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RE: function arguments downcased in help buffers

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: function arguments downcased in help buffers
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 2008 07:16:15 -0700

> You're talking as if this was a bug, instead of a feature that was
> (long) discussed and consensuated. Please take a look at the mailing
> list archive.
> > Am I the only one thinking that downcasing the arguments 
> > is a misfeature?
> You're the only one to report a problem with it since mid-2004.

Rereading the 2004 archive thread "new *Help* argument highlighting" wasn't too
reassuring. It didn't seem that there was such a complete consensus as you
suggest, with some people, e.g. Stefan, saying that this was a giant waste of
time for little, if any, gain:

 "The current convention is simple and safe, and as far as I can tell it's
  quite sufficient as well.  The changes discussed here seem to be about
  a new convention which is not simple, and more importantly not safe."

Your answer to Stefan's opinion was that then was not the time to question this
feature, presumably since it was late in the 22 release cycle (!), and that it
could always be revisited later:

 "But certainly now is not the time to discuss it.  If we decide that more
  information (structure, highlighting, or whatever) is necessary or
  helpful in docstrings, we can design the new features on the 22.X

FWIW, I don't mind the feature. I do think it's good to have a face for this, so
that users can customize the behavior. But I think the default of italic doesn't
stand out enough, at least in emacs -Q on Windows. IMO, bold italic is better,
and italic uppercase (bold or non-bold) is even better.

BTW, using Customize to change the face, and then setting it for the current
session, changes the text in an existing *Help* buffer immediately (good),
_except_ when you change to the default face by removing all checkmarks in
Customize. In that case, you need to use the help command again (e.g. C-h f) in
order to get the uppercase. No big deal, but a slight inconsistency.

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