Schrodinger's Cat Strikes Back

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Approaching the Goal, Technical End of Year Report

Soon, we have end of this year and it is time to give you some information about the technical state of the project. There have been many hours of frustration, but I think, nonetheless, I have some fine results to present. Let me go through the different subject studied or realized:

LaTex in Markdown Editor
The issue of this editor is that markdowns are represented by so called escape sequences, as know from the programming language C or C++. For instance \n is an end-of-line r \t is a tab. In order to be able to represent the backslash character used for these sequences, a double backslash \\ is used. During the transform of an edited text into a html-coded text, the Markdown Editor “eats” one of these backslashes, which was the reason for the issues that Dilaton mentioned already in this blog. I have found a way of preprocessing the edited text by replacing Latex sequences by tags and inserting these blocks at the end by a postprocessing. This worked fine for the live preview, but by unknown reasons not for the real posting. After some days of frustration and anger, I gave up.

Dummy Voter
I was not happy with the solution of thousands of dummy voters, escaping at the end of migration, but leaving their votes until a recount showed, that the cat was dead. This is too near to Schrodinger’s cat for me. Now I have replaced this solution by a single voter (do you guess its name?) with increased rights, who inserts all votes from TP and makes itself invisible for everybody after that. Like this, this solution will survive all recounts during the life of the site. For this solution I required one solely line of core hack in Q2As code (this is the first time up to now).

New editor, LaTex enabled
The WYSIWYG editor delivered with Q2A is based on CKEditor. Unfortunately, the implemented version of CKEditor does not support LaTex. In the meantime, there exists a new version of this editor, which supports LaTex, but it was not possible to introduce it into WYSIWYG. Therefore I have developed a new Q2A plugin, which supports this new version. This new plugin supports many nice features, as can be seen in the following screen shot:


LaTex code may be inserted using a special window, where the LaTex code can be written (without $ or $$) using a live preview either as block or inlined:

latex_editor       latex_editor_inline

A source editor enables the user to insert any desired html-code:


I am sure you will like this new editor plugin!

Regaining Accounts for former TP users
This issue is solved! I have written a plugin that allows former users of SE.TP to regain their account in the migrated Q2A site. I have added a login link into the side panel near the attribution message:


The user sees then a login page with a short explanation of the login procedure:


If he gives the correct credentials as he used on the former SE.TP site (checked using MD5 encryption of his email address), he is logged in as a normal Q2A user:


He is then enabled to change his account data (email address, password, etc.) and may access his old posts.

That’s it for this year!

I wish Merry Christmas to all of you and a happy new year with a successful start of this new site!


  1. Dilaton says:

    Jep, I was able to regain my account Silent_Lurker and my stupid question with the wise answer 😛

  2. WOW, thank you, and happy Christmas to you too!

    That seems like quite a lot of progress!

    The LaTeX problem would be a very annoying one, I wonder what Stack Exchanged oes to fix that?

    Is there any progress on migrating questions from PSE, with the correct attribution?

    • polarkernel says:

      @Dimension10: Bad news! Dilaton has been hospitalized yesterday with a serious disease. Our cat will be offline for at least one week, if everything goes well. I will keep you informed.

      I have found a way to get all required data for a migration of PSE posts (complete threads including question, answers, comments and links to these posts and their users) using the SE API, except the md5 email hash values of these users. I will try to find a way to get also this data and will develop a prototype of a plugin that enables the complete migration of such a thread, including the possibility that all the users may regain their account similar to the SE.TP users. I will make a proposition for attribution, as I think it would be correct. We will have to take care thoroughly that we do not fall into legal issues on that.

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