Why does come abstract before title in this example? And how to enforce the correct behaviour (title, authors, affiliations, abstract, such as in elsarticle?)

\providecommand{\keywords}[1]{\textbf{\textit{Keywords:\ }} #1}
\title{Absolute nothingness}
\author[1]{Someone else}
\affil[1]{Some university}
    We found absolutely nothing of interest. 
\keywords{no keywords, really}
big piece of nothing here

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  • The treatment of an abstract depends on how the particular document class was designed -- is it considered to be part of the "top matter". For classes where the abstract is considered to be part of the top matter (apparently elsarticle and certainly amsart) it will be formatted and set by \maketitle. Otherwise it will be processed as soon as it is encountered in the input. – barbara beeton Jun 7 '19 at 18:19

In the article class, \author and \title are commands that save their arguments and do not typeset anything, the typesetting is done by \maketitle, however abstract is a conventional typesetting environment, like quote or center that just typesets its content with a heading, so you need to place it after \maketitle.

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