In mathoverflow I avoid asking questions and giving answers because the preview of mathematical formulas does not work: in the preview the formulas are shown precisely as I type them, with dollars and all. On one previous occasion I incurred a wrath of a couple of users because I repeatedly posted the answer I was typing, since there was no other way I could see what I was doing. For a while I thought I found the cause of the problem: replacing http in the URL with https seemed to help, since math preview worked -- alas, only for a couple of lines, then the math preview died on me. Since then I shunned mathoverflow like it was poisoned. I did look for an explanation and an advice what to do. The problem is not unknown, it seems. But nothing resembling an advice, which I found on the 'soft' part of mathoverflow, really worked. Can you help me here? I would very much like to be more active on mathoverflow, but this problem makes the site practically inaccessible to me.

  • $\begingroup$ I cannot reproduce this problem. -- Which browser and which operating system do you use? Is it possible that you are using an old browser version (if yes, updating to the recent version may resolve the problem)? $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    May 17, 2016 at 9:11
  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible you are using an add-on that interferes with the site? Try browsing it with all add-ons disabled. $\endgroup$ May 17, 2016 at 9:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Stefan Kohl - OS is Windows 7. I use two browsers, Windows 11 and Firefox; both are regularly updated. The curious twist is that math preview diligently works in StackExchange mathematics, where I am moderately active. So where's the root of the problem? $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    May 17, 2016 at 10:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Also, note that MathJax preview can be abysmally slow even when nothing is broken, especially on longish posts with a lot of mathematics. This is a perennial problem, see e.g. meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2210 , meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2657, meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/2660 . The last one has an answer suggesting a way to turn the preview on and off, perhaps it could alleviate your problem, too. $\endgroup$ May 17, 2016 at 11:43
  • $\begingroup$ In case it is a matter of slowness as in Emil's last comment, I find that it becomes especially slow if I'm writing up a post directly into the box, and not so bad if I compile it in an offline editor and then paste it in after I'm satisfied. This is my interpretation: if you're writing it up directly in the box, it's as if the MathJax preview seems to start over from the beginning each time you enter a new character, and especially with lots of math environments the compilation then seems to gum up. If you do it offline first, the preview just compiles it one time after you paste it in. $\endgroup$
    – Todd Trimble Mod
    May 17, 2016 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Todd Trimble - That's precisely what I have done today, when I extended a question on mathoverflow, adding a long text with lots of mathematical inserts. It is rather awkward, because the locally LaTeX-ed typeset text only approximates the actual apearance of the posted text, but I can live with it. I have also noticed that if I hide the live wysiwyg display, by scrolling the page and/or raising the bottom of the window, the refresh algorithm is apparently smart enough that it does not waste processor time by refreshing the typeset text that is out of sight. $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    May 17, 2016 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Joel Reyes Noche - OS is Windows 7. I use two browsers: Internet Explorer Version 11.0.9600.18282IS Update Version 11.0.30 and Firefox 46.0.1. I have the same problem in both. $\endgroup$
    – chizhek
    May 20, 2016 at 10:23


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