Whenever I ask or answer questions on mathoverflow, the output is constantly being compiled. While this is sometimes a desirable feature, it turns out that at least for my computer, when I am giving a lengthy answer or asking a lengthy question, the latex slows down my computer very much (my computer does not get slowed down however when I give a shorter answer or ask a shorter question). Is there currently any way to turn this feature off while I simply type the answer since I do not need it to compile every second? Right now the most reasonable solution to this problem is to simply type my answer or question on a word document or onto a latex compiler and then use cut and paste.

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    $\begingroup$ There used to be a way to disable preview on the old MO 1.0 but that got lost in the transition. Consider making a feature request to bring it back. Have you tried StackEdit? Is the slowdown the same there? $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 1:00
  • $\begingroup$ I have not experienced any significant slowdown on StackEdit. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 2:20
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, I've experienced the opposite problem lately: when an answer gets too long, MathJax apparently stops (pre-)compiling at some point. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 9, 2015 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ Related: How to turn off the MathJax preview? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 27, 2023 at 11:26

2 Answers 2


I want to see how may people also have this problem or if I am the only one, so let me conduct a basic poll.

$\bullet$ If you have the problem where typing a long answer with plenty of mathematics symbols (an answer that fills at least one or two pages) on mathoverflow runs slowly, then upvote this answer.

$\bullet$ If you do not have any delays when typing long answers on mathoverflow, then downvote this answer.

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    $\begingroup$ I realize that this poll is probably very biased since the people experiencing this problem are more likely the click on this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 2:44
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    $\begingroup$ I almost always compose my answers and questions in a separate editor, and then copy/paste into the MO field just before posting. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 3:29
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    $\begingroup$ @JoelDavidHamkins: Me too. -- But I observed that after pasting, I need to make at least one change -- otherwise MO lets me solve a CAPTCHA, which can be annoying since sometimes the characters are also not very legible for a human. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 10:32
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    $\begingroup$ I do not find that the formatting is slow, but it does create a very annoying kind of flicker. I generally stretch the answer box so that the formatted answer is invisible below the bottom of the browser, which cures the problem for me. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 13:16
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    $\begingroup$ I downvoted, but experience the same kind of "flicker" as Neil. I would describe it as a kind of "bouncing" of the characters as I type (and like him, I shield myself from having to look at it). $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    Commented Apr 10, 2015 at 19:48

My apologies if this should be a comment rather than answer, but robjohn has a website with some very handy bookmarks to deal with these issues. Obviously it would be preferable if a bookmark bar were not needed, but rendering on and rendering off are quite helpful currently.


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