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Assume that

For the first and second investigation you know errors occurred when using article and minimal.

Which one will you use for the subsequent investigation, article or minimal?

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Using the minimal class instead of article introduces errors and does not remove them. There is nothing in article which can add to your problems. However there are many things missing in minimal which packages and the user normally awaits! I once used it for a table related MWS (minimum working solution :-) ) which first didn't worked. It took me 15 minutes to figure that it happened because one skip register was still not initialized and still zero! Changing to article fixed it then.

There is NO REASON to use minimal IMHO. It's not a real class! It was not created as a class for minimal working examples, even if the name might suggest that. You don't gain anything non-trivial from using it instead of article. It might not make any difference for your MWE but might be for the solution of the very same.

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Indeed, minimal reflects the way LaTeX had to work 20 years ago on very different computer hardware. The standard test class is article. – Joseph Wright Jul 16 '11 at 8:36
(It is a flaw in the way LaTeX2e is set up that some the base macros for logical structure are defined in classes and not in the kernel. This is to be regretted!) – Joseph Wright Jul 16 '11 at 8:37
The lack of features provided by article in minimal may be the source of problem. But the extra features in article may also be the source of problem. Is my hypothesis logically correct? However in this question, I assumed that errors occurred in article and minimal. So what is your strategy for your subsequent attempt in troubleshooting? – xport Jul 16 '11 at 8:46
minimal is not a proper LaTeX2e class. article is the minimum you need to properly define a LaTeX2e class: it does not 'add any features'! – Joseph Wright Jul 16 '11 at 8:48
@Joseph is this base macros being not in the kernel something LaTeX3 will solve? – Seamus Jul 16 '11 at 10:35

If an error happens only with minimal I wouldn't care. minimal is often simply to minimal.

If an error happens only with article I would continue the investigation with article, but keep the information that something different happens with minimal in the back of my mind.

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If errors happens in both minimal and article, will you continue the investigation with minimal? – xport Jul 16 '11 at 10:14
In article. There are less side-effects than with the incomplete minimal. – Ulrike Fischer Jul 16 '11 at 17:12

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