Since it's not really possible to turn it off once supported (since it will break posts that have used it), we want to be sure the need is there. I agree that Astronomy is likely going to need it, but please provide such evidence. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 25 '13 at 18:14
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    $\begingroup$ @JonEricson in particular in the (private) beta phase, which is meant to define the kind of questions which are appreciated on the future site, it is of paramount importance that people can already start asking higher-level technical questions involving mathematical equations / formulas too. So can Mathjax be enabled please? $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Sep 25 '13 at 18:16
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    $\begingroup$ @JonEricson what exactly do you mean by "evidence"? The duplicat question is highly upvoted and the answers saying that LaTex is needed too. I know from Physics, Maths, and MathOverflow that slowing down is not really an issue, at least for people with at least reasonable internet connections. Philosophy, Linguistics, etc are not natural sciences, so they need LaTex or Mathjax not that urgently ... This astronomy site will not be able to attract experts, if advanced questions can not be asked in a reasonable readable way ... $\endgroup$ – Dilaton Sep 25 '13 at 18:20
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    $\begingroup$ Astronomy is intimately linked with physics, which is described in the language of mathematics. Even order of magnitude answers utilize fractions and products of variables, which are difficult to represent in pure ASCII without confusing the reader. Also, not including LaTeX support is going to make it less likely that professional astronomers/astrophysics will participate, of which 99% use LaTeX in their day-to-day work. I have already decided to avoid answering some of the questions on this site simply because doing so is painful without proper mathematical notation. $\endgroup$ – Guillochon Sep 25 '13 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ @Dilaton: I've posted an answer to the duplicate question. Please don't forget that this is a brand new site. It's not Physics.SE's little brother. The direction of the site depends a great deal on what people ask in the early portion of the beta. I suspect the site will get pretty technical, but we won't know until we see how things shape up. $\endgroup$ – Jon Ericson Sep 25 '13 at 18:48

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