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Re: Electronic Writing Syntax Question

 In our last episode <4r1s5d$>,
 Broadcast on misc.writing
 The lovely and talented (ZeroEffort) wrote:
 >Can you explain the difference between the following emphasis
 Some of these are old Fidonet forms and there were some
 Fidonet-type newsreaders that would interpret them
 >1]  Reject the *Brainwash*
 >2]  Reject the BRAINWASH
           All caps.  That is, this is taken literally.
 >3]  Reject the <Brainwash>
            The angle brackets usually include the description
 of a thing that is to be substituted.
            For example  <year>/<month>/<day>
            would be      1996/June/28 
 This is a common convention in software documentation.
          FORMAT <harddrive letter>: /u
 Sometimes it indicate acceptable responses, separated by
 bars <yes|no|y|n> which means type one of the responses
 Also angle brackets often enclose descriptions of actions
 that one is supposed to imagine in chat rooms and various
 other places in cyberspace:
 <waves to the crowd with little lightbulb changing motion, 
 like the Queen>
 In chat rooms this is attributed to a particular participant.
 In any event, these are like stage directions.  They are supposed
 to add gestures, motions, expressions, etc. to this text medium.
 This is a convention borrowed from IRC and other chat connections.
 It is not really native to USENET.
 Angle brackets are also used for real and imagined HTML
 tags.  (See below.) <x> turns on attribute x, whatever it
 is, and </x> turns off that attribute.  There are
 documents about real HTML (consult your local search
 engine), but the pseudo-HTML tags are jokes.
 <brainwash> Write a bunch of propaganda here that
 is supposed to have the attribute of brainwash. </brainwash>
 Real HTML:
 <B> Write a bunch of stuff here that is supposed to
 be in boldface. </B>
 >4]  Reject_the_Brainwash
          The underscore represent the beginning and ending
 of underlining.  In this case, you indicate the word "the"
 is supposed to be underlined.  Usually, however, leading and
 trailing blanks are included:
       I have read _Tales of the City_ and can guess who Mrs.
 Madrigal is.
 In addition there /were/ leading and trailing slashes which
 indicated /italics./
 >Is there a reference to such things handy?
 No.  Not having one is how we can tell who newbies are.
 Much of this is now replaced by HTML and there are tons
 of references on it.  I don't believe there are any
 USENET readers available which will display the old codes
 properly, but as UQWK is still available on many servers,
 there may be some QWK readers that could be used with