# 2017-12-31 LaTeX pillory – macros everywhere

A few years ago, my frustration with what people do with (or to…) LaTeX made me start a (now rather abandoned) series of blog posts (in Polish) with the common theme of a “LaTeX pillory”. The name is somwhet misleading, since I don’t really want to shame anyone – but I do want to put shame on some practices. This time I received something that is so terrifying that I decided to revive that project.

After anonymizing (=changing the words used) and translating into English, here’s what I got in a journal submission.

\def\up#1{\uppercase{#1}}
\def\E{\expandafter\up}
\def\u{number}
\def\r{real}
\E\r\ \u s


It was a bit different in Polish, where the macros were actually parts of words (since we have a lot of inflection in Polish), but you get the idea.

Now this is reasonable (for certain values of “reasonable” at least), since it saves typing. But I think that the overhead is not worth it. What’s more, the LaTeX source becomes much less readable with this (there is about a dozen words treated that way). Last but not least, the \expandafter trick, while neat, is not something anyone should use in the document.

Anyway, reasonable or not, it is definitely funny. So I had to share it. You’re welcome.