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Backslash-escaped brackets in string literals

From: Mattias Engdegård
Subject: Backslash-escaped brackets in string literals
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2020 16:12:51 +0100

The manual contains the advice:

   • If a line in a documentation string begins with an
     open-parenthesis, write a backslash before the open-parenthesis,
     like this:

          The argument FOO can be either a number
          \(a buffer position) or a string (a file name).

     This prevents the open-parenthesis from being treated as the start
     of a defun (*note Defuns: (emacs)Defuns.).

First of all, is this still true? I rarely bother escaping brackets in doc 
strings and it doesn't seem to cause any editing confusion. For example, 
beginning-of-defun doesn't seem to be fooled by a '(' in column 1 inside a doc 
(I do escape the (fn ...) annotation, probably out of superstition.)

Moreover, these backslashes appear a bit everywhere (not just doc strings), not 
only at bol, and not only before an opening bracket. They make reading and 
editing the text a bit more difficult. More importantly, they are a constant 
source of potential mistakes, especially in regexps.

I have a tool to scan for all of them (using the help-echo annotation by 
emacs-lisp-mode), but it would be much more useful if we were to remove all 
existing occurrences. A list of all red backslashes attached.

Attachment: miscape.log
Description: Binary data

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