Gang, I think I'm going to start putting a little bit of space between things that are multiplied together.

$\frac{- b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4 \, a \, c}}{2 \, a}$

$\frac{- b \pm \sqrt{b^2 - 4 a c}}{2 a}$

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@christianp b...b...b...but Knuth!

@pkra what does Knuth say about it?

@pkra can you give a citation? I'm genuinely interested in what Knuth has to say

@christianp I was just quipping. People are so used to TeX that they forget that it's often just Knuth's preferences for layout, not some higher truth.

@pkra I had a skim through Knuth's "Digital Typography" this morning, and it seems that Knuth's preferences are largely based on the preferences of whoever did the typesetting for the AMS in the early 20th century

@christianp exactly that.

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