If you click the share link underneath a question (on the main site, but not here), you'll then see a cite link, which will provide a snippet of BIBTEX (or AMSRefs) that one might use in a bibliography file when citing a MathOverflow question from a paper.

In this BIBTEX, characters should not be HTML encoded.

(Because LaTeX won't unencode them.)

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    $\begingroup$ Good point. But what is the precise request? If possible I think special characters should best be given in TeX-style as otherwise (at least for not few setups) they will also cause issues. If this is the idea, it might be worth making it explicit otherwise this might not be clear. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Oct 9, 2013 at 21:29
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    $\begingroup$ It might be possible to automatically produce a good encoding (for example, the command line tool pandoc does a generally excellent job of preparing snippets of 'plain text' for LaTeX). However I thought it would be better to do no encoding, rather than the wrong encoding, so decided to make a very simple feature request for now. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 0:39
  • $\begingroup$ I see and also this makes sense to me. Just one additional suggestion/question: could/should some warning/info be added regarding this, like a line at the top of the box saying something like "Please note that you might have to replace special characters in TITLE and AUTHOR by their TeX-equivalents." (Maybe it is just me, but while I do know I have to do this, more than once I forgot doing it when copy pasting some snippet into a tex file.) $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 10:22
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    $\begingroup$ "... and {}-escape significant capital letters in the title, and generally tripple-check that the output looks sane, as automatically generated BibTeX is usually broken". Though one more thing which should be fixed automatically is not to output the user page URL in the author field (!). There is simply no way for BibTeX to parse that information. Only four types of data are recognized in the author field: first names, last names, "von"-like prepositions, and "Jr."-like titles. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 12:02
  • $\begingroup$ @EmilJeřábek thank for adding this! I more or less stopped using bibtex some while ago so did not think about issues specific to it. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 13:46
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    $\begingroup$ For plain BibTeX, there is no decent solution for special characters: you must use LaTeX encoding and that's a pain. With BibLaTeX, you can specify utf8 character encoding. Either way François is a completely incorrect encoding. I think using utf8 encoding is the best solution and we should have a meta post suggesting to use BibLaTeX instead of BibTeX. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 10, 2013 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ The various bugs and how to fix them is described in this answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Since BibTeX has trouble understanding online sources and unicode characters. We should consider recommending users to use Biblatex and output an @online entry type, such as the one described here.


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