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There are numerous questions/answers on which equation-type environment to use under which circumstances. For a single-line equation, various people have expressed a preference of equation over gather (even in the amsart class or using amsmath) because they deem it simpler or because they feel that equation should be used for single-line equations because gather is intended for multi-line equations. I get all that.

My question is: are there any typographical advantages of using equation over gather in the single-line case, i.e. are there examples in which gather produces undesired spacing or other problems when equation works well?

\documentclass{amsart}

\begin{document}

\noindent
This equation
\begin{equation}
x =y
\end{equation}
looks the same to me as this equation:
\begin{gather}
x=y
\end{gather}
Doesn't it?

\end{document}

EDIT:

ok, in light of David Carlisle's comment, let me ask a follow-up question. What would be the easiest way of changing LaTeX's behavior to potentially use the shortdisplayskip feature in multi-line equations, also? (I'm not asking whether or not you think this is desirable.)

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    I'm sure this is a duplicate but you do not get the \shortdisplayskip feature using gather, Sep 16 '15 at 14:45
  • @DavidCarlisle: thank you, thought it would be too, but failed to find one.
    – JPi
    Sep 16 '15 at 14:46
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    arguably that means that it is only a duplicate if you already know the answer, which is not too good. Do you want to re-open and add a gather-answer? (I'll ask in chat what other regulars think) Sep 16 '15 at 14:55
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    Better ask a new following up question, giving there a link to this question.
    – Mensch
    Sep 16 '15 at 15:36
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    @DavidCarlisle -- added the dup as an item in "often referenced questions, with slightly more scrutable description. Sep 16 '15 at 18:53