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Inadequate documentation of silly characters on screen.

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Inadequate documentation of silly characters on screen.
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 09:37:16 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Hi, Emacs,

Once again, I'm getting silly characters on the screen.  In *scratch*,
where's I've written "ñ", what gets displayed is "\361".  It may have
happened when I upgraded to Emacs 23.

This keeps happening to me, I don't know why, but most importantly it
seems unusually poorly documented.  Goodness knows how an ordinary user
manages this, but I cannot easily track down the proper bit in the
manual to sort this out.

Things like character sets and their display isn't my area.  Why won't
it just work?

I go to the coding systems page.  There is no @def{coding system}, just
vague references with which you're supposed to get the understanding by
osmosis.  What I DON'T get from this osmosis is whether or not "coding
systems" deal with the garbage "\361" on my screen.  There is definitely
a missing "For the appearance of the text on your screen @ref{...}".

So, once again, I've got between half an hour and an hour of wasted time
trying to debug, yet again, this problem.  Why can I not easily find the
answer in the Emacs manual?

Of secondary importance, why does this problem keep happening in the
first place?

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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